Thursday, December 11, 2008

Does God only love Christians?

We are in the advent season (as it is known in many religious settings), and this current Sunday is to be the Sunday of "love." With this in mind, as we think about love, I wanted to tackle the question "Does God only love Christians?" This is an important question, because people believe Christianity to be so limiting, and the God of Christians to be so narrow and unloving (since He condemns people to hell).
The truth is that God loves everyone. In the book of 1 John, in the New Testament, we are told that "God is love." So the essence of God is love itself. If God's essence is love, then the nature of God is to love. The Bible also tells us that God does not want evil to befall anyone.
The most profound scripture is a very well known one; John 3:16, which says: "For God so loved the WORLD that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God loves the world; everyone. And because of this life, He allowed His Son, Jesus, to come to this earth and live amongst His people. That is what Christmas is all about; God's love; God's coming to us; and ultimately Jesus dying on the cross so that we might not be penalized for our wrongdoings.
It seems that the world wants to live without accountability. They want a God who loves, but who doesn't punish. If you were to look at families where the children misbehave without any punishment, you see a family in chaos, and children who have no sense of right and wrong. These children not only wreak havoc in their families, but in the world around them.
God doesn't only love Christians, God loves the whole world. God created the world and said that it was good. It is not God who put us in the position we are in, we did that on our own; we got ourselves lost from God and God's love. God's love is there for all to receive, they just have to reach out to God and accept it. As Romans 3:23 says, "For the penalty of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ." Let us grab hold of this gift. The best gift you can have this Christmas!