How Does God Love Us?
God loves everyone. And he genuinely desires their salvation. This should come as a wonderful message for anyone who is honest with himself about his immoral actions and sinful heart. God need not love us. After all, he is an eternal and triune being, whose love for himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is self-sufficient and infinite. Hence, God loves us wholly and solely from his grace.
There are many points of relevance and application we can walk away with in this brief study. Here we will concentrate on two. First, because Scripture and sound reason confirm for us that God truly loves everyone and desires their salvation, each one of us can be assured of God’s genuine and saving love for us. That is, if God loves everyone, I must conclude that God loves me. Hence, we should never conclude that, whenever we sin, doubt, or even fall away from the faith for a season, that God is in any way causing us to do this. Indeed, he tempts no one to sin (James 1:13), and wishes no one to doubt (James 1:5–8). Thus, whenever we sin, doubt, or fall away, we must recognize that these actions are wholly self-determined on our part.
Second, because God truly loves everyone and desires the salvation of all, the Christian should never see a nonbeliever as his enemy, but as someone God wants to be saved. As apologists, we ought to recognize that there are many different types of people and, because God desires their salvation, he has reasons available to draw them to himself. To the rationalist, we offer rational arguments for the faith; for the empiricist, we offer science; for the historian, we offer evidence from the Bible; for the artist, we offer beauty. The universal love of God should encourage us to be ready to offer different kinds of reasons for the hope within us (1 Peter 3:15).
>t. Travis Campbell
1. More than one objection to this proposal can be raised, but for purposes of brevity and to focus on the universal aspect of God’s love, I chose to address only one. For a fuller development of these arguments for the universality of God’s saving love, see Travis James Campbell, The Wonderful Decree: Reconciling Sovereign Election and Universal Benevolence (Lexham Press; forthcoming). For a slightly different approach, see D. A. Carson, The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway; 2000). Dr. Carson also has helpful lectures on this topic that can be found here and here.
2. Technically, the antecedent of the word “any,” in 2 Peter 3:9, is “you.” But Sproul’s question remains valid. Is God not wanting any of you to perish? Well, what does he mean by “you”? Is God not wanting any of you humans to perish? Or is God not wanting any of you readers of my epistle to perish? Or is God not wanting any of you elect persons, chosen unto salvation, to perish?
3. R. C. Sproul, Chosen by God (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1986), 197.
4. James R. White, The Potter’s Freedom: A Defense of the Reformation and a Rebuttal to Norman Geisler’s Chosen But Free (Amityville, NY: Calvary Press, 2000), 145–50.
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Edited last time by Chobitsu on 02/28/2023 (Tue) 18:12:52.