Commentary By: Gordon King
This is a rather long post, however it is very important to our faith, and I suggest that you read it in its entirety.
It was recently brought to my attention by a brother in Christ that he heard it said that God hates the sin but loves the sinner. He was obviously referring to me, as he wrote this in a comment to a post that I wrote and made this claim. He then asked how could God love the sinner all the way to hell, then stop loving them when they arrived?
What I take from this is that he is actually asking me if I truly believe that God loves everyone, including sinners, and is making the statement that God does not love everyone, but actually hates sinners. Maybe that is not what he meant by it, however there are many believers who do believe this.
Of course I responded with: “Yes I did say that, and I believe it. Didn’t God love us while we were sinners? And yet He still saved us. Who said that God stops loving at all?”
Yes, I said it: “God hates the sin, but He loves the sinner”! I said it, I claim it, and I believe it with all of my heart, my mind, and my soul!
Why do I now write about this? Why do I even bring it up or mention it? For one reason, I have been loosing sleep over this matter. My soul and my spirit are uneasy, restless, and very agitated by the very thought of God not loving sinners. The Holy Spirit was speaking to me, telling me that this was not true, that I needed to beware of such teachings, giving me a red flag. Secondly, it places doubt in my mind about the relationship with which I have had with God since I was seventeen years old. If it were true that God hates sinners, then what I know about God has been a lie. The relationship that I have had with the God of the universe would also be a lie! Thirdly, if it were true that God hated sinners, then what I have been preaching to everyone on this website would also be a lie. I want nothing more than to know the truth and speak the truth, leading believers away from the truth would be devastating to me!
Think about it for a moment, if you were married, then decades later found out that your spouse were living another life outside of your marriage, how would you feel? More than likely you would be devastated! You would feel betrayed, used, walked on, and violated. Well, this is how I would feel also if I found out that what I know about God, my Savior, my Provider, my Protector, my Friend, were a lie also! It would tear apart my faith, question the veracity of God and His word, and make me question just why am I following a God whom I trusted for most of my life! It would take the truth of the word of God and turn it upside down and make the message a lie. So you can see that this is a very serious matter, one in which I cannot wait to resolve and put to rest.
The very day that I received this comment I began researching the question: “Does God hate the sin but love the sinner?” To my amazement there were pages of believers who claim that the bible never says this, and that God does actually hate sinners! I was appalled by this, and it entered my mind that what if after all of these years I was actually wrong?! What if I was telling people that God loved them no matter what they did, and I was wrong? What if God actually does hate sinners? I could not believe that there are so many believers out there who believe that God hates sinners!
All you have to do is read the bible to know that God does not hate sinners! What is the bible all about anyway? It’s a love story from cover to cover my friends! It’s about God loving His creation from the beginning, about reconciling them back to Himself, even though his creation has rebelled against Him time and time again. It’s about God Himself loving us all so much that He came to earth as a human and as God, sacrificing Himself for us in order that we might have eternal life with Him!
However, there are believers who use bible verses to refute this claim, they say that God says that He hates sinners, it’s in the bible. Yes, it is true that there are biblical verses in the old testament saying that God hates some people with certain attributes. Yet, is this truly what is meant by these verses? It just makes no sense to me that these words mean that God actually hates the sinner, and it contradicts what the bible teaches us about God. I know the bible to be 100% true, and that it does not contradict itself. Knowing this, there must be a reason for these verses, other than what first meets the eye.
Then we must be sure that we understand just what these verses mean, and in the time, context, and culture in which they were said. For instance, Jesus says to us:
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.“
Does this actually mean that we are to hate our family or we cannot follow Christ?! No! Absolutely not! What it does mean is to love Christ more than our families, to put Christ first!
Didn’t God come into this world to save it? Didn’t He die on the cross to save sinners? And why would God even want to save people who He hated anyway? Why does God show us mercy, forgiveness, and grace if He hates us? It just makes no sense whatsoever if God is who He says that He is, LOVE!
