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Is It Biblical to Say That God Loves Everyone?

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In this brief clip from our 2017 National Conference, R.C. Sproul answers the question, “Is it biblical to say that God loves everyone?”


Transcript

“Often I hear the phrase ‘God loves you’ proclaimed to a group of people which may include both Christians and non-Christians. Is this biblical to say that phrase to just anyone?”

When we look at the concept of the love of God in Scripture, we see distinctions that have to be made. Historically and theologically we distinguish among three types of divine love. There is the love of benevolence, where God has a kind spirit to the whole world and His benevolent will, His benevolent love falls on everybody. But there’s also the sense in which in the Bible the love of God is defined in terms of God’s beneficence, that is that’s not just simply what His attitude is towards the world but how He displays that goodness universally—the rain falls upon the just as well as on the unjust. And so that universal dimension of the love of God is manifest but usually when we’re talking about the love of God in popular language, what we’re really talking about is what we call God’s love of complacency. And that term, the love of complacency, is not used in the way in which we use the term complacency in our age, in our culture. Our term of complacency means smugness, self-satisfaction, that sort of thing.

But rather when the Scriptures indicate the love of complacency, it’s that special love that God has for His Son, and all of those who are in His Son, and who are adopted into His family. And if we talk about the love of God in His terms of the love of complacency and talk about it universally, that’s blasphemy because God does not love the whole world in the love of complacency. In fact, the Scriptures tell us that there are many ways in which God is at enmity with the world. He hates the world, He hates those who are swift to shed blood, and we have to take that into account. When I hear preachers stand up and say that ‘God loves everybody unconditionally,’ I want to scream and say, ‘Wait a minute. Then why does He call us to repent? Why does He call us to come to the cross? Why does He call us to come to Christ?’ If God loves everybody unconditionally, then you can do whatever you want and believe whatever you think. And it’s just not true that God loves us unconditionally.

He’s placed an absolute condition by which He requires—He doesn’t just invite people to come to His Son—He commands all men everywhere to repent of their sins and to come to Christ. And if you want to enjoy the love of complacency you have to be in Christ.
 
Loyal
I admit, I'm not a big R.C, Sproul fan, but this was actually very good. (He was also great in "The Truth Project").
I agree God does place conditions on His love. Beside that...

Rom 9:13; Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED."
 
Active
Hmm He loved us while we were yet sinners.
But...He granted us repentence through Jesus Christ. So...we are now able to love Him back.
 
Loyal
He loves ignorant sinners. Of course He loves His children (Christians).
But does He love those who aren't ignorant anymore? They have heard the message and they reject His Son
who bled and died for them.
 
Loyal
Hosea 4:6
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children

Romans 1:18-32
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, ...
 
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Are we not called to love those who hate us?
Is this Love only for us to believe and do and not God?

If truly God is Love, then He loves all His Creations, though He punishes and destroys as He wills.

So, I must disagree with R.C. Sproul. What he was really answering was does God not love iniquity, sin? Of cause, but like any parent knows who loves their children. Just because they err doesn't mean the Love stops.

Always with the Love of Christ Jesus.
YBIC
Nick
<><
 
Active
To suggest God has not got love / complacency love for some is absurd. To hate a creation takes being evil. ''there is no darkness in God at all'' 1 John 1:5. We are tainted. We hate God. God does not hate us. The devil is going to hell because he doesn't want to repent, he has been sinning since the beginning 1 John 3:8. He hates God. In God's love He makes an eternal home for all who hate Him. Hell is evidence of God's love for the wicked. Not God's hate.

If we say God hates the devil. Why did / would Jesus speak to him as He did in the wilderness? Can you imagine a role reversal with Nero and a Christian? Or with those demons who had their request honored / cast into pigs. Hi Nero, can I have a cake?

As "Christ4ever'' points out, God is not a hypocrite. He cannot instruct us to love our enemies when He hates His. The devil and wicked are identified as His / our enemy on numerous occasions in scripture.

God is an open book. He does not make us dumb / or remove our memories when we go to heaven. He makes us smarter 1 Cor 13:12. So if we see something evil in hating our enemy now, how much more then?

So, if unsaved people can invent the Geneva convention for showing fair treatment (not hate) to an enemy, how much more us and how much more a good God Psalm 136:1? God is to be compared with Nero?

I believe RC Sproul wanted to address a separate issue. Namely free grace. 'I can do whatever I want and God will accept me''. Acceptance by God is a separate subject from His love / who He is 1 John 4:8.
 
Active
Rom 9:13; Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED."
There is context that needs to be applied to ''Esau I have hated''. God is not saying He hates Esau. What Esau did He hates. We can get into this on another thread if you want. Anyone who has debated a Calvinist knows what I am talking about :wink:.
 
Active
I don't understand what is meant by 'love of complacency'. Can anyone help me out?
 
Active
OK. I've found an answer from a John Piper podcast. He refers back to Johnathan Edwards.

Simply the difference between benevolent and complacent love is similar to gracious and deserved love.

Some things we love because we find them lovely - rainbows, our grandmothers, harmony between people, for example. This is complacent love.

With benevolent love, the loveliness is with the lover, not the loved. God loves us, not because we are good, but because it is his nature to love.

We need to be loved before we can be lovely. God's benevolent love does that for us.
 
Active
I don't understand what is meant by 'love of complacency'. Can anyone help me out?
I believe you wasted your time googling it. Love has degrees not 'types'. People define 'types' because they want to / want us to swallow a pill of God being unloving to those who are tortured in hell for eternity. Or those who suffered deaths by stoning in the OT.

The simple truth is that God displayed the degree of His love for all mankind on the cross. There is no greater degree of love John 15:13. We just lack understanding on OT punishment and hell.
 
Active
OK. I've found an answer from a John Piper podcast. He refers back to Johnathan Edwards.

Simply the difference between benevolent and complacent love is similar to gracious and deserved love.

Some things we love because we find them lovely - rainbows, our grandmothers, harmony between people, for example. This is complacent love.

With benevolent love, the loveliness is with the lover, not the loved. God loves us, not because we are good, but because it is his nature to love.

We need to be loved before we can be lovely. God's benevolent love does that for us.
That sounds like the difference between like and love :smile:.
 
Active
Well in school we taught that God loves you to all the children, not just the christian children...you cant say God loves some and not others! Jesus says the kingdom of heaven belongs to children...and not to forbid them from coming to Him.

The whole reason we teach is to show Gods love to children especially those who dont even know God loves them! When I was young I didnt know God truly loved me! It was important to know he loved me enought to send Jesus to die for me so I could live. Really important, like the most important thing.
 
Active
I find its usually calvinists who take issue with God's love.
It ends up with calvinists claiming God only loves the calvinists, cos they are the elected ones. Its silly and it doesnt say that anywhere in the bible. They confuse being chosen with the israelites who were originally chosen.
 
Active
He loves ignorant sinners. Of course He loves His children (Christians).
But does He love those who aren't ignorant anymore? They have heard the message and they reject His Son
who bled and died for them.
Yep He loves them too...the prodigal son he welcomes home, He waits for israel who are stubborn And stiffnecked to graft them back in.

Jesus asks us to love our enemies and pray for them, he doesnt want any to perish, cos hes waiting for them to repent but if any dont then God is being just and is the best thing for them, its a loving thing to do for everyone's sake. Gods grace and mercy are different expressions of that same love He has for creation.
 
Loyal
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It would be impossible for God to desire that "ALL" men to be saved if he only loved some, and not others. What the Lord God "hates" are the bad decisions men make even after knowing the truth that causes them to become what they are. Most people love darkness more than light because their deeds are evil.
 

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