Although I basically touched on this point a long time ago in “Jesus loves me (but not you), this I know…” (Part 1), as I was reading in Matthew, I was reminded that those who say that God only loves the saved have a hard time with this part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount:
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:43-45, English Standard Version).
We are to love our enemies, and our Lord analogizes this to how He sends rain on the just and the unjust. The equivalency is clear…we are to love everyone just as God loves everyone.
That is a far cry from universalism (all are saved)…but even the lost are loved by the Creator.
P.S. Please also check out “Jesus loves me (but not you), this I know…” (Part 2).