I been having an email debate. I say God does hate. He says God is love, that it makes no sense to believe God hates. Yet he claims to be a Christian, and in more than one place the Bible says God hates. How does he do that? Well, lots of us find excuses for picking and choosing what we want to believe.
Most are familiar with this passage.
Proverbs 6:16-19 English Standard Version (ESV)
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
Our sins are vile things. Should God love the things that hurt and destroy His children, our overbearing pride, our lies, our wicked schemes, the strife we create. No? Then what should God do? Pretend we don’t sin?
Are you a parent? Have you tried ignoring your children’s misbehavior? What do you think about getting rid of the police, the courts, our prisons, disbanding our military,…. No consequence for breaking the law. No penalty for hurting others. Insane? And yet some people think God is that foolish, that there is no consequence for sin.
So does God actually hate sinners? I am not certain about that. The Bible leaves no doubt God hates sin, but it says He loved us even when we were sinners (Romans 5:6-8). Nevertheless, there is such a thing as the Wrath of God (see list of Bible verses here), and it is an appalling thing. It sends chills through my bones, but both the Old and the New Testaments speak of it. So do the teachings of those with differing religious traditions (Divine retribution). So is it wise to pretend we cannot make our Father in heaven angry? I think not, but others….
Because God is love, I have hope. His desire is to bless us (see list of Bible verses here).
We cannot earn God’s blessings. We cannot love God enough to earn them. We can only be humble enough to gratefully accept them.
Consider how The Sermon on the Mount begins.
Matthew 5:1-12 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Sermon on the Mount
5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus introduces the The Sermon on the Mount with The Beatitudes. The Beatitudes do not speak of love. They speak of other virtues, virtues such as those Benjamin Franklin once wisely strove to possess (see BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ON PRIDE AND HUMILITY). Amusingly enough, the virtue that was first on Jesus’ list was the last on Franklin’s list, Humility.
In His teachings, Jesus spoke often of love, but He spoke of love as a virtue, agape love, not the love that comes from the flesh.
1. eros – the physical, intimate, sensual type of love, not used in the Bible
2. storge – the natural affection of family members, not used in the Bible
3. phileo – love of the brethren, it is affection to family, friends, acquaintances or even activities, used in the Bible
4. agape – the deepest, greatest form of love, it is sacrificial and unconditional, used in the Bible
Agape love is love as God loves. When we humble ourselves before our Creator, we commit ourselves to love what He loves and to hate what He hates.
Now consider again that eighth blessing, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Why were Jesus’ disciples hated? Was it because they loved sinners? No. Sinners hated Jesus’ disciples because they called sinners to repentance. Unrepentant sinners hated Jesus’ disciples because Jesus hated sin, and Jesus’ disciples followed His example.
Just as those who love their neighbors hate their neighbor’s sins, those who love their sins hate those who hate their sins. Just the same, if we love God, we must hate sin. Because God hates sin, if we love Him, we must hate sin too. And if we hate sin, those who love their sins will hate us.
Does God Hate?
- Does God Hate Sinners? (www.apologeticspress.org)
- Does God hate? If God is love, how can He hate? (www.gotquestions.org)
- Does God hate anyone? and Does God hate people or love them? (carm.org)
- Does God love the elect and hate the non-elect? (www.gty.org)
- Can a Loving God Hate Someone? (www.equip.org)
On The Wrath of God
- The Wrath of God as an Aspect of the Love of God (www.theologynetwork.org)
- Five Truths About the Wrath of God (www.desiringgod.org)
- What is the biblical understanding of the wrath of God? (www.gotquestions.org)
On The Beatitudes
- The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12) (bible.org)
- Messages: The Beatitudes (www.desiringgod.org)
- The Beatitudes (www.vatican.va)