If I Love Christ There Are Some People I Cannot Love

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Don Fortner 

True Christian love is not universal. It does not extend to all men. The fact is, if I love the Lord Jesus Christ there are some people I cannot love. There is such a thing as a righteous hatred.

Listen to God’s servant David, the man after God’s own heart. He wrote these words under the infallible influence of God the Holy Spirit – “Do not I hate them, O Lord,- that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with a perfect hatred. I count them mine enemies” (Ps. 139:21-22). A reasonable inference from those two verses is that those who are the Lord’s enemies, those who hold our God in contempt, are to be counted as our enemies and held in contempt by us.

Yes, the Lord said for us to love our enemies and to pray for those who despite fully use us. That, by the grace of God, I can and will do. If a man abuses me, slanders me and does me harm, I can love him, forgive him, pray for him, and seek the best for him. BUT OUR LORD NEVER COMMANDED US TO LOVE HIS ENEMIES! And that is something I cannot do. Elijah held the prophets of Baal in comtempt. The Apostle Paul pronounced a curse of irreversible woe and eternal damnation upon any who came preaching another gospel. John the Beloved forbids us to receive into our homes those who deny the doctrine of Christ, telling us neither to feed them nor wish them well. David hated those who hated his God. And I find that same passion in my heart for the false prophets of our day.

Love for Christ constrains me to hold those in contempt who rob him of his glory as our Redeemer and King. Love for the souls of men compels me to denounce those who preach a false gospel. Love for the church of Christ, the family of God, compels me to despise those who pervert the gospel of Christ. Love for the Lord God constrains me to hate those who deny his sovereignty and despise the gospel of his saving grace and majestic glory.

How can I do otherwise? Those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ are my enemies. If I love Christ I cannot love those who deny the efficacy of his blood. I will not, I cannot cease to denounce and oppose the doctrines of antichrist and those who preach them, whether it comes in the form of papacy or in the form of modern fundamentalism. Loyalty to Christ demands loyalty in opposing his enemies. It would be far easier, and much more reasonable, for me to embrace as my friend a man who had brutally raped and murdered my wife than it would be for me to embrace as my brethren men who are set in opposition to the gospel of the grace and glory of God in Christ.

What about you? Will you continue to embrace as true preachers and brethren men who deny the gospel of God’s electing grace, redemptive glory, and saving power? Will you continue to attend a house of worship where the blood of Christ is despised and the Word of God is trampled under foot? Will you continue to be identified with those who are the enemies of the cross of Christ? I admonish you who love the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel of his grace. Search the scriptures to see what God has revealed about his Son, find a man who is preaching the gospel as it is revealed in the New Testament, and go hear what he has to say. God may just speak to you through him.

HL – http://www.donfortner.com/radio

We are bound to love our own enemies, but we are not bound to love God’s enemies. We are to wish them, as enemies, a complete overthrow; but to wish them, as men, a gracious conversion, that they may obtain God’s pardon, and become his friends, and followers, and servants. C H Spurgeon 

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20 thoughts on “If I Love Christ There Are Some People I Cannot Love

    • Somerset,
      Indeed as you say sobering.

      For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.
      (Proverbs 5:21-23 ESV)

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    • A very clear perspective indeed and one which explains the inevitability of the position the believer will adopt toward those who oppose the grace, sovereignty, glory and power of God.

      It is acceptable to hate those things that God hates; in fact, such justifiable hatred is proof of a right standing with God. “Let those who love the Lord hate evil” (Psalm 97:10).

      Once we begin to understand God’s attributes and to love His character, the more we will become like Him and the more we will hate those things that are contrary to His Word and nature. In addition we will grow in our ability to recognize those whom we cannot love.

      Our Lord Jesus said: “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:22). It is therefore imperative that we determine with utmost caution and discernment according to the Word, exactly who our brother is, lest we be guilty of hating our brother.

      The Scripture (1 John 4:20) declares that a person who consistently claims to be a believer, but who continues to hate a fellow believer, such a person is a liar, and will be judged for that. Surely the same can be said for the person who consistently claims to be a believer, but who continues to love unbelievers, must also be a liar.

