There is a difference between jealousy and envy.
Jealousy is the emotion that comes when you lose someone’s affections that rightly belong to you. If my wife left me for another man, I would be jealous of that man.
Envy is the emotion that comes when you want someone’s affections that don’t belong to you. If I wanted another man’s wife, I would be envious of that man.
The Bible describes God as jealous. Jealousy is intrinsic to his character (Exodus 34:14). God becomes jealous when we give our first affections to another instead of to Him. Our affections rightly belong to God.
God is never described as envious.
The jealousy of God can only be genuine if we are freely able to do things that God does not prefer – such as giving our first affections to another. If exhaustive determinism is true, God cannot be jealous.
The Hebrew word for jealousy is “kanah“. God is El Kanah.
Kanah is also translated as zealous (Isaiah 9:7). In the New Testament, the Zealots (kananaios) were those who were willing to die to free Israel from Rome. One of Jesus’ disciples was a Zealot.
God’s jealousy is like that. God’s jealousy is a catalyst to action.
Jesus Christ was willing to die to save us all from sin.
Why? He’s a jealous God.
An account of the Asbury Revival of 1970. 37 minutes long, and well worth watching. Pray that God will do something in our day too.
“A format had developed, it started in that opening chapel. A student would give his witness. He would tell about how God was dealing with him about sin in his life. He’d make his confession, and then he would tell about how God had brought forgiveness to him, and restoration, or how the need of his heart had been met – his spiritual need. As he would speak, there would be somebody in the audience who would say “that’s like me”. And then that person would come under conviction, and come forward and kneel at the alter. So a pattern had been developed, of testimony, of sharing, then after the testimony – prayer. And after the prayer singing and praise and adoration and then more witnessing, sharing, of how God had met human need…I heard these students sharing what God was doing in their hearts, and how their lives were being cleaned out. And God was restoring them if they had known him before, or else they they were telling for the first time they had found him. And how relationships were being straightened out.”
“Now that was the kind of thing that was taking place. An honest candid dealing with person sin, and with personal disobedience and personal problems.”
“Things that were simply tradition became reality. Things that were simply vocabulary became human experience. And what had been transmitted from head to head now suddenly became living reality in people’s hearts.”
“It was interesting to me what the emphasis was of the Holy Spirit in those days. There was an amazing openness and transparency…It was amazing the restraint of the Holy Spirit. The emphasis was never on the gifts of the Spirit…The emphasis was upon sin the need for repentance, the need for restitution, the need for repairing relationships human being to human being, and the need the need for bringing a life into obedience to the highest and the best.”
The Christian Post recently had a post by John Piper, entitled: What Made It OK for God to Kill Women, Children in Old Testament?. Here’s a snippet:
It’s right for God to slaughter women and children anytime he pleases. God gives life and he takes life. Everybody who dies, dies because God wills that they die.
God is taking life every day. He will take 50,000 lives today. Life is in God’s hand. God decides when your last heartbeat will be, and whether it ends through cancer or a bullet wound. God governs.
So God is God! He rules and governs everything. And everything he does is just and right and good. God owes us nothing.
If you are troubled by Piper’s concept of God’s morality, you’re not alone! Bob Anderson from the Society of Evangelical Arminians has written up an excellent response. It can be found here. Anderson writes that:
What is at stake is the morality and righteousness of God with the random killing of individuals or groups. The deterministic paradigm, which reduces the very concept of the “good” is manifest in Piper’s statement below:
“It’s right for God to slaughter women and children anytime he
That is an appalling statement, because it contradicts the righteousness of God that we seek to affirm – the righteousness of the God who pleads with sinners to repent so as not to die. It certainly is an expression of sovereignty, but not righteous sovereignty. “In him was life, and the life was the light of all people” (John 1:4 NRS). By definition, Christians define God as the good and the good is for all. Evil, in and of itself cannot be the good. The good can only be derived when God labors within an evil situation to bring it about. Perhaps that is what we should see as the miracle of the transcendent God. God is not part of the evil that exists because of human sin. Rather he brings about good because he is not part of the sin.
Piper believes that God can do whatever he wants on the basis of power. That is wrong. There are certain things God won’t do because of his good character, even though he has the power to do so. God is moral and his morality is intrinsic to his character. He does not arbitrarily kill people.
H Orton Wiley’s Christian Theology series is now free on Kindle. It is a three volume systematic theology written from a Holiness/Wesleyan/Arminian perspective. Wiley was an early Nazarene theologian.
Christian Theology: Volume 1
Christian Theology: Volume 2
Christian Theology: Volume 3
The Wesley Center Online also has it available in web format here.
HT: Steve Noel
Lately among some Calvinists there has been promotion of “Masculine Christianity”. Not all of their ideas and observations are off mark. God is referred to as male in scripture, and there is a place for exhorting men to keep their responsibilities. However, it sometimes becomes evident that Piper, Driscoll and others are not as interested in encouraging men as they are in keeping women “in their place”. And that is sinful. It is wrong to prevent women from leading when they are gifted and have been called by the Holy Spirit to do so. And it’s also misguided to present God in such a way that focuses only on His “masculine” qualities. Women are made in God’s image too. Every quality a woman has also comes from God.
Ben Witherington gives a good critique here: John Piper on Men in Ministry, and the Masculinity of Christianity. From the post:
Well let’s start with the orthodox Christian point that GOD IS NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE IN THE DIVINE NATURE. The Bible is clear enough that God is ‘spirit’, not flesh and gender is always a manifestation of flesh….Just as it is wrong to say that the father language in the Bible is just a bad outcropping of the thinking of those who lived in an overwhelmingly patriarchal culture and couldn’t help themselves, so it is also equally bad theology to suggest that the reason for the Father and King language in the Bible is because this tells us something about the divine nature or even the divine will that ‘Christianity’ have a masculine feel.
If God is love, the following is also true:
God is patient.
God is kind.
He is not envious.
He does not boast.
He is not proud.
He does not dishonor others.
He is not self seeking.
He is not easily angered.
He keeps no record of wrongs.
He does not delight in evil,
He rejoices with the truth.
He always protects,
and always perseveres.
God never fails.