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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : God hates sin, God hates sinners, & God's love is conditional

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Joined: 2008/5/21
Posts: 349
Las Vegas, NV

 God hates sin, God hates sinners, & God's love is conditional

There seems to be a great deal of resistance against the teaching that God perfectly hates sinners. My brother and I put together a little something after I recently read an old thread here on SI and my brother showed me a video sermon where Mark Driscoll brought to attention that the quote, "Hate the sin and not the sinner," is taken from the hindu Mahatma Gandhi.

Does anyone else seem to have such enormous opposition to the reality that God hates not only sin but the sinners themselves? How do you all deal with these things?

Here is the blog we put up:

"Hate the sin and not the sinner." This quote is taken from the hindu Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography and is a saying often incorrectly attributed to Jesus Christ or, at least, to be of Christian origins.

Here is another quote from a blog regarding "Loving the sinner but hating the sin." The blogger here was trying parallel an out of context quote by St. Augustine from "St. Augustine's letter 211 (c. 424)" that "also contains the phrase Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly as 'With love for mankind and hatred of sins.'"
The problem here is that the blog writer indeed gives a very rough translation... Upon further research though, I came across a professional translation ( that shows the context of Augustine's letter is specifically speaking to those "persons" in the church -- not "mankind," as in the "rough translation." As you read the actual article that Augustine wrote, it is very clearly referring to the famous chapter of 1 Corinthians 5, about how the church is to deal with unrepentant Christians within the church body. Augustine is definately not referring to unregenerated mankind.
So, this shows that Mahatma Gandhi's quotation "Hate the sin and not the sinner" has no actual biblical, nor christian historical basis for Christians to use today. I find it fascinating, but not altogether surprising, that this phrase from a hindu "holy man" should gather such strong influence within Christian theology.

A modern "christian" way of interpreting these phrases is: "God loves the sinner and hates the sin."

So, let us see what others have had to say about this beginning with St. Augustine who was a moment ago taken out of context, and continue in his thoughts on this important subject.
AUGUSTINE (354-430, Bishop of Hippo): "For it may be that God hates a person to the degree more mildly, as not to destroy him, but whom He destroys He hates the more exceedingly, by how much He punisheth more severely. Now He hateth all who work iniquity: but all who speak lies He also destroys." (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol.3, p.462)

BROADMAN BIBLE COMMENTARY: "Yahweh takes no pleasure in wickedness and does not dwell with evil (or evil men). Insolent, boasting people have no position at all in the presence of Yahweh, who hates all 'doers of sin.' Indeed, Yahweh will annihilate those who speak deception: He detests the man of bloody deeds and deceits."

F. DELITZSCH : "Of such (sinners - the foolish, and more especially the foolish boasters:)... such men Jehovah hates: for if He did not hate evil, His love would not be a holy love," ... "And His soul hates the evildoer and him that delights in the violence of the strong against the weak. And the more intense this hatred, the more fearful will be the judgments in which it bursts forth." (Psalms, Vol.5, pp.122,189)

JONATHAN EDWARDS: "The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much in the same way one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: His wrath towards you burns like fire: He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire: He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in His sight: you are ten thousand times more abominable in His sight than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours." (Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God, July 8, 1741)

CHARLES G. FINNEY: "The very thing that God hates and disapproves is not the mere event - the thing done in distinction from the doer; but it is the doer himself. It grieves and displeases God that a rational moral agent under His government should array himself against his own God and Father, against all that is right and just in the universe. This is the thing that offends God. The sinner himself is the direct and only object of His anger." (The Guilt of Sin, pp.84-85)

THE INTERNATIONAL CRITICAL COMMENTARY: "But the wicked His soul doth hate ... Their treacherous preparations...are all observed by Yahweh, and He hates them from His very soul. The soul is the seat of the passion of anger and hatred, for God as well as for man...therefore, Yahweh is trying the righteous man, and hating His deadly enemies..."

THE INTERPRETER'S BIBLE: "In vs. 5 the verb 'trieth' has its object both the righteous and the wicked, and means nomore that the Lord watchfully observes them both and estimates them for what they are, hating the latter and ultimately pouring His destruction upon them."

LAYMAN'S BIBLE COMMENTARY: "God's Hatred of Evildoers (Psalm 5:4-5)... God is not said to love the sinner and hate his sin; He is said to hate both the sinner and his sin. This sounds harsh to modern Christian ears, but thereis truth here we dare not overlook."

MATTHEW HENRY'S COMMENTARY: "He is a holy God, and therefore hates them (the sinner), and cannot endure to look upon them; the wicked, and him that loveth violence, His soul hateth... Their pros-perity is far from being an evidence of God's love...their abuse of it does certainly make them objects of His hatred. He hates nothing that He has made, yet hates those who have ill-made themselves."

