The theology of the tee-shirt
Malachi 1: God said, “I love you.”
I saw a shirt with this message on it: “Jesus loves you…but then again, he loves everybody.” The Lord’s first word to Israel through Malachi is “I love you.” His second word, contrary to the wisdom of the tee-shirt, is that the Lord hates Esau (speaking of the nation made up of Esau’s descendants, Edom). Both of these concepts ought to get our attention. God loves people to the point that he pays an enormous price to reconcile people back to himself. At the same time, those who oppose God’s people are hated by God. Through the years, Edom has been the enemy of Israel. When possible, Edom opposed it’s “brother-nation” openly. Otherwise, Edom cheered when Israel fell on hard times. Because they insisted on being enemies of God’s people they made themselves into enemies of God. The Lord’s love for Israel is, therefore, not a warm, fuzzy kind of “God loves everybody.” Instead, it’s love with an edge on it; love that says to Israel, “Because I love you I make demands on you.” It’s love that also says to the enemies of Israel, “If you mess with Israel you mess with me.” Today, through his Son, Jesus, the Lord invites outsiders to join his family and thereby become heirs to all the benefits of being a part of the people God loves. It’s a terrific invitation and one every person can, and should, accept. As you consider responding to that offer, it might be wise to read these opening declarations from Malachi and be reminded that there’s more to the “Jesus loves you” message than is stated on the theology of the tee-shirt.
Take Away: We’re wise to remember that this “God is love” theology is theology with an edge on it.
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