Question:

Hello friend!

I found something that has been troubling me greatly. Some things have shown me that God does not love everyone and His love is conditional. Growing up in a southern "Bible-belt" church, I grew up learning that God loves everyone unconditionally. But due to recent discovery, apparently God has only selected a few to love and grace with eternal life and the only way to know is if God reveals Himself in His Word. This scares me a lot, because I want to love God and be saved by Him. So, is it true that God hates people and if so, how can He love me?


Answer:

You went from one wrong view to another.

God's preference is that all men would be saved. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (I Timothy 2:3-4). "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). But notice the condition. God loved the world, even in its sin, so much that He offered salvation through His Son, but it requires that people accept His offer by believing in God's Son.

God longs to be gracious to people. "Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him" (Isaiah 30:18). He is patient with people. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). But notice that God is requiring people to change. There is a condition that must be met. "But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who "will render to each one according to his deeds": eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness -- indignation and wrath" (Romans 2:5-8).

God's love is being shown to all men equally. That is because God is just and impartial. "For there is no partiality with God" (Romans 2:11). Everyone is given the same chance, whether righteous or wicked. But everyone also has to meet the same conditions. "Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous" (Romans 5:18-19). Notice that the free gift came to all men, so that through Jesus' obedience many (not all) will be made righteous. The fact of the matter is that though the gift exists, not everyone will accept it.

The view that God selects who gets His gift of salvation is false because it would require God to be partial -- everyone would not be treated in exactly the same way and held to the same criteria. See: Did Jesus die only for the saved?