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Yes, God Is Love … but He Is Also a Consuming Fire!

I have been studying and teaching Bible doctrine for over 48 years and the shepherding teacher for home based Churches. Sola Scriptura

God is Love, ONLY to Those Who Know Him.

One of the most abused scriptures when it comes to being a faithful witness.

One of the most abused scriptures when it comes to being a faithful witness.

For Believers Only: The Intimate Love of God

What do we seem to hear in every church service, classes in witness training and out of the mouths most every Christian in America? God loves everyone. Does He? The short answer is a super qualified yes, but it is nothing like most people want to believe. First, let us ask ourselves a few questions:

  • If you asked those who presently reside in hell if God loves everybody; what do you suppose their answer would be? Remember, those in hell are not sorry for their sins, but that they were caught in their sins.
  • Does the bible say anything about God hating even an individual? If even only one by name is mentioned, then the term everyone does not apply. In Romans 9:11-13, Paul wrote about Jacob and Esau, "being not yet born....that the purpose of God according to election might stand....Jacob I have loved but Esau have I hated." Written in the footnote of a Bible of one those in my Bible class was - "it means that He loved Esau less." Two problems I see with the footnote: 1) the Greek word for hated is miseo - meaning to detest. Several bible scholars try to equate this as to "love less" when Jesus made the statement that we must hate our mother and father if we are to follow Him. It is not as if you hate them as an enemy but now that you are the Bride of Christ we must not look back but follow Him completely. Your parents have no control over your life whatsoever or you are not fit for the Kingdom and 2) I do believe that the Holy Spirit was more than capable to come up with gentler wording, knowing how offensive it might sound to most people. Let it be written, let it be done.
  • A question of absolute sovereignty: Is God able; does He have the power to save everyone if He so chooses? Your answer will reveal a great deal about your approach to the Word and how it affects those around you.

A super qualified yes.

In Matthew 5:43-45 Jesus explains how we are to love our enemies. First lets define biblical love: three main Greek words for love are used in the New Testament.

  1. agapao - having the mindset to do that which is right concerning another
  2. agape - unconditional or sacrificial love, charity which demands or expects nothing in return
  3. phileo - friendship, having something in common with another

In this passage agapao is used: be a blessing, do good and pray for them regardless of their attitude towards you. I am sorry but this is a very difficult passage to practically practice for our carnality gets in the way all too often. Then He gives the example of the Father's love towards them who hate Him: He makes the sun to shine on both the evil as well as the good and likewise the rain. There is nothing about blessing them in their evil state or a desire of any specific kindness mentioned.

In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:23 Jesus makes this statement to the "Lord Lord" crowd; I never knew you. Interesting use of the Greek word "knew" in this case. There are two main words for "knew" 1) gnosis - experiential knowledge as in "I know my neighbor owns a Honda Civic"; nothing of a personal nature and 2) epignosis - an acute intimate knowledge such as one would have with their spouse, family, close friends and hopefully with the Savior. Surprisingly, Jesus used the word gnosis along with the word never. In other words and I paraphrase, I haven't the foggiest who you are, your name is not in My Book; hell is waiting for such as you. There is NO connection between "God loves everybody" and these people.

The only people in this world that have any confidence that God loves them are those He has chosen and demonstrated His love toward them. Our problem is that we do not know whom God does love and has not yet drawn to Christ. We, those who have gone before and all future comers are the only ones who ever know with great intimacy, the love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Peter, Feed My Sheep

A Hard Lesson In Love

A Hard Lesson In Love

A Lesson In Biblical Love

In John chapter 21 verses 15 to 17 we have the classic confrontation between the Savior and Peter where He asks Peter three times if he loved Him. In the first two questions, Jesus used agapao (do you love me enough to do right by Me) and in the third He used phileo (do you at least love me like a friend or brother); Peter's answer was phileo to every question. It is interesting that Jesus did not use agape (sacrificial love) and I believe it is because of man's frailty; we could never love Him or the Father truly sacrificially this side of heaven. With further study I found that agape is never used in man's relationship to God but agapao only. On the other hand, our relationship in the Word to one another uses only phileo and agape. 2nd Peter states that are to learn to phileo one another until it grows into agape towards our brethren. I have developed a short saying to help remind me of the use of the word agape: God to man and man to man but never man to God.

John 14:15 If you agapao Me, keep My commandments. Do we have a mindset, a heart to do that which right towards our Lord and King?

Charles Hadden Spurgeon

A man with a great amount of God given wisdom.

A man with a great amount of God given wisdom.

