There's a vast encyclopedia of loving knowledge in the silence of God--in what He does NOT say. For example, when He warned our first parents in Eden not to join the fallen Lucifer's rebellion against God's principle of love, He told them not to eat of the fruit of "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Note what God did NOT say: He did not say, "In the day thou eatest thereof I will surely kill you." No; He said, "thou shalt surely die."
"Well," says someone, "that means He will kill them, for didn't He destroy almost the entire human race in the Flood of Noah?" Yes, He did. "And didn't He destroy almost the entire population of Sodom and Gomorrah?" Yes, He did. But ... look again:
Note what John 3:16 does NOT say. It does not say, "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, who will torture anyone who does not believe in Him." Again there is a holy silence. The text says, "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light" (vss. 18, 19). We are quite capable of condemning ourselves in the sight of the universe without God's help.
A wise writer has said, "God does not stand toward the sinner as an Executioner of the sentence against transgression." He will not coerce by fear what He would win only by love. He does not want to pack Heaven with fear-driven people motivated by the desire for reward. If we insist on giving fear a 51 percent share and love (agape) 49 percent in motivation, we shall perpetuate a lukewarmness of devotion in our churches, a sterile paralysis of heart that makes our sermons and worship services as "dry as the hills of Gilboa" were of rain and dew.
But if we accord God's love (agape) its full 50 percent share, then Paul will be proven right: agape will win out as "the greatest of these" (1 Cor. 13:13). It's time "children" "grew up" to appreciate what Christ accomplished on His cross.
--Robert J. Wieland
An excerpt from the "Dial Daily Bread"