The Bible is rife with instances of God hating not only sin itself but those who commit sin and do evil. If you consider the fact that sinners do go to Hell, you realize that God doesn’t just punish sin itself, but the sinner too.
Psalm 5:5, “The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity,”
Psalm 11:5, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates.”
Hosea 9:15, “All their evil is at Gilgal; indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; All their princes are rebels.”
These are only a few of the verses that substantiate the claim that God hates sinners. Those who do evil will not inherit the Kingdom of God, they will be punished for their sin for all eternity while the righteous will live with Christ.
This brings us to the old adage “love the sinner, hate the sin”. There are split opinions on whether this saying is applicable for us, or if it’s just another Christian cliché that people have been saying for years.
I would like to present to you that we as believers, should hate sin, but should not express that hatred to the one who does sin, lest we risk becoming like hate groups. Those that destroy the good will and name of Christianity throughout the world. While I do admit that God Himself does hate sin and sinners, we are called to be compassionate servants to others, regardless of their standing in God’s eyes.
First and foremost, the command in James that true religion is taking care of widows and orphans. James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” This verse doesn’t differentiate that the widows and orphans are believers or not, but that we should take care of them regardless, by showing them acts of love and kindness. Paul tells us that we can do all types of things, but if we don’t have love, it means nothing. (1 Cor 13:2) In fact, the scripture even tells us to “remain unstained”.
Next, we serve a God who is jealous (Deut 4:24). How can our God be jealous but tell us that jealousy is sin? God is also able to boast in Himself, yet we as believers should not. God is able to be a jealous God and boast in Himself because He is God. There is none above him, He cannot exalt Himself above Himself, He simply is. When we are jealous and boastful, we are doing so in a way that exalts ourselves above the position that God has given us. It is to lift ourselves up, in a place that is God’s to lift.
God’s Holy character has to hate sin and those committing it, because of who He is and His nature. However, as believers and created beings, we are called into a place of servitude, peace, compassion and love. Paul in Galatians tells us that there is no law against these fruits of the spirit. He does not tell us that we should only show compassion, gentleness, kindness and meekness toward only believers. It’s natural for us in our flesh to hate, but those attributes of God that were not born with, are those we are called to live out in obedience.
This doesn’t give us permission to tolerate sin, in fact we are to first put sin to death in ourselves. We are called to abstain from sin, even flee from it like we would sexual immorality. We are to remain clean from sin, and not be stained by it’s effects but no where does that contradict how we should interact with those who do sin.
It is God’s responsibility to hate all things sin, whether the act or the person in commission. In John 3:36, we are told that God’s wrath is on the unbelievers. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” It is our responsibility to be the ambassadors of the Kingdom, as we have been given the gift of eternal life, we are to live in humility in love and by the Fruit of the Spirit.