The Things God Hates
Introduction: Sin and God's Wrath