“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. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.“
And weren’t we all sinners at one time or another? And if this is true then why would God save us? Isn’t God’s love for us unconditional? That’s what the bible teaches, and if this is so, then God would love us no matter what we did!
“ For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.“
If we look back in time through the word of God, then we can see that God does not hate sinners, just the opposite. Take for instance Jonah, didn’t God tell him to go to Nineveh to preach salvation? And if He hated sinners then why would He want to save these people? After-all, they were very wicked and evil, some say that they were the most evil people since the beginning of creation!
And God told Jonah:
“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
If God hated them so much, then why would He want to save them? He could have just killed them all, but He didn’t because He loved them and knew that if they had the chance they would turn from their wicked ways and repent!
Some people, even believers will bring up Sodom and Gomorrah, or the days of Noah, and say that God does hate sinners because He destroyed these evil people, and if He loved them that He would not have done so. However, what we don’t know is just how bad they were, and how hardened their hearts were. There comes a point in time when a person who continually hardens their heart will also sear their conscience, with no turning back, no repentance, but continual evil, hatred, and rebellion against God. God knows everything, He knows it all!
2 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.“
We often think that we know God, that we know of His ways, and we compare God to our own understanding and our own values. But, God is much greater than we are, and His ways and thoughts are much higher than ours.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.“
It’s often difficult for us as humans to forgive those who trespass against us, and it’s even harder to love them. Yet, God tells us to love our enemies, even though this doesn’t make much sense to us. Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, the second is to love your neighbor as you love yourself!
‘Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” ‘
And what if our neighbor is evil and wicked, shall we still love them as we love ourselves?! Yes! According to Jesus we should love even our enemies. This doesn’t make much sense to the human mind, but we are not God, nor should we lower God and His standards to meet our human minds, values, and reasoning, otherwise we are creating our own god!
As believers in Jesus Christ we are to be more Christ-like, to put on Christ, to let Him increase and us decrease.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.“
“Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.“
Scripture tells us to be imitators of God, to walk in love as Christ loved us and has given Himself for us. If this is true, and it is, then we are to love just as God loves. If it were true that God hated sinners, then we should also hate sinners! After-all, we are to be imitators of God, right?! Yet this is not what the bible tells us at all, just the opposite.
Some will say that the words: “God loves the sinner but hates the sin” is not found anywhere in the bible. This is true, it does not say those exact words, yet if you read and study scripture than you will know that it is true. The words Trinity, Millennium, Rapture, and Bible are also not found anywhere in scripture, yet we know about them from reading scripture, and we are taught the concepts through scripture!
A couple of days ago I searched the internet for information regarding this subject, and as I said, the first day I found nothing but arguments against “God loves the sinner but hates the sin”. However, after seeking the Lord and praying for God to help me and give me confirmation of my beliefs, the next day I found several websites who agree with my beliefs and make very good and valid points. In fact, the sites which say that God hates sinners seem to contradict themselves in their answers, making one question their faith and the word of God.
I read one post which said that we should not hate the sin, but just love the sinner. Really?! Hating the sin does not mean to condemn another person, nor does it mean to judge them for sinning. It means that you hate sin! God hates sin, and we should be God-like. This does not mean that we go around condemning people for their sin, we all sin at times.
I think that I have said enough on this matter, you should all know where I stand. I truly believe that God does love everyone, sinners and saved. God is just, righteous, holy and pure, and this is what separates God from sin. Just because there will come a time when some will find themselves thrown into a lake of fire does not mean that God stops loving them. We cannot understand all the ways of God, nor can we know His mind, He is God and we are His creation.
I have found several posts on websites which go into this much deeper than I have and I strongly urge you to read them. They go into detail on the verses which say that God hates some people with specific attributes, and just what these verses actually mean. They also go into detail regarding God and His love for the world. Please take the time to read these then make your decision on what you believe. As for me I believe that God loves sinners but hates the sin! This is the God that I know and love, the God I have a relationship with, the One who told me that He is Love!
God bless my friends! Maranatha!