20 August, 2016

FAQ — Did Christ Fulfil the Law?

Q. 1. “The command to love our neighbour was perfectly fulfilled by Christ. He was ‘made under the law, and did perfectly fulfill it’ (Westminster Confession, 8:4). In order for this to be true, He must have shown love, mercy and compassion to both elect and reprobate neighbours, as God requires us to do. Moreover, to say that Christ only loved His neighbour in His human nature is heretically to divide the person of Christ, who ‘was and continueth ever to be, God and man, in two distinct nature’s, and one person, forever’ (Shorter Catechism, 21). Obviously this topic of common grace involves important issues, since our salvation (justification) demands that our Mediator perfectly fulfil the law on our behalf. (see also Ps. 40:7-8; Matt. 3:15; 5:17-20; Rom. 13:10; Gal. 4:4-5; Heb. 10:7)” (Source: David Silversides)

(a) Rev. Angus Stewart

A) With regards to this argument, we should explore with advocates of Common Grace and the Free Offer what exactly they are aiming at and what they are committing themselves to.  Obviously, they want a love of Jesus and ultimately a love of God for all men. But this is in opposition to, or leads to the watering down of, election and reprobation. Their doctrine is essentially the same as the Arminians (a love of God for all and desire of God to save everybody). Only, they use a novel, clever argument to gain this end.

Note: If Jesus exactly like us loved all His neighbours, He loved them with a love that also desires their salvation! This surely is our love (Rom. 9:1-5; 10:1). This posits Jesus the Christ as loving all with a saving love (for we, in loving our neighbours, desire not simply their earthly welfare but their deliverance from sin and hell). From this it follows that He must also have laid down His life for all without exception (for even humans do this for those that they love; cf. John 15:13)—for love, in us, does not only desire the good of others; it also does what it can to realize itself in the welfare of the beloved. Thus, the common grace advocates are already at the heresy of universal atonement with all its implications for a gospel of salvation. Thus, their argument proves too much! This goes to show again that there is no common grace in distinction from special grace. Every defense of a common grace invariably implies or soon takes form as universal, resistible, saving grace.

Let me repeat this in different terms. If, (1) because we are called to love everybody, Jesus really had to love everybody; and (2) we are called to love others even to the extent of laying down our lives for them (cf. John 15:13), then Jesus must have loved and died for everybody!  UNIVERSAL, ARMINIAN ATONEMENT! It is similar with regard to Christs prayers: If we are to pray for people as part of our love for them, and Jesus really loved everybody, then He must have prayed for everybody. But this is expressly ruled out by John 17:9! Therefore, this clever argument for common grace falls to the ground as proving too much. Also we are also to pray for future people (those yet unborn) (Westminster Confession 21:4; cf. John 17:20; II Sam. 7:29; Ruth 4:12), so this common grace argument would require Christ to pray for everybody future to Him, while on earth (including the reprobate, even the Antichrist), yet Christ only prayed for the elect and not the reprobate (John 17:9), and He only prayed for future elect (John 17:20). In fact, Christ prays against the reprobate (cf. Ps. 69:21-28 in context; cf. also 109:6-20).

Also, Gods grace is ONE and ETERNAL and UNCHANGEABLE, just as God Himself is one, eternal and unchangeable, for God is His attributes (this is a vital aspect of the truth of divine simplicity) so that He IS His love and mercy and righteousness and eternity, etc.  Here we should recall that this notion of a universal love of Christ and God for the reprobate is excluded by solid arguments which cannot be overthrown by this more recent (and involved) argument for common grace from Christs being under the law.

Furthermore, the classic Scripture text stating that Christ was made under the law (Gal. 4:4) doesnt argue for common grace or a resistible form of saving grace. It says nothing about Christ loving everybody because we are called to love our neighbour. It speaks of the unity of the church in all ages (OT Israel and the NT church are onethe same person in its childhood [OT] and maturity [NT]) (vv. 1-7) and is thoroughly particular. Gods covenant promises were made to Christ (Gal. 3:16) and those in Him (v. 29) and Christ was made under the law (4:4) precisely in order  to redeem us by the cross that we might receive the adoption of sons (v. 5) and be Gods heirs through Christ (v. 7). This is assured to us by the Spirit of Gods Son in our hearts (v. 6).

