I asked a few questions in my last post about God. And I got back a couple of answers, but I’m afraid a lot of people won’t like some of the answers I have to offer. Let’s look at it:
- Does God love everyone? Well, that’s a trick question really. Every creature on this planet is His creation, and as such God does love every single one of us, no matter how wretched and sinful. At the same time, there is plenty of scripture to attest that God has a special love for those whom He calls to himself. Romans 3:19 (quoting Malachi 1:3) is a perfect example: “As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’” Psalm 11:5 says “The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” Telling the unrepentant they’re loved unconditionally by God is on one hand accurate, but on the other hand wholly misleading. We see love in human terms – when you love someone you’ll serve them, you won’t treat them in certain ways, your actions with them are limited by your love for them. God, however, is unlimited by His love. In other words, His righteous and unconditional love for us does not hinder Him from sending rain on the just and the unjust. His ever-pursuing love is reserved for the ones He has called to Himself though.
- Is salvation available to all people? Hmmm… another trick question. There are Biblical scholars on both sides of this, meaning there is scripture to support both a yes and a no answer. I’d suggest, however, that the strongest Scripture lies on the side of No. I think my understanding of it is correct, but I welcome you to search God’s Word on your own and come to your own conclusion. Here’s how I see it. First off, man is completely sinful. Man is so sinful that he is incapable of choosing God on His own. God has to first draw us to Himself, otherwise we cannot choose Him. (1 John 4:19, John 6:44, 65, Rom. 8:29-30) He chooses who to call based purely on His righteous and just will, not based on anything we can do. The flip side is that there are others who He does not call to Himself and without that call, they cannot be brought into a redemptive relationship with Him. (1 Pet. 2:7-9) Therefore, salvation is not available to all.
- Does God get angry? And if so, at whom? God has a wholly righteous anger that we usually prefer not to think about. It’s just more pleasant to think of God as a warm fuzzy teddy bear sort of god who’s full of all things pleasant. And warm and fuzzy. His anger is directed not just at child molesters and mass murderers. Look at Isaiah 1. God gets angry when His people turn away from His will, when they reject His statutes. I’m afraid I’m guilty of that – I ignore the things that break His heart while I focus on whether or not I caught the last episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Does that mean I’m an object of His wrath? I’m afraid so, and woe to him who doesn’t fear God! At the same time, I find solace that I’m also an object of mercy before an ever-loving God. These are things I can’t take lightly, though it’s hard to keep them in mind when I’m surrounded by Tivo, Nordstrom’s semi-annual shoe sale, and other mundane things that attract my attention.
- Does God hear all prayers? According to Isaiah 59:2 our iniquities have separated us from God so much so that He doesn’t hear our prayers. (That is why we need His grace to redeem us and forgive our sins, so that He will listen to our prayers)
- Is God jealous? Yes, He expects our first and our best. Nothing else will do. If we love our spouse more than we love God, He is offended by that. If we love our children more, He is offended by that. Again, it’s easy to think of God as a friendly Santa Claus type with a jolly grin and arms open to all, but I’m afraid our culture – and even our Christian culture and our seeker-friendly churches – reduces God to a mere fraction of who He really is. He is Holy and righteous. He is jealous and angered by complacency.
You can agree with me on these things or not – it won’t hurt my feelings. My only hope is that if you haven’t considered them, look it up and see what you think after reading the Scriptures. If you’re looking for more verses, I’d point you here. It’s well laid-out and relatively easy to follow, I think.