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God:  Does He love everyone?

Gary Googe Mar 02

Even though there’s a lot that can be said about this, so many people are familiar with this one verse of Scripture that seems to clearly answer this question.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [Emphasis added]

This verse not only clearly tells us of His love for all, but it speaks of what He did as proof of it, even though we didn’t deserve it.

Romans 5:8

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [Emphasis added]

The word commendeth [SUNISTEMI] means literally to stand with or together with.  There are other verses that speak of this which God took the initiative to do through Jesus Christ to express His love for all of us.

John 1:14

14 And the Word [a title for God the Son] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. [Emphasis added]

One of the names Christ goes by is Emmanuel which means God with us.  Such was the case when God through the birth of Christ came into the world as true humanity.

Even though our relationship with God was completely broken by man’s sin in the Garden of Eden, this next verse clearly states what God did through Christ to provide a way for anyone to be reconciled to Him.

II Corinthians 5:21

21 For he hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

Even though we were all at that time His enemies, He graciously did this wonderful work in our behalf.

II Corinthians 5:18-19

18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world [all mankind] unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word [or the message] of reconciliation. [Emphasis added]

Here we have the revelation that instead of our sins being held against us, they were all held against Christ on the cross where He was judged for all of them.  Yes, as an expression of His love for all mankind, He took upon Himself our sins and was judged for all of them.

I John 4:10

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, [even when we were unsaved] and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. [Emphasis added]

Here’s still another passage where this is stated.

I John 2:2

And he [Christ] is the propitiation [satisfied the just demands of God] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. [Emphasis added]

We’ve already looked at this next verse, but because of its extreme importance as it relates to our subject, I’ll cite it again.

II Corinthians 5:21

21 For he hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

It was there on the cross that He died, bearing all the punishment that was due to us and completely satisfying the justice of God.  On that cross Christ took our place so that if anyone would accept this marvelous work by faith, they would immediately be credited with His perfect righteousness.  In Scripture this is called justification by faith.

Romans 3:24

24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [Emphasis added]

This tells us that what God did through Christ was an expression of His love because what He did for us was certainly not something we deserved.  It was Christ’s death, burial and resurrection that then provides all mankind with the opportunity, the possibility, to be saved. 

I Corinthians 15:1-4

1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel [the good news] which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: [Emphasis added]

The question of all questions is this.  What will one’s response be to this marvelous expression of God’s love for us? The apostle John writes of what his response was along with others.

I John 4:19

19 We love him, because he first loved us. [Emphasis added]

So, what will your response be to this? Will you accept this marvelous expression of His love for you, or will you choose to reject it? If you accept the salvation He offers as an expression of His love, He tells us there is something we should then do.

I Thessalonians 3:12

12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another [ALLOS = another of the same kind, meaning fellow believers], and toward all men [speaking of unbelievers], even as we do toward you: [Emphasis added]

The importance of this matter of loving others is found all over Paul’s epistles.  The principle is clearly stated.  In his first letter to the Corinthian church [chapter 13] he devotes a whole chapter to it.  The old English word charity is the word used in the King James Version of the Bible to express this love that is to motivate us in all that we say and do.

II Corinthians 5:14-15

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us [SUNECHO = propels or drives us]; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

Here, again, we see that He died for all mankind because all are born spiritually dead and apart from God’s blessing.

15 And that he died for all [all mankind], that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. [Emphasis added]

Loving others often proves to be a challenge because so many people aren’t that lovable.  There are things about us all that are not worthy of anyone’s love.  But that’s where grace comes in.  When we were unbelievers dominated by our sinful nature, there was a lot about all of us that wasn’t easy to love.  But, again, God treated us graciously, just as He now exhorts us to treat others.

Ephesians 4:31-32

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. [Emphasis added]

We are all so prone to give people only what we think they deserve.  But please notice the command.  He’s not asking us to do anything He hasn’t already expressed toward each of us, even when we were unsaved.  Because we are all the beneficiaries of His love, we’re to pass that same love on to others.  And what is the first and most important thing we all have to give others? Answer:  The gospel, the good news about the salvation God offers freely to all by grace through faith in what Christ accomplished through His death, burial, and resurrection.  It is when we are faithful to do that, that the many other things we can do as expressions of love can also come forth.  But it surely is the clear presentation of the gospel that we need to focus on providing above all else.  All people need the correct information about how they, too, can be saved.

It is important to note that Christ loved us enough to die for us.  What are you willing to do that someone can gain salvation? I’d say that’s an important question for us all to consider.  What are you doing now in prayer, Bible study, and otherwise to work toward equipping yourself to be more effective in leading others to Christ?  I can assure you this is the most important kind of labor you’ll ever perform.  And giving someone a clear explanation of the gospel is the greatest “gift” you’ll every provide for anyone.  Again, is this something you’re working on providing for the people in “your world”? Surely this is the greatest “labor of love” you’ll ever perform.  Notice the apostle Paul’s words to a group that was doing this.

