God hates sin but loves the sinner
This morning, I woke up and was thinking about this statement. Does God hate sin? Yes, we all know this and agree with it. It is an abomination to the Lord. He cannot face sin. When we get into the “..but loves the sinner” part, we have to be very careful of how it is used.
This comment is, in my opinion, used too loosely nowadays. It is not found any where in the bible, but many believers use the phrase. We have to look at the motive and our personal thoughts behind the reason why this phrase is used. If it’s used in the correct context and explained as it is used, then praise God! If it is used as a justifying statement, something should be reconsidered. Let me explain further –
There are quite a few verses in the bible that says God hates the sinner. We all know God hates sin. Yes, in multiple places, He does in fact say He hates the sinner (Psalms 5:5, Psalms 10:3; Leviticus 20:23; Proverbs 6:16-19; Hosea 9:15; Zechariah 11:8). Let me get something straight though: God indeed loves what He created. In the beginning, after He created, He looked and saw that it was good. This means that me as a sinner, was created as good. God loves me, His creation.
But now, we have a predicament. God hates sin. If God cannot face sin, hates it, and I am full of it, this doesn’t mean He hates “me”. He hates the sin, which has tainted me. He hates what it has done to this individual, which happened through my own choices. So, to cut it short, if I choose sin in my life over and over.. If I allow it to have dominion over me and I choose to serve the world instead of God, then I will become an abomination to the Lord via the sin that is written all over me. I eventually get formed by it. If I continually choose God, then I am formed by Him into the image of Christ. You are what you eat comes to mind. It isn’t “me” that He hates, it’s the sin.
The bottom line is that yes, He hates sin and cannot face sin. If I have sin all over me, He cannot face me and hates what sin has done to His beautiful creation. Can we imagine how much this hurts Him? To love His beautiful creation but cannot face it because of the sin? Could you imagine being a Just, Holy, and Righteous Father who can never lie? You say, “The day you eat of it, you shall surely die.” Then you watch your child eat of it and you know that he will die? What would you do? If I could take the death myself, I would. – Bingo. True Love does this. God did this. In no way does this pretty up the sin. It’s still abhorred. Justice must be, and will be served, otherwise God isn’t God.
Ah, but He still loves us. As in some sermons I have heard lately.. God is Faithful, He is Joy, He is Merciful, He is Gracious, He is Peace, He is Love, etc. It isn’t that God is “part” of these things. God is these things. God is Love. God cannot choose to not love, because He is love.
So in the statement, God hates sin (true), but God loves the sinner.. we have to be very careful on how we interpret this. The best way to really state this phrase is to say: God hates sin, but God so loves the sinner, that He sent His only begotten Son in that whomever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16).
I’m standoffish on the cliche because it can be used as a justifying statement. i.e. God hates sin but loves me anyways. Yes, He does love us, which is why He sent His Son! So that we may choose Him instead of the sin that we will perish in.
God is Just: We cannot forget that God is Just. Imagine a righteous Judge on the bench and He is sentencing a murderer to the death penalty. The sinner has been proven to be guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.. 100% guilty. The penalty for such a crime is death. This means that in order for justice to be served, the man must die. If the Judge said “You are free to go, because I’m a loving Judge” <– this is not justice. God is Just. But, the Judge says “I Love you. I have never sinned. I am God in the Flesh and I will take the penalty for you. The only thing you have to do is believe that I will do this for you.” That is how God loves the sinner. But if the sinner says “naw, I don’t believe in you”, then the penalty must be served and they go to hell. This is the love for the sinner, and hate for the sin.
1/2 the Truth: People say things like “God is love” – True! As long as that is not the only thing focused on. As in, as long as it is not self-serving. As long as we are not focusing only on God’s love to justify/down-play our sin in order to have our conscious appeased. This is pretty much idol worship.. molding a god to be what we want it to be. (See the posting: Who is God?) Yes, God is Love..Amen! But we cannot concentrate so much on this at the expense of realizing that we deserve hell for our sin.
The other 1/2 of the truth: In our sin, we deserve to perish and go into the lake of fire – True! But sometimes, we concentrate so much on this at the expense of realizing that God is also Love. We cannot push people away by bible thumping them (I’m guilty of this) and telling them all about their sin. This is not Love. Love tells them about the other 1/2 of the truth, the way out of hell – Jesus.
The full Truth: That’s why John 3:16 is the perfect verse. God loves us, if we believe in the payment of our sins, we won’t perish. It talks about God’s love and hell in the same statement. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. I strongly urge an understanding of the definition of believe. It is not ‘head knowledge’. It means to yield, obey, trust in, have faith in, and rely upon Jesus Christ. It’s a literal action, not a thought. Doing the same thing Christ did. Yielding the selfish ways, the ego, our will, etc. to the Way, to Christ. – Death to self, raised in Christ.
I posted this because after dwelling on the above-mentioned this morning, I then came across this blog: To Sin or Not to Sin. My 2nd confirmation. Yesterday, this topic was alive and well in my life too. And then last night, I willingly sinned.. A lesson indeed……
Keep on keepin’ on..