The error in this argument for common grace is the one-for-one, flat comparison of Jesus under the law with us mere men under the law.  Jesus was under the law exactly as the MediatorGod in the flesh, not as a mere man like us. And God, according to Scripture and the Reformed confessions, put Jesus under the law on behalf of the elect of whom He was head. It was out of love for the elect that the eternal Son became a man. It was love for the elect that put Jesus under the law. It was Jesus own love for the elect whom the Father had given Him out of the world that motivated Him Himself to place Himself under the law. How perverse, then, to explain His being under the law as His love for all without exception!  
The answer is to stress both that Jesus was the incarnate Mediator, unlike us in that regard, and that, as God in the flesh, He loved His neighbours, who were truly near Him according to election. All men were not His neighbours. The reprobate, whom He knew, were infinitely far from Him, as they are from God Himself.
Then there is the biblical proof that Christ hated some humansfor instance, those whom He cursed in the name of God (Matt. 23) and the wicked, whom He will destroy with a bloody destruction at His bodily return (Rev. 19).  
B) Here is a sort of summary of the above in point form:
1. Christs Person is the eternal Son of God.
2. Christs office was that of the Messiah who came to do the work of the Triune God who sent Him (John 4:34; 6:38; 17:4), which work is particularfor the salvation of those whom the Father gave to Him (Matt. 1:21; John 6:38-40).
3. This involved His loving His own unto the end and so dying for us on the cross (John 13:1) and also judging Satan and the reprobate ungodly world by the cross (John 12:31; Gen. 3:15), and praying for His own and not for the world (John 17:9).
4. Christ knew all things, according to His divine nature, including human hearts (Matt. 9:4; John 2:24-25) and specifically who were and who were not elect (John 6:70-71; 13:18-30; 17:9-12), so He could love His people and not love the reprobate (unlike us, for we dont know who the elect and reprobate are).
5. Even we must hate Gods enemies (Ps. 139:21-22; II Chron. 19:2)so why cannot Christ (our example in this too, surely!) do this perfectly while on earth?

C) To explain further the nub of the issue (Christs being under the law but not exactly in the same sense/ways as us), consider:
1. 6th commandment (“Thou shalt not kill”). As part of His mediatorial work of saving the elect, Christ was given specific commands different from the rest of us, e.g., in John 10:17-18 (cf. 14:31), Christ has authority from God to lay down His life (and take it up again), so that His death is entirely voluntary. The Lord died by an act of will, even crying out with a loud voice, indicating that He still had strength (Luke 23:46)! But for this divine command, Christs death would have been a form of suicide, and so contrary to the 6th commandment. Thus Gods specific command to Christ in this regard was amodification of the 6th commandment. This is an example which indicates that Christ was under the law but not exactly in the same way as we areand so we can argue, by analogy, that Christ didnt have to love His neighbour exactly as we are called to do.
2. Similarly, regarding the 5th commandment, when, in Luke 2, Christ stayed behind in the temple without expressly telling His parents. In anyone else, this would have been a breaking of the 5th commandment. But Christ was sinless and did not transgress in this because He was behaving as Gods special servant, the Mediator. Thus, He Himself explained it: Wist ye not that I must be about my Fathers business? (Luke 2:49). Likewise, Christs word to His mother, when she wanted Him to do a miracle at the wedding in Cana (John 2:3): Woman, what have I to do with thee? Jesus explains that He does not simply obey His mother in this regard because of His messianic role and mission: mine hour is not yet come (v. 4).
3. This is something that we should look out for more when we read the gospel accounts. Jesus isthe only Redeemer of Gods elect (Westminster Shorter Catechism, A. 21)this is who He IS.  He is a particular Saviour, sent on a particular mission to save a particular people through His particular atonement and particular prayers on behalf of Gods particular, gracious covenant. Christ is our example,” yes, but this is subservient to His being our Redeemer. (AS, 04/05/2012)

(b) Anon. (PRCA)

Indeed, Jesus did fulfil fully the law of the loving of His enemies. In Romans 5:10 we read: “for if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” We by nature are enemies and rebels against Christ and His Word. Yet the unfathomable wonder is that Christ loved us, ugly, miserable, totally depraved, totally wicked sinners. That’s the glory of the love of God for His enemies.

