Writings on Christianity

Vos on God’s Love

Vos on God’s Love

Here’s a few quotes from Vos on God’s love found in: “The Scriptural Doctrine of the Love of God”: The Presbyterian and Reformed Review 13:1-37. [1902]

“But it would certainly not be in the spirit of the Pentateuch to say that God takes the same intense personal delight in punishing as He does in the exercise of His love. He releases His anger, if we may speak after the manner of men, because conscientiously He cannot do otherwise. He loves because the entire weight of His infinite Being inclines Him to do so”

“What God desires of His people is that they shall answer to the love which He bears them with a like affection”

“His mercy is wider and deeper than the ocean of human misery”

“Our Lord was confronted with the abnormal spectacle of a religious system which claimed to be the product of special soteriological revelation, and in which, nevertheless, God has been so far removed from man as to be no longer the object of trust and love. In Judaism everything had been put on the basis of commercial intercourse with the Almighty. Over against this it was necessary before all else to awaken the religious consciousness to the recognition of the fact that God is personally interested in man; that instead of merely exploiting man in His service, He lovingly gives Himself to man, and desires to be met in the spirit of trust and affection.”

“If the Son of God was filled with tender compassion for every lost human soul, and grieved even over those whose confirmed unbelief precluded all further hope of salvation, it is plain that there must be in God something corresponding to this.”

“We certainly have a right to say that the love which God originally bears toward man as created in His image survives in the form of compassion under the reign of sin. This being so, when the sinner comes in contact with the gospel of grace, it is natural for God to desire that he should accept its offer and be saved. We must even assume that over against the sin of rejection of the gospel this love continues to assert itself, in that it evokes from the divine heart sincere sorrow over man’s unbelief.”

“But this universal love should be always so conceived as to leave room for the fact that God, for sovereign reasons, has not chosen to bestow upon its objects that higher love which not merely desires, but purposes and works out the salvation of some. It may be difficult to realize from any analogy in our own consciousness how the former can exist without giving rise to the latter; yet we are clearly led to believe that such is the case in God”

“The Scriptures do not assert that election and preterition are arbitrary decrees to the mind of God. All they insist upon is that the motives underlying them are inscrutable to us, and have nothing whatever to do with the worthiness or unworthiness of man.”

“It would seem, therefore, that in his pre-Christian state the one who will later become a child of God is not differentiated from the one who never will, inasmuch as both are in an equal sense the objects of the general benevolence of God and of His wrath in their experience.”

“Already during the pre-Christian state of the elect there are two lines, that of general and special love, running parallel in God’s disposition toward them. It is not the special love itself which originates at the moment of conversion, but only the subjective realization and enjoyment of it on the part of the sinner”

“The Bible gives us no right to say that Christ in His atoning work acted as the legal substitute of every individual human being. But certainly neither does it require us to assert that for the non-elect the atonement is void of all benefit or significance. Every man is indebted for great privileges to the cross of Christ. The continued existence of the race in spite of sin, but for it, would have been impossible. The atonement by its universal sufficiency renders the gospel a message which can be preached to every human being, and the offer of the gospel illumines the entire earthly existence of every one to whom it comes by the hope that he may find himself through faith one of the actual heirs of redemption.”

“The words “who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20) undoubtedly express what is true for every single believer.”


By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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