Some Problems With "God Loves Everyone"

When I was a freshman in college, I had several encounters with Campus Crusade for Christ and I heard the phrase used many times that God loves you and has a plan for your life. I now know that to be true for myself but I wonder in over the last 50 years how many thousands have been presented with that message and now find themselves in hell? I guess His love was without power and His plan failed for a lot of people. WRONG! It seemed like sin was just a word passing in the night and all they wanted me to hear was how much I was loved. It was not until I was finally confronted face to face with my sin problem a year or so later that I realized I needed a Savior. Psalm 19:7 "...the law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul:"

  • If God loves everybody, why worry about the here and now. Since every one gets to go heaven, I will just have less perks than the holy rollers. Our problem is we think to love our enemies is to learn to like them which is not a commendable idea. Per 1 Corinthians 15:33 bad company corrupts righteous behavior. This does not mean we are not to be a good neighbor, looking for every chance to witness first in phileo-like love and in actions that the Father may use us as His instrument to draw someone to the Savior. We have already been given specific commands on how to love the enemies of the cross.
  • Ever notice how sin and damnation are a long forgotten sermon context. Most of the new translations and paraphrases have dropped the words damned and damnation for kinder, gentler words like judged and judgment. My hero in the faith is Charles Hadden Spurgeon who closed most of his sermons with Mark 16:16 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." I guess he never received a modern course in pulpit etiquette from one of our outstanding seminaries.
  • Just by saying everyone we impugn the character of God and His sovereignty, for the only time everyone is included is in that we ALL have fallen short of the glory of God. Remember His Word will not return void but will accomplish everything that pleases Him. We are never to wrap the will of God in our emotions and then use it to actually lie to someone who desperately needs the Truth.
  • Finally, it truly is an attitude problem we have in America in that we try to sugar coat most everything we do and say. Even in churches that utilize the altar call at the end of each service and trying not offend anyone, offer Jesus as a solution to their problems, that you must get to know Him and learn of Him. This is only a half-truth and our churches are filled with those who have bought into the easy believism. Get baptized in water, attend church and you are counted among the redeemed; how convenient. When the going gets rough (it is coming upon us very quickly) they will return to their old haunts and habits.

I know I may have raised some hackles on a few people, but this I leave with you. Do you love another enough to tell them the Truth or are you content to water it down which is asking them to believe a lie?

The Number "1" - God Loves Everyone Scripture.

Now if you knew what it was really saying.

Now if you knew what it was really saying.

What About John 3:16?

I will summarize to keep this article from getting too wordy.

  • Loved (agapao) is in the Greek aorist indicative meaning at a single point in the past this event occurred.
  • Not agape but that this was a good event recorded in Genesis 1:31.
  • World is the word (kosmos) which literally means an orderly arrangement and in this case it is creation.
  • The Holy Spirit could have used several different words if He intended for it to convey humanity separate from the total creation.
  • The "whosoever" is an old English phrase and it does not mean a randomness of people but in modern English should be translated - those who will.
  • 1 John 2:2 uses the word kosmos also and if you look closely, this letter was written to believers only and he compares the forgiveness of the kosmos sin problem to our forgiveness.
  • Romans 8:18-22 describes how the creation is looking forward to the day when all believers shall made complete in Christ.

God gave us our languages and is the Author of its grammar; why we choose to ignore His exact written Word is beyond me.

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David Campbell (author) from Winlock, Washington on October 24, 2015:

How do you know that the Samaritan was not a chosen vessel for he was a "half-breed" Jew? The term Christian only came into existence after the resurrection of Christ and I have a feeling that he would be a part of the redeemed in heaven. You seem to have a deep seated prejudice and a misunderstanding of what the term Christian actually means. I cannot make it any more clear, the rest is up to the Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind. Western white does NOT in any shape or form denote Christianity, actually quite the opposite. I don't care if you are black, brown, yellow, red or white; a CHRISTIAN is known only by their relationship to the Savior, Jesus Christ.

P.S. If you continue to use "JC" in the future I will deny your comments from my site as I have allowed them up to this point so others may learn from our exchanges. Christian or lost; only you would known that Truth concerning you alone as is the case with every human being period. May God bless.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on October 24, 2015:

The Samaritan was of a different religion, everyone knows that, but was held as a holy example by JC. The Samaritan was not a Christian and was not "redeemed" as you put it yet was held up as a good and perfect person. You can't rationalize out of it with weak reasons.

The more you write the more we can see how narrow your definition is becoming of who exactly is "elected". White? Certain Christians only?

