Sunday, April 10, 2016


This is an important question, perhaps even foundational for our entire Christian life. The way answer this question of God’s love is the way we also treat others.

God reveals that He loves His entire creation:

  • The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. Psalm 145:8-9 (ESV)

According to Jesus, if God loves all, so must we:

  • “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44-48) 
God loves even those who remain sinners - His enemies. Therefore, so must we.

God demonstrated His love for all humanity in another way. He died for all, even His enemies (Roman 5:9-11):

  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that WHOEVER believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) 
To the entire assembled crowd, Peter announced something that anyone raised on the Hebrew Scriptures would have understood – that God wanted everyone to turn to Him (Ezekiel 33:7-11):

  • God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning EVERY ONE of you from your wickedness.” (Acts 3:26)
It was a hope extended to all. All had gone astray, but divine provision had been made for all:

  • Isaiah 53:6  ALL we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the INIQUITY OF US ALL.
Some would argue that “all” doesn’t mean absolutely all. However, in this verse, absolutely all went astray. It would therefore seem that the Lord references the same group of people in saying, “the LORD has laid on him the INIQUITY OF US ALL,” meaning absolutely everyone!

Jesus’ atonement wasn’t simply for those who would believe, but for the sins of the entire world:

  • He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but ALSO for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2) 
Christ’s atonement covered the sins of both groups of people – saved and unsaved:

  • For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of ALL PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10) 
This not only demonstrated God’s love for the entire world, but it also made this world accountable. No one would be able to say, “I never had a chance, because the Savior had never made provision for me through His death.”

  • But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who BOUGHT them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. (2 Peter 2:1)
Did Jesus die for the little children? He pointed to children as exemplars of those who would enter the Kingdom:

  • At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4)
It is hard, or perhaps impossible, to reconcile Jesus’ heavenly regard for children with the assertion that He would refuse to die for many of them.

Instead, if Jesus loves the entire world, we must also! But don’t some deserve the wrath of God and God’s punishments mediated through the justice system? Of course, but this does not detract from our personal responsibility to love, even as we uphold justice.

What would this look like? If I met a young man intending to join ISIS, I would invite him to lunch, try to understand his motives, and then try to talk him out of it. If I didn’t succeed, I would immediately call the FBI!

Love must be wise, but love we must! We must show off our Lord to the world!

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