Q&A: Insincere Jesus

Insincere Jesus

Question

I do not understand the love of God. The Bible says that "God is love" (1 John 4:8) and that "love must be sincere" (Rom. 12:9).?Jesus seems quite insincere to me if he preaches the Gospel with the idea of hardening people against it (Matt. 13:13-15), but tells them that he wants to them to be saved! What's going on here?

Answer

"Love" means different things in the contexts of the two verses you quoted. God is not "love" in the same sense that "love" must be sincere. "God is love" does not mean that God is that particular emotion. Rather, it means that he is perfectly characterized by love. But love is not his only attribute. He is also perfectly characterized by wrath, indignation, etc. Thus, there is no obligation that all God's actions be sincere. Only his love must be sincere. There are plenty of examples in Scripture that one might interpret as insincerity on God's part (e.g. Gen. 22:1-18; 1 Kings 22:22; Isa. 6:8-13).

Also, there is no indication that Jesus did not desire the salvation of people who would actually be hardened by the gospel. Insofar as he wanted to obey God (who had designed the gospel both to harden and to save), Jesus wanted the gospel to do its two-fold work of saving and hardening. But he also had a desire that the people be saved. There is some tension between these desires, but there is no conflict so great that it renders it impossible to desire both simultaneously.


Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.