Does God love the sinner but hate his sins?
aymon de albatrus
"God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day." (Psa 7:11)
"How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft comes their destruction on them! God distributes sorrows [to sinners] in his anger." (Job 21:17)
"Jehovah has made all for His purpose, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil." (Pro 16:4)
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luk 6:45)
How many times have we heard this phrase, or a variation of it: "God loves the sinner but hates his sin"? Too many times! It is mentioned in numerous sermons or just carelessly branded about in Evangelical circles. We all have heard that quaint concept repeated innumerable times in many churches in our Christian life.
Superficially the phrase seems like a nice idea. Basically it is meant as an admonition to be nice to everyone, regardless of ideology, but lovingly stand against their non-Christian lifestyles, behaviours, etc. Of course we are called by our God to "be nice to everyone", to be civil and to live in peace with all, as long as it depends on us, it is the right thing to do. But the concept that God loves the sinner may be a nice fluffy Evangelical ideal, but it is not in the vocabulary of the Bible of God and it is certainly not part of true Christianity.
The whole idea is to dichotomise the sinner from his sins, kind of thing as that famous catch phrase: "the devil made me do it" meaning that it is not his fault but the devil’s. But asks I: "Does God sends the sinner’s sin to Hell or the actual sinner himself?" Methinks that the sinner and his sin are inseparable.
But the idea is not a total escape from reason, depends on the doctrine one ascribes to, whether Arminian or Reformed. In the Arminian doctrine this statement makes no sense at all, if only one reasons a little. In the Arminian doctrine Jesus paid on the cross for the sin of every single human and it is up to the people’s free will to accept or not the gracious salvation offered by Christ. In this doctrine God loves every single human being and he is hurt and sorry and upset when they die without choosing Him, but He sends them to Hell, nonetheless. Now I ask: "What kind of love is that that loves desperately someone, but when they die He sends to perdition?" Me no compute; it makes no sense at all.
Besides this light doctrine neglects to consider that God is Omniscient, meaning God knows the beginning from the end and that He knew very well, before time began, whom will choose Him and those that will not. So it is no surprise to God that someone rejected Him and did not accept the sacrifice of Christ for Salvation for He knew it even before creation ever was. Surely God does not love those in Hell otherwise He would have a dichotomy of mind. Does God love the devil? Obviously God hates those in Hell. So does the argument that He loved them when alive notwithstanding the fact that He knew they would reject Him and that He will send them to Hell, makes any sense to you? And yet that is what in effect the Arminian are proposing.
Remembering that it is God that generates and gives every souls and it is God that calls every soul, indeed He makes alive and He kills everyone as He decrees: "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand." (Deu 32:39)
This phrase makes sense only in the Reformed view. The Reformed view purports that Jesus on the cross did in fact atone for all sins of the elect and none else. That is, those that were preordained to salvation before the world began: "And hearing, the nations rejoiced and glorified the Word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed." (Act 13:48). "And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins." (Mat 1:21)
On those God placed His love even before they came into being as Scripture says: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1Jo 4:10) Thus God being Omniscient and having decreed those to salvation He loves them even when still sinners for He looks at the finished product in Christ: "Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith ……." (Heb 12:2), that is when they go to Heaven. Now under this doctrine all makes sense: God has placed His love on His elect even though still sinners but He hates their sins, of course because these are against His Law: "and [He worked in] you who were once dead in trespasses and sins," (Eph 2:1) In this doctrine there is no confusion, all makes good reasoning and is in line with the Biblical truth.
