Ephesians 2:4-6 - God's love before conversion?

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RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Ephesians 2 - 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (ESV)

This leads me to believe there's a sense in which God loves His elect before conversion, but God also seems to hide any sense of love from the unconverted until they are converted. And no surprise, for until they believe they are his enemies. They certainly cannot know Him as Father because at that point they are not yet His adopted children. Ephesians 2:12 says, "remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." Verse 14 describes Christ as our peace and breaking down the wall of hostility, so that means before conversion, that a man may only know hostility and enmity with God, and a sense of God's love would run contrary to these descriptions of their condition (unless God might use the sense of His love to draw to conversion?). The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that by nature our estates are only sin and misery (misery includes complete cut-off of fellowship with God, of which love is a part), and assurance of God's love only benefits His elect when they become the recipients of justification, adoption, and sanctification.

So, does God have love for His elect before their conversion, even though a lost man has no right to know it? And in what sense if He does?
 

LeeD

Puritan Board Freshman
Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us foradoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us inthe Beloved.

Mark 10:21-22 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will havetreasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

These should help to answer your first question. I look forward to see others who will answer your second question.
 

Cymro

Puritan Board Junior
Look up Jeremiah 31:3, should answer both questions. The sense is from eternity
through eternity.Check John Gill.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
God loves his elect, even from before the foundation of the world, in Christ.

God rejects, withholds his blessing, draws back his mercy from, and shows his wrath toward, all rebels, in Adam.

Everyone begins, historically, in the second covenant relationship--both toward their covenant-head, and thus toward God. They are neither capable of nor willing to know God's love.

Some of them (elect) are due God's love (by his own self-determination, not by their desert) in the Lord Jesus. Historically, God shall make them heartily willing and able to know his love for them in Christ. They will have a new covenant Head, through whom to them will flow all the blessedness of a right-relation with God, forever.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Look up Jeremiah 31:3, should answer both questions. The sense is from eternity
through eternity.Check John Gill.

That did answer both questions, thank you. And that was a splendid excerpt from Gill.

Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us foradoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us inthe Beloved.

Mark 10:21-22 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will havetreasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

These should help to answer your first question. I look forward to see others who will answer your second question.

Thank you for these verses. They help me toward my answer.

God loves his elect, even from before the foundation of the world, in Christ.

God rejects, withholds his blessing, draws back his mercy from, and shows his wrath toward, all rebels, in Adam.

Everyone begins, historically, in the second covenant relationship--both toward their covenant-head, and thus toward God. They are neither capable of nor willing to know God's love.

Some of them (elect) are due God's love (by his own self-determination, not by their desert) in the Lord Jesus. Historically, God shall make them heartily willing and able to know his love for them in Christ. They will have a new covenant Head, through whom to them will flow all the blessedness of a right-relation with God, forever.

Put another way, all are in Adam's covenant, but only some under Adam's covenant are in Christ's. Both know and experience the same things before conversion including no knowledge of the love of God, but the eternal love of God is on those in Christ's covenant from eternity through election, even if they don't yet experience it. But because they are in that covenant through election (although yet not effectually called), that is how God can love them even while still lost sinners.

Have I understood correctly?
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Harley
Put another way, all are in Adam's covenant, but only some under Adam's covenant are in Christ's. Both know and experience the same things before conversion including no knowledge of the love of God, but the eternal love of God is on those in Christ's covenant from eternity through election, even if they don't yet experience it. But because they are in that covenant through election (although yet not effectually called), that is how God can love them even while still lost sinners.

Some also experience the privilege of being brought up in a Christian family, within the administration of the Covenant of Grace, and within the visible Church.
 
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KGP

Puritan Board Freshman
Christians are those whom were reconciled while enemies of God (Romans 5:10). It is a personal revelation, by the Spirit of God, of the reconciliation made by God through the cross of Christ which converts a person, and so it is precisely "the sense in which God loves a person before conversion" that causes conversion. When by the Spirit one realizes that God has reconciled him or her specifically (not just in general) then they no longer live as enemies of God. The loving act of reconciliation precedes conversion.

In other words, as has been said above, in different ways; if the love of God was not upon a person before their conversion; and if love didn't work their conversion; they never would have converted.
 
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