Christians, that is, discerning Christians who hold to the Scriptures as the foundation of all truth and reality will often hear “why do you nitpick so much? Don’t you know that Jesus loves everybody?” It’s commonplace for evangelists and theologians to encounter the simple-minded individual who’d rather not talk about God’s judgment or wrath.
I recently heard some missionaries talking about what they do in while on mission. I have to admit that often, when I hear them speak theologically, it makes me wonder how churches can support them. The mantra? That Jesus loves everyone and has a wonderful plan for their life.
“Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” is not the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scriptures paints a far bigger picture — and for some, it’s far worse. In fact, the gospel is only “good news” to those who are being saved.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being1 Corinthians 1:18
savedit is the power of God.
The go-to verse for proponents of the “Jesus loves everybody” gospel is, of course, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” It is true that God certainly has a love for His creation — His whole creation. But is this love the same for every single individual?
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The answer is no. The word kosmos translated as “world” in this verse is often taken to be limited to God’s elect. In some cases, that may work and is not necessarily wrong. But more importantly, the word is a reference to the vast sinfulness that has spread to the entire world.
It is also important to note that God, being the unchanging almighty being that he is, is more than just a God of love, mercy, and grace — He is also a God of wrath and justice. And in Psalm 5:5, King David acknowledges that God hates all evildoers.
Yet God is a God of love and his love is manifest in His patience for the whole world that He gives them the opportunity to repent. But the love that He has for His people — His elect — is clearly different. It’s personal salvific, and when His general love for the world is compared to His love for His elect, it’s hatred. One must ask: if God does not hate some people, why does He send them to Hell? Does God pour out His wrath on the ones He loves?
As stated in Psalm 5:5, God hates the evildoer. God’s love is conditioned upon obedience — but, for the believer, it is not our own obedience. It’s Christ’s. He has fulfilled the righteous requirement of the law which is necessary to see the Kingdom of God (Romans 8:4) and when God sees those who are in Christ, He sees Christ Himself — and is well pleased.
…and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”Matthew 3:17
So no, Jesus does not love everybody — at least not the same way. Jesus loves those whom the Father has given Him and will pour out His judgment and wrath for all eternity on those whom He hates.
Repent and believe the gospel.