GOD HATES THE SIN & THE SINNER
Rev. Neil Steven Lawrence, M.Div.
There are five different kinds of LOVE mentioned in the New Testament:
1. agape -unconditional
2. phileo -cherishing
3. storge -belonging
4. eros -romantic (in NT Greek culture)
5. epithumia -strong desire
Yahweh has all of these for the believer but only number one (Agape) for the unbeliever. Scripture is clear that God does not love unbelievers anywhere near the way he loves believers. Agape is what allows Yahweh to extend salvation to unbelievers. Just as with God‘s promises his love is conditional, except for Agape.
The Bible also says God hates sin and the sinner!
Have you never heard of a “love – hate“ relationship? Since God is personal and he interacts with mankind, highest of his creation, in a personal way it makes perfect sense that he could both love them and hate them at the same time. He loves them by offering them grace; he hates them because they keep rebelling against him. This picture was continually painted in the Old Testament concerning the people of God, the Jews.
It is the same kind of attitude that says “if God loves“ how can he judge!? As if people who have this sinful attitude have the right to tell God what to do!
“The cliché God hates the sin but loves the sinner, is false on the face of it and should be abandoned. 14 times in the first 50 Psalms alone, we are told that God hates the sinner, his wrath is on the liar, and so forth. In the Bible, the wrath of God rests on both the sin (Rom. 1:18ff) and on the sinner (John 3:36).” – D.A. Carson
People should stop deluding themselves to think that God will somehow wink at them in the judgment!
Some say there is no distinction between agape and phileo.
I have to defer with you on the idea that Agape is not unique to Christianity and distinct in usage from the other Greek scriptural usage of the concept of “love.” Here is one example which shows the glaring distinction between: agape & phileo. Note the Greek in parenthesis. Notice the meaning by using distinct Greek words shows Jesus is saying to Peter: “If you can’t “agape” me, can you at least “phileo” me.” This adds to the profundity of what Jesus is saying; further shows the distinction between the two types of love. This Greek language nuance is lost in Post-modern culture.
John 21:15-17 “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love (AGAPE) me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love (PHILEO) you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love (AGAPE) me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love (PHILEO) you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love (PHILEO) me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love (PHILEO) me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love (PHILEO) you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
By seeing the distinct usage of the two Greek words: (agape-unconditional (Godly) love & phileo – cherishing love), we see that Peter feels un-worthy to acknowledge that he can have a Godly love to follow Jesus. On the third time Jesus accepts Peter’s feeling of inability to love Him with the kind of love (agape) which Jesus is asking Peter to have, in order to follow Him. When Jesus says the third time: “will you PHILEO Me?” – it is Jesus accepting and reinstating Peter, even though Peter expresses inability. The distinction in Greek terms used for love gives use this powerful understanding of the Master and His grace.
Of course the love of God in us motivates us to bring people to him. In trying to find a balance concerning love, this is assumed and is why we preach and help people to maturity in Christ. The problem today is that the false ideology of “only love“ has eclipsed the reality of the judgment and holiness of God
Indeed the unconditional love of God is the most awesome part of his interaction toward us. But his love is multifaceted and therefore bestowed more greatly upon those who love him and come back into relationship with him.
People have developed a false idea that God cannot be angry because He’s only supposed to be loving. Heaven is Free, but it Will Cost You Your Life. (a title of one of my evangelistic messages). We should never despise God’s free gift by lax attitude toward his holiness. Theolgian Dietrich Bonhoeffer called it: Cheap Grace. They warned us in seminary (PTS) that the liberal schools/scholars had created a false ideology of “love, love, love” – God is only love; purposely ignoring the holiness of God. Now thirty years later the church and culture have turned love into an idol and plastered over God’s true nature.
In my statement I am not denying aspects of God’s love, even for the sinner. My point is that God also hates the sinner because of their stubborn rebellion. The Bible says “we” were enemies of God. It is only because of Yahweh’s agape we could be brought into a relationship with Him where we can experience the other aspects of His love (ie. the list at the top of the post). There are enough scriptures indicating God’s hatred of sin and sinners to say: “God hates sinners”. This does not preclude His love for them also. Hate is an emotion which is expressed, by people, about many things. People are made in the image of God. Part of God’s image includes the emotion of hate. When you are holy hate is not evil, it is justified.
The problem comes when the world tries to redefine God‘s love away from the Biblical standard. I used to see a sign on the way to church in the Caribbean (during the year we lived there), it said: “love is God.“ This is what the world is trying to do/say (and project on the church) and it is a lie from the pit of hell.
I agree that love is more powerful of a message and I have lived by that in my ministry and life. But in these brazen post modern times a balanced approach of love and judgment, promise and warning, will be required. God is not a sugar daddy in the sky nor is he a stoic love machine bestowing only blessing…
These ideas are idols people have created by twisting and omitting scripture.
God is the standard for love; love is not the standard for God.
I have explored what God hates. The Bible plainly tells us those things God says he hates or things that he describes as “despicable” or “abominable.” God hates idolatry, sexual immorality, injustice, hypocrisy, deceit, pride, and evil thoughts. But God’s also hates the wicked themselves.
Some Scriptures Showing God Hates Wicked People
Psalm 11:5 puts it bluntly: God hates wicked people. “The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence” (Psalm 11:5). He hates wicked people from his soul, from the very depth of his being. God hates their ways (Proverbs 15:9), their thoughts (Proverbs 15:26), their worship (Proverbs 15:8), their actions (Proverbs 6:18), and their evil deeds (Psalm 5:5). He singles out as a special object of his hatred the blasphemous deeds of the Nicolaitans, those who seduced God’s people with idolatry and sexual immorality. “Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” (Revelation 2:6).
