Maurice Roberts has a wonderful chapter about being a balanced Christian in his book, The Christian’s High Calling, that shows the need for all believers to be balanced in our views of doctrine. Roberts writes:
To push any point of doctrine just too far is to upset the biblical balance and harmony of the truth. Stress the transcendence (remoteness) of God at the expense of his immanence (nearness) and you become a deist. Stress the immanence at the expense of the transcendence and you become a pantheist.
Just a quick explanation, a deist is someone who believes in the existence of God, but only to the point that He created the world and then stepped back from creation to let it run its course. Deists reject supernatural revelation and therefore reject the miracles of Christ, including the resurrection of Christ. Deists have morality, but no real salvation.
A pantheist believes that god is everywhere and in everything. God is not personal, but everything is identical with god. In other words, the universe and god are the same. For the pantheist, since their god is not personal, there is no real sin against him, and no need for atonement. Genesis 1-2 show that God did indeed create all things, but that He is distinct and separate from creation itself. He holds all things together, but those things are not who He is.
Back to Roberts:
The true doctrine is poised in equilibrium between both immanence and transcendence. This fine balance is to be seen at every point in the biblical presentation of each doctrine. The need for balance must be observed at every point. We are told of a God who is holy and yet also gracious. God is one in essence, yet three in Person. Christ is God, and yet also man. The Scriptures are the Word of God, but they are also the words of inspired men. Christ is the Savior of the elect, yet he is preached as available for all. We are saved by grace, yet we must observe God’s law. As Christians we wait for Christ’s return at any time, yet we must study to be industrious and to earn our own living here and now.
These are words that we really need to heed. Far too many latch on to one or two truths about God, then take off willy-nilly without any regard for the fullness of what Scripture says about our God. We see this most regularly with the abuse that God is love without any reference to His holiness. The Scripture declares His holiness far more than it does His love for His elect. Not that this diminishes His love for His elect, but simply stating that He only truly loves His elect helps us see the problem. We are told by many misguided leaders that God loves everyone equally, yet the Scripture never declares such. The reason it never declares such is because of His holiness. All of mankind is evil as God states the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth (Genesis 8:21). God’s holiness prevents Him from looking the other way when it comes to our sin. His nature is such, that He must deal with sin. He does so in two ways: through pardon that comes through Christ, or through eternal judgment.
The point is that God is holy and we all have offended Him. So to think that His Fatherly love extends to all mankind without regard for who they are (in Christ or of the kingdom of darkness), is a false assumption. This balance that we need is so shouted down that to bring it up in polite company is to invite institutional derision and hatred. To even suggest that God might not love everyone is high treason in our religious courts today. but we must not buy into the lie.
The very God who declared to us that He so loved the world, also made it very clear that no one sees the kingdom of God unless the Spirit moves in such a person and that those who reject the God who has been declared in Scripture have His just condemnation on them already (see the entirety of John 3).
So I have a simple test for those who maintain that God loves everyone equally. How do you respond to the following verse:
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5).
Before you discount it by saying that it is merely the Old Testament, remember that in Paul’s treatment of our total depravity in Romans 3, he quotes the Old Testament to make his point.
Yes, God is a God of love. In fact, we cannot begin to understand what true love is until we come to the God of Scripture. But He is also holy. Until we are willing to proclaim His holiness with equal fervor as His love, we will never faithfully declare the truth of the gospel to this lost generation.