“So it appears, first, that God loves all in some ways (everyone whom he creates, sinners though they are, receives many undeserved good gifts in daily providence), and second, that he loves some in all ways (that is, in addition to the gifts of daily providence he brings them to faith, to new life, and to glory according to his predestinating purpose). This is the clear witness of the Bible” (J.I. Packer, “The Love of God: Universal and Particular,” in “Still Sovereign,” pp. 283-284).
It is true of everyone that “Jesus loves me, this I know…”, in the sense that little children would understand this? Or “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world?” Does he have their best interest at heart?
If God does not actually love everyone in this way, if he loves some and hates others, in an ultimate sense, from the start, are we not misleading children, to teach them this song? If it is false, why should we teach it to them?
“As a matter of fact, I doubt that even Dr. Piper believes what he says and no doubt sincerely thinks he believes. Let him try a little test. The next time he tiptoes into his sons’ bedrooms to pray for them, let him conclude thus: ‘Of course, Lord, I recognize that this may all be a waste of time, since you may hate these kid’s guts.’ I bet he can’t do it. And the reason he can’t do it is that he doesn’t really believe any such thing.”
“Now, the ability to pray one of these approaches doesn’t necessarily make it true. But if you can’t pray it, then you don’t really believe it, even though you may sincerely think that you do.” (L. Van Harten, a letter in “Reformed Journal”)
“[J.I.] Packer … in effect asks whether the proposition, God is love, expresses ‘the complete truth about God.’ By way of answer, he juxtaposes two assertions: ‘“God is love” is not the complete truth about God so far as the Bible is concerned. … “God is love” is the complete truth about God so far as the Christian is concerned.’ [Knowing God, pp. 106-115]. It would seem to follow that either the Bible or the Christian is mistaken.”
“Does Packer want to say that the Christian’s perspective is different than that of the Bible? Clearly not. Packer makes two excellent and very profound points. The first concerns the nature of God’s actions: ‘This is what God does for those he loves–the best He can; and the measure of the best that God can do is omnipotence!’ The second concerns a condition of God’s own happiness, which ‘will not be complete,’ says Packer, ’till all His beloved ones are finally out of trouble…’ Accordingly, Packer leaves us with exactly three possibilities: Either (a) all persons will eventually be reconciled to God, or (b) God’s own happiness will never be complete, or (c) God does not love all created persons. Now Packer clearly rejects (a) and (b), and that leaves only (c), namely, that God does not love all created persons.”
“So far as I can tell, moreover, Packer sees all this clearly, though he fails to make it explicit. His confusing caption–‘“God is love” is not the complete truth about God so far as the Bible is concerned’–is merely his way of opting for (c) without calling too much attention to it. He probably felt a burden to express himself with sensitivity and caution on a difficult matter, lest he put off his readers with a clear statement of his own position.” (Thomas Talbott)
And then we see Jesus weeping over Jerusalem, was this only a show? Did he not really love them, these people who were about to perish in rebellion?
Then we hear Jesus, the next day, as he was walking up Golgotha, saying to the women who were behind him, “Don’t weep for me, weep for yourselves, and for your children.”
I think those children were included in the people Jesus wept for.
Jesus does love the little children, all the children of the world…
And is love in the sense of food and clothing really love at all?
I read somewhere of an orphanage, where the infants were being raised with just their basic needs being taken care of, they were fed and clothed and changed, but that was all. And they were listless and unresponsive, because they weren’t … loved.
Acts 14:15-17 “Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. In the past, he let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”
Here common grace (rain and food) is used to indicate that they should repent! The implication would then be that God’s love in providing food to eat shows us his love intended to save us, that the one implies, and demonstrates the other.