Q&A: God's Love for the World

God's Love for the World

How does Scripture describe God's benevolence to believers and unbelievers alike?

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Answer

One of the things we need to understand about the heart of God is that he loves the whole world; "For God so loved the world." It is important to acknowledge that those who are united with Christ and adopted as his children enjoy a special love relationship with their heavenly Father. And at the same time, though, there's room in this extravagantly generous heart of God for a passionate love for all his creatures, longing for his children to return to him. And so, even in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes it very clear that we are to love our enemies and not just the insiders close to us, because this is how God is, that he has a care and concern even for those who are adversarial to him. And that is illustrated, Jesus taught, in the way that the sun rises and brings warmth and nourishment to unbelievers and believers alike. And he provides rain for crops to grow for people who do not know him through his Son. And so, these are just illustrations of the magnanimousness of the heart of God. Sometimes we summarize that in the language of common grace, but the heart of God is much bigger than the petty distinctions we sometimes make between, like this group, hate this group; insiders and outsiders. The heart of God is passionately committed to all those he has brought into this world and given life.

Answer by Dr. Glen Scorgie

Dr. Glen Scorgie is Professor of Theology at Bethel Seminary in San Diego