I Thessalonians 1:2-3

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; [Emphasis added]

Are you engaged in this “work of faith,” this “labor of love”? It surely can be classified as work.  It proves to be the most challenging of all labors in life.  That’s because there’s often so much resistance to it.  This includes even the forces of Satan.  If there’s anything he wants to keep from the unbeliever, it is the good news of the gospel message by which you can lead someone to salvation.  Again, if there’s anything Satan works to keep from the unbeliever, it is a clear explanation of the gospel message by which he can be saved.

II Corinthians 4:3-4

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [Emphasis added]

Having said all this about God’s love for all, including the unsaved, what are we to think about passages like this next one? And again, this is after we’ve clearly seen multiple passages that let us know that God loves all mankind.

Romans 9:12-13

12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

13 As it is written, Jacob have I [God] loved, but Esau have I hated. [Emphasis added]

Is this a contradiction to all we’ve read about God’s love for all mankind, both the saved and unsaved?  It is certainly taken by many to mean that God doesn’t love everyone.  We do know that Esau was not a man of faith.  Jacob was, but Esau was certainly not!  Some people want us to believe that it was God Who picked Jacob for salvation but not Esau.  They even want us to believe that the personal decisions of these two men didn’t have anything to do with their salvation.  Is THAT what the Bible tells us?

Romans 10:12-13

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. [Emphasis added]

Time and time again we see passages that express God’s perfect love for all.

Romans 5:6-8

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [Emphasis added]

These passages also tell us what He did to provide a way for the salvation of anyone.  All anyone must do to obtain that salvation is to accept God’s work in providing a way of reconciliation and salvation.

II Corinthians 5:20-21

20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21 For he hath made him to be sin for us [all mankind], who knew no sin; that we [anyone] might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

Instead, it is claimed that it was God’s decision, not ours, as to where we would spend eternity.  What are we to think of that? Is that what all this means concerning God loving Jacob but not Esau? Well, I hope you’re happy to read that there’s a simple and correct explanation for all this.  Let’s notice several things about this statement.  First, there’s absolutely nothing in the record of Scripture that tells us Esau ever personally served JacobNothing! There’s nothing that even hints of it! That’s our first clue.  Second, there’s context that always needs to be at the heart of understanding what is being saidIn this case, the apostle Paul is not addressing personal salvation.  Instead, he is illustrating the reason God chose one nation over another in His overall program.  When He speaks of hating Esau, He’s speaking of what he and all his progeny together represent in unbelief and rejection of God’s means to their salvation.  It has always been faith, not man’s works, that has pleased God.  The Jewish reader who didn’t understand that [or didn’t want to understand it] would wonder why God was abandoning Israel and going to the Gentiles.  Paul is simply pointing out to Him that God is free and able to do as He pleases, but never in violation of His own perfect character.  God did an unexpected thing when He first left the Gentiles and went to Abram [who became Abraham] to start a whole new people.  But it was all about faith.  Scripture tells us Abram was a man of faith.  He believed God and He credited him with righteousness.

Galatians 3:6

Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. [Emphasis added]

Then in the next verse Paul tells us that it was only people of faith who were Abraham’s true progeny.  By that I mean his spiritual progeny.  This next verse speaks of this distinction.

Galatians 3:7

Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. [Emphasis added]

We are told that Abraham had many descendants, but we are told that all Israel is not Israel.  In other words, not all Israel is spiritual Israel [or believing Israel].

Romans 9:6b

For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: [Emphasis added]

It would be through these believing “children of Abraham” [descendants of Abraham] that God would provide His blessing.  But even there, only certain legs of Abraham’s family would be the beneficiaries of God’s blessing.  For instance, there was Isaac but there was also his brother Ishmael.  Still later, in the case of Jacob, there would also be Esau.  The people of faith would come through the families of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not the others.  While we know these three men were individually men of faith, our passage is talking about them and their progeny, not them personally.   It would be through their families that God’s blessing would come.  Would it be every one of them without exception?  No, it would not! But, speaking of them as a whole, it would be through their line of people that the blessing would come.

We must never conclude that somehow personal faith is not the main element involved in salvation.  What is said in Romans 9 has been used by some to eliminate the role of personal faith in salvation.  Such is a huge distortion of Scripture, as well as a subtle and sometimes not so subtle attack on the character of God.

