| A meditation on God's love and anger toward the wicked|
Here are some thoughts that I had on Gods love and hate toward the wicked. I would appreciate your comments as to whether or not you agree with my conclusions as this is indeed a very difficult but vitally important subject.
By Gods grace I think I have come to some (although limited) understanding of how God both loves and hates the wicked at the same time.
The sinner is in open rebellion against God and God alone, the sinner will not allow God to be God over his life and so he attempts to seize Gods throne and His crown. He will not have God to be all in His life, he is too interested in pleasing self which results in all manner of wicked deeds (sins). Like rotten fruit from a bad apple tree so our sins are the fruit of our sin, which is our self exalting rebellion.
Thus the righteous, holy God is rightly furious with the rebel who has lived as though His glory, greatness and holiness are not important. His sin is an open offence and slander upon God Himself and so God is right to be angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). God even hates the sinner for his works of iniquity which are abominable in His sight (Psalm 5:5) so much so that He cannot bear to look upon him (Hab 1:13) and is full of wrath against him which is being stored up more and more with every sin until the day of wrath and righteous revelation of judgement of God (Rom 2:5), when the deluge of wrath will fall upon such a one who continues in his sins and who does not repent and side with God in mourning and hatred against his sin. God will rightly give such people what they deserve and what His offended holiness and glory demands- hell (this is also what we deserve). It will be hell for every unrepentant sinner.
And yet now I think I can see a little of how Gods love fits in at the same time as His wrath, without taking away from His wrath. Yes I would say that God both loves and hates sinners at the same time. Even the wicked are His own precious creations; He affectionately knit them together in the womb. Even though unredeemed man is under the curse and is therefore by nature a child of wrath (as once were we Eph 2:3), he is nonetheless a creation of God. I find it hard to believe how it is not true that God in some way loves all that He has made even the rebellious sinner.
On what scriptural evidence can we base this argument? The Garden of Eden I think is a most helpful place to look for our answer. After Adam sinned (remember Adam had in that instant disobeyed and rejected God, wilfully turning against his Maker and siding with satan. He became a rebel, an offence to God and a living attack on all His attributes- His holiness and goodness etc) did not this same offended God, who might well have cast Adam straight into hell come searching for him saying: Adam, where are you? (Gen 3:9).
Was God sad? Yes. Was God angry at Adam? Yes. Did God even have a holy hatred toward Adam? Yes, for He had to- He loves righteousness and hates lawlessness (Psalm 45:7) and therefore hates all workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5). Did God love Adam still? Yes, He loved him as shown by His not immediately finishing with him.
Gods love for Adam (who was remember, a wicked rebel who wanted to be as God) remained, but was now accompanied by anger. A satisfaction for Gods righteous anger had to be found; either it had to be poured out on Adam or another in the place of Adam. Gods righteousness, holiness, justice and wrath demanded Adam be punished, demanded hell, but Gods love could not let him go. His love had to find a way (and had already planned the way) to bring him back into reconciliation and friendship with Himself. We know the rest of the story and praise God for Jesus!
God is love (1 John 4:8). Love is His essence. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love suffers long and is kind (God is all these to the most evil of men) and love by definition seeks the good of others. God is disposed to show his goodness to his creatures and so desires that the wicked would turn from their evil ways and live (Ez 33:11) and that all men might be saved (1 Tim 2:4).
Thus at the same time God hates the wicked and is angry with them (and if they do not turn will punish them forever in unquenchable fire- make no mistake) and yet loves them and is kindly disposed by His nature to want to do them good, to which end He has provided a Saviour at great cost to Himself and warmly and tenderly invites the most evil of sinners to turn from their sins return to their Maker and live. In His love He will not turn away one repentant sinner who comes in humility and faith to Christ, falling on Gods mercy.
I believe that even the vilest sinner is still loved by God to a measure that we will never know; far greater than a Father loves his estranged and wayward son.
While the wicked are on this earth, Gods love is shown to them in that they receive good things from His hand - all the comforts of life and Gods love and longsuffering work together to give them time to turn while He constantly calls him to repentance.
This is a difficult subject. All I know is that Christ must love all sinners, really love them, deeply and sincerely love them. We are called to imitate our Father in heaven by doing them good and so we must pursue them with offers of mercy and invites to turn and live.
