Friday, April 21, 2017

Does God Hate Sin and Not the Sinner?

There is a widespread sentiment in Christian circles: “God hates sin but loves the sinner; He doesn’t hate sinners.” How good it sounds to hear God does not hate sinners, only their sin! There are some popular notions in Christian culture that many have naively accepted without examining them in the light of Holy Scripture, for they carry great appeal to man's self-indulgent emotions.

Let us first examine this statement logically—can sin occur without an individual’s choice? We know that sin is an outcome of a person’s will. When one chooses to sin, how can God just hate the sin and not the individual who chose the sin? It is like telling about the murderer who killed your child that you hate the murder and not the murderer. Crime does not exist without a criminal. Sin is not committed without a sinner.

Besides, if God loves the sinners but hates only the sin, can we also inverse the statement and say, “God loves the good deed but He does not love the doer of the good deed?” It doesn’t make sense, right? Just as good reflects the goodness of the one who did the good deed, so sin reflects the vileness of the sinner.

The Holy Bible does reveal that God loves sinners: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). And the Holy Scripture also declares that God hates sinners: “The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; YOU HATE ALL WHO DO WRONG” (Ps. 5:5).

Observe, He not only hates the wrong, but also those who do wrong. God loves and hates sinners. Reformed evangelical theologian and professor of the New Testament, D. A. Carson, comments:
The cliché (God hates the sin but loves the sinner) is false on the face of it, and should be abandoned. Fourteen times in the first fifty psalms alone, the psalmists state that God hates the sinner, that His wrath is on the liar, and so forth. In the Bible the wrath of God rests on both the sin (Rom. 1:18–23) and the sinner (1:24–32; 2:5; John 3:36).
Well, a question may arise, “How can God love and hate the sinner at the same time?” This is a paradox. French theologian and Protestant Reformer, John Calvin, writes about God that “in a marvelous and divine way he loved us even when he hated us.”

The Holy Bible teaches that God is holy and God is love (1 Peter 1:16; 1 John 4:7-8).  God hates sinners because He is holy and righteous, abhorring sins they commit; and He loves them still because He is loving and gracious, manifesting His mercy towards them. Both the holy and loving attributes are manifested in God’s perfect nature.

All men deserve God’s wrath because of their sin. No one deserves His love. His grace is amazing towards the sinners because He loves those who indeed deserve His wrath, and had His Only Son to die for them and save them from His wrath. Blessed be His Glorious and Gracious Name.
"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." (Jn. 3:36)
Note: This article is an excerpt from the book "Signs of Salvation: Understanding Authentic and Counterfeit Conversion" by C. Stephen David. Click on the following image to find more details.



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