J. VERNON MCGEE: " If you think God is just lovey-dovey, you had better read this (Ps.11:5) and some of the other Psalms again. God hates the wicked who hold onto their wickedness... I do not think God loves the devil, I think He hates him, and He hates those who have no intention of turning to God. Frankly, I do not like this distinction that I hear today, that 'God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.' God has loved you so much that He gave His Son to die for you, but if you persist in your sin, and continue in that sin, you are the enemy of God. And God is your enemy." (Psalms, Vol.1, p.72)

CHARLES H. SPURGEON: "Verse 5 - Note the singular opposition of the two sentences. God hates the wicked, therefore in contrast He loves the righteous..." (The Treasury of David, Vol.2, pp.57-58)

AUGUSTUS HOPKINS STRONG : "There is no abstract sin that can be hated apart from the person in whom that sin is represented and embodies. It is the sinner who is punished, not the sin." (Systematic Theology, p.290f)

JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791, founder of Methodism): "But as for the wicked, God hates them, and will feverishly punish them." (Explanatory Notes Upon the Old Testament, Vol.2, p.1639)

The idea that "God hates the sin, but loves the sinner" is a lie. God is angry with the wicked daily and He will eternally judge both the living and the dead according to their deeds done in this life.

He does not demonstrate His love by some arbitrary feelings, lust, or emotions as liars might say, "Ohhh, God loves you unconditionally!" Paul Washer mocks those fools when he theatrically declares, "Jesus loves you!" whereby the sinner, that unrepentant man, responds with glee, "What? Jesus loves me? Really? That's wonderful, I love me too!"

God demonstrated His love for the world, when He sent His one and only son Jesus, the Christ, to die upon a cross. God the Father did this because of His eternal love that He has shared for His Son and the likeness and image of His son --which He created men in (Genesis 1:26; Romans 8:29; Colossians 3:10). That is, God loves His Son and He therefore loves us for the sake of His Son because we are created in His image -- even though this image is marred and obscured in our fallen sin nature.

Notice also that anytime God talks about His love demonstrated towards us, while we were yet sinners, He talks about His Son Jesus Christ dying on the cross and resurrecting from the dead to take away the sins of the world. A holy God cannot love anything or anyone with sin. If anyone refuses to repent and be saved from their sins and thereby dies in sin then they will be seperated from God's mercy; which is hell. As it is written, Matthew 7:23, And then will I profess unto them, "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." And again, Matthew 25:41, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels." If you have not repented and believed on Him, you are dead in your sins because God has already judged the world in righteousness.

John 3
18. He that believes on him (Jesus) is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Here are a couple of sermons for listening:

Pastor Mark Driscoll, "none of us are good people and how God feels about that."

A Burning Heart by Leonard Ravenhill,
"Some people say 'God hates your sin but loves you, the sinner', but that's bunkum - God hates you for sinning."

Here are a few scriptural references:

Psalm 5:4-6
Leviticus 20:23
Leviticus 26:14-30
Deuteronomy 18:12
Deuteronomy 25:16
Deuteronomy 28:62-63
Deuteronomy 32:16-20
Psalm 2:4-9
Psalm 7:11-13
Psalm 10:3
Psalm 11:5-7
Psalm 50:22
Psalm 78:57-63
Psalm 106:40
Proverbs 3:32-33
Proverbs 6:16-19
Proverbs 16:5
Proverbs 17:5
Proverbs 22:14
Isaiah 63:10
Jeremiah 17:5
Hosea 9:15
Zephaniah 3:15
Malachi 1:3-4

Psalm 139:16-24
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You. Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men. For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

The New Testament likewise agrees with the Old Testament for God does not change -- Malachi 3:6, "For I the LORD do not change," and again, Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."

Matthew 7:13-23
Matthew 10:28
Romans 9:13
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Galatians 5:19-21
Ephesians 5:3-6
2 Thessalonians 1:6-9
Hebrews 10:30-31
James 2:13
James 4:4
2 Peter 2:4-22
Jude 1:6-7

Acts 13:10
"You who are full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

1 Peter 3:12
"For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

Revelation 14:10-11
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.


 2008/11/11 20:43Profile

Joined: 2008/5/21
Posts: 349
Las Vegas, NV

 Re: God hates sin, God hates sinners, & God's love is conditional

Also, keep in mind, the purpose for bringing this up is to rightly balance the Love of God with His Hate.

As the post-modern, humanistic mind has polarized God's hate and love as black and white. That is, "love" is good and light and true and "hate" is evil and dark and false. God hates, this is Truth, God loves, this is Truth, and two eternal Truths cannot be contrary but must, of necessity, be wholly in agreement and peaceable co-existing in God to the infinite, maximum potentcy. Therefore, God's hate is Light.

