Does God Take Pleasure in the Damnation of Sinners?

Recently a friend on Facebook asked this question and there were some interesting answers, I thought I would share mine here on my blog.

When I think of God’s relation to the damned I have to give way to Edwards because he has such a firm grasp on the issue. I don’t know if anyone could ever say it better. I recommend reading the Justice of God in the damnation of sinners at the following link http://​www.jonathan-edwards.org/​Justice.html but here are some brief excerpts I pulled from it that could be helpful when thinking of how God takes “Pleasure” in all things he does. Edwards writes:

God is in debt to none; and if he gives to some that he is not in debt to, because it is his pleasure, that does not bring him into debt to others. It alters not the case as to you, whether others have it, or have it not: you do not deserve damnation the less, than if mercy never had been bestowed on any at all. Matthew 20:15. “Is thine eye evil, because mine is good?”

Edwards goes on to say

“It is meet that God should order all these things according to his own pleasure. By reason of his greatness and glory, by which he is infinitely above all, he is worthy to be sovereign, and that his pleasure should in all things take place.”

Deuteronomy 28:63 and Psalm 135:6-12 are pretty strong verses as well in regard to this question.

If I understand Edwards correctly (and the Bible as well) God does not take direct pleasure in the damnation of the sinner, nor does he work directly in the sinner to damn him as he does to save him. However, God does take pleasure in redemption and justice of sinners through his Son and is ultimately glorified in both.

This is where I think a covenant view of scripture gives us a clear perspective on redemption. It clearly is not about us as human beings as much as it is about the eternal covenant between God the Father and the Son. It only is about you in as much as Christ died for you and by that act of grace you can be saved. Saved from what? The damnation your sin places on you and the wrath of God it brings.

Christ did not come into the world to condemn it. Why? Because it is already condemned, but with Christ there is no condemnation. The question then seems wrongheaded from the start and should read Does God take pleasure in the salvation of the wicked? Thankfully we can answer yes, but not because of anything we do, but what Christ did for us.

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