Bobby: "Pastor, does God love everybody?" Pastor: "Yes, Bobby, even while we were still sinners He demonstrated His love for us. Bobby: "How come it says in Romans 9 that He hated Esau?" Pastor: "The Bible says that God hates all of us who sin, so since everyone sins (Romans 3:23), God both hates us because we are sinners and loves us in spite of the fact that we are sinners. Bobby: “So why did God hate Esau before he had done anything bad?” Pastor: "Lets look at Romans 9 and see if God explains it. Bobby: “Here it is Pastor, Romans 9:13 say it was written in the OT somewhere that Jacob God loved and Esau God hated. Pastor: “Bobby, do you see that tiny little “a” just before the word Jacob? That tells us the concordance in that narrow column next to the verse gives us the reference to the OT passage. Look at the column, and find the number 13, indicating the verse, and see what the “a” referenced.” Bobby: “Wow, this is fun, real bible study! Pastor it says Mal. 1:2. And I know that Malachi is the last book in the OT. Here I found it. Here is what it says, “I have loved you, says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? declares the LORD, Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.” Pastor I still do not get it! Pastor: “Notice the “you” in the phrase, I have loved you? The “you” refers to the nation of Israel, who doubts God’s love. God tells them that they should compare His love of their nation to His hate of Edom, the nation born of Esau. Relatively speaking God hated Esau. Sometimes the Bible uses strong words to highlight a contrast. For example in Genesis 29:30-33, we see that Jacob loved Rachel more that he loved Leah, so much more that scripture says Leah was hated. So we see that since God loves those He has chosen to be a member of His people more than those chosen to fulfill another purpose such as Esau, He can describe the difference in terms of love and hate. But we should not doubt that God loved us even when were sinners, He just loves us way more when we are holy and blameless in Christ. Bobby: “Oh I get it now Pastor, God loved Jacob more than Esau, and to show how much more, scripture says God hated Esau. So how does God show His love to sinners, those who are still part of the world, part of fallen mankind. Pastor: "Well, he gives everybody rain and sunshine, and he blesses the people of the earth with a conscience so they know right from wrong, and he has given them many gifts which they use to make the world a better and safer place to live. But most important of all, remember that John 3:16 says God so loved the world – and this refers to everybody, and we are all sinners – that He gave is Son so that whoever believes in His shall not perish but have eternal life. Bobby: “Ok, but if He loves everyone, why does He not save everyone, He could because He is all powerful.” Pastor: "Yes, Bobby, but His purpose is to choose for Himself a people for His glory. So when we repent and put our trust in Christ, we fulfill God’s purpose for our creation, we bring God glory. If God compelled everyone to come to faith, it would not fulfill His purpose. He has made a covenant of love with us, He has demonstrated His love for us, through Christ, and if we trust in Christ and love Christ with all our heart, God will keep His covenant and choose us to become part of His chosen people.” Bobby: But why didn’t God put the gospel in the mind of everyone, like in a vision, so that everyone would have the opportunity to obtain mercy through faith in Christ?” Pastor: God’s plan of using born again believers to spread the gospel, to make disciples of all nations provides those in Christ with a job, the ministry of reconciliation as ambassadors of Christ. We earn rewards, eternal rewards, when we let God use us to help bring others into the eternal kingdom. Could God have chosen another plan? Perhaps. But we as servants are called to carry out God’s chosen plan, not try and invent another plan where we avoid sacrificing and sharing in the suffering of Christ. Bobby: "Is it love for God to give people good things for a few years to make them feel comfortable and worthwhile, and then send them to hell?" Pastor: "Those who die in unbelief face perfect justice in the afterlife, so providing justice for all is a form of love for all.” Bobby: "Is it love to let someone experience something good they will remember forever and always hate God for, because that good thing they loved more than forgiveness?" Pastor: "Bobby that is a very important question!" In Romans we learn that everyone is without excuse, because an awareness of God arises from what He has made. And everyone has a conscience, so when people treat others differently than they treat themselves; they violate the law written on their heart. So as they are suffering for their misdeeds, they will regret not living right, and if they heard the gospel, not repenting and trusting in Christ. See Luke 16:19-31 to learn what the actual attitude of those in Hades will be. Bobby: "O.K., Pastor. Did Jesus die for everybody?" Pastor: "Yes, He gave His life as a ransom for all." Bobby: "If Jesus died for everybody, why isn't everybody going to heaven?" Pastor: "Bobby, as I explained already, Christ dying for everyone provides the means of salvation for everyone, but in order to receive the reconciliation, we must trust in and be devoted to Christ, and then God keeps His covenant of love and has mercy on us." Bobby: "Well, Pastor, you told me that Jesus died for everybody, and that only those who accept him will be saved. So, this means Jesus' death and resurrection cannot save us of itself, but something more is needed, and that something more is what we do by accepting him. For those who do not accept Jesus, they will perish. That means that Jesus' dying for them cannot help them. In fact, it means that Jesus' work for them was a miserable failure. On the other hand, those who accept him make his work real by their acceptance—and they save his work from being a failure. Without us, Jesus, and his work of salvation—would be doomed! If Jesus cannot save us without the permission we give of our own free will, then we are the real saviors, and Jesus is the one we save! Wow! What would he ever do without us?!” Pastor: "Bobby, I see that someone has been filling your head with falsehoods. Do not be led astray by the clever stories of men. The reason only those who believe in Him will be saved is that is God’s plan of salvation, whoever believes in Him shall not perish. You know John 3:16 don’t you, Bobby. Do not let anyone tell you differently. Jesus dying for everyone does not help those who die in unbelief, but it does provide the means for them to believe and be saved. Everyone that is saved is saved by Jesus, by the grace of God and not by the will of man. His work of the cross was a complete success; God reconciled all things to Himself. God desires all men to be saved according to His purpose and plan, not according to some fiction made up by men, in a misguided effort to change the gospel.” Bobby: "Pastor." Pastor: "Yes, Bobby." Bobby: "Are you certain about what you just said to me?" Pastor: " What do you think, Bobby?" Bobby: “You believe what you say, and I am grateful because you have opened my eyes and given me much to consider. I praise God for Pastors that care about the truth and care about bringing the truth to lost sinners like me.” Pastor: Thanks Bobby, God has given us His word and we should live by it. Bobby: "Pastor, I have one last question. When God put Abraham to sleep, was he telling him what he thought of his human responsibility?" Pastor: Where did you get that silly idea? Let’s look at what God actually says. Do you know where the Book of Genesis is located in the Bible? Bobby: Yes, it is the first book, the one that lays the foundation for the rest of God’s word. And I even know that the account of Abraham is somewhere in the middle of the book!” Pastor: Great Bobby, lets skim through the middle and see if we can find where Abram fell asleep and saw a vision from God. Here it is, Chapter 15:12-16. Abram has put his trust in God and God has credited it with righteousness, but Abram asks God how he will know that he will possess it. God gave him a vision and a sign, the oven and flaming torch. So God displayed His love for Abraham, and made a covenant with him. So God was telling Abraham so Abraham would know his descendents would inherit the Promised Land. The passage records God’s blessings toward Abraham after He credited His faith as righteousness, reinforcing the importance of our responsibility to listen and learn from God. Bobby: Thanks Pastor, I have sure learned a lot, but the most import thing seems to be to trust in what God says, rather than in what men say God says. See you Sunday, and try not to spit into the mike.