“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Jn 3:16.
In a short amount of time I wish to show the distinction between God’s Agape love presented in the Bible and that which is spoken of by Calvinists.
When I hear Calvinists outline their doctrine of election and special grace, I don’t hear the John 3:16 love. When Calvinists speak in lofty and glowing terms of the love of God, it doesn’t sound like the love Jesus spoke of even for your enemies.
“43 You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5
When Jesus taught the love disciples are to have for others, Jesus said love is not to be shown to an elect few, but to all men. Why? Because Agape love takes the first step to be loved back, and it portrays the love God has for all men. John said, “we love, because He first loved us.” 1 Jn 4:19; cf, Rom 5:6ff. This is why Jesus died for all men that they might believe and be saved. God showed, and still shows, His love to all men so that they might come to Him and that they would be without excuse if they remain lost.
Christians can and do love their enemies. Christians can and do love their neighbors as themselves. Agape love demonstrated by God and by Christians is what opens the doors to save souls. God’s love shown in the Gospel is a transforming, convicting love that graciously shown by God to all men. It doesn’t suggest universal condoning or compromising of sin, but it leaves an open door for all to come through – whosoever will. This is how God loves His enemies and the whole world so that sinners are touched by His love to repent and throw themselves upon His mercy.
I have often written and spoken against Calvinism because it perverts practically every fundamental tenet of the Christian faith. Even here, Calvinism speaks highly of the love of God, but in reality it perverts it.