This is not altogether unlike the articles by Jonathan Edwards concerning God's "revealed will and his secret will," or His "will of command and decree," and to say, "there is no inconsistency or contrariety between the decretive and preceptive will of God."

We have been considering a clear and concise way to as accurately as possible explain that God both loves and hates sinners, without contradiction. Which is essentially to explain how it is that we are commanded to "flee the wrath to come," which is the Wrath of God, and the very way we are bid to flee is by drawing near to Him through Christ Jesus.

I can't help but compare this very thing to Mount Sinai when God told the people to "come up."

[b]Hebrews 12
18.[/b] For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
[b]19.[/b] And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
[b]20.[/b] (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
[b]21.[/b] And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
[b]22.[/b] But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
[b]23.[/b] To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
[b]24.[/b] And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
[b]25.[/b] See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.

And to Him we draw near with full assurance of faith by the forgiveness of our sins by Christ Jesus our Savior.

Also, the fictional novel, "The Shack," which promotes the currently popular "Universalism" message is taking root in today's relativistic christianity and seems to be having some particularly strong delusions concerning heaven and hell -- and thus God's love and hate.

Such that hell is being described as the "absence of God" -- that is to deny God's omnipresence and sovereignty, for He is God and Lord of hell. And is a direct attack against such foundational Christian teachings as "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" by Jonathan Edwards. Likewise, the "wrath" of God has seemingly been delegated to satan because God is "loving and kind." This also has led to some impression that hell is the kingdom of Satan where he shall torment lost souls, thus, Jesus died to save us from satan rather than to save us from the Justice of God. And sin has become this detached thing separate from the sinner which is an influence from eastern mysticism (hinduism, buddhism, scientology, etc.) -- that is to say, we are inwardly good people we just need to be "healed" or "improved" rather than crucified and put to death so that we might become partakers of the resurrection of Christ, who is the perfect Man.


 2008/11/11 21:02Profile

Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA

 Re: God hates sin, God hates sinners, & God's love is conditional

HI everyone.

boG, if I could share something of a personal note: I think that it is astounding sometimes the multitude of words that we write.

"much in the same way one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you"

Mat 8:2-3

Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2008/11/11 21:37Profile

Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA


Hate the sin and not the sinner." This quote is taken from the hindu Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography and is a saying often incorrectly attributed to Jesus Christ or, at least, to be of Christian origins.

Perhaps it is due to the idea that sin is something akin to an an amoeba floating about in the atmosphere ... Like catching a cold.

[i]Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned[/i]:

Rom 5:12

Such that hell is being described as the "absence of God"


In a great sense it is the absence that is hell. Or maybe it could be put that it is known that He is there, just not [i]here[/i]. A figure of speech has a range of possibility and consideration; Outer darkness and fires that never cease burning taken in exact similitude are contradictory, but as expression ... What the world does not recognize nor realize is what sort of 'hell' this planet, this life would truly be if God were to remove His providence, His hand as we are want to put it. How much more when there is no more ... ?


And sin has become this detached thing separate from the sinner which is an influence from eastern mysticism (hinduism, buddhism, scientology, etc.) -- that is to say, we are inwardly good people we just need to be "healed" or "improved" rather than crucified and put to death so that we might become partakers of the resurrection of Christ, who is the perfect Man.

Right you are.

Mike Balog

 2008/11/12 0:18Profile


boG, thank you for this post. I agree with what you have posted. I hope many who read it will recieve what is written.

Having said that I also hope we will be guided by the Holy Spirit on when to emphasis this truth as we also must emphasis His great love for His enemies.

God bless, John

 2008/11/12 0:21

Joined: 2006/3/22
Posts: 963
Wheaton, IL


I quite enjoy Mark Driscoll sometimes; his preaching reminds me a lot of Spurgeon, he is what I imagine Spurgeon might be like if here were to come onto the scene today.

Ian Smith

 2008/11/12 3:20Profile

Joined: 2005/6/18
Posts: 1481


hi, are we to deny that while we were yet sinners He died for us or that God is love or that God so loved the world so we can tell people the bad news of hate? pride(rejection of the cross)is what He hates.jim p

 2008/11/12 3:24Profile

Joined: 2008/5/21
Posts: 349
Las Vegas, NV

 Re: God hates sin, God hates sinners, & God's love is conditional

I will be very straightforward before we get into this post: I am not writing these things in an attempt to lay out the final conclusion, packaged deal, "I got this figured out" answer. This thread is for the discussion of God's infinite perfection of Holy Love and Holy Hate. I request that you all put these statements to the test so that all error may be reproved by wise and godly counsel; because I must admit, I am not familiar with any teachings or sermons on some of these things whereby I might compare them. So please, don't simply compliment an agreeable statement but either support with scriptures that edify or reprove with scriptures where there needs to be clarity or to correct for the sake of restraining extremism.

