So… the big question posed in Rob Bell’s book “love wins” is…
does God get what God wants?
God is great. I affirm this in my life. I am here because of Him and I give Him the glory for all the blessings He has bestowed on me.
I believe He is greater and more powerful than I could ever dream or imagine… He is the catalyst through which all things were and are made. He’s that great.
So when it comes to the fate of billions of people… I think God is more than capable of doing something beyond great.
“God has a purpose, something He is doing in the world, something that has never changed, something that involves everybody, and God’s intention all along has been to communicate this intention clearly.” (p98)
If God has a purpose, and I believe He does, then does He get to fulfil His purpose… or does He fail?
As I read scripture and follow the verses presented by Bell, it becomes clear that God doesn’t fail… but us humans do… regularly!
God wants to bring everyone back to Him. This is the whole purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice. This is the whole purpose of grace.
Reconciliation. This is what God wants. Not just with “the chosen” but with all people. God has very big arms that open very wide… in this regard.
The problem is… and this is clearly communicated in the book… that whilst God wants everyone to come to him… not everyone will.
Freedom to choose is exactly that… the ability to decide, by ourselves, whether we are for or against something. And with this choice comes the consequences of the decision.
“God has to respect our freedom to choose to thievery end, even at the risk of the relationship itself. If at any point God overrides, co-opts, or hijacks the human heart, robbing us of our freedom to choose, then God has violated the fundamental essence of what love is.” (p103-104)
I get infuriated when I hear the phrase… “beggars can’t be choosers”. In my time working with Glasgow’s homeless… one thing I will always affirm is that THEY CAN AND MUST. When I remove choice then I become an oppressor… and the choice-less person becomes someone I oppress. The relationship changes and it becomes something contractual & forced… not loving.
God is love and as a loving God, He gives us choice… and this choice could break His heart.
God’s love is universal but He isn’t a universalist… only those who return God’s love… those who trust in His love… are the ones who will participate in His new creation… as new creations. Bell clearly affirms this in “love wins”.
“…if we want nothing to do with light, hope, love, grace, and peace, God respects that desire on our part, and we are given a life free from any of those realities.”
Peace has been made. Through Jesus’ death on the cross… peace has been made. Once. For all.
“…God has inaugurated a movement in Jesus’ resurrection to renew, restore and reconcile everything “on earth or in heaven” (Col.1), just as God intended it.” (p134)
The point then is whether we want to be renewed, restored, reconciled or redeemed back to God. The hard work has been done… all we have to do is let go and trust.
This is the crux of the Gospel and is very eloquently described by Bell.
Let’s be honest… we may not like Bell’s writing style… we may want the answers given to us rather than having to think for ourselves… and Bell does make us think rather than giving us answers to blindly follow. We may not like his style but his enthusiasm or his faith can not be questioned… and if we do… I would strongly suggest we blaspheme the Spirit in doing so.
We need to ask questions. We need to question that which we are too close to. We shouldn’t accept things without first challenging it. We have the gift of discernment and we need to use it or we’ll lose it.
I enjoyed “love wins” and have taken a great deal from it. I haven’t mentioned everything in it… because I want you to read the book for yourself.
I hope and pray that love does and will win in the end.