God never hates His redeemed even when they sin. Is He an unfair respecter of persons? No! (Act 10:34) God hates the unredeemed sinner but loves the redeemed even when they sin for a good and just reason. God loves the redeemed even when they sin because His Son, in whom God is always well-pleased, ever lives to make intercession for them. (Rom 8:27,34; Heb 7:25) Christ died to atone for the guilt of His people’s sins. When they sin, these are atoned-for sins. They are sins with their guilt removed. In one sense, they are not sins at all. God does not hate His people when they sin because they are in His Son, Christ Jesus. And they are made acceptable in His Son. He "has made us accepted in the Beloved." (Eph 1:6)
Indeed in the Reformed doctrine it can be said that God does love the sinners that have been elected to salvation but hates the sins they perform, however these are not ascribed to them as they have been atoned for on the cross. The non-elect God does not love but hates both them and their sins as these have not been atoned for : "He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God stays on him." (Joh 3:36)
Funny thing though, for it was not the Reformed camp that came up with this phrase, but the Arminian one, even though it does not make much sense in their doctrine.
That God hates the sin whilst He loves the actual sinners that He knows would reject Him is not in the Bible, and it does not make much sense anyway, for then God would have a dichotomy of mind in such case. . Moreover, there cannot be a division between the sinner and his sins, for the sinner is the one who sins, pure and simple and the only way a sinner is saved is by God granting His grace on whom He wills. But, as far as we are concerned we are commanded to do good unto all men especially those of the household of faith, so we are to do good to all men for they are made in the image of God, although badly marred in some cases: "So then, as we have time, let us work good toward all, and especially toward the household of the faith." (Gal 6:10) Why are we to do good to all men, even the expressedly evil one? To demonstrate the Kingdom of God that is in us and to do all we can to live in peace as we are commanded: "If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men." (Rom 12:18)
Modern Christianity has great difficulty in calling ‘a spade a spade’ and so they "sugar coat" (so to speak) the proclaiming of God, as He really is, for fear that people may leave the church. Ironically this watering down of the doctrine of God is the very thing that makes people go out. If we are real and coherent with logical reasoning we have to conclude that God, although benevolent with all (He makes rain and sunshine on all) He only "loves" His own elect. Modern Christian drenched in Democracy and having an exaggerate opinion of their own personal importance reel back from this glorious truth, and yet the Word of God is quite clear on the matter: "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created." (Rev 4:11) Everyone exists for the pleasure and glory of God, whether destined to glory or to perdition for He is "numero uno": "22 What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long–suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared to glory," (Rom 9:22-23)
And if we think we are something, stop deceiving yourselves for God says: "All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again to dust." (Job 34:15)
Just for the record: "What saith the Scriptures?"
"…… God is angry with the wicked every day." (Psa 7:11) God is not angry at the sin, while loving the sinner He is angry with the sinners themselves.
"How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft comes their destruction on them! God distributes sorrows in his anger." (Job 21:17) Truly it is a fearful thing for a sinner bound to Hell to fall into the hands of the living God.
"The LORD has made all things for himself: yes, even the wicked for the day of evil." (Pro 16:4) As we see again God is specifically displeased with the person, not with the sin as if it existed outside the person. He even says that He has made the wicked for a certain reason i.e. the day of evil. Now let us not escape from reason, here God says that He has created the wicked for His purpose on the day of evil, clearly not much love here for the wicked.
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luk 6:45) Jesus ties the sinner and the sin together. They are absolutely bonded together as one by the language of the Bible. Sins do not exist apart from the sinner.
"But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;" (2Pe 2:12) This is a repetition of Pro 16:4 and still no love for these sinners whilst hating the sin only.
"If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha." (1Co 16:22) Love the sinner but hate the sin? Methinks not.
"If there come any to you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:" (2Jo 1:10) No much love here for the sinner either.
"But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Rev 21:8) Clearly it is the sinners themselves that actually go to Hell, not their sins. So how can God love those that He knows, before time began would go to Hell, why create them if that would cause sorrow to Him, unless it is for His eternal glorious purpose.
The phrase: "God loves the Sinner and hates only his Sin" is faulty and misleading, it should be removed from the lips of every Christian. The TRUTH is that God is perfectly displeased with the sinner bound to Hell. This sinner hates God, disobeys God, is ungrateful to God for all His favours, would kill God if he could. He is dead in trespasses and sins. (Eph 2:1) "The thoughts and intents of his heart are only evil continually." (Gen 6:5) He is the slave of sin (John 8:34) and the servant of the devil, (Eph 2:2).