Christ also fulfilled the law to hate those that hate Jehovah. Jesus fulfilled the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 139:21, “Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate Thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against Thee?” Proof of this righteous hatred of Christ for His enemies is found in Psalm 109: 

Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand. When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin. Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out. Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with the Lord; and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out. Let them be before the Lord continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth. Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart. As he loved cursing, so let it come unto him: as he delighted not in blessing, so let it be far from him. As he clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment, so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones. Let it be unto him as the garment which covereth him, and for a girdle wherewith he is girded continually. Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the Lord, and of them that speak evil against my soul (vv. 6-20).

Christ fulfilled the imprecatory oaths of the Psalmist against his avowed enemies, who were enemies of Jehovah. 

Did Christ give good earthly gifts to the reprobate, as we inevitably will also do in and throughout our lifetime? He certainly did. But, the giving of good earthly gifts to the reprobate, whom He knew as reprobate, was not an indication that He loved them or desired to save them. Christ was bound by the will and purpose of God that, according to Psalm 73, the giving of the good things of this life (bread, fish, water) is governed by God’s eternal counsel, unchangeable purpose, and sovereign good pleasure. 

So, yes, Christ in His fullness fulfilled the law in perfect righteousness.

The question remains, of course, did Jesus love every one of His enemies? Jesus loves only His sheep whom the Father gave to Him in election. The Scriptures teach that Jesus did not love every one of His enemies. There are specific persons that Jesus revealed that He did not love, or that He hated. One example was Judas Iscariot. Jesus did not desire the salvation of the son of perdition, nor extend a supposed “general” or “common” goodness or love towards Judas.

The question or issue raised by the promoters of common grace, according to what you wrote, can be framed as a question this way:  Could Jesus love in His human nature those who in His divine nature He hates from eternity? Could Jesus hate in His human nature those whom Jesus in His divine nature loved? Can the man Jesus love those whom the Son of God hates from eternity?

The answers to those questions must be “no.” The Creed of Chalcedon teaches that there is no conflict between the two natures of Christ. Christ’s will is one. Christ’s love is one. (08/03/2018)

(c) Prof. David J. Engelsma


Following this argument, Christ in His love for all humans must also have died for all humans and must also save all humans in His love for them all.

As to His person, Christ is God Himself, for whom humans are not His neighbors, but His creatures, with whom He may do as seems good to Him, predestinating them to life or death as seems good to Him. Although the law reflects Christ’s good nature, the commandments are not applicable to Him as they are to mere creatures. He is the law giver as to His person. In John 10, He Himself avows that He loves only some—His sheep—and not all inasmuch as they are not of His sheep. (10/04/2018)


First, both as personally God the eternal Son and as Saviour in His office, Jesus the Christ did not love all humans with whom He came into contact with the love that desired their salvation. It is this about the contemporary theory of common grace that is most offensive to the Protestant Reformed Churches (PRC) and to me. Not that God has a superficial favor towards all humans that results in their receiving good earthly gifts (although we deny this also), but that God loves all humans with His love in Christ, desiring their salvation and graciously offering them salvation out of this desire to save them all.

This fundamental element of the contemporary theory of common grace, Jesus Christ did not have during His earthly ministry according to the Scripture. As the eternal Son personally, He hated some humans and decreed their damnation in the way of their unbelief (Rom. 9). As the official Saviour of humans, He Himself said that He laid down His life for His sheep (the elect), not for all humans without exception (John 10). He did not have or express or act upon a (saving) love of God for all humans without exception. His gospel was not motivated by His will that all hearers should believe and be saved. But His purpose with the gospel was (as it is still today) that His sheep, or elect people, and they only, be saved by it (John 10:27, 28). Concerning the others, the reprobate, the purpose of Jesus with the gospel was, and still is, that they not truly hear it and believe (John 10:26). Notice concerning John 10:26 that Jesus teaches that some believe not, because they are not of His sheep. He has already explained that people are His sheep because the Father gave them to Him in eternity in the decree of election. The reason then why some do not believe when they hear the gospel is because they are not elect. God does not will their faith and salvation. God does not give them faith when the gospel is preached. On the contrary, He hardens them in their unbelief, which is conclusive against the notion that the gospel is a well-meant offer by God to all humans without exception. That God hardens some by the gospel is the teaching of Romans 9:18: “whom he will he hardeneth.”

