I have just returned from attending the Resolved Conference in Palm Springs. 3,200 attendees heard the likes of John MacArthur, Al Mohler, Steve Lawson, Rick Holland and CJ Mahaney preach God’s Word. All that was taught from God’s Word spoke to my heart.

In particular, I meditated long on Jude 1:1b taught by CJ Mahaney….Christians are called, loved and kept by Jesus! He reminded us that the LORD has an enthusiastic love for sinners who love His Son.

That the LORD loves sinners is no mystery in scripture. John 3:16 is one of but many passages that describe the love of God. But enthusiastic love for sinners? How can the LORD enthusiastically love anyone who falls far short of His holiness? Holiness is a key ingredient for having fellowship with the Righteous One!

By Divine providence, my reflection upon Jude 1:1b coincided with my reading Psalm 147:10,11 two days after the conference. It reads:

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor His delight in the legs of man;
the LORD delights in those who fear Him,
who put their hope in His unfailing love.

The LORD tells us through the Psalmist that He delights in sinners who do two things: 1) reverence Him (a part of the meaning in this Hebrew word for fear); and 2) put their HOPE in His unfailing love! Notice that the LORD is not impressed by our love for Him but in our hope of His love.

Why does he LORD delight in hoping sinners? In the Hebrew, delight means to find pleasure. This is no casual concept. To find pleasure in something is to experience a high degree of gratification or extreme satisfaction. According to Psalm 147:11, the LORD is extremely gratified and satisfied when sinners reverence Him by confidently and patiently place their hope in His unfailing love promised in the Gospel. Or, putting it another way, the LORD is enthusiastically satisfied with sinners who put their hope in the work of His Son!

At this point it is necessary to clarify our understanding of biblical hope to fully appreciate the reason for the LORD’s enthusiastic love for sinners. The Hebrew word for hope is very interesting. It does not have the concept or meaning of unconfident, wishful, unassured thinking. Rather, biblical hope is a confident, assured expectation patiently waiting to be experienced. Or, expressed in the light of the Gospel, the LORD is not impressed with those who pride themselves in their works of love, but in those who are confident in His work of love through His Son (Psalm 2:12).

But there is a qualification in the LORD’s love for sinners. The LORD has no time for unrepentant sinners – those who live for their pleasure, their will and their own self-righteousness (Rom 2:5). He does, however, delight in justified sinners – sinners who He has declared righteous (the meaning of justification) by the faith He has given them in the work of His Son, Jesus!

In the same way that the LORD’s delight in sinners is not for those who pride themselves in their works of love toward the LORD but in their confident expectation of His unfailing love, the LORD’s delight in sinners is not for those who take pride in their self-righteousness but in the declared righteousness conferred upon them by God for the confidence He has given them in the work of His Son, Jesus! (BTW: repentance means to change your mind about something. Salvation is changing your mind about who Jesus is and what He has done for you – You no longer believe He is just a man who died a tragic death but you now believe that He is indeed the righteous Son of God who died in your place to take the punishment you deserve for your unholy living, and conferred upon you a declared righteousness accepted by God for all eternity. Importantly, Acts 26:20 tells us that all who repent will bring forth fruits of repentance).

God’s enthusiastic love for declared righteous sinners is not based upon their expression of love toward HIM, but in the hope He has given the declared righteous sinner through His Son’s work of love on the cross The privilege of being on the receiving end of God’s enthusiastic love for declared righteous sinners is magnified in the calling highlighted by Jude in 1:1b – the topic of my next post.


  1. 1 Heather July 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Really encouraging

  2. 2 Hayley July 6, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    So cool! Psalm 147:10,11 might be my new favorite!

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