ESV – 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
1 John 3:17-18
ESV – 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
ESV – 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Calvinism teaches that God looked upon the whole human race and decided beforehand who would believe in Christ. At the same time, He overlooked everyone else, and purposely chose to leave them without hope to endure the eternal torments of hell.
But is that consistent with the character of God? Is it consistent with the love of God? Is it consistent with what He teaches us to do?
Let’s consider the teaching of the above scriptures.
If we see a brother or sister in need of food and clothing, but choose not to do anything about it, but simply say “be warmed and filled,” it demonstrates that we don’t really care. What God wants us to learn from this is, that if we see someone in need and we have the means to help, but don’t, we are guilty of a lack of love and compassion. True love always expresses itself in giving. Considering all that the Bible says about helping the poor and treating all people without partiality, this applies not only for brothers and sisters in Christ, but for everyone we see in need.
There’s an important principle we are to learn from this:
We have a responsibility to meet the needs of those around us when it’s in our power to do so. If God brings people our way who have serious needs, we are to help meet those needs out of a heart of love and compassion for them. We’re not to “close our heart” to them, and simply say “be warmed and filled.” No, we’re to act on those needs we see around us. Many of us have the ability to meet the material needs of others, and so, if we have that ability, God requires us to use what He has given us to be of help to others. It’s not within our power to give salvation to others, but it is in our power to give to the material needs of others.
Here’s my point:
As human beings, it’s in our power to give of our wealth to help those who have physical needs, and as Christians, God fully requires us to be faithful to give as He has blessed us. In the same way, it’s in God’s power to offer salvation to all.
Therefore, for God to choose only specific individuals for salvation, while purposely choosing to not even make the same offer to the rest of mankind (legitimately), seriously violates the very practice He requires of us.
How can God say to the world, “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (NET – Jn 3:16), if the offer doesn’t genuinely apply to everyone? Is that not like us seeing someone with a need and saying “be warmed and filled,” but we don’t give them what they need, when it’s in our ability and opportunity to do so? Are we not guilty of “closing our heart” to that person? In the same way, would God not be guilty of “closing His heart” to those who have spiritual needs – which is everyone – when it’s in His power to provide? The apostle John’s question now comes to mind: “how does God’s love abide in him?”
If God chooses not to offer the remedy for the spiritual needs of every individual who comes into the world – when it’s in His power and opportunity to do so – but only for a select few individuals, is He not violating His own principle of love and compassion that He teaches us to practice?
God is consistent!