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..
Oh,and yes.. Love John 3:17 as well. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Saved from what? God’s wrath because without going ‘through Him’, we are an abomination… we’ll perish (see John 3:16)
Pertaining to John 3:16 was that some pulpits preach ear tickling messages about Love at the expense of not understanding God’s hatred towards sin. This helps people justify their sin “God is love, I’m good! All is well!”
Then others will pound the bible and tell everyone they are going to hell. This pushes people away because they do not experience the Love of Christ.
My point was that John 3:16 is used widely as one of the perfect verses because it gives a great summary of the gospel. The Love of God by sending His Son so that those who believe will not perish. (perish: to destroy fully (reflexively, to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively:–destroy, die, lose, mar, perish)
Very well expressed and theologically sound, brother joseph. You have thrown a great deal of light into topics not well understood even by men and women of God and some preachers…
Hey brother, thanks for the encouragement. I’m happy to see that what was in my heart came out correctly.. It can be a difficult topic. This phrase can be used to appease the seared conscience so we feel better about our sin.
Other similar phrases that can have truth to them, depending on the context, but are also used from selfish ambitions – “God helps those that help themselves”, “God just wants me to be happy”, etc.
36He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. Funny how so many people do not see or acknowledge this verse. The Balance is John 3:16 with John 3:36, we see Mercy, Grace and His Justice and Wrath.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 with special attention to verses 3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, 4)and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.
Revelation 16:7-11 talks about God’s wrath and judgement.
The most important verse regarding this discussion comes from Revelation 20:15 And whosoever was NOT found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
What is equally important here is what is NOT written. It does NOT go on to say, purged by the fire and then accepted by God. This is the 2nd death from which there is no turning back, once its done, its over there are no second chances. The Bible isn’t wishy washy, its very clear that those who do not accept Jesus and “follow after their own lusts” will NOT make it into God’s Kingdom.
Great blog Joseph, so glad you decided to do it. God bless.
sister, while keeping in mind to not base things on my own understanding (Prov 3:5), I have made an attempt to allow the word of God to speak for itself –
In reference to sin being an abomination and His wrath and hatred towards those in it:
Deuteronomy 25:16 For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Psalms 10:3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
Psalms 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Matthew 3:7-10 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
There are many many other examples, but this post would be too long. Pertaining to the word perish. Let us look at John 3:16 and Luke 13:5. The key is repentance –
Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
John 3:14-17 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
First, I have to mention the serpent in the desert –
Numbers 21:5-9 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.
Israel confessed their sins and whomever looked, beheld, had regard for, looked intently at, “seen” the serpent, they lived. Again: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
Now, to the definition of perish. I am looking at the Greek definition and I do not find it meaning a “temporary” condition as stated. Here is the definition in my strongs greek:
#622: from 575 and the base of 3639; to destroy fully (reflexively, to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively:–destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.
#575: The prefix apo: In composition (as a prefix) it usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal, etc.
#3639: (the base of the word): from a primary ollumi (to destroy; a prolonged form); ruin, i.e. death, punishment:–destruction.
What I can see from the written word is something contrary to it being temporary. Destroy fully, separation,cessation, departure, completion, death, destruction, a prolonged form, etc.
In the example of the lost sheep, the word is used figuratively as a parable (to lose a sheep, which is the only meaning out of the definition that can be temporary, which is most likely used in the figuratively state). In the example of John 3:16, it is used literally. Let us look at the full meaning of that parable, which is completed in the following verse:
Luke 15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.
Jesus is giving an example in a worldly sense of losing a sheep, and then comparing it to heaven. I cannot reason the use of a temporary view of the parable of the lost sheep, which is used figuratively, and make that the meaning of Jesus’ words. The meaning of the parable, in its context, is made complete in verse 7 as mentioned.
The meaning of all of the other verses of being LOST and then FOUND.. DEAD and then ALIVE are all formed around teachings (parables) of repentance. There is a purpose for such repentance, in reference to believing and being made whole, as to not perish.
It was mentioned that you cannot possibly come to the same conclusion as me. I agree, you should not listen to me.. But listen to the word, in its intended context, and let the word draw these conclusions for you.
This isn’t a “I’m right” and “you are wrong” response. I’m merely showing the word as it is written and as the Spirit teaches me.. based not on my own understanding. I may not have it 100% correct, but I fully believe I am in the correct zip code. :)
Proverbs 3:5-8 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
This word was given to me tonight, thank you Lord –
19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell[d] from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
[…] For me, it is no different than these other phrases that are used to tickle the ears of the flesh: God hates sin but loves the sinner, God just wants me to be happy, God created it, so it must be good, I’m not hurting anyone so […]
Excellent post! I’ve heard that phrase since I was a small child. Being raised in a conservative, Evangelical household, “God hates the sin, not the sinner” was the mantra of choice when dealing with homosexuals. As an actor in LA, homosexuals are simply a part of life. Consequently, that very phrase has become so overused it now holds all the theological impact of a bumper sticker.