What we believe about this question: does God love the wicked is so important that it will decide whether or not we love the wicked, or whether we judge them and look down on them and despise them. How did God look on sinners when He walked among them? Surely no man loved sinners like Jesus. Was it just the sinners who repented that He loved? No, for even the rich young ruler who loved His money more than God, who was an idolater and a covetous man and who indeed, would not repent at the call of Jesus was none the less loved by Jesus. Luke tells us that Jesus looking at him, loved him (Luke 10:21). And remember this is a man who would not repent, this man was still a rebel in his sins, yet Jesus loved Him. Do we need any more proof than this one verse alone to show us that God truly does love sinners?
Surely if we do not believe that God loves sinners- we will not love them either, for why should we? But if we do know that God loves sinners greatly then we will love them greatly too. O how we will pursue them to our death with tear-filled eyes calling on these wretched ones to embrace the Saviour. Compelled by the love of the Saviour we will pour out our lives for others seeking to spend and be spent in no other work than in saving souls.
- We must love sinners as our dear Lord loves sinners.
- God both loves and hates the wicked at the same time. The two are not incompatible or inconsistencies.
- His wrath will see them cast into hell forever if they do not repent and embrace Christ (Psalm 2:12) but His love will continue to show kindness to, bless and pursue them with offers of salvation and reconciliation.
- We must show sinners that God is angry with them but that he loves them (as demonstrated at the cross Rom 5:8), but must warn them that His love will not or cannot erase His wrath- only repentance and washing in the blood of Jesus can do so. While you remain without Christ there is no mercy or saving love for you- without Christ you will die in your sins (John 8:24).
- His holy anger burns against them but He cannot but love them.
- Christ loves and hates sinners. I am called just to love them (although I must hate their sin).
- Gods love has no other way of removing sins and taking away wrath other than through the cross of Jesus. Unless sinners come to Christ through the finished work of the cross alone, they can talk all they like about God loving them but it will not save them in the day of judgement. For such people there remains nothing but wrath in the day of wrath and a certain fiery expectation of judgement.
- It is only an understanding of Gods love toward sinners that can lead us to love sinners.
- Unless we believe that God loves His enemies why should we love ours?
-What would be our motivation for going to the lost with the gospel if we do not believe that God loves them and wants them to be saved? Without this knowledge wouldnt we go in self-righteousness and speak down on them in contempt as Jonah?
- Two things are needed
1. A passion for Gods glory and His Name that has been defiled and dishonoured.
2. A love for sinners, a real tender love and compassion for them as our Saviour had that sent Him to the cross.
Why else would we pray and agonise for souls like MCheyne and others?
Both are needed. A love for Gods Name and a love for sinners. Let us not go forward unless we have both.
| 2006/10/11 13:21||Profile|
| 2006/10/11 13:26||Profile|
North West England
I tend to agree with what you are saying, it is a hard one to put into perspective, here are some thoughts for what they are worth...
We should remember that we were once sinners and we now have been saved from wrath, so we are not better than the unsaved but we are in a better position, so we should warn them or else we are being selfish and forgetting our roots
Paris Reidhead in 'Ten Shekels' tells us of how he went to Africa to give poor sinners a chance to be saved, but God corrected him by telling him 'I sent you out there for me, not them, do I not deserve those for whom I died' I think if we alter our thinking from our perspective to His, and we follow Him in reaching out then hate and love for the sinner is no longer the issue, but our love and obedience to Him.
As far as preaching goes, they must be warned about where their rebeliousness will lead, that God must punish sin and as far as God hating them, if we must say that (and I'm not saying we shouldn't) but we must tell them also that God is not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance 2Peter 3:9b
We must receive, know and proclaim the whole Gospel, not just the good bits or the bad bits.
Another thing while I am thinking along these lines, have you noticed that we can believe something ourselves, accept it by faith, yet find it difficult to get that same message or understanding across to others? I have come unstuck a few times with this, so it is important that these things are discussed so we can clarify our own position and help us to relate it better to others.
Good post, George (Here4Him), I'll be interested to see the imput of others
| 2006/10/11 14:11||Profile|