Monday, April 08, 2013

Does God Hate Sinners?


Rom.5: 6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Now the Calvinist leaning believer would suggest that this love for sinners is only extended toward sinners that are among the chosen or the elect. And this constricted view of God’s love also necessitates the doctrine called limited atonement. It suggests that when Christ died upon the cross He only died for the elect, which we understand is a miniscule portion of humanity. But Peter gives us a clear view of false teachers who are unregenerate and whose eternal punishment awaits them.

II Pet.2: But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Now the teaching is very clear here unless you do linguistic gymnastics designed to force a square doctrinal peg into a round Scriptural hole. These false teachers were bought by Christ at the cross but they denied His purchase. Yes, you must also understand the Scriptural teaching that God has given men a free will.

Heb.10: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

This Scripture again states that the blood of the covenant had sanctified them and yet they eventually counted it an unholy thing. That is crystal clear. But it even goes a step further. Another Calvinist concept is called irresistible grace which teaches that once God send His redemptive grace toward one of His chosen sinners that it cannot be resisted. That sinner must be saved irrespective of his own will. And yet this verse states that this sinner has done despite to the Spirit of grace. The Greek word for “despite” implies an insult or to behave insolently toward the Spirit of grace.

How can that be? If God does not send the Spirit of grace toward all sinners, then how can an unconverted dead man insult the Spirit of grace? Of course it clearly reveals a human will albeit still a gift from God. But let us take a look at another teaching in which Jesus expresses His love for a sinner who refused Him. This is the story of the rich young ruler.

Mk.10: 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

This man rejected Christ in favor of his wealth and yet Jesus still loved him. This once again shows that God’s love is not just for a very small group called the elect. God loves the world and I do mean “world” as it is universally understood. This theology that suggests God who is love only loves his friends flies in the face of His admonition to us to love our enemies. So God commands us to imitate Him, and He commands us to love our enemies, and yet He does not? And not only does He not love His enemies, but He hates them? And much of this theology comes from a restricted view of the atonement and a carefully selected portion of Scripture culled out from the Old Testament.

But not only does this erroneous theology lead people into error and even self righteousness, but it presents a platform wherein believers can hate unbelievers and feel they are just projecting what God feels. In fact while they speak viciuos words against unconverted sinners they believe they are the voice of a hateful God. God’s wrath is God’s justice upon sin and those who stand without His redemption. But the word “hate” is many times a “Hebrewism” which is used to overstate something to make a point. If your eyes lust after a woman are we to pluck it out? Again, a linguistic vehicle which uses exaggeration in order to amplify a principle.

The suggestion that God hates sinners is an error that is usually tied to the doctrine of limited atonement. Those that embrace such a philosophy cannot bring themselves to understand that God loves without condition and even those who reject Him forever can still be loved by God even while suffering eternal justice. There have been earthly fathers or mothers who have discovered that their son has committed an heinous crime, and even though they will always love their son they go to the police and turn him in. Yes, they were part of bring justice to their son but they still loved him.

Jn.3:16 - 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Notice the word “world” is separate from the word “whosoever”. If I was going to clearly show that God only loved the “whosoever” part then the verse should read, “For God so loved whosoever believeth in Him so that they should not perish but have everlasting life. The clear teaching is that God so loved the world so that whosoever, or anyone who believed would have everlasting life. It is most disingenuous to dissect the word “world” and redefine it in order to fit into your theology.

II Pet.3: 9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Again, one must repackage the word “all” to mean “ a few” because the common understanding of the word “all” does not fit in your theology. And if God desires all sinners to be saved, and if Jesus died for the sins of the world, then God loves all sinners. Yes, I do mean all. God’s Being is love and all fall under the canopy of that unsearchable love. But not all will love Christ. And therein lies the eternal distinction.

Matt.23: 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

And here we have Jesus expressing His desire that the Jews would receive Him and believe in Him even as children. He loved them and earnestly desired to see them saved, but in His own words it was they who would not. How can God say He desires to see a people saved and yet He would not draw them to Himself, in fact He would not even die for them and provide redemption for them? It is an absurd suggestion. When I told a leading reformed teacher that no one could read the Bibnle initially on an isolated island and believe the Bible teaches that God hates sinners he told me verbatim “That is why we need teachers”. Indeed.

To suggest that God hates the vast and overwhelming portion of the human race is to make God a respecter of persons and more hate than love. It just is not true. It never has been true, and the very foundation of the gospel is the love of God spilled out for whosoever will believe. And the gospel mission to go into the uttermost parts of the world and preach the gospel to every creature is not some perfunctory game which has no passion or urgency since all who God has chosen will be saved regardless. God is sovereign and in His glorious sovereignty He has created a being with His own image imprinted upon his soul and with a subset within His sovereignty called a free will.

Men can hate God but God is still love. And His love is without conditions and lives eternally. Yes, that kind of love is beyond us. Just visit the cross and you will see eternal love. That sacrifice was more than just a neat transaction for a comparable handful of souls. It was more than a foregone conclusion without any vulnerability. This death, this cross, was the ultimate expression of love offered to God’s own enemies in full view of those alive then, and in full view to all through many narratives, and with a vulnerable love which openly calls for all who are heavy laden to “Come”. But what kind of love is only expressed to those who will be empowered against their will to show a requited response to that love? It is like when I used to play soldiers and I manipulated the soldiers on both sides of the pretend war.