The conclusion is, then, that Jesus did not, and does not, love all humans with the love that purposes their salvation and did not, and does not, offer salvation to all with the well-meant desire that all be saved by the gospel. As God, Jesus does not have “neighbours,” whom He must love, but only creatures whom He may love or hate as seems good to Him. He is not subject to the law, as we are, but is the lawgiver.

This, for the PRC, is the main issue in the controversy over common grace. Common grace, as officially taught by the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in 1924, when the PRC began, and as taught by many today, including the Banner of Truth in Great Britain, is the doctrine, above all else, that Jesus as the Saviour sincerely desires the salvation of all humans without exception and in this desire offers salvation to all humans in the gospel. This is Arminian heresy, condemned by the Canons of Dordt with its “five points of Calvinism.”

Then the question remains: Did Jesus as a human, as a real man, in His human nature love all His neighbours in any sense at all?

In the sense that He obeyed perfectly the second table of the law, the essence of which is loving the neighbour as oneself, He did. His behaviour towards even His reprobate enemies was righteous, a returning good for their evil, the behaviour of love in His dealings with them. An example is His behaviour before Pilate. He honoured the authoritative position the Roman magistrate occupied, despite the unjust treatment of Himself by Pilate. This was a keeping of the fifth commandment of the law of God as the behaviour of love towards that reprobate unbeliever. But even this was not the grace of the contemporary theory of common grace. For in this obedient behaviour of Jesus towards Pilate, God was at work—and Jesus Himself was at work as God the Son—to leave Pilate without excuse and to render him worthy of judgment. There was no grace of God towards Pilate in Jesus’ behaviour of love towards His neighbour for God’s sake.

If someone objects that this has Jesus hating and loving one and the same person at the same time, hating as God the Son and as Saviour, and loving as a human in that His behaviour was upright and honourable, my response is that there is an important sense in which even we do the same. As a believer, I must love my wicked neighbour, by doing good to him and not retaliating for evil by evil myself. At the same time, I hate him as the enemy of God (Psalm 139).

At the same time, in His human nature Jesus is in perfect accord with the will of God that Jesus is the loving Saviour of some only and that the end of His ministry be the hardening of some humans.

Also, the neighbours who are truly close, or near, to Him—His elect out of the human race, Jesus as a man loves with the full, profound love of the will to save. (16/03/2016)

(d) Prof. Herman C. Hanko

One question [frequently raised by proponents of “common grace”] is the question whether Jesus, from the view point of His humanity, loved all men. The argument goes like this: “When our Lord Jesus Christ came into our flesh, He came under the law (Gal. 4:4). The law demands of everyone under it that he love God and his neighbor as himself. A man’s neighbor includes all those without distinction with whom he comes into contact. No man under the law knows who is elect and who is reprobate, except our Lord Jesus Christ, who did know who were His people and who were not. And so, because Christ also was under the law, even though He knew His own and knew also who were not among His sheep, He had to love the reprobate as well as the elect if He was to keep the law—although this was only in His human nature.

