What does it mean when John writes that God is love? 1 John 4:8.
I know what he does not mean. Love is not God. Just because God is love, does not mean that love is God. A very important distinction to make. I have come across talk of a book coming out in Grand Rapids. Since this is merely talk I am hearing, I will not include the author’s name or the title of book, maybe when it is released and I read it I wll discuss more, but for now I would like to write about the talk.
People are excited about this book because the author supposes that no one is going to Hell. This assumption is brought about by this passage that God is love, and if God is love then, in the end, love wins. If love wins in the end, and God shows no partiality, then everyone will be saved regardless. This thought tract is quite detrimental to the Gospel message actually. Jesus himself spoke of hell as a real place with real people suffering there, John writes about those living in darkness forever, and so on. There is enough Scriptural evidence to believe that hell is real, eternal, and it will have people in it. Maybe that is for another post.
This message of universalism is one filled with false hope. Of course, I wish that it were true that everyone would be saved. Though I cannot hope for it. A hope is something I rest in God’s hands because of the promises he has made through his revealed Word. A wish is my own desire. I desire it to be so, that everyone will be saved. But Scripture is rather clear that not everyone will be saved. Daniel 12:2; Matthew 5:22; Mark 9:44; Luke 16: 19-26; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:9-15. I would advise anyone to read these and study them.
The doctrine of hell maybe harsh, but it is the Truth. The way we see the truth is by believing that God’s Word is exactly that. We cannot allow our sympathies to over rule what God has done. I have been told that it is unloving to send people to hell. This is true on our own standards, not God’s. There is nothing more loving for you to do than to tell your neighbor of the saving work of Jesus Christ that leads to everlasting life. If we fail to tell someone about Christ, than we have damned them to hell, not God. It is our loving duty to spread the Word that Jesus saves. Matthew 28:16-20.
It is true that God is love, but God is also Just, and Holy, and Righteous. We cannot separate the eternal qualities of God. God is love, but God is God, therefore love does not win in the end…God does.