by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2 May 7, 2017 Humble, Texas
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
1901 ASV Translation:
28 And we know that to them that love Godall things work together for good, [even] to them that are called according to [his] purpose.
29 For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren:
30 and whom he foreordained, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
I. Paul's Deduction From the Ministry of the Spirit to Us.
A. This is another "common knowledge" declaration (oidamen).
B. One "qualifier" is "for those who love The God".
1. This is simply the stated reality that underlies most all of "Christian" relational theology: Love is most fundamentally necessary to all good outcomes.
2. In 1 Corinthians 16:22 Paul makes a most startling (to some) declaration: Let any who do not love the Lord Jesus Christ be "anathema" ("accursed").
a. The type of "love" in this text/context is different from that of our current text (Romans 8:28), but the declaration makes it abundantly clear that whatever this "love" means, it simply has to arise either out of, or as a prelude to, the faith that saves because there is no escape from "accursedness" without it.
b. This means, then, that we kinda have to understand the nuances of the "loves" mentioned in the Scriptures.
1) These types of love are, obviously (read the attempts at definition) complicated.
a) The type referred to as "philos".
i. Matthew 11:19 indicates that this type of "love" results in special favors and familiar fellowship (see the Lazarus story in John 11 where "philos" and "phileo" figure large).
ii. Luke 11:8 indicates that there are limits to what this "love" will motivate (see also Luke 21:16 which posits behavior that is "out of character" for a "friend").
iii. John 15:13 is especially interesting in that "agape" is called "greatest" if it is exercised toward "friends" (objects of "philos"). It is immediately followed by Jesus' "You are my friends if you do whatever I command you" (objects of "philos"). Then that is immediately followed by Jesus' "I have called you 'friends' for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you" (Note John 5:20 where Jesus claims to be the object of God's "love" ("philos") because The Father shows Him all that He does).
iv. James 2:23 attaches "justification" to being a "friend of God". James 4:4 backs up 1 Corinthians 16:22 in declaring that "friendship" with the world makes one an enemy of God.
v. The word is attached to the idea of a "kiss" (Note Jesus' challenge of Judas for using a kiss to betray Him: Luke 22:48); clearly the action of one "attached" in some way to the one "kissed".
vi. The verb "phileo" reinforces these observations.
vii. The bottom line seems to be that "philos" is the "type" of "love" that is significantly "emotionally and motivationally attached" to another.
b). The type referred to as "agape".
i. Matthew 6:5 uses "phileo" to describe the hypocrites who "love" the adulation of men, but Luke 11:43 uses "agape" to describe these same hypocrites in their "love" of adulation.
ii. The interactive use of both verbs in John 21 has long been debated. The most crucial element in this text/context is the statement that Peter was "grieved" because Jesus said the third time "do you love me" using "phileo" because it was Peter's choice of words to respond to Jesus' first two questions, "do you love me" using "agapao". Peter wouldn't have been "grieved" if he hadn't been "overprofessing" as was his habit all of his life. This indicates that "phileo" is the more potent "relational" term. It is one thing to exercise "agape" toward someone, but it is a higher and more profound thing to exercise "philos".
iii. The "greatest commandment" uses "agapao" in its "you shall love the Lord your God", but it is the lack of "philos" in 1 Corinthians 16:22 that brings "accursedness" upon someone.
iv. The bottom line is that biblical theology must realize that conversion that leads to "no condemnation" is conversion that ensconces "philos" in the heart of the "converted" even if it does not do the same with "agape".
2) There are, however, a slew of difficulties for our understanding for any kind of "love".
a) The major problem is that "loves" all seem to have a kind of sliding scale when the question of their "general presence" is linked up with their "specific presence".
i. By "general presence" I mean that one can have an actual, real, "love" for someone or something that does not necessarily "show up" all of the time.
ii. By "specific presence" I mean that one is always, at every point and time, making "love" decisions that are not necessarily in harmony with the reality of the "general presence" of love in the person for a given particular.
iii. Examples abound, but the fact is that one can "love" another in a general way, but refuse to act on that "love" in any given specific situation because of the tensions involved. Jesus said, "No greater love hath any man than that he lay down his life for his 'friends'". This means that there are greater/lesser issues in "love" and the greater issues will dominate even though the lesser issues are still in play. A man may "love" his 'friend', but at the specific point of having to decide who will die, he may actually refuse to lay down his life because, not only does he "love" his 'friend', he also "loves" his life and, at the point of death decisions, only one can be acted upon. The "greater" will trump the "lesser". That a person will refuse to die for his/her 'friend' does not mean he/she doesn't "love" that 'friend'; it just means he/she doesn't "love" greatly enough.
b) Jesus said of both kinds of "love" in play here ("philos" and "agape") that they would lead to "obedience" to His commandments: John 15:14 says, "Ye are my friends (using "philos") if you do whatsoever I command you", and John 14:15 says, "If ye love (using "agapao") me, keep my commandments".
i. Thus both/either "type" of love should be revealed by obedience, but neither "type" produces "perfect" obedience; thus, revealing imperfect "love" or "lesser", not "greater" love.
ii. So, we have a complicated reality wherein "love" can exist for one person/thing, but gets trumped by a contrary "love" in specific situations.