God Cares for Both Believers and Unbelievers

How does Scripture describe Gods benevolence to believers and unbelievers alike?

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Scripture speaks of God's love and care and benevolence to believer and also unbeliever alike. Now, the way God loves and shows his care towards each is different. To the believer, all of God's promises, all of God's grace, all of his mercy and love is given to us in Christ Jesus so that all of his promises are "yes and amen." We have his Spirit. We have the gift of adoption, our justification. You think of all of the outworking of salvation, all of that is God's love, grace and benevolence towards us as his people. Romans 8 is really important here, that even in the midst of suffering and difficulties, as we await the coming of the Lord Jesus, that nothing separates us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, that all of God's promises are sure, that we are more than conquerors as we await the coming of the Lord Jesus, that we are heirs together with him as we await all of that still to come.

Now, what about unbelievers? Well, unbelievers also experience something of God's benevolence and God's love. Now, they're not experiencing it in the way of salvation. We do call unbelievers to salvation, to repent and believe the gospel. But if they remain unbelievers, they do still experience God's, what we call his "common grace," his grace that comes in sustaining the universe. It goes all the way back to the Noahic covenant where God has promised that, until the end, seedtime and harvest, summer and winter will continue, that the giving of food, the giving of rain, the giving of care to them is displayed abundantly in preserving some of the structures of God's creation and family and in government and in order. I mean, all of this shows God's care towards both believer and unbeliever alike. And so, all of this speaks of God's love for, certainly, his people, his children, but also even unbelievers as he cares for them, calls out to them as the church ministers to them, and we see this abundantly through redemptive history as we await the coming of the end. So, all of those are ways that God's love and care is displayed to both believer and unbeliever alike.

Answer by Dr. Stephen J. Wellum

Dr. Stephen J. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.