Clearly, God hates the thoughts, deeds, and desires of evil people. But further, in some way he hates the evil people themselves. His soul reacts to them with righteous revulsion as his arm extends toward them in holy fury. But who are the wicked? All of us. We are all wicked, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “Just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).
Why God Hates Wicked People
Why does God harbor such hatred toward wicked people? God hates the wicked because their wickedness is first a mark of the deepest rebellion against him and against his rule. God created humanity to be perfect and sinless, to live in joyful submission to him, to offer him pure worship. But humanity rebelled and their disloyalty is displayed in acting contrary to God. God hates those who express their hatred toward him.
God also hates the wicked because their wickedness is expressed in ways that harm the people he has created in his image. Because sinful people cannot storm the gates of heaven to dethrone and destroy God himself, they turn on what is dearest to him and nearest to his image. And so they act out their wickedness against other people. They hurt them, harm them, main them, kill them.
Finally, God hates the wicked because their wickedness is expressed particularly against God’s elect. Wicked people turn their fury against God’s people, mocking them, persecuting them, putting them to death.
God’s Judgment on Wicked People
God must judge the wicked for their rebellion. He must judge them for their evil thoughts, their evil deeds, and even their evil desires. And he will. God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day. If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; he has bent and readied his bow; he has prepared for him his deadly weapons, making his arrows fiery shafts. Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies. He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends. (Psalm 7:11-16)
Said more tersely, “The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy” (Psalm 145:20). Psalm 1:5 promises, “the wicked will not stand in the judgment” (5). Indeed, in Luke 13 we find Jesus speaking of that final judgment. He says that in that day some will expect to be welcomed by God into his kingdom, yet all they will hear is this terrifying judgment: “Depart from me, all you workers of evil” (Luke 13:27)! They will be consigned forever to a place where “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (28).
God will judge the wicked and give them the fitting punishment for their wickedness.
Hope for Wicked People
Yet there is hope for the wicked, which is to say, there is hope for all of us. “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:18-19).
We will all face judgment and we will all approach that judgment with a long record of wicked thoughts and wicked deeds. Yet some will be welcomed by God into his everlasting kingdom. This will be not be on the basis of any righteousness we have earned, but only on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. There is hope for wicked people if only they will turn to Christ in repentance and faith.
Key Verses: Here is a summary of verses about God’s hatred of wicked people.
- God hates the workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5)
- God hates the wicked (Psalm 11:5)
- God hates the sacrifices of the wicked (Proverbs 15:8)
- God hates the ways of the wicked (Proverbs 15:9)
- God hates the thoughts of the wicked (Proverbs 15:26)
- God hates feet that make haste to run to evil (Proverbs 6:18)
- God hated Esau (Malachi 1:1-3; Romans 9:13)
- God hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans (Revelation 2:6)
Here are verses in the Bible that say God hates sinners, not just sin but sinners!!!
“For you are not a God who is pleased with
with you, evil people are not welcome.
The arrogant cannot stand
in your presence.
You hate all who do wrong;
you destroy those who tell lies.
The bloodthirsty and deceitful
you, LORD, detest.”
“Not a word from their mouth can be trusted;
their heart is filled with malice.
Their throat is an open grave;
with their tongues they tell lies.
Declare them guilty, O God!
Let their intrigues be their downfall.
Banish them for their many sins,
for they have rebelled against you.”
“You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked;
you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.
Endless ruin has overtaken my enemies,
you have uprooted their cities;
even the memory of them has perished.”
“The LORD is known by his acts of justice;
the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.
The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
all the nations that forget God.”
“The LORD examines the righteous,
but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain
fiery coals and burning sulfur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.”
“Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;
your right hand will seize your foes.
When you appear for battle,
you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace.
The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath,
and his fire will consume them.
You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
their posterity from mankind.
Though they plot evil against you
and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.”
“but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to blot out their name from the earth.”
“But all sinners will be destroyed;
there will be no future for the wicked.”
“Consider this, you who forget God,
or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you.”
“There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
The boastful cannot stand in your sight; you hate all evildoers. Psalm 5:5 (CSB)
The LORD examines the righteous, but he hates the wicked and those who love violence. Psalm 11:5 (CSB)
You must not follow the statutes of the nations I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and I abhorred them. Leviticus 20:23 (CSB)
The LORD hates six things; in fact, seven are detestable to him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers. Proverbs 6:16-19 (CSB)
All their evil appears at Gilgal, for there I began to hate them. I will drive them from my house because of their evil, wicked actions. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious. Hosea 9:15 (CSB)
You may have heard that “God hates sin but loves the sinner.” People who use this phrase generally mean well, but it is an oversimplification of the truth and leads to misunderstanding. God does love sinners, as numerous passages clearly state (e.g., John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10). Yet we also read verses like
Psalm 5:5, which state that God hates not only wicked deeds, but also the people who do them. John 3:17 tells us that anyone who has not repented and received Christ stands condemned already under the holy anger of God against sin. Although He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:10), the Lord must and will judge sinners, which includes everyone since all have sinned (Romans 3:23).
Hopefully you can see how it is the hatred of God against our sin that makes His love toward us so incredibly spectacular. God has provided a way of salvation from sin and condemnation through His Son Jesus Christ, whom He gave to die in our place because of His amazing love.