David Campbell (author) from Winlock, Washington on October 24, 2015:

Wrong and very wrong, but that is OK. The Samaritan was not a "Jew" and Jesus Christ not JC, demonstrated to the Jews the true principle of the godliness that God commanded them to observe and is a great lesson to the self-righteous crowd of today. If believing that a Christian is a saint and by biblical definition are the ONLY Saints then you might have some ground to stand on. Redeemed Jews are saints, redeemed Egyptians are saints and any ethnic you can think that are redeemed by the blood of Jesus are Saints. There is only one Way and one day when the Saints are gathered in heaven, I probably will be part of a minority of "white" Western" Europeans among billions of fellow Saints.

P.S. It is not healthy to be flippant with the name above all names and the ONLY name by which men may be saved. May God bless!

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on October 24, 2015:

Your views are very idiosyncratic and ethnocentric. Think of the story of the good Samaritan : he wasn't even a Christian but has been eternally upheld by JC Himself. Get it?

David Campbell (author) from Winlock, Washington on October 23, 2015:

After a long day at work and thinking about your comment, I believe I have to clarify a point. Christians are NOT a race or people but those who have redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. This includes "saints" from every nationality for a saint is a Christian and a Christian is a saint. Per the Word of God, no one can claim "sainthood" outside of Jesus Christ. Certain religions can say all they want but only God can make a saint. There may be people who do saintly works trying to earn their way to God's grace but as Jesus said "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and NO man can come to the Father but through Me." America is no longer a Christian nation, Europe is basically dead spiritually and I don't know that much about Australia. I believe over 90% of the world's true saints reside in Asian, the Middle East, and Africa and that is why I believe when the rapture does occur, the Western cultures will affected very little. Because of your great comments, I am going to hopefully produce a blog on the Defense of election by tomorrow evening. Remember iron sharpens iron and we all need to be rid of some our rough edges. May God bless.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on October 22, 2015:

I see. You are limiting "election" only to Christians. How sad.

Many saints from different cultures and times laid down their lives for others. Don't limit yourself to one scripture.

Kiss andTales on October 22, 2015:

Really from the scriptures we are reminded

Joh 15:13 No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his life in behalf of his friends.

We can agree that Jesus covered human lives not

Just a small group of people but Generation including us.

That love is the greatest because it covers those sleeping in death and those living.

How many people would die for their friends , and

and die for people who will not believe in them or hate his cause and purpose.

Jesus is the only valued person to have loved us until death .

David Campbell (author) from Winlock, Washington on October 22, 2015:

It serves NO purpose other than to elevate the self-righteous pride in someone who is deceived at best for there is NO love of Jesus evident in that kind of action. Similar to the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14. Proverbs 6:16-17 - God hates a proud look. Humility is the God given outcome of election, any other take, is not of God. May God bless!

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on October 22, 2015:

No what purpose does it serve for others to be banished by someone else who thinks they have been chosen?

David Campbell (author) from Winlock, Washington on October 22, 2015:

1 Corinthians 2:27-29 "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That NO flesh should glory in His presence." I am very pleased God saw me, a fool who once said there was no God, and opened my stone-cold heart and flooded it with the love of Jesus. Remember, education without the presence of the Holy Spirit and His Word, is a path that does not lead one to the Savior.

What purpose does it achieve? Freedom from a proud, self-righteous, self-serving, life style to a life of humility, knowing I did not deserve salvation, that I did NOTHING to merit salvation and in the end I had NOTHING to do with my salvation but be the recipient of God's amazing grace. Jesus never promised an easy path for His own and the intimate knowledge we gain of Him is often through many hard fought struggles and trials. It has been worth it, but I would not like to relive the past 47 years of my Christian walk. May God bless!

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on October 22, 2015:

Blessed are the weak. However the foolish are a different group needing education. I don't think JC said "blessed are the foolish".

Best not to get into topics like who will be saved etc. What purpose does it achieve? None.

David Campbell (author) from Winlock, Washington on October 22, 2015:

It took me a long time to understand the idea of election but when I got serious and studied the concept, the evidence in Scripture is overwhelming. For anyone to say they actually understand election fully is to intimate they understand God fully which is impossible. I don't even know to fathom from eternity past to eternity future but this I do know; I will never fully comprehend God for He is infinite and we are and will always be finite in His presence. The comfort I receive in knowing that His ways and thoughts are not ours gives me peace that He is trustworthy and faithful, something we are not. Why He chose me is beyond me but I do meet the qualifications: weak, foolish and one of the base and despised things of this world. "Do you not know that God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom...?" You are not alone in how you feel. As a side note, I believe the "lucky few" as you put it will number in the billions even before our Lord's return. May God bless.

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on October 21, 2015:

Any attempt to limit God's love to a "lucky" few could be seen as religious bigotry.

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