I recall that there was a controversy over this very point in a Presbyterian church a number of years ago. The controversy centered in the “gracious gospel offer,” but involved the same line of argumentation as is used in this question we now consider. The defender of this view talked personally with me to explain his position. In order to explain his position on the discrepancy between Christ’s love for all revealed in the “gospel offer” and Christ’s sovereign love for His people only, he appealed to the distinction between the “divine nature” and the “human nature” of Christ. He claimed that Christ in His divine nature loved only the elect, but in His human nature, He loved all men.
He was correctly charged, by his church, with Nestorianism, an ancient heresy, which separated the two natures of our Lord so completely that Christ possessed, according to this view, two persons. Nestorianism was condemned by the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD and by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
All that our Savior did while on earth and all that He now does is His work as the divine-human Mediator. It is wrong to say that Christ did one thing in His divine nature apart from His human nature, or to say that Christ does something according to His human nature without the involvement of the divine nature. It is yet more wrong to say that Christ in His human nature could do something completely at odds with His divine nature, so that the two natures did not agree with each other. Hence, in answer to the question, Did not Christ, who came under the law, fulfill the law by loving all His neighbors, whether elect or reprobate?, we insist again that the biblical answer is, No.  Christ, who knew His own that were given Him of the Father, loved His neighbor, but only His elect neighbor. This truth is, in fact, clearly stated in John 13:1: “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”
I really do not understand very well the force of this argument. Neither for Christ, nor for us, is our neighbor “every man who lives in the world.” My neighbor is the one with whom I come into contact, with whom I must live, who is on my pathway, who requires my attention, who places me under certain obligations towards him. My neighbor is my wife, my child, my fellow saint—as well as the man along side of me in the shop. And I am called to love him in such a way that I, caring for whatever need he may have, seek his salvation. Love always seeks the good of the object of that love; and no greater good can we show to someone we love that to seek his salvation. I do this because I do not know who are elect and who are reprobate, and it may please God, should he be an elect, to use my love for him to bring him to salvation (Matt. 5:16).
But the Lord loved His neighbor too. He sought the salvation of His neighbor and, in fact, accomplished it. But His neighbor was the one for whom He was sent into the world to die: the elect in this world whom the Father had given Him from all eternity. That neighbor was by no means kind towards Christ. That neighbor opposed him, rejected His gospel of the kingdom and finally crucified Him. But the power of the love of Christ, on the cross, brought (and still brings) that neighbor to faith and salvation.
This truth is clearly taught by the Lord Himself. At the time the Lord received a delegation from the imprisoned John the Baptist to inquire whether He was the Messiah, or whether another was still to come, the Lord addressed the people by extolling the important place John had occupied in the working out of God’s salvation in Christ (Matt. 11:7-15). At the conclusion of this sermon, the Lord pronounced dreadful woes on the cities of Judah and spoke of the fact that Sodom and Gomorrah, as well as Tyre and Sidon, would not be punished as severely as Capernaum, Bethsaida and Chorazin (Matt. 11:20-24).
Immediately after this solemn and divine pronouncement of judgment on apostate Judah, it seems the Lord paused to pray—although He must have prayed audibly—“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Matt. 11:25-26). This prayer was not, however, a conclusion to which the Lord was driven by what He observed, as He witnessed the unbelief of the leading cities of Palestine; He not only acknowledged that such “hiding” and “revealing” belong to the sovereign work of His Father (“Thou hast hid these things … and revealed them …”), but He also emphatically states that He is on the earth to carry out this divine purpose of His Father: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (v. 27).

(Source: “Common Grace Considered” [2019 edition], pp. 130-132)


Q. 2. “Romans 13:10 states, ‘Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Christ ‘did no ill’ to any of His neighbours who were reprobate. But how can we say that Christ did not ‘love’ those (reprobate) neighbours whom He did no ill, when the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, tells us that ‘working no ill’ toward our neighbour IS ‘love’? If it’s not love, did Christ then do them no ill out of hatred toward them?”

(a) Anon. (PRCA)

What does “ill” according to the original Greek mean? The word means “evil.” Christ did not commit any evil or sin towards others because He is holy and righteous.

You ask:  “… If it’s not love, did Christ then do them no ill (i.e. evil, RJS) out of hatred toward them?” We could ask a similar question: If the law requires “love your neighbor,” and Christ hated reprobate neighbors in His earthly life, then did not He violate the second table of the law so that there is unrighteousness and disobedience with Him? 

First, we know that there is no unrighteousness with Him, even in His hatred of the reprobate.

Second, we know that He could not love every one of His neighbors because of His knowledge of the Triune God’s election and reprobation.

