Does God Love Everyone?

Derek Dunn in the Ballymena Times (15 February, 2006) repeated the myth that God loves everybody. God loves the world, but in Scripture that rarely means the entire human race (John 7:4; 12:19; Acts 17:6; 1 Corinthians 11:32). In the Old Testament, God loved only the nation of Israel (Deuteronomy 7:7), but even then not every Israelite, because “they are not all Israel which are of Israel” (Romans 9:6).

In the New Testament God loves sinners from every nation, hence the term “world.” What is often denied is that God hates some sinners, both them and their sins. For example, God hated Esau (Romans 9:13) and He “hates all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5).

Christ came to save only those whom God loves, not Judas, Herod, Pilate or any “whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 17:8). Rather, Christ came to save those the Father had given Him (John 6:37-39; 17:2).

Christ “loved his own which were in the world” (John 13:1), not everybody in the world. In Christ elect sinners are loved (Ephesians 1:4-6), but outside of Christ, sinners are hated by God, for God has “no pleasure in wickedness” (Psalm 5:4) but “loves righteousness” (Psalm 11:7). Christ in love died for His beloved sheep, but He neither died nor prayed for the goats (John 10:26-27; 17:9).

God’s love is effectual. He actually saves the objects of His love. God’s love seeks out those whom He loves, and causes the recipients of that love to love Him in return (1 John 4:19). Since God is obliged to love nobody but freely chooses to love whom He will, man cannot complain (Romans 9:13-20). To teach that God loves everyone (even those who end up in hell) is to rob the child of God of comfort and “strengthen the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life” (Ezekiel 13:22).

Some may wonder, if God does not love everybody, why the Bible uses universal language such as the Lord is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9) or “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Such objections disregard context and show ignorance of language. We often use universal language. When the teacher asks, “Has everybody got a pen?” he only means his class. When a father says, “Everybody get into the car,” he refers only to his own family.

Consider Matthew 10:22 (“ye shall be hated of all men”), John 3:26 (“all men come to him”), Acts 19:19 (“they burned [their books] before all men”) and Romans 16:19 (“your obedience is come abroad unto all men”).

In these Scriptures, “all men” cannot be taken to mean the entire human race. Similarly, whosoever means “all those who …” It does not mean everybody. “Whosoever believeth” (John 3:16) means all those who believe, or “all believers.”

2 Peter 3:9 is written as an answer to scoffers and to give comfort concerning the perceived delay of the return of Christ. The Lord has not returned because God is longsuffering to “usward.” God is not longsuffering towards everybody. God does not want His people (“us”) to perish, and since the “longsuffering of God is salvation” (2 Peter 3:15) all those towards whom God is longsuffering shall be saved.

Similarly, “whosoever [all those who] shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13), does not mean that everybody can or shall call upon the name of the Lord. The Word of God teaches that sinners hate God (Romans 8:7) and will not call on His name.

Isaiah laments “there is none that calleth upon thy [i.e., God’s] “name” (Isaiah 64:7) and Paul writes, “there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:11).

That some call upon God is the work of God’s Spirit, who graciously gives faith and repentance unto some (Acts 11:18; Ephesians 2:8; Philippians 1:29) but blinds and hardens others (Joshua 11:20; Matthew 11:25; John 12:40; Romans 9:18).

By Martyn McGeown

8 Comments on “Does God Love Everyone?

  1. Excellent outline of “God loving all men.” The problem is that some ministers preach the love of God to all without preaching that “God is angry with the wicked every day,” but, praise God, he sought this sinner out and converted me in the day of His power. Me, a sinner, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, what mercy, what love, what a Saviour!

  2. False teachers love to preach free-will. They are true enemies of the faith and sovereignty of the most High!

  3. Before man is saved, if he will be, he can only choose to sin and hate God. He can only be saved if God starts the work of repentance and regeneration within him (he cannot refuse the grace of God). After he is saved, he can choose either to sin or to live in accordance with God’s new testament commandments. Thank you for the article. God would never allow one whom He loves to send himself to the Lake of Fire for all eternity. I am unsaved and wicked, and yet I know more about salvation and the will of God than most American Christians. It’s a shame that apostasy has gotten a hold of the beloved of God.

    • Hi Shawn.

      Thankyou for your comment.

      How come you judge yourself as a lost person?

      What would you say is the difference between you and a believer?

      Jesus is Lord!

  4. this is excellent!!!!! you dont find many other people these days that believe this!!!! i think i should print this and take it everywehre with me. excellent – and actually reading and searching the bible in TRUTH! not just what you WANT to believe.

  5. Very well written. Its so great to hear the truth. People pick and choose bits and pieces of the Bible to read and follow. They make God out to be what ever they want Him to be and not what He actually is. He is sovereign and just. People always question that its not fair that God doesnt love everyone. Well it doesnt say anywhere in the Bible that He is fair, but it does say that He is just and is right in everything He does.

  6. I agree with all that has been said here. And we must preach the oneness of God in ALL that He is, and not preach Jehovah by settling on “facets” of His divine attributes as operating in contradiction to others. God is One.

    I believe God loves ALL and God hates some, and that He also loves some (in that He specially loves His own). This is what the bible teaches in all that it says to us and I think this is what we are to preach to both the world and the church.

    That God loves the sinner and hates the sinner is biblically correct to say. He loves the sinner for Christ died for the ungodly. He hates the sinner for the sinner rejects His love, whether knowingly or ignorantly, and his sin separates him from God eternally.

    What does 1 Timothy 2:3 & 4 have to say about your exegesis on the “language” of the Scriptures dear brother?

    God bless you

    • There can never be a contradiction amongst the “facets ” of His divine attributes- truly God is One so we must have and subscribe to a whole Bible approach to the nature of God.
      God didn’t love the gentiles of the OT, nor Esau nor Ishmael, even though He provided providentially for them. Nor did he, as has been already stated love Judas etc.
      If God loves the sinner and hates the sin then who are in Hell- sinners or just the abstract sin? God conmdems sinners to Hell.
      Christ didn’t die for the reprobate, He died for the Elect only otherwise God is unfair in punishing/killing Jesus for the worlds sins and at the same time eternally punishing an unrepentant sinner. Two punishments for the same offence is definitly unfair and far from a just God’s attributes.
      Jesus said:”My sheep hear my voice” and please explain I Corinthians 2:14 in the light of 1 Timothy2:3-4

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