Did Jesus Love a Man Who Was Not One of the Elect?

May 28, 2012

Mark informs us that Jesus evangelized a rich young ruler who asked him what he should do that he might “inherit eternal life” (Mk.10:17). After Jesus’ initially challenged him (Mk.10:18-19), the man showed by his response that he was yet lacking full understanding of his sinfulness (Mk.10:20).

In response, Jesus “beholding him loved him” (Mk. 10:21) and proceeded to evangelize him further but to no avail. Given that this encounter was not some chance event that just happened to take place, we must hold that God sent Jesus into the world to love this sinful man as He did and confront him with the exact information that he needed to be brought to repentance.

Although Jesus confronted this sinful man in love with his need to repent (Mk.10:21), the man left the encounter unrepentant and unconverted (Mk.10:22). Scripture does not give us any more information about him, which leaves us with no indication that he was ever saved. Based on the available data, it seems that we should hold that he was not one of the elect.

On that reading, this passage provides explicit biblical teaching that Jesus loved a man who was not one of the elect. Those who hold that John 3:16 and other similar biblical teaching about the love of God for sinners only applies to the elect should thus at least adjust their theological systems to account for Jesus’ loving this man who from all that we are able to know was not one of the elect.

Rajesh

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