In many ways, this phrase can be a gateway drug to some serious ignorance, as you imply with that quote: “God hates sin but loves me anyways.” I think your revision of the statement using John 3:16 breathes new life into the stagnant, dangerous cliche that is currently plaguing Christendom.
I think the biggest mistake that could come out of abandoning the “phrase” would be reverting back a “God is just! Thou shalt perish!” response to, particularly, the homosexual community. I only mention them because that’s how I’ve grown up hearing the phrase. Homosexuals, and all sinners alike, are well aware that Christianity states they’ll perish. This isn’t new news to them. However, the love of Christ might very well be, and I think “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” strikes the perfect balance.
I have also heard people tell sinners that God is not angry with you, but the bible says he is angry with the wicked everyday. There are so many untruths being taken as truth in the world today leading many astray.
So very true, I am guilty of this myself.
ya.. and what’s cool is that you can admit that you are guilty of it. That is confession and agreement with God. Many cannot utter such words out because of pride. Blessed is your confession. :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting Jessica. God bless.
thank you brother i have learn a lot thank you very much i sin before lord bt um a christian i hev learn i wont sin again especially lieing i lie brother please help me even to pray
I think Jesus said it best when they asked him to teach them to pray. Luke 11:1-4 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
Praying, for me, is a personal relationship/conversation with God, in all things.. as much as possible at least. The scripture above is a good reference.. Hallow His name, pray for His will to be done, pray for bread of life, ask forgiveness and forgive others, ask for protection and guidance.
Also, in James, we read: James 4:3-4 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
This teaches us that we should be careful of asking for things based on selfish desires. Instead of asking for things for myself, I trust that God will meet all of my needs. Not that I do not ask for help.. specifically spiritual guidance, help with growth into His image, etc. But yes, I also ask for other things, but I pick and choose them carefully. That’s just me though.. I like to be careful on being full of selfish desires, thus I usually end up praying.. “nonetheless, may your will be done..”
I have some posts about getting answered prayers.. Here are 2 of them –
I pray this is helpful in some manner for you. God bless
It is difficult to understand the seemingly opposing statements of God is love, yet God hates sin, unless we understand what love is…it is that preeminent drive or feeling on God’s behalf for the best of our eternity, and for the best of the eternity of all humans, “not wishing any to perish”, 2 Peter 3:9. The most engulfing, overriding part of love is that which wishes the best for those who are fallen (us) for all eternity, and not solely for this lifespan.
Trickier yet is a definition of sin which can be encompassed by love. This definition of sin must be baptize-able, which is to say that in God’s eyes sin must be something which is easily washed away, forgotten and buried.
From God’s point of view, it was not easy, it took the death of Him. Yet from our point of view it is easy to fall into this pool of forgiveness by faith through grace. What was possibly nearly impossible for Him to provide has become relatively easy for us to obtain, at least in part.
And so a definition of sin which may work, is that – which clouds our eternal future, which muddies the light from God, which detriments our soul, which unnecessarily harms the body-temple of God, which separates our spirit from ourselves and God, and that which dishonors those who have been created by God. I could go on, but to sum up, sin is that which is set to bring us down. It does not need to get much heavier than this.
Seen in this way, it is natural that God would not take an overly kind eye toward sin. He loves us, sin does not love us, and He takes our side, at least if we do not fall too lovingly into the hands of that which is set against us, that which we call sin. Those who embrace sin, and embrace unbelief despite all which God may show a person are somewhat left up to the judgement of sin for their lives.
At least for me, which is to say I am not too concerned if I convince anyone on this, Something can only be defined as sin if it destroys or devalues or tricks us in some way into ours or others lessening. And yet only God sees all, so we can not necessarily say to ourselves “in this behavior there is no harm, and consequently no sin”. God can see the end of all things, and so He knows that which is for our good. God alone is best at determining what is not best in His eyes, and the bible is meant to give us His thoughts on these things, and so we have a good manual concerning this, unless we misinterpret the information within.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just restating what’s already been said, but I thought it might be worth sharing…peace.
Joseph, it keeps on looking like the comment has not been successfully posted until I actually go to the post itself to see if it is. Then I see I’ve posted multiple copies of my comment. Sorry readers. Mark
ya, i’ll try to fix it this week.. i’ve noticed others having challenges too.
It’s looking fixed.. for now. Thank you very much Mark, I love your contributions as well as your help. God bless you and yours.
[…] I have read a great deal of The Bible and what they preach is such a SMALL part of The Bible! Most of The Bible is about loving your neighbor, compassion, forgivness. They often say “God hates fags” but it also is said that God hates the sin but still loves the sinner. […]
Bro Joseph you say that God so loved the sinner that he sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. (Jn.3:16). My problem with your statement is those who do not believe that are left out of the whosoever. Since God is love how can a loving God send anyone to hell? If Jesus died for all men’s sins, then the penalty has been paid for all. Yet only those who believe are saved, and the rest are condemned.(Jn.3:18). How can God condemn anyone if the penalty of their sins has been paid for already? Where is the love in that?
The answer lies in the fact that God’s love is given only to those who believe. The penalty that Jesus suffered on the cross was for them and only them. His death was a perfect sacrifice for chosen by God.(Romans.8:28-39).