There is a famous adage – Love the sinner, hate the sin: –which I believe was originally attributed to Gandhi. I put an unrelated quote on Facebook and a friend of mine said “Jesus loves the sinner but hates the sin”. My comment was that this it a nice thought but is theologically incorrect. Several other of my Facebook friends asked me to explain. So here it is.
When Adam and Eve sinned, it presented a quandary for God as that which He hated (sin) was now in that which He loved (mankind). To destroy that which He hated would have meant that He would have destroyed that which he loved:- this was not an option for him. To not destroy that which He hated was not an option either as God hates sin.God hates sin because it is the very antithesis of His nature. The psalmist describes God’s hatred of sin this way: “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You” (Psalm 5:4). God hates sin because He is holy; holiness is the most exalted of all His attributes (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 6:8). His holiness totally saturates His being. His holiness epitomizes His moral perfection and His absolute freedom from blemish of any kind (Psalm 89:35; 92:15; Romans 9:14).
So his rescue plan was to send Jesus into the world to become what He loved (mankind) in order that ultimately He may put what He hated (sin), into Jesus and then destroy that which He loved and that which He hated all at once, in order to ultimately save that which He loved. (you and I)
But throughout the Old Testament, God doesn’t distinguish between the sinner and the sin. And his Holiness couldn’t tolerate the sinfulness of mankind. The bible clearly records that God hates the sinner. Now I understand this messes with our little pet theologies and the whole idea that God can hate really hurts our brains. But here are some scriptures.
Ps 5:5 The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
Ps 11:5 The Lord tests the righteous,
But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates
Proverbs 6:16-19 16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
Hosea 9:15 15 “All their wickedness is in Gilgal,
For there I hated them.
Because of the evil of their deeds
I will drive them from My house;
I will love them no more.
All their princes are rebellious
So does God love the sinner and hate the sin – apparently not. But 1 John says that God is love. So here is a thought to bring some resolution to this. God can hate, but He IS love. This then makes the Romans 5:1 all the more powerful:-
5 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have[a] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
The word “peace” means to be in a state of well-being and prosperity because warfare has come to an end. But more than that, peace means the restoration of a broken relationship. It’s more than just the end of fighting and bickering. It’s what happens when two people who haven’t been speaking once again become friends. It’s what happens when a couple on the verge of divorce work out their problems, recommit themselves to each other, and fall in love all over again.
Peace means that a relationship once filled with enmity now is filled with joy. Peace is a positive change in a relationship between two people who once were enemies!
In the beginning man lived in peace with God. But sin entered the relationship, man turned to his own devices, and the relationship was broken. Now every person who enters this world comes in as an enemy of God. That’s what sin does. It destroys every relationship in heaven and on earth.
So our justification bought us Peace with God. This is different to the Peace of God – which is to do with our hearts and minds and the sense of stress or peace we feel. Peace with God – means that enmity has been taken away.
The next part of Romans 5 is equally astounding.
5:7-8 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.
See God’s love is amazing in that while we were enemies with God – he still saved us. Verse 10 says
10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life
So as the bible says that God hates the workers of iniquity – at the same time, His love was so overpowering that – while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
And now we have peace with God. And that my friend is simply beyond comprehension.
Hope that helps