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)

        God's Law is perfect. It is a reflection of His character and nature. He cannot allow sin and rebellion into His kingdom. God absolutely despises iniquity. He judges sinners. He punishes sinners. Sin stems forth from the human heart. His wrath is a reality. God cannot simply ignore or overlook our sin. This biblical truth should give rise to a state of concern in people. However, there is good news which counterbalances the bad news of humanity being condemned by God for sin.

        God is loving and gracious. He is patient. At the same time, our Creator is holy and just. He is provoked to wrath by our unrighteousness. God's love and hatred are perfect. He hates without sinful intent. To be hated of God means to be under His wrath and judgment. 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)

        There exists a debt of sin against God who is holy that requires payment (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:56). No man in his fallen condition could possibly fulfill the necessary demands to make restitution. Thus, Jesus Christ took on human flesh so that the debt of sin could be paid off. He is without sin. An infinite debt requires an infinite payment.

"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)

        Christ is the tangible manifestation of God's love for us. He came to bring spiritual life to us. 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 removed. God took the initiative to save us, even though we had no merit on our part.

        How can a God of love hate at the same time? God is love, but love is not God Himself. That is not all there is to God. There are many aspects of His character. God is a complex being. His provisional love for sinners is not incompatible with His righteous judgment. He has every attribute perfectly. If we are Christians, then God is not only our King but also our Father. If we water down who He is, then we will end up serving a false god.

         God does indeed have love for us, but it is more than warm feelings. He has provided a means for us to escape divine condemnation. The richness of His mercy is unsearchable. He desires reconciliation, especially with those who believe on Christ for salvation. Nevertheless, we should not take these truths lightly. We should abhor sin, just as He does. We should reject it, regardless of the cost. In fact, 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 Christ's atonement for sin. 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 that they chose for themselves. There is a day coming in which every man will give account of himself to God.

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