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  1. There are people who do not grasp this Biblical truth …..The Scripture (1 John 4:20) declares that a person who consistently claims to be a believer, but who continues to hate a fellow believer, such a person is a liar, and will be judged for that. Surely the same can be said for the person who consistently claims to be a believer, but who continues to love unbelievers, must also be a liar.

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  2. The problem with modern thinking in theological circles is that it is man-centred. It departs from the viewpoint that man is valuable to God and that man is worthy of His mercy & grace, and that is why God loves EVERYONE. It is ingrained humanistic thinking that permeates the modern church. It puts the cart before the horse. It’s basis is that it is all about man. The biblical perspective is that it is all about God. Man is a totally rotten sinner, with a rotten attitude, with a rotten perspective, with a rotten mind and a desperately evil & sick heart, hating God and the things of God, walking on a way of death, actually walking IN death as a ‘walking dead’. God reaches out and gives him life, for no reason other that it is God’s sovereign decision to show mercy on whom He will.

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    • Sommie

      I agree with you. These words from the Holy writ makes it clear ….”The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9

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    • Good words, Sommie, thank you for that perspective. Indeed, throughout most of Romans 3, Paul does make it abundantly clear that natural man has no value before God and is worthy only of eternal punishment before a perfectly Holy God. Most modern theological circles reject these facts. Paul writes that “both Jews and Greeks are all under sin”, which means that man is controlled by his natural tendency to sin.

      What the unregenerate people and the free-will worshipping people refuse to accept is that all people are totally controlled by their selfish, sinful tendencies. A simple illustration of their error would be in that all parents need to teach their children not to be selfish, not to covet what someone else has and not to tell lies, because doing all those things come naturally from the child’s sin nature. I think it was Voddie Baucham who made an (amusing?) remark about the sinfulness of the human baby; he said that it is a good thing that human babies are made small, because they would be “evil” enough to kill their parents, if they were much bigger.

      Scripture tells us clearly how sinful man really is. We read that no one is without sin, no one seeks after God, there is no one who is good, all people’s speech is corrupted by sin, all their actions are corrupted by sin, and they have no fear of God. In opposition to Romans 3:12 which says that “there is none who does good, no not one”, free- willers (Arminians) of the world proclaim that man is not all that bad and that man can influence God by way of their good intentions and deeds.

      While man can do good things judging by human standards, or even try to keep God’s commandments and be regarded as a “good” person by other men, this is all simply an outward show of legalism, the best efforts of which God says, are filthy deeds (Isa 64:6) “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. .” This verse does not say that only our sins are filthy, but that even our absolute best attributes are filthy.

      Man can only be regarded as righteous by God through the Blood of Christ, by His imputed righteousness to those whom God grants that righteousness. It cannot be earned by man’s good deeds, neither does God owe it to man. Grace is not earned or achieved by man, it was earned and achieved on our behalf by our Lord Jesus Christ.

      Thanks again Somerset, for your thought provoking comment.

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  3. Can you explain with an example of what is meant when you say we should not love unbelievers…most of my family members are not believers. I’m trying to understand what that looks like in practice (not loving unbelievers).

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    • Susan

      Here are a few examples from Scripture regarding this:

      Matthew 10:34-39
      (34) “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
      (35) For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
      (36) And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.
      (37) Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
      (38) And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
      (39) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

      Luke 12:53
      (53) They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

      Luke 14:26
      (26) “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

      We are bound to love our own enemies, but we are not bound to love God’s enemies. We are to wish them, as enemies, a complete overthrow; but to wish them, as men, a gracious conversion, that they may obtain God’s pardon, and become his friends, and followers, and servants.

      I do believe that the predicament you are facing with most of your family members, is one which most believers have to struggle with. However, if you think about it carefully, in the light of the words spoken by our Lord in the above passages, it all makes perfect sense to the believer. It is not easy, but the believer knows that. As I said to you in another comment, the truth is either black or white, there are no grey areas. Either one is in Christ, or one is in the world. If our family members are still the enemies of Christ, then by implication they are enemies of God’s family to whom we now belong for eternity, bought by the Blood of Christ our Saviour.

