25 August, 2016

Prof. Homer C. Hoeksema on Matthew 5:44-45


[Source: The Standard Bearer, 1 June, 1974, vol. 50, Issue 17]


1. You must not simply appeal to isolated passages in Scripture. You must read the Scriptures in the light of the current teaching of Scripture. And that current teaching of Scripture in many, many places is that God does not love and bless all men, but that He hates and curses some.

2. Notice carefully that the text does not say that God blesses all. This is a conclusion — and an incorrect one — from the statement of the text that God "maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust." Incidentally, the presupposition in this conclusion is that blessing (and cursing) is in things as such. This is a grave mistake. For if you conclude that good things are as such blessing and bad things are as such curses, then you must also conclude not only that God blesses the wicked reprobate, but that He curses His people when He sends them evil things.

3. The point of the text is this: we must love our enemies, which does not mean simply that we do them some good, bestow some good things on them, but that we show them the love of Christ. We bless when they curse; we do good to them when they hate; we pray for them that despitefully use us and persecute us. The text means, therefore, that we must seek their genuine good. And that means that we must seek their repentance, seek their salvation. In that sense we must show them love. And in the case of those enemies, that love toward a wicked man is, so to speak, a one-way street; it is not a mutual love. It extends from you toward your enemy, but not from him toward you.

4. The point is, further, that we must do this for God's sake. We must manifest to our enemies the love of God that is in us and that we have tasted. And the character of the love of God is exactly such that it is a love that is capable of being merciful and kind to His enemies. Notice that I do not say that it is a love that is merciful and kind to all His enemies. But the character of the love of God is such that He loved us while we were yet enemies.


5. As a most general example of this fact that we must love our enemies, the Lord Jesus here points to God's work in nature, where He causes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

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