Dr Kevin Blackwell

Information on Church Health, Disciple Making, Ministry Leadership, theology and Spiritual Growth

If God Is Loving, Why Doesn’t He Save Everyone?

I believe the question, “Shouldn’t God save everyone?” is the wrong question. The correct question is, “Why should God save anyone?” This often asked question from skeptics, doubters, and curious seekers is based on faulty assumptions about God. It is also based on an anthropomorphic view of God which sees God only in humanistic ways. In other words, this is what we humans believe that God ought to do because it seems right to us. The faulty assumption of the question implies that God is held to some type of cosmic moral standard which says He must find a way to force his redemptive love on every person, even those who reject it? While God is over the universe, his soteriology is not universalistic. When humans ask big questions about God, we often begin on shaky ground as we seek to understand Him based on our very limited temporal, finite ways of thinking. See Isaiah 55: 8-9.

In relation to this question many have pondered why a loving God would send a good person to hell. Yet, the question reveals the very heart of the human problem; is there really such a thing as a good person? Because human depravity is ubiquitous due to the willful choice of sin, there has been a pervasive rebellion of humankind against their creator since the beginning of time. Mankind has consistently revealed a hostility against God and the reason can be found in the following verses:

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” Romans 5:12.

“So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through on act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one that many will be made righteous” Romans 5:18-19.

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” Ephesians 2:1-2.

All people are born totally depraved. We grossly overestimate our “goodness” especially in light of God’s holiness and righteousness.  C.S. Lewis writes, “It is not a question of God ‘sending us’ to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will be hell unless it is nipped in the bud.” -The Great Divorce.

In his book, The Great Divorce, Lewis gives a parable of a bus load of people from hell who come to outskirts of heaven and are urged to leave behind the sins that have trapped them in their eternal state, but they refuse.

Tim Keller writes of this in The Reason for God:

The people in hell are miserable, but Lewis shows us why. We see raging like unchecked flames their pride, their paranoia, their self-pity, their certainty that everyone else is wrong, that everyone else is an idiot. All their humility is gone, and thus so is their sanity. They are utterly, finally locked in a prison of their own self-centeredness, and their pride progressively expands into a bigger and bigger mushroom cloud. They continue to go to pieces forever, blaming everyone but themselves. That is why it is a travesty to picture God casting people into a pit who are crying “I’m sorry, Let me out.” The people on the bus from hell in Lewis’s parable would rather have their freedom, but in a supreme and tragic irony, their choice has ruined their own potential for greatness. Hell is, Lewis states, “the greatest monument to human freedom.” All God does in the end is give people what they want the most, which often includes freedom from Him. What could be fairer?

Has it ever occurred to you that after Adam and Even sinned God was under no obligation to search them out, question them and offer hope? Yet, that is exactly what He did.

Genesis 3:15, I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This is known as the protoevangelium—the first gospel. God did not have to leave a remnant when he destroyed creation in Genesis 6, but He did and the ark has now become a typological reference to Christ, the one in which we can enter and find life from the curse. God did not have to bring a seed from Abraham after his catastrophic attempt to manipulate God’s will with the birth of Ishmael, but He did.  God did not have to lead the people to a promised land after the first generation sinned and complained, but He did.  God did not have to make a covenant with David for eternal lineage after his failure with Bathsheba, but He did. God did not have to bring Israel and Judah back home from exile after their willful rejection of Him, but He did. And God did not have to come and enter our story as the incarnate Jesus, born of a woman, suffering at the hands of His own creation, killed and buried….but He did. And why did He? Because He is the essence of grace, mercy, love and kindness.

Titus 3:4-7 states it well, “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”

1 Peter 1:3 states, “Because of His abundant Mercy He has begotten us again to a Living Hope.” The source of our Living Hope is the Mercy of God. Peter calls it an “abundant mercy.”  Make no mistake about it, abundant mercy is based on the abundant love that God has for us.

Our sin separated us from a relationship with God, but it never separated us from His love.  He has never stopped loving us and He never will.  John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world, so He gave us His son.

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions” Ephesians 2:4-5.

“He saved us, not because of righteous things that we have done, but because of His mercy” Titus 3:5.

The prophet Micah said, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy” Micah 7:18.

In Eden there were two trees of significance, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life.  Of the tree of life creation could freely eat and live, of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil creation could not eat and remain eternally alive.  Man chose disobedience and lost the eternal relationship that God had established, but I want to remind you that the tree of life was also there, and its roots ran deep into the abundant mercy of God.  Though man lost access to that tree of life, the Father planted another tree of life on a hill called Calvary and placed upon that tree the blessed Holy perfect Jesus. In Genesis 3 the Father said, “get out,” but because of His mercy He sent His son, placed him on the tree of Calvary so He could offer us the gospel invitation, “come home.” As part of the great inheritance and living hope that Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 1:3-4 we find in Revelation 22:2 these words, “In the middle of its (heaven) street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Revelation 22:2. God’s mercy is the soil in which the tree of life grows.

So again, the real question is “Why should anyone be saved?” The answer is so simple that some reject it, Because God would rather send His Son through hell than bear to see any of you go there. If there are 100 steps between the lost person and God, He has taken 99 of them. God’s invitation to all of humanity is to take that one step, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” Romans 10:13. So, what are you waiting on? What hinders you from taking that step?


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About Me

I have been in ministry for 29 years serving in various capacities including senior pastor, youth pastor, education and associate pastor. I serve at Samford University as Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the Ministry Training Institute. I am co-author of the book, Cultivate Disciple Making. I received his Bachelors Degree from Samford, a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Master of Theology from the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His doctoral work was in the area of church health and revitalization.  I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation thesis is An Analysis and Critique of Disciple Making Within Ecclesial Movements in the United States, 1970-2020, With a View Toward Implementing a Faithful New Testament Missio Ecclesia


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