      I pray that you receive peace and understanding of this matter. Grace to you.

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  4. Thank you for the clarification. I completely understand and agree that Truth is truth, period, there is no gray area. What I was referring to when I said it was not so black and white (for me) is whether or not a person was truly a believer or not if they attended/participated in a charismatic church…can one not be of God and yet be deceived in certain areas? I am asking this in humility, I am not challenging you with that question. Again, thank you.

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    • Susan

      I certainly do enjoy a challenge now and then, it is unavoidable and one of the best ways to learn. It keeps us focused on Scripture and the truth held therein. I do understand, however, that your question is heart-felt and not a challenge.

      I hope my answers to you also portray the humility with which I write them. The internet is certainly not the best way to determine another person’s attitude and very often the reader can get the wrong message. If any of my responses seem to be aimed at you personally, please understand that by no means was it my intention to do so, or to offend in any way.

      There could be no possible reason for me wanting to offend anyone here. If I do take the time to respond to any question or comment, I certainly would not waste it by trying to find ways to offend or hurt people whom I have never even met in person. If I cannot use the valuable time God has mercifully granted me, to edify, assist or proclaim His Word, then I would be better off doing something else, like earning a living! 🙂

      So, again, thank you for commenting.

      I think the answer to your question is actually quite simple, although it always trips us up and fills our minds with all manner of doubt and questions. We cannot know for certain whether another person is truly a believer, or not, for God alone knows the heart and God alone calls us to true saving faith, according to His sovereign will.

      Therefore, it does not matter whether someone attended/participated in a Charismatic church, a Baptist church, a Presbyterian church, an atheist club or a Muslim mosque. Jesus Christ in the believer matters. All who have Jesus Christ, all who are in Christ, are true believers. Church affiliation cannot save any sinner, neither can it condemn any sinner, Jesus alone saves those whom the Father gives to Him. (John 6:44) No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

      Yes, we are all deceived in certain areas. True believers are not those who stop sinning, for that we cannot do. True believers are those who are in Christ, who trust in Him fully for their redemption, who believe that He paid for all their sins, past, present and future, because they couldn’t. What a wonderful comfort that is indeed. Satan will always try, and often succeed, in deceiving even the believer.

      What should be of concern to us, though, is if those who proclaim to be saved and true believers, continue to attend, and in particular to participate, in the Charismatic movement. If they do not come out of that movement after the truth has been made known to them, then one is faced with some worrisome questions regarding their salvation.

      Blessings to you.

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  7. I completely agree with all that has been said. However, the question arises, if we are to love our enemies yet hate God’s enemies, what happens when our enemies are also God’s enemies? Can we love them and hate them at the same time? Hardly! So I think the answer must be that our enemies who are also God’s enemies must be hated? What do you think?

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    • Yes, by the very nature of believers who are in Christ, those who have the Spirit of God, are also one with Christ, it stands to reason that they would share the same enemies with God. If believers were to love those whom God hates, surely they would be in opposition to God? All those who oppose Christ, who do not have Christ, are thereby naturally also made to be the enemies of the believer.

      I do wish to caution, however, that due to our own fallibility and weakness, we should not hasten to suddenly become haters of all those who, by way of their own actions, words or spiritual immaturity, seem to us to be enemies of God. We could be guilty of making serious judgemental errors in many instances. We must rely fully on Scripture and the understanding granted to us by God’s Spirit in order to recognize those enemies.

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  8. Sorry, Jesus didn’t teach so.

    Jesus clearly taught that we must love everyone, including our enemies, somemore, we must pray for them. We should have zero hate.

    I start to believe God purposely combines His and men’s teachings and kept them altogether inside Bible and see whose teachings Christians will follow.

    Mark 4:12 so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'”

    Given that there are tons of different Bibles versions used in different churches nowadays, and especially for the end time, Bible is preached very differently to this world.

