Jump Start # 2050
Psalms 5:5 “The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.”
God hates the sin but loves the sinner. That exact statement isn’t in the Bible. God does love the sinner. The famous, John 3:16 passage, “For God so loved the world…” is proof enough. Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. It is the sick who need a physician, not the well. All of these concepts run deep throughout the N.T. The reason Jesus came, is because God wants to save the lost. He doesn’t want any to perish. He wants all to come to repentance.
Yet, there standing before us is our verse. “You HATE ALL who do iniquity.” We want it to read, you hate the wrong that they did. You hate sin. But the passage reads, “You hate ALL who do…” Maybe we are not looking at this right? Maybe, since this is Psalms, there are some poetic things we do not understand? This quotation is from David. Maybe, David didn’t understand God? Yet, then we find:
- Ps 11:5 “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”
- Prov 6:19, among the list of things that God hates, is the “one who spreads strife among brothers.”
So, how do we connect these thoughts that God loves the world, yet He hates the sinner. Those seem like opposites to us. It makes us feel disappointed in God. It’s like the time we found out who Santa really was. Could it be that God really hates?
Here are a few thoughts:
First, love the sinner and hate the sin can leave a huge divide between the two. It was the sinner who committed the sin. Love the sinner and only hate the sin, sounds as if the sinner receives a divine “Get out of Jail” free card. The sinner is responsible for his sin. He does not have to sin. Sin is a choice, his choice.
Second, love, especially as it is used in John 3:16 and Romans 5:8, where it deals with salvation, is not a feeling. The general idea I get from “love the sinner, but hate the sin,” is giving someone a hug who has done wrong. The word ‘love’ as used in these verses, is a choice, not a feeling. It is based upon what God wants to do, rather than a reaction to what the person has done. Our love tends to be reactionary. Buy me some chocolate and I will love you. Buy me a bunch and I will love you even more. That concept is based upon what another person has done. God’s love is not that way. He loves the sinner, even while he is sinning. God’s displeasure of wrong, disobedience towards Him, and ignoring Him, is why Jesus came. Jesus came before I was born. Jesus paid the sacrifice before I ever sinned. What Jesus did was not based upon what I did. He already chose to do those things before I came along. God’s love is not based upon us.
Third, once the sacrifice as been offered and the bridge to build a relationship with God has been established, it angers Him when we reject that. It angers God that we think so little of the death of Jesus. It angers God that we think we can sit where He sits.
Fourth, God’s hatred is not like ours. When we hate something we are done with it. I’ve tried some foods in the past. Hated it. Won’t eat it again. Ever. I’ve had some bad experiences in the past that I hated. Avoid those at all costs. When we don’t like someone, we leave them, for good. We defriend them from Facebook. We don’t invite them, include them, or want anything to do with them. That’s how we hate. That’s not how God hates. He hates wrong. But what does He do? He says, “Come unto me…” How does God hate? He pleads for the sinner to repent. He never stops giving up on a person. He does everything that He can to get us to leave sin and follow Him. He puts people in our lives to remind us. He uses our conscience and our guilt to wake us up. God doesn’t walk away like we would. He hates, but His hatred takes Him to positive actions. He sent a preacher to the persecuting Saul of Tarsus. Stephen’s final words were for the forgiveness of those who were killing him. God sent His word to the idolatrous Athenians. He hated them, yet that hatred led to the saving grace found in Christ.
We cannot understand the love of God nor His grace. It doesn’t make sense to us. He loves, not the way we do. The same thought fits this subject. God hates. His hatred is not the way we hate. We cannot fully understand it. In our minds, you either love or you hate. You can’t do both at the same time to the same person. A parent can’t love and hate their child at the same time. God hates the sinner, yet God loves the sinner. Think about that very long and you’ll get a headache. There are things that are beyond us. When Isaiah declared that God’s ways are higher than our ways, we begin to understand that when discussing the love and the hate of God.
Fifth, there is a side of God that is rarely preached these days. God has wrath and anger. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God is what Hebrews tells us. Just walk through the pages of the Bible and you will notice the swift, final justice of God. Uzzah touching the ark…Achan’s hiding the gold in his tent…Aaron’s sons, who offered strange fire before the Lord…Goliath’s blasphemous mocking of God’s nation…the Philistines who looked inside the captured ark of the covenant…the sons of Korah who rebelled against God’s chosen…Herod’s sudden death…the death of Ananias and Sapphira. The world has painted a picture of God that looks the other way at our wrongs. A God that isn’t a real stickler for His own rules. The world has softened God and in so doing, sin has become acceptable, decent, normal and even expected. Songs mock God. Actors pretend to be God. Preachers fill arenas and wink at sin. The call to be righteous is no longer heard. The need to be holy as He is holy is no longer understood.
God hates sin. The ultimate proof of this is what God intends to do with Satan. Matthew’s gospel tells us that Hell has been prepared for Satan and his angels. God did not intend man to be there. Man is supposed to be in Heaven with Him. Hell is made for Satan. But those that want to dance with Satan, will die with Satan and will spend forever with Satan. The devil is not in charge of Hell. God is.
Is God upset when I sin? Yes. Does my wrong choices disappoint Him? Yes. Does He hate me? Yes. Does He give up on me? Never. Does He send the hounds of Heaven to search for me? Yes. Does He hate me like I hate? Never. Does He still love me? Always. Does He welcome me back? Always. Is He through with me? Never.
God hates the sin, but loves the sinner, is a cute way of saying, “You can’t help it. You’re ok.” You’re not ok, because you have sinned. You need Jesus!
Love—hate. Chew on that for a while!