Driving down a main boulevard here in our religious community, we observed a billboard above a building with a short message which caught our eye. It read, "God loves ya." We could only conclude that the sign was intended for any that might read it. There were no specifics appended. Simply, "God loves ya," was the message for whosoever would read. Thus, the author of the message must have wanted not only the religious, but drunks, thieves, rapists, drug peddlers, murderers, whoremongers, politicians, and assorted other rouges to feel that God felt about them like their own mothers did, and maybe more.
The Bible says all men are liars. This seems to be especially true when they preach from billboards.
We seriously doubt that any honest and sensible Bible reader believes that the message of God's supposed love for all mankind will stir dead sinners to turn to God for mercy. Dead sinners don't even know they need mercy. A few rewards, sprinkled in with justice, will do them just fine. And we doubt too, that the author of the billboard message knows much of that supposed love of God that he would pass off on the world at large.
To a sinner born from above, the love of God is the sweetest message his heart has ever entertained. But he did not learn it from a billboard. And when this truth comes to the heart it brings with it the knowledge of God's love as well as the experience of it.
"And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." (John 17:26) Not only does the blessed Father love the heirs of promise as He loves His only begotten Son; as Christ is in them the hope of glory, so is His love. Can anyone possibly believe that such grand love could be in one, and yet they be so ignorant of it that they would need a billboard message to enlighten them of this wondrous favor? "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (I John 4:9) Two words in this text will settle the extent and direction of the love of God as John saw it. "Us" and "we." God's love was manifested toward "us" that "we" might live through Him. This construction has not a trace of universalism in it! The "us" and "we" embrace only the remnant according to the election of grace. To offer this love on the billboards of Arminian presumption has no divine approbation. God's love extends without measure, and is limited only by His sovereign design. But that it is limited allows of no controversy. If no one else does, Esau stands as evidence to the fact of limited love. A billboard with "God loves ya" would only be a mockery to Jacob's twin brother. Volumes more might be written to support the limits of this endearing message, but we are persuaded the saints will hear and understand without our extending the issue.
"The lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee."(Jer.31:3) Clearly, the Lord needed no billboard to draw Jeremiah. Neither, we are persuaded, will He need one to draw the elect today, tomorrow, or forever. Lovingkindness will summons all that have been loved with an everlasting love. To attempt to persuade others that "God loves ya" is at best ignorance run up to seed; and at worst an abomination.
"Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine." (Ezek.15:8) Yes, the time of love will come, when the Lord passes by to find His sheep. Then they will be covered with garments, clean and white. He will make known to them the everlasting covenant, and they will be His; and all this without the need of billboards, or their messages of universal charity.
Does God love everybody? To the law and the testimony. He loves His family.
Volume 5, No. 3
May - June, 1991