Third, we also know that He did obey authority, did not murder neighbors, did not commit fornication, did not steal, did not lie, did not covet any of His neighbors things, but obeyed wicked Caiphas under oath, honored Caesar with tax money, fed the 5,000, remained chaste for His bride, the church, was always filled with a zeal for the glory of God and stole from none, was honest and truthful, and was entirely content with the Father, His Word, His Will, and His provision of daily bread.
Fourth, all of Christ’s obedience was done in submission to His Father’s will. He did the will of His Father. The will of His Father meant that some of His obedience to the second table of the law meant the destruction and condemnation of the reprobate, while His obedience to the second table of the law is the perfection and righteousness earned for the elect and imputed to them by faith alone in our justification.
Fifth, let us remember that Christ did not have two contradictory wills. Instead of that incorrect view of the will of Christ, we believe that His will was one (united). For example, in the case of wicked Caiphas, Christ obeyed Caiphas according to the fifth commandment in love to the Father but out of the knowledge of His eternal purpose with Caiphas and according to His eternal good pleasure, according to which Christ hated whom the Father hated from eternity. He obeyed Caiphas out of His eternal hatred for Caiphas, because Christ knew the mind of the Father, as His Counsellor, with regard to Caiphas. According to the Father’s will, Christ obeyed Caiphas and told the truth under oath, but did so in hatred for Caiphas for His condemnation and eternal ruin. Christ willed not to love any of the reprobate. If Jesus of Nazareth had loved any of Satan and any of his reprobate seed, Jesus of Nazareth would have violated and would have rejected the eternal will and sovereign good pleasure of His Father. That violation of the Father’s will would have revealed that Jesus of Nazareth was not God. But, as the Scriptures state, Jesus of Nazareth is in the flesh the I AM, and the I AM THAT I AM is the eternal and unchangeable God, His covenant in Christ with His elect seed.
Finally, in distinction from Christ, our love is vastly different. We obey the wicked, but we cannot judge as God does or make the same conclusions Christ did regarding His neighbors. We cannot judge or conclude that any particular wicked neighbor is indeed reprobate. We can judge their works and their confession as wicked, warn them that they walk the path of the reprobate to destruction, but we cannot judge that they are indeed reprobate. Our love to them is the call to repent and believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. Our desire is that the wicked repent from their sin and turn to Christ for deliverance and salvation. We might even pray for their conversion simply because we don’t know if they are reprobate or not. Only God knows that. Even our desire and prayers we submit to the will of the Father because ultimately His will of double predestination ordains and determines whether one believes or does not believe the call of the Gospel.
Further, our love towards the wicked neighbor in our daily life is used by the Father to teach us a little in this life the profound magnitude of Christ’s unconditional, undeserved, unmerited, and wondrous love and grace for His elect. The kind of people that Christ loves are just as wicked and unworthy as those who fill up the jail cells in the federal prisons and those who live a wicked life to the fullest. That is the kind of people that Christ loves: totally depraved, worthless, despicable, God-hating sinners. That’s the kind of people we are. And, yet, Christ loved us according to and in fulfilment of the Father’s eternal good pleasure.
As a result, I am opposed to a statement that Christ loved His reprobate neighbors in any sense. The Scriptures do not teach that the Immanuel, God with us, loved reprobate people that He dealt with in His earthly ministry. John 13:1 states that “when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.” This text implies that Christ loved His own but hated the world. Christ knew His sheep by name, and thus also knew who were not His elect sheep. He loved His sheep only, and hated those not His sheep. With regard to those who were not His sheep, we do not read later in John 13 (even with respect to Judas Iscariot) that Christ may have had some kind of love (or mercy or grace or goodness or intention to desire their salvation) for those who were not His own (i.e. reprobate).

That, I believe, is in harmony with the Scriptures and our Reformed confessions, especially the Canons of Dordtrecht. (11/03/2018)


Q. 3. “Can we not say that Christ did love His reprobate neighbours, but that it was a love that was void of affection or emotion, since such affection or emotion is not required in order to fulfil the law, i.e to love our neighbours?”

(a) Anon. (PRCA)

“Can we not say that Christ did love His reprobate neighbors …?”   May we say that at all?  What do the Scriptures and Confessions give us permission to confess about the love of Christ? May we say that Christ loved or showed mercy or a little grace to the reprobate in any way? No we may not, especially when there is no proof for such ideas from Scripture or in the Three Forms of Unity

When Christ fed 5,000 with bread and fish, did He in any way love those whom He knew were reprobate, would reject His preaching and miracle as the Bread of Life, and turn away from Him? Jesus later rejoiced to the Father that the Father had hid from those wise and prudent the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. He in His sovereign good pleasure did not love them, and had no intentions of saving them by the good gifts of food and drink that He gave them, and even by the preaching of the Gospel to them from the boat on the Sea of Galilee. Even in His obedience to the second table of the law, He hated the Esaus among His neighbors, and loved only His Jacobs.

Christ did not love the reprobate because He was sent and determined to do the will of His heavenly Father, which included both the commandments of God and the ordinances of God’s eternal counsel, including election and reprobation.
This understanding seems to be in harmony with the Scriptures and within the boundaries of our Reformed Confessions regarding the love of Christ, even in His earthly life. (11/03/2018)

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