God's actions / attitude toward believers / non-believers


#1

Yesterday I was talking with a few others who are open to the ideas of UR.

Often times, it is when I’m interacting with others about my beliefs that I come to understand what exactly it is I believe. Interesting how that works, isn’t it :slight_smile:

So, at one point I said, “I believe God acts no differently towards a non-believer than He does a believer; The difference is in the perspective we have of God’s actions.”

In context, I was talking about reprimanding my toddler who was about to touch the stove-top. I reprimand him because I love him and don’t want him to hurt himself (due to ignorance on his part).

However, all my toddler knows is that he just experienced my “wrath”. Until he learns the reason for my reprimand, he is unable to see my action as anything but wrath, when in reality, my reprimand is entirely motivated by love and care for his best interest.

As believers, we understand that God loves us and wants the best for us. Therefore, what is best is to wholly surrender ourselves to His good and perfect will. The not-yet-believer does not understand this and as a result has an emnity toward God in the same way that my toddler does in the moment I reprimand him.

So, now that I’ve discovered that I believe God doesn’t act any differently towards not-yet-believers than He does me, my mind is awash with thoughts in agreement and dis-agreement. So, I’d like to toss it around and discuss it with other like-minded folks (you guys :smiley: ) and examine this belief in light of scripture… I figured I’d serve these thoughts up on here and see if we can get a good volley going.

Any thoughts come to mind? Any scriptures one way or the other?


#2

“Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.”
I know of no verse that mentions God discipling “the world”. It’s more the words “condemnation”, “wrath”.


#3

I think that God is just like a parent who rewards and reprimands in response to both our actions and attitudes. He is not a respecter of persons; and like you said, our relationship with Him is going to determine whether and to what extent we experience those reprimands as wrath. It is ultimately for all our good, though; His kingdom has to be established in/ with righteousness.

Roofus; “When your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” -somewhere in Isaiah, IIRC.

By the way, the literal meaning of “condemn” in the Greek is “down-judge”.


#4

Roofus,

Thanks for the input. I am interested in looking at that verse in context… I’m copying from the YLT here so that everyone can see the context (I usually use the YLT because I find it to be a bit more unbiased than the typical translation).

Melchizedek,

I believe God is like a loving parent. But I also believe I can better learn to be a good and loving father by learning the character of God… so it ends up going both ways (and being a bit circular sometimes?). In many ways, my being a father has shed light on the Fatherhood of God, and in other ways, I feel an urgency to better understand the Fatherhood of God. :slight_smile:

So with that said, understanding how God acts towards believers and not-yet-believers will help me in how I relate to my toddler as he grows into a boy and someday a man.

Thanks for the input guys…


#5

I totally agree (not just because I’m also a father of a toddler :slight_smile: )

I believe it’s very significant that God (most frequently?) chose to call Himself “Father”, out of all the possible labels He could’ve chosen. Add to that, the emphasis (both in frequency & language e.g. “God is love” & “But the greatest of these is love”) on “love”, over and above any other quality (as far as I know).


#6

Roofus,
Do you require a verse which states God “disciplines the world”? Talbott’s book regarding this very topic is instrumental and convinced me the traditional answer is flat out wrong.

So God loves the world with such a love, that he gives up his only Son. He loves the wicked so much that he dies himself that it might be saved. BUUUUTTT When he acts to punish the wicked (which Paul states we all were by nature objects of wrath) he does so without the intention or turning them to repentance (an impossibility if you love them).

Bro, the WHOLE OT is your missing verse.

Aug


#7

Isn’t Romans 11:22 pretty explicit on this point??

Same grace, different perceptions and effects. But both to the same purpose.

And all the talk of God’s “justice” in the OT can be spoken of as God’s making things right again. But there’s no English word “rightify” so it’s called “justice” which then gets all tangled up in modern western concepts of penalties and guilt and payments…

TotalVictory
Bobx3


#8

True TV, I’m appealing more to the relationship of God and Isreal and it’s God’s commitment to THE WHOLE WORLD. When we realize God’s love for all, then a non-corrective view of punishment simply makes no sense. Not long ago I myself was thinking God can punish without it being remedial, but no longer. It makes no sense to me.

When people ask questions like that of Sodom and Gam. then I point them to God restoring Sodom. Of course they always say it can’t mean that since we know he’s sending Sodom to hell forever without hope.

But certainly, when God punishes someone like Nebuchadnezzar, it’s for bringing him to his senses.

Aug


#9

But how does your viewpoint distinguish between condemnation and discipline?


#10

Sorry Roofus, I’ve been terribly busy. In my opinion, I’m not sure it makes sense to say what’s the difference between condemnation and discipline. But I think I get the point: We’re (those of us in Christ) are not appointed unto wrath. So what is the difference in my view between wrath and discipline? I think that’s a bit more clarified.

So in my opinion, there is no difference just as I would say there is no difference in God’s love for the saved and the non-saved or in Calvinistic terms, God’s love for the reprobate is like that of the loss. When God pours out his wrath, I don’t believe it means he hates them, and I agree with Talbott that if God punishes without the intention to bring down their arrogance and to reconcile them, then he can only hate them. For certainly, one cannot call it love, when it does nothing for it’s neighbor. So I agree with the OP. God’s wrath on Sodom does not exlude his restoring them (Eze 18). Of course everyone I’ve spoken to about Eze 18 claims I’m misinterpreting the text. But as I read it, I see no other way to take it.

If God is going to restore Sodom to what she was before, then what is the difference between God’s wrath and his discipline for you?

I agree, God’s wrath is serious and not to be taken lightly, as most ECT’ers do. How you might ask? Because they always (and I mean almost ALWAYS) argue that if hell is not eternal then what’s to keep us from just living a life of sin. In other words they’re arguing, “if God’s punishment is not eternal, then I can take anything God throws at me”. Yet, they themselves would more than likely not want to be boiled, microwaved, fried, b-b-qued, electorcuted, skinned or gutted .

So I agree God’s wrath is serious, but I also see it that God’s love is more than that; mercy ALWAYS triumphs over judgement. But where in the tradtional view, can God restore Sodom to what she was before? If you don’t think God intends to restore Sodom, then can you tell us what Eze. meant by that? If you believe God loves the wicked (his enemies) then what is the difference of wrath and discipline in your view?

Aug