Hello, ChrisJD, I am sorry but I am not sure what you are trying to say.

Such that hell is being described as the "absence of God"

I recently came across this quote while listening to an online lecture:

"Hell is eternity in the presence of God.
And, Heaven is eternity in the presence of God with a Mediator." -- R. A. Finlayson

Consider that for a moment. This is very much a "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" view of hell. [b]Psalm 139:8[/b], "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there." I do not believe Hell is the "absence of God's presence" but much rather hell is the overwhelming presence of God's omnipotent wrath and the absence of His mercy -- for God is a consuming fire.

In the same way, consider why it was necessary for God to put Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden: He put them out lest they should eat of the Tree of Life and "live for ever." I believe it is fair to say the Tree of Life is a representation of the Pentacostal outpouring or indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Thus, if Adam and Eve had partaken of that True Vine before there had been an atonement for their sins they would have been turned into hell, it would have been instant judgment, the Holy Presence of God would have come into the midst of an unholy people (ie. Sodom and Gomorrah) and they indeed would have "lived for ever."

Having said that I also hope we will be guided by the Holy Spirit on when to emphasis this truth as we also must emphasis His great love for His enemies.

Indeed! Who is man that God is mindful of him? And what great love is this wherewith He has loved us, this beautiful mystery of God's love towards us revealed in Christ Jesus?

By no means am I attempting to diminish the True Love of God by overstating the Wrath of God but rather I am attempting to reprove this false "love" that excludes God's righteous and just hate. As I previously said, "how it is that we are commanded to 'flee the wrath to come,' which is the Wrath of God, and the very way we are bid to flee is by drawing near to Him through Christ Jesus." This is seemingly a contradiction! How does God hate us with a perfect hatred and yet still seeks to draw us near to Himself in lovingkindess and mercy forgiving our iniquity?

As it is, if God loves us sinners "just as we are" why would He seek to change us? Would He not rather say, O, you vile little sinners, you are just too adorable! I love you all too much to be angry with you, besides you're not the problem, it is just that nasty sin! I love you unconditionally (because obviously God doesn't make any covenants -- conditions -- with us and the fact that God hates sin, that isn't a condition of His love either, right?) the way you are, don't worry about that little thing which I swore in My Holiness, "the soul that sins, it shall die" and again, "the wages of sin is death" ...

I realize some might argue that because God loves us He seeks to redeem us, however, such a perspective requires that God loves sin -- for we are sinners. I don't know about you all, but I don't believe God loves sin and I don't consider lightly the rebukes of God when He calls ungodly men "abominations" and that "His soul abhors" and "He hates" and "is angry with the wicked daily" and "shall utterly destroy the wicked" and "they shall not inherit the kingdom of God" and "shall not see eternal life" and "shall receive no mercy" and "shall be cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death", etc., you get the idea.

Now then, where do I stand on this?

Well, I have been coming to the conclusion that the very fact that God hates us sinners is the very reason He sets to put us to death to the "old man," or life of sin, and thereby raise us up with His resurrection power by the Holy Spirit. And He also does this to save the fallen image of His likeness which He made us in because He loves the potential and actualization of conforming us in the image of His Beloved Son.

So, God hates you but loves Christ in you. And I can live with that, I hate my sinful self and love Christ too! Whereby the more the life of Christ is formed in me the more I truly live -- those who shall lose their life for My sake shall find it ([b]Matthew 10:39[/b])!


 2008/11/12 4:19Profile

Joined: 2006/2/11
Posts: 2895
Philadelphia PA


Hi boG,

"Hello, ChrisJD, I am sorry but I am not sure what you are trying to say."

I'm sorry, I had intended the scripture refrence to be compared with the qoute and the idea of this thread.

I should have said something to make that clear.

Take care,


Christopher Joel Dandrow

 2008/11/12 6:11Profile

Joined: 2008/8/8
Posts: 50


I have been wrestling my mind about these things lately. I believe God can hate and love at the same time, without any contradiction to His nature. I'm interested in exploring the reconciliation of these things in the example of Christ's earthly ministry, He who is the image of the invisible God. I see what appears to be Christ's (God's) love for sinners (Zaccheus, the immoral woman, Matthew, etc.), AND His (should I say) hatred for religious leaders (brood of vipers, whitewashed sepulchres, etc.) and defilers of the Temple. Did He simply not disclose His hatred for the first group, nor His love for the second? If something can be understood, I yearn for it. I pray for grace and humility to realize I will never understand the vastness of our God.


 2008/11/12 9:19Profile

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