What God has required as man’s way for expressing his faith has changed from time to time historically.  But personal faith has always been the issue.  Again, it has always been the people of faith, and not those of works, that have pleased God.  Even today, nothing has changed on that.  There is a real sense in which it can be said that God hates any people who choose their own system of works for salvation over all He’s done to provide it by grace through faith alone.  It is God who had the right to develop His program, His method by which man would be required to express his faith for salvation, not man.  We have a similar illustration of this in God’s comments to Moses.

Romans 9:15-16

1For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth [THELO = desires], nor of him that runneth [TRECHO = running used to represent human effort], but of God that sheweth mercy. [Emphasis added]

This tells us that just because someone desires it or works for it, they’re not going to get salvation on their own terms.  It is God Who has set forth the news that He’ll give salvation by grace because of the expression of a person’s faith in what He alone has provided for it.  And no one has the right to change that and make it on their own terms.  It is God who decides.  In this case, we’re talking about God’s sovereign choice to give salvation to the spiritual progeny of Abraham.  There’s nothing to indicate that anyone was ever given the blessing of God apart from their expressed faith and doing what God required for them to express that faith.

No, there’s no question about God’s love for allThe proof of that is seen in what He did for all to provide them all with the opportunity to be saved.

II Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slack [BRADUNO = slow] concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering [MAKROTHUMIA = patient] to us-ward, not willing [THELO = wishing or desiring] that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. [Emphasis added]

As Peter tells us that was true for Israel, the apostle Paul tells us it is true for us today.

I Timothy 2:3-4

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

Who will [THELO = wishing or desiring to] have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [Emphasis added]

God’s love provided a way of salvation for all mankind, no exceptions!

In conclusion, let’s look at that passage that best defines the love we’re to have for all others because of the way God has loved us.  We find in this passage a list for us to learn from and to apply.  As you go down this list, remember that the word charity is simply the old English word for love.  These are all to become habitual expressions coming from us as fruit of the Spirit of God living in us.  As we allow God’s Word to affect our thinking, these things will come forth as fruit from the effect of His Word on how we think.

I Corinthians 13:4-8
  • verse 4 – “charity suffereth long” –God’s love is patient.
  • verse 4 – “charity is kind”  –God’s love is kind.
  • verse 4 – “charity envieth not” –God’s love is not envious.
  • verse 4 – “charity vaunteth not itself” –God’s love is not boastful.
  • verse 4 – “charity is not puffed up” –God’s love is not arrogant.
  • verse 5 – “charity doth not behave itself unseemly” –God’s love does not act inappropriately.
  • verse 5 – “charity seeketh not her own” –God’s love is not selfish.
  • verse 5 – “charity is not easily provoked” –God’s love is patient.
  • verse 5 – “charity thinketh no evil” –God’s love doesn’t falsely accuse.
  • verse 6 – “charity rejoiceth not in iniquity” –God’s love hates evil.
  • verse 6 – “charity rejoiceth in the truth” –God’s love promotes truth.
  • verse 7 – “charity beareth all things” –God’s love endures patiently.
  • verse 7 – “charity believeth all things” –God’s love is optimistic.
  • verse 7 – “charity hopeth all things” –God’s love is confident.
  • verse 7 – “charity endureth all things” –God’s love is durable.
  • verse 8 – “charity never faileth” –God’s love is ongoing.

It is God’s love in us that is to direct our every thought and action.  This passage gives us the general principles.  It is our responsibility to see the situations that demand their application in our lives.  There’s not a day that will go by that you’ll not have opportunities to express this love.  For instance, by functioning this way you’ll be given many opportunities to present the information people need by which they can be saved.  This means it will provide you with many opportunities to make an eternal difference in the lives of others.  If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll begin this exciting journey today.  If you haven’t already, receive Christ as your Savior and follow that up with an earnest desire to be learning a portion of His Word every day.  And, again, the opportunities to apply those things as an expression of love will come every day.  Take the initiative to let people see God’s love come to expression through you in all the things you say and do.

As I conclude this, an old hymn comes to mind, one I first sang as a child.  That song is Let Others See Jesus in You by E.B. McKinney.  Here are its words.

1- While passing through this world of sin,
And others your life shall view,
Be clean and pure without, within,
Let others see Jesus in you.

Let others see Jesus in you,
Let others see Jesus in you;
Keep telling the story, be faithful and true,
Let others see Jesus in you.

2- Your life’s a book before their eyes,
They’re reading it through and through;
Say, does it point them to the skies,
Do others see Jesus in you?


3- What joy ’twill be at set of sun,
In mansions beyond the blue,
To find some souls that you have won;
Let others see Jesus in you.


4- Then live for Christ both day and night,
Be faithful, be brave, and true,
And lead the lost to life and light;
Let others see Jesus in you.


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