(Article for publication week of 9-14-2011 AD)
“Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13). I realise that many of you will be surprised to read this week’s title and our text. I also realise that this article will bring me scorn and ridicule from many. Some of you are probably surprised that this text is in the Bible, or that any would even pose the question, “Does God love everybody?”
Contrary to popular opinion (for which we care little), God does not love everybody. The Bible is plain, “Esau have I hated.” Nor is this an isolated text, for we read in Psalm 11:5, “the Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence, His soul hateth.” Also, we read in Proverbs 6:19 that God hates those who sow discord among brethren. Note well, that these texts say that God hates the persons of the wicked, not just their sins. There is a trite little saying parroted around that says that God “hates sin, but loves sinners.” This little saying has a measure of truth in it, for God does love elect sinners that He will bring to repentance, but in the mouths of false prophets, it is a most dangerous little saying, for it conveys to the minds of most people that God loves them though they despise Him and His ways and His Son and His grace. Many will end up in hell parroting, “God hates sin, but loves sinners.”
Now, I declare unto you that the false doctrine of “God loves everybody” is at the root of much false profession, false teaching and also much of the social ills of our time and place. Not only is this false teaching contrary to scripture, but it is the root of much noxious fruit. Multitudes having heard that God loves everybody, quite naturally presume that God loves them, since they are a somebody included in everybody. And so, (though they may not actually say it), reason within themselves that everything will be all right in eternity. “Since God loves me” they think, “He will probably forgive my sins and keep me out of hell, even though I love my sins and refuse to repent and to bow to the Lordship of Christ and come to God through Him.” Sinner, wake up and read my text, and come to grips with this fact, that God does not love everybody.
Now, there is a sense in which God does love everybody, and this is in no way contrary to what I have written thus far. God does love all men in the sense that He treats all men right. God treats all men according to His law. Those who are now in hell are being treated right. And when God sends you to hell, my friend, He will be treating you right. God is treating you right at this moment. He is letting you breathe His air. He lets you eat His food and drink His water. He lets you enjoy His sunshine. He gives you all these good gifts. In this sense, God does love everybody.
But my text speaks of salvation, and sovereign election, not the general benevolence of God. God blessed Esau with much material prosperity, but Esau found no place of repentance. God did not love Esau as he loved Jacob, with His saving love. God did something for Jacob that He did not do for Esau. God did something for Peter that He did not do for Judas. God loves His people with an everlasting love, but His everlasting indignation is set upon the reprobate. The Bible says, ”Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
Now, I know many of you are now thinking, “what about John 3:16?” Lord willing, we will take that up next time.