    However, there’s one person’s teachings I would fully trust in New Testament – that’s Jesus.

    Although Apostles are saints but their words won’t save and were testimonies to help early Christians to grow faith and to solve their conflicts.

    Only the Word of Jesus has life.

    God bless!

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    • Theresa Cheng

      You say : However, there’s one person’s teachings I would fully trust in New Testament – that’s Jesus.

      I agree. So do you only then read Matthew, Mark, Luke & John ? How can you not read and believe what the whole Bible teaches. What do you do with these verses ? Do you know who wrote these Books ?

      1) The word “Christian” was first applied to believers by those who lived around them in Antioch (Acts 11:26) And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

      2) Later, God’s elect used the term to refer to themselves. Peter speaks of God’s suffering saints, assuring us that anyone who suffers “as a Christian,” anyone who suffers because of his faith in Christ, has no reason to be ashamed, but only to glorify God (1 Peter 4:16). Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

      3) Agrippa told Paul that he was almost persuaded to become a Christian (Acts 26:28) Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

      I quoted the KJV Bible in my verses and here is more versions that uses the same word “Christian”. Other than these versions below, there is no other Bible that I read.

      Acts 11:26
      (ASV) and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that even for a whole year they were gathered together with the church, and taught much people, and that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

      (ESV) and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.

      (Geneva) And when he had founde him, he brought him vnto Antiochia: and it came to passe that a whole yere they were conuersant with ye Church, and taught much people, in so much that the disciples were first called Christians in Antiochia.

      (GNT-TR) και ευρων αυτον ηγαγεν αυτον εις αντιοχειαν εγενετο δε αυτους ενιαυτον ολον συναχθηναι εν τη εκκλησια και διδαξαι οχλον ικανον χρηματισαι τε πρωτον εν αντιοχεια τους μαθητας χριστιανους

      (KJV) And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

      (KJV+) AndG2532 when he had foundG2147 him,G846 he broughtG71 himG846 untoG1519 Antioch.G490 AndG1161 it came to pass,G1096 that a wholeG3650 yearG1763 theyG846 assembled themselvesG4863 withG1722 theG3588 church,G1577 andG2532 taughtG1321 muchG2425 people.G3793 AndG5037 theG3588 disciplesG3101 were calledG5537 ChristiansG5546 firstG4412 inG1722 Antioch.G490

      (KJV-1611) And when he had found him, he brought him vnto Antioch. And it came to passe, that a whole yeere they assembled themselues with the Church, and taught much people, and the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

      (RV) and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that even for a whole year they were gathered together with the church, and taught much people; and that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

      AND
      1 Peter 4:16
      (ASV) but if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name.

      (ESV) Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

      (Geneva) But if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not bee ashamed: but let him glorifie God in this behalfe.

      (GNT-TR) ει δε ως χριστιανος μη αισχυνεσθω δοξαζετω δε τον θεον εν τω μερει τουτω

      (KJV) Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

      (KJV+) YetG1161 ifG1487 any man suffer asG5613 a Christian,G5546 let him notG3361 be ashamed;G153 butG1161 let him glorifyG1392 GodG2316 onG1722 thisG5129 behalf.G3313

      (KJV-1611) Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorifie God on this behalfe.

      (RV) but if a man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this name.

      AND
      Acts 26:28
      (ASV) And Agrippa said unto Paul, With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian.

      (ESV) And Agrippa said to Paul, “In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?”

      (Geneva) Then Agrippa said vnto Paul, Almost thou perswadest me to become a Christian.

      (GNT-TR) ο δε αγριππας προς τον παυλον εφη εν ολιγω με πειθεις χριστιανον γενεσθαι

      (KJV) Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

      (KJV+) ThenG1161 AgrippaG67 saidG5346 untoG4314 Paul,G3972 AlmostG1722 G3641 thou persuadestG3982 meG3165 to beG1096 a Christian.G5546

      (KJV-1611) Then Agrippa saide vnto Paul, Almost thou perswadest mee to bee a Christian.