No one deserves God’s redemption, and without an offer of redemption there is no love. The highest and most clear expression of God’s love is at the cross. What kind of God could die for everyone but instead dies for a very, very few and justifies His constrictive offer by submitting His sovereign credentials (like it or lump it) and then spends two thousand years orchestrating a divine game of solitaire which reflects nothing but what God has done for Himself. And in the end God lines up a small group of sinners, forces redemption upon them, and like marionettes He sticks His irresistible hand inside the opening in their backs and makes their mouths say “I love you.” And that brings Him glory?

No, the glory will be that any of God’s creation surrendered to Him by faith and by His power alone we were saved. During that first Passover night in Egypt, the people of God were to eat that lamb. Of course God saw the blood inside the house as they prepared the meal. Yes He saw the blood as the Passover Lamb was slaughtered. But only the blood that was placed on the doorposts was redemptive. And it wasn’t God who took the lamb’s blood and painted it on those doorposts. No, it was those Jewish sinners.


Lorena said...

Exodus 30: 19 comes to mind-
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

It seems to me that God wants to save people.

He also takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked so how can He 'hate' sinners so much that He would not want them to be saved and live?

Ezekiel 18:32
For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Ezekiel 33:11
Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Thankfully, there is no limited atonement.

God is love and loves so much that He sent His only Son to die for us.
That is the great love of God. Praise Him!

michael said...

For me this thread has been difficult to embrace seeing I am more calvinist/lutheran leaning in theology. I consider myself reformational in thinking theologically.

Context is king. I have been watching this debate rage for a long long time and don't see any relief in sight? Do you?

It's like the debate about baptism.

My mentoring Pastor laid down a principle that I would share but first I wanted to focus on just one Greek word about this idea of context being everything, or context is king in interpreting Scripture with Scripture so as to understand theological meanings.

It is this Greek Word:

A prolonged form of a primary verb, which is only used as an alternate in certain tenses; to lot, that is, determine (by implication receive) especially by lot: - his lot be, cast lots, obtain.

This word is a primary verb. It is used in four places in the New Testamnt Scriptures and it's use in the New Testament has given me a settled and informed peace, at least so far; I'm remaining open minded though to understand further meaning?

You see the word used in these verses:

Luk 1:9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

Joh 19:24 so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, "They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots." So the soldiers did these things,

Act 1:17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry."

2Pe 1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

This concept is vital to understanding Election. The Scripture cannot be broken and prophecy too, cannot be thwarted.


michael said...


Why aren't we universalists? Why doesn't God just save everone then?

Because the Scriptures are our guide and all prophecies will be fulfilled in their appointed time.

Well, back then to the simple answer, at least from my point of view. To this to be understood understanding that Greek word in context is king and vital especially looking at Acts 1:17 because the person speaking there is Peter, the same Peter who wrote 2 Peter where we find that word used again which leads to your use of the passages from 2 Peter 2 in the thread to advance your argument and understanding.

What do I mean?

Well, clearly the choice is God's to save any and all humanity. He chooses us, we don't choose Him.

We know clearly that all humanity comes from Eve, the mother of all living, Genesis 3:20.

And we know Judas, though by lot was selected to be chosen by Jesus to be counted one of the original twelve, had his own purpose cut out for him by God. John 6:70.

This is a sore subject and difficult to get one's head around.

Anyway, now for that principle that has kept me in good stead all these some 40 years now of ministry.

My mentoring Pastor in dealing with this theological issue being raised in this thread said there is a natural or supernatural way we approach "doctrines". First we are saved into Christ (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God) that is, no other foundation can be laid in a person's heart than Christ. Once Christ is dwelling in our heart He alone leads us to understand the Love of God. Once God's love is matured in our lives God Himself imparts His vision to us that we are to live for during our sojourning through this world; a vision that embraces Christ as Lord and King and God Our Heavenly Father who sent Him to die for the sins of His people. Once these three Truths are established and working by the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives we realize the eternal purpose for the Church in this world is to remain unified in Christ and God's Love. Once we have this fourth Truth maturely working in our life we then can engage with one another in the study of doctrines with varying views like the view you are putting forth in this thread.

First Christ, salvation by Him alone.

Second, Christ reveals the Heavenly Father's Love to us.

Third, Our Heavenly Father reveals or imparts His vision in our hearts which we live for.

Fouth, this eternal purpose, this heavenly vision, unites us in the common faith and salvation.

Fifth, once we are indeed united in this unity in faith and salvation nothing can separate us, even doctrinal differences that we might have with one another.

Just a side bar disgression. Yesterday I was listening to Spurgeon preach on spiritual warfare. There was one thing he said that blazed across my mind. He said and I am loosely paraphrasing here, for us, the Church, we have been born into and now are a part of the "heredity of war". This war has been fought in every generation that precedes ours and now in our time, this generation that we are living in it is our time to pick up the sword and battle with the Lord because this battle is the Lord's battle as He showed King David when he was a young man on the battle field:

1Sa 17:47 and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hand."

With that I leave off with these closing verses that seems to sum up the conflict Christianity has faced and still faces in the world:

Psa 17:13 Arise, O LORD! Confront him, subdue him! Deliver my soul from the wicked by your sword,
Psa 17:14 from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.
Psa 17:15 As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.