~ A place to find answers to gnawing spiritual questions ~
Question: Understanding the depths of God's love seems almost impossible. Does God love everyone the same? I know He loves the sinner and hates the sin, but what about those who do terrible things? Does God love me as much as He loved others who have gone astray (Hitler, Charles Manson, Bin Laden)? God is love, but can we with human minds comprehend His total love?
Answer: It seems to me that you are making a statement as well as asking a question. As you imply, our human minds are finite, and God is infinite. "There is no searching of His understanding" (Romans 11:33-36, Isaiah 40:28). Paul writes that the Love of Christ passes knowledge. (Ephesians 3:19). We can increase in our understanding of God's love, but we will not understand it fully until we are resurrected, when we shall know as we are known.
It seems to me that you are making a statement as well as asking a question. As you imply, our human minds are finite, and God is infinite. "There is no searching of His understanding" (Romans 11:33-36, Isaiah 40:28). Paul writes that the Love of Christ passes knowledge (Ephesians 3:19). We can increase in our understanding of God's love, but we will not understand it fully until we are resurrected, when we shall know as we are known.
The question you are asking is also a difficult one. You ask whether God loves the sinner as much as He loves the believer. God's love is infinite, as we confess. God has expressed His love for the people of this world through the cross of Calvary. His infinite love is bound to that sacrifice. Through that expression of God's infinite love, reconciliation, redemption, and total forgiveness of sin is made available to all of humanity, including the very worst of sinners.
Though God yearns to save all, as in His invitation, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow: though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18); He does not violate our power of choice. It is "Whosoever will."
Perhaps we can say it like this: though God's love toward the sinner and the saint is infinite, His relationship to the saint and the sinner are different. In the case of the sinner, He reaches out in heartbroken love to him or her, and brings to bear upon that person whatever influences He can without violating his or her power of choice. As in the case of the prodigal son in Luke 15, as soon as the prodigal said, "I will arise," and then began his journey toward his father, the father ran toward him, and received him wholeheartedly. Read the story of the prodigal son. It expresses God's love toward the lost sinner.
Toward the saint, He expresses His infinite love in a loving fellowship toward His sons and daughters. As we continue in our new life and loving fellowship, we grow and learn in our understanding of God's love.
Concerning those who are gross violators of God's laws, what God will do with them on the day of judgment will be the result of their own choices, and not God's choice. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But because God is just, He is obligated to punish sin as the Supreme Ruler of the universe.
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This page was last updated August 21, 2010.
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