Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:7-19 ESV)
Now, I don’t want to disparage everyone who holds to a free will belief and lump them in with this person who couldn’t do any better than appeal to Hollywood. However, in light of Scripture, I want to know what is the foundation for this belief? It sounds right and noble … God’s said to be a gentleman, right? But are we really starting the discussion on the right foot? I’d say no, we’re getting off to a bad start when we begin with the “forcing us to love Him” idea.
Please consider the following. Not one of us is running after God looking for an intimate relationship with Him. We recoil from Him and His glory, goodness, AND love (see Psalm 14:1-3 and Romans 3:9-18). We are all enemies of God, at war against His reign and love (Romans 5:6-10). And just because Jesus shows up on the scene and dies for the ungodly, nothing changes in our hearts. Nothing that is until we are born of God.
With the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, the blindness is now taken away and we are graced with faith to repent, trust and love. We who would not love Him now respond with love being overwhelmed by the thought that the holy, divine Bridegroom would love the dirty beggar.
So whenever we talk about free will and God’s love, we must set everything in its proper context. I agree “forcing His love upon us” is not the best wording. However, the God of love does woo our hearts and totally transforms our affections that were set against Him. We would have never loved Him if He had not acted on our behalf against our stubborn wills. And for this I am forever grateful and love Him all the more.