Have you ever heard the comment, "God hates the sin but not the sinner."? I heard this the other day, not for the first time. I know it was intended well - with love, however, I could not shake the wrongness of this seemingly innocent, well meaning, statement.
There is abundant evidence in Scripture of God's hatred for sin and for His wrath against the sinner. This all consuming anger against the wicked is written about, prayed for and prophesied for the eternal future of all who will not obey the Son, Jesus Christ. There is not anywhere, any statement that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that God somehow will punish sin apart from the sinner himself. He will justly punish the sinner; the actual person, for eternity. There is no way you can read Scripture and fail to understand that fact.
John 3:36 states, "whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him." The wrath of God remains on people, not on their sin. In the abundant evidence that God does not simply hate sin while loving the sinner, the best, most compelling and most self crushing evidence is the Cross of Christ. The Cross, this place of salvation and freedom and love and sacrifice is only all of that because a man, The Man, suffered and died on it. He suffered the wrath of God for sin. If God is wrathful toward sin but not the sinner, why could this cup of wrath not pass from Jesus, the perfect, holy, Son of God? How could God have been pleased to crush His Son?
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." God, in love, gave His Son. But what did He give Him for? Did God give His Son to us so he could walk around and heal people and teach us good things? God gave His Son to die. It is not as though God needed or wanted a human sacrifice to quench some sick thirst for blood. There is a reason that bulls and goats or your dog for that matter, can not please God as a sacrifice. The reason is that God's wrath must be poured out on sinners. It must be poured out on the sinners because that is where hateful sin is - in sinners. Bulls and goats and dogs are not sinners but people are. God gave His son to be a substitute for us. Jesus is the substitute sinner. Never knowing sin, He becomes, voluntarily, the man with the most sin ever. Jesus did not simply take all the sin of His people and put it in a lock box and throw it off the edge of eternity. Jesus took our sin on Himself. He took God's wrath. He was hated, beaten, mocked, shamed and crucified as a criminal. He took it, He died - not invisible sin apart from man.
Romans 5:8 God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. In love, God hated. In love, God crushed. In love, God punished the Man with the most sin; the only man who never sinned. It is Jesus' death that makes Him our Savior. In His resurrection He is our Everlasting King. Without God's hatred for sin poured out on the sinner, we have no Savior or salvation, but only fantasy. Jesus' death for our sin, for my sin, is a fact that occurred on the person of Jesus. A fact more painful than I can ever know, thankfully. It is a fact that is inescapable, as it should be.
The implications of seemingly innocent, erroneous statements about God and His Gospel are huge. In the desire to make the miraculous understandable to natural thinking, we are bound to blunder if we go beyond what is written. Let us be careful that our zeal for God's Glory in Jesus Christ, the Crucified and Risen One, is greater than our zeal for man. We think in error if we think we can win a soul to God by "helping" him to understand things that are hard to understand with niceties that don't jive with Scripture. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Don't mess with the Gospel!
The next time someone tries to tell you that God hates the sin, but not the sinner, kindly point them to Christ crucified and ask them to explain how God could have misunderstood so badly. I mean this very much with love but it is the kind of love that hates a lie. This is the kind of love that we need, that I need, more of. May the fear of God and the fire of His love guard your hearts.
- Ruben & Deb
- I met Jesus in March 1997 and soon after I began the practice of writing things down that were happening in my life with the Lord. Over the years, in the rare times that I have looked back into older journals, I have found that the things the Lord was showing me then are the same things He is showing me now. This does not make them less helpful, on the contrary, it makes them more helpful. God is exactly who He says He is and is doing all that He said He would. We need to be reminded of God and His faithfulness. The intention of this blog is to encourage God's people to continue and to grow in their confidence in Jesus Christ. The things posted here are from my journal and are meant to be an example of God's love and help as He loves and helps me. I would expect that you would have reason to trust Jesus Christ with your life (and death) if you haven't heard about Him so I invite you to go to my page "About Jesus" to see why you can and should have every confidence in Jesus and Jesus only for all things.