      (RV) And Agrippa said unto Paul, With but little persuasion thou wouldest fain make me a Christian.

      Btw what words would you have inserted there ? Do you know the meaning of Christian ?

      You also say : Although Apostles are saints but their words won’t save and were testimonies to help early Christians to grow faith and to solve their conflicts.

      Who inspired the Apostles to write the New Testament ? Who wrote Matthew, Mark, Luke and John ? Did the Apostles inspire themselves ? Who taught you that ? Every Book in the Bible is The Bible, the Word of God, is in its entirety a Book about the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible is not a Book about morality, or a Book about science, or a Book about politics, or a Book about theology. The Bible is a Book with one Subject, and that subject is the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the Living Word of God, of whom the written Word speaks. This is what our Lord himself says, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (John 5:39). After his resurrection, we are told that our Lord “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, expounded unto them in ALL THE SCRIPTURES the things concerning himself…Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:27,45). Christ plainly told his disciples that all the Scriptures were written concerning him. THE CENTRAL AND THE CONSTANT THEME OF HOLY SCRIPTURE IS JESUS CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED. The whole Bible may be briefly summarized in three statements. Reader’s Digest has recently published a “Condensed Bible”, in which men dared to take away from the Word of God. That sort of presumptuous irreverence I abhor. But the principle truths of the Bible may be set forth in these three statements:

      1. THE OLD TESTAMENT TELLS US THAT THE REDEEMER IS COMING. No sooner had Adam sinned against God and plunged our race into spiritual death and sin under the wrath of God, than God graciously promised that he would send his own Son to redeem sinful man. God spoke to the serpent and said, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her SEED: and IT shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise HIS heel” (Gen. 3:15). Through-out the ages the promise of Christ’s incarnation and redemptive work became clearer and clearer, until at last the prophet Isaiah wrote, “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous Servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities”(Isa. 53:10-11). Taking God at his Word, the Old Testament saints were saved by faith in that Redeemer whom God had promised.

      2. The FOUR GOSPELS AND THE BOOK OF ACTS TELL US THAT THE REDEEMER HAS COME. This is what old Simeon said as he held the child in his arms – “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy Word: for mine eyes have seen thy SALVATION, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people” (Luke 2:29-31). He blessed God and said, THE REDEEMER HAS COME! Peter said the same thing after the Holy Spirit fell at Pentecost – “This is THE STONE which was set at nought of you builders, which is become THE HEADSTONE OF THE CORNER. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”(Acts 4:11-12).

      3. THE EPISTLES AND THE BOOK OF REVELATION TELL US THAT THE REDEEMER IS COMING AGAIN. One day soon, at the time appointed by God, the Lord Jesus Christ shall return to this earth, to gather his own elect and to take vengeance upon his enemies. “Behold, HE COMETH with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Rev. 1:7). AMEN.

      The Bible as a Whole is from God, the written and inspired work of God. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
      (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)

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    • Theresa Cheng

      You fully trust the teachings of the Lord Jesus, and you are right in doing so. However, you should then trust ALL of His teachings including these which follow below. If we were instructed to love everyone including unbelievers and those who oppose God, why would Jesus teach that we should leave the dead to bury their own dead? The dead which He speaks of, are those who reject Him and are therefore spiritually dead. Here He clearly teaches us that we should ignore them, turn our backs on them. He does not tell us to love them.

      Mat 8:22 And Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”

      Jesus also teaches that those who are His children will flee from strangers whom they do not know, and that believers will not follow the voices of unbelievers. Should those unbelievers be loved, even though we run from them in fear?

      Joh 10:5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

      As believers we are told to follow in the footsteps of Christ, to emulate our Saviour in what we do. Jesus Christ is God, is the Son of God, is the second Person in the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God declares that He does not love all people, indeed that He hates certain people. If we are to love all people, then we would have to ignore one or other of the teachings, either to not follow Him in all matters, or deny the fact that Jesus is One with God who declares:

      Rom 9:13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

      Christians cannot love all people, because if we love those who hate God, we are siding with evil against our Lord.

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