Does God love everyone?
Grit and Grace
March 4, 2023
John Calvin commented on John 3:16 that, "People are not easily convinced that God loves them."
The New Testament authors spend a great deal of time explaining, persuading, reasoning and giving evidence to the fact that God loves everyone. Then and now, there is so much rubbish of conventional religious notions that has to be hauled away before one comes to an in-depth experience and understanding of God's love. Overtime, many Christians have been exposed to false teaching, usually by all too well-meaning men, and have accumulated into their thinking garbage-theology about God's love. A.W. Tozer acknowledges this in his book "Knowledge of the Holy." He says that our real idea of God may lie buried under bad teaching and bad religious experiences. However, neither myself nor any other preacher can fully do justice to the theme of God's love any more than a child can touch a star. Yes, Tozer reminds us that by reaching toward the star, the child may call attention to it and even indicate the direction one must look to see it. He writes with reasonable expectations, "So, as I stretch my heart toward the high, shilling, love of God, someone who has not before known about it may be encouraged to look up and have hope."
Each Sunday I attempt to explain the love of God for the whole world, yet, I must confess that I do not do it well enough. I am just a pointer to the love of God, like someone pointing to a star in the sky, and hopefully a few people will be encouraged to look up to God's love and find hope.
In the Greek text, John 3:16 begins with the word "So" as in "For God so loved the world." It's placed first in the verse for emphasis on the greatness of God's love. The word "so" is an adverb and points to the degree and manner in which God loved the world. God didn't just love the world, He "so loved" the world. The greatness of His love flows from who He is personally. The Bible teaches us that God is love. This speaks to the quality of His character. He is love in His essence. This kind of love is not abstract, it is concrete. God loves by His loving actions toward those that He loves. He proves His love. He demonstrates His love. The greatest demonstration of His love was the giving of His cherished only begotten Son on our behalf. As someone has said somewhere, "Go out into the world and preach the good news, and if necessary, use words." Jesus taught us that the world would know we are His disciples by our loving actions toward each other.
God is also the initiator of love. The Bible says that God loved us when we didn't love Him. He made the first move! He loved us while we were sinners, helpless, even enemies, all when we were still dead in our trespasses in sins. His love is extravagant and exceeds what is reasonable. To human thinking it may even be considered reckless.
Finally, God's love for you is eternal. There is no beginning to His love for you and there is no end to it either. This is a hard truth to wrap our heads around. God says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3). The psalmist explains, "For His loving kindness is everlasting" (Ps. 136:1). Isaiah proclaims of God's love, "For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My loving kindness will not be removed from you" (Isaiah 54:8-10). This is a wonderful truth! If there has been no time that God has not loved you and there will be no time in which He doesn't love you, then there is nothing we can do to earn His love and there is nothing we can do to lose His love. He loves us all eternally!
All of God's loving acts toward us in the past, present, and future are based on His character alone and not our merits. He loves us perfectly because He is a perfect God. His love is based on His perfection and not ours. The whole chapter of John chapter three teaches us that our performance and achievements have zero bearing on our salvation. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it but rather to save it. How are we saved and inherit eternal life? We are recipients of eternal life by simply believing in Jesus alone for our salvation.
We would like to invite you and your children to our Spring Break Kids Day from 10 a.m. to noon. This is for all children in our community Kindergarten - 5th grade. The day will consist of a Bible story, fun games, snacks, music and a craft. Sign ins begin at 9:30 a.m. on April 5. Our Youth group (6th-12th grade) meets every Wednesday night at 6 p.m. Sunday worship is at 10 a.m. All are welcome.
Chris Frost is the pastor of The Mountain Bible Church of Tehachapi, and an on-call chaplain at Adventist Health Hospital. He is a graduate from Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM) and has spoken at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland and worked on projects with Lexham Press and Kregel Academic and is published in "Bibliotheca Sacra." His newest adventure in 2023 will be his studies in Oxford on the apologetics of CS Lewis. Chris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.