08
Feb
18

Loved to the Uttermost

Have you ever noticed that the same chapter in which Jesus told Peter he was going to betray him before the night was over, begins by telling us that Jesus, having loved his own who were in the world, loved them to the end or to the uttermost? [see Jn. 13:1] As we continue to read the Fourth Gospel, we find that Peter’s actions were very similar to the actions of Judas. John wrote regarding both these men that they stood with Jesus’ enemies [see Jn. 18:5, 18]. The reality is that every time we sin, we stand with Jesus’ enemies and demonstrate our remaining hostility toward God.
The difference in these two men is seen not in their sin [Sin has the same character in the regenerate that it does in the unregenerate]. The difference is seen in their response to their sin [Judas went out and hanged himself; Peter went out and wept bitterly] and in Peter’s restoration].
The point we must understand is that Jesus did not love Peter because of the latter’s steadfastness or because he foresaw his repentance. He did not love him any more because he saw what he would become [by grace] or any less because he knew of his miserable failures. In fact, he did not love Peter because of Peter at all. He could love Peter, and the rest of us faltering and failing sinners, because the cause of his love is not anything in us, but everything in himself.
Charles Hodge wrote,
If he [God] loved us because we loved him, he would love us only so long as we love him, and on that condition; and then our salvation would depend on the constancy of our treacherous hearts. But as God loved us as sinners, as Christ died for us as ungodly, our salvation depends, as the apostle argues, not on our loveliness, but on the constancy of the love of God.

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