One of the most popular beliefs of the day is that God loves everybody, and the very fact that it is so popular with all classes ought to be enough to arouse the suspicions of those who are subject to the Word of Truth. God’s love towards all His creatures is the favorite tenet of Universalists, Unitarians, Theosophists, Christian Scientists, Spiritualists, Russellites, etc. So widely has this dogma been proclaimed, and so comforting it is to the heart which is at enmity with God, we have little hope of convincing many of their error. To tell the Christ-rejecter that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins. The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children’s bread and to cast it to the dogs.
A. W. Pink (1886 – 1952)
About Greg Coleman
I am a Particular Baptist who affirms the absolute sovereignty of the triune Godhead in all things. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in the God-man Jesus Christ. He is the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Disposer and Judge of all that ever was, is now or ever shall be. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. He was made to be sin for his people and saved them from their sins by his substitutionary, sacrificial death on the cross thereby satisfying the justice and wrath of God against them. The sufficiency of his death to the satisfaction of God’s justice is proven by his physical resurrection from the dead and enthronement in glory at the right hand of the Father. Jesus Christ is coming again to judge the living and the dead. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.
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Hello Mr. Coleman.
Didn’t Jesus say ‘love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you’? And in John 5:34b Jesus, reasoning with the Pharisees, attempting to help them see who he was, stated ‘…. but I say these things so that you may be saved’. 1 Timothy 2:3b-4 states ‘….God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth’. These verses seem to indicate that God desires we pray for our enemy’s salvation, that He desires their salvation (‘all men’), and attempted to bring his enemies (Pharisees) to salvation through speaking to them. If this is not love for His enemies I am mistaken.
Many recognized authorities in the Calvinist camp (such as John MacArthur if I’m not mistaken) have acknowledged that 1 Timothy 2:4 and other verses do state that God does desire all men to be saved. That is why they have used the ‘two different wills’ theory in explaining how God could desire all men to be saved and yet not provide them with salvation when He could have done so. This theory was necessesary to uphold the doctrine of limited atonement. I think you may likewise need to use the ‘two different wills’ theory to be able to say that God hates some men but desires them to be saved. The other route would be to interpret 1 Timothy 2:4 and other verses as not meaning God desires all men to be saved (as some still do). In my opinion this requires much mental contortion away from the plain meaning of verses into the practice of inserting hidden meanings (such as interpreting John 3:16 as referring to the elect only).
Lastly, It all comes back to the question – ‘can God act contrary to His revealed moral law such as the second greatest commandment?’ You have previously stated that ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ does not apply to Him because He has no neighbor (peer) to love as Himself. So He can command men to ‘do as I say, not as I do’ (or don’t do) without acting contrary to His moral law. Yet I repeat my question – how can God call a man ‘friend’, as He did so with Moses, without being His neighbor? No, I have to say you’re stretching to allow God to act contrary to His moral law with the ‘God doesn’t have a neighbor’ excuse. It’s obvious that the only criterion Jesus gave to describe a neighbor (whether man’s or God’s) was anyone in need of love, and that the one offering him love was being his neighbor. The lawyer wanted to justify selective love. Jesus would not allow him to do so. And yet Calvinism would have God doing so.
I think in the first place before we reason ourselves towards an impotent god we need to think a bit about what we call the love of god. We have a tendency to think about love as an emotional feeling. We all know , many times from personal experience, that our love towards an individual cannot have real effecting power over them. Take the love of a mother for her children as an example of the highest form of human love. A mother would always save her child if she could. She certainly has the desire but in many ways lacks the power to effect it. Does god lack power? Does god lack will or desire? To deny god either is to deny god. You are caught on a horn. The love of god is out of the realm of emotion, love is a verb to god. Besides all this why being a christian would you ever want god to love everyone? Is it not this very love of god that is your only hope of heaven? If you are a Christian you believe only some will be saved. Without an all effectingly powerfully love god towards you by name what marks you from those lost? Lots of luck if that marking is something about your self.