There are some Christians (a lot of Christians) who believe that Jesus did not die for all of the people in the world but only for those whom God pre-chose.
There are others (again, a number of Christians) who believe God pre-selected those who would believe but only because He, in His perfect power and knowledge, looked ahead in time and knew who would and who would not answer the call to receive salvation. And there are others who believe salvation is like a lost lottery ticket or check, which could otherwise bring great riches, but since it is unclaimed, there are no effectual benefit.
As we learn about humanity and compassion, I hope we will think through what we believe about God, His love and how we should respond in compassion based on what we believe.
There is room for good people to disagree with certain elements of what we believe. God is infinite and when there are some Scriptures that seemingly “conflict but not contradict” with other Scriptures, the result can cause conflict between believers with finite understanding. Those areas certainly provoke thought.
What we can agree with (I hope this threads the needle in what we all believe) is that God loves all people, but love can be in different proportions and with different end results.
A case in point is that I can say I love all of humanity. And yet I love my family more than a stranger, like a man I have seen late at night on the corner of W.S. Young and the expressway. If that were my son or my brother, I would demonstrate my love differently than I do to a man I don’t even know other. And yet he is someone’s son and possibly someone’s brother.
I truly do love this man, but he may see the times I have passed him and may not perceive my love. By comparison to the way I would treat him if he were my son or brother, my “love” could be considered as indifference or even “hatred” because I did not respond.
These next few weeks will be where BELIEVE gets deep, and as we go through this, I hope that our love gets deeper too as we seek to not only love our neighbors as ourselves (Jesus’ second greatest commandment), but also that we love one another as Christ loves us (Jesus’ new commandment).