Thursday, May 3, 2018

Does God Hate Sinners?

         "The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity." (Psalm 5:5)

"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." (Hosea 9:15)

         God's Law is perfect. It is a reflection of His character and nature. He cannot allow sin and rebellion into His kingdom. He absolutely despises iniquity. He judges sinners. He punishes sinners. Sin stems forth from the human heart. His wrath is a reality. God cannot simply leave sin unaccounted for. This biblical truth should induce sobriety to our souls. But, there is good news.

         God is loving. He is gracious. He is kind. He is merciful. He is compassionate. He is patient. He is slow to anger. At the same time, our Creator is holy and just. He is righteous. He can be provoked to wrath. God's love and hatred are perfect. He hates without sinful intent. To be hated of God means to be under His wrath and judgement. Those whom He loves are those who have found favor in His sight. It was out of His unfathomable love for us that He sent His only begotten Son into this world to make atonement for our sins:

"but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." (Romans 5:8-10)

"Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:8-10)

         Therefore, those who desire to have fellowship with God must be reconciled to Him through faith in Jesus Christ. We must have our sins forgiven. We must have our sins taken away from us. One may ask, "How can a God of love hate at the same time?" The answer to that question is that there are many aspects of His character. His love is more than simply warm feelings.

          His provisional love for sinners is not incompatible with His righteous judgement. If we are Christians, then God is not only our King but also our Father. We cannot simply water down His character. We must consider His character in its entirety, lest we create for ourselves an idol because of a defective view of God.

         God does indeed have love for us. He has provided a means for us to escape divine condemnation. The richness of His mercy is unsearchable. He does desire reconciliation, especially with those who believe on Him for salvation. Nevertheless, we should not take these truths lightly. We should abhor sin. We should reject it at all costs. The command for us to love our enemies is rooted in God's provisional love for sinners.

         We are justified by God's grace through our faith in the work of His Son Jesus Christ. We cannot merit our salvation. God desires that all men come to salvation (Acts 17:26-31). He wants all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). He has no desire in punishing the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:10-11). It is not God who sends people to hell. People end up there because that is the eternal destiny they chose. There is a day coming in which every man will give account of himself to God.

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