God Hates Sinners?
God hates the sin but loves the sinner.
The above statement has been tossed around for the past 70 odd some years and many believe it to be holy and inspired scripture that is found in the bible, this however is completely and utterly false. The entire notion of “hate the sin and love the sinner” is a quote from the Hindu, Gandhi. A man to our current knowledge never repented from his sins and accepted Christ as his savior and lord. So why is it that we accept his words on the same level as the holy and inspired word of God? Well simply put, it feels good. Yet nowhere in scripture does it teach that God only hates the sin but loves the sinner regardless. Quite the opposite in fact, scripture quite plainly teaches that God hates sin along with those who do sin (aka the sinner). Throughout church history this is what has been taught, it is only recently that we have lost this teaching. Preaching the biblical truth that God hates sinners is not a very good way to create a mega-church.
Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,”
Psalm 11:5, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”
Lev. 20:23, “Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I shall drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them.”
Prov. 6:16-19, “There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers.”
Hosea 9:15, “All their evil is at Gilgal; indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels.”
These five old testament scriptures show us quite clearly that God hates those who do evil, not just the evil itself but actually those who do evil. Fourteen times in the first fifty psalms Gods wrath is mentioned. We see again in Exodus 32:9-10 that Gods holy wrath burns hot against Israel and he wants to consume them. Doesn’t exactly sound like the non-hating God we have been conditioned to believe in and worship. In Isaiah 53:4-6, we see the punishment that we all deserve and the punishment we can only escape if we accept Christ as the propitiation for our sins.
We like to believe that the God of the old testament is an angry and vengeful God and the God of the new testament is a merciful and loving God. Our God does not change, he is the same in the old testament as he is in the new testament. In John 3 we see a verse most often cited as showing Gods love (John 3:16) but there is another verse that is often neglected, John 3:36. It shows us that unless we are under Christ we are still subject to Gods wrath as children in Adam. In Romans 12:9 we are commanded to love what is good and abhor what is evil. God hate sin, but he does not punish sin, he punishes the sinner. Ephesians says we are born spiritually dead, we are so sinful that we are completely depraved and cannot reach God ourselves until Christ steps in for us. Our entire nature is sinful, our very core is sin. And it isn’t until we are regenerated by the holy spirit that we are no longer of a sinful nature.
Another great passage to illustrate this point is Romans 9: 11-13,”though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls– she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written,”Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”. Again, God clearly states that he hates Esau. He doesn’t say “I hate what Esau will do”, in fact Paul makes it clear that it has nothing to do with what either of them will do. God hates Esau because he is and always will be a unrepentant sinner, and as such he is a child of wrath (Eph 2:3).
In 1 John 4, it says that God is love.. which is absolutely true. and it is because God is love that he MUST hate. If you love babies, you will hate abortion. If you love Jews, you will hate the holocaust. If you love African Americans you will hate slavery. God loves what is good and for all that conforms to his moral character, so he hates all that which is evil and does not conform to his moral character (aka the sinner). Gods hatred is not manifested against the sin, it’s manifested against the sinner, like John 3:38 says… Gods wrath remains on the unbeliever. It is also important to remember that God’s wrath is not something apart from God, it’s not something that God sends out to get bad people. God’s wrath is not apart from God, it IS God. Gods wrath is so fierce that in Revelation we are told that men will call out for the rocks to fall on them to hide them from his wrath (Rev 6:16). We do not like to talk about it, but when Christ died on the cross to save us… he did not save us from sin and he did not save us from ourselves. God saved us from himself! We are taught that Heaven is heaven because God is there and hell is hell because God is not there. But on the contrary, Hell is where Gods wrath and justice is poured out onto evil men for all of eternity. Hell is not full of people whom God loves. Gods love is not what was poured out onto Christ at the cross.
So at this point we must wonder how do we reconcile Gods love for us (John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:7 – 8:16) with his hatred for sinners? The answer is, as always, the cross! The cross is where we can most clearly see Gods hatred for sinners being poured out onto Christ, as well as his love being shown in that he took the cross for us and our iniquities. We will never fully understand the amount of love it took for Christ to take up the cross if we refuse to acknowledge how much hatred God has for the sinner. Does God hate? Yes. Does God love? Yes. This is not a contradiction. This is simply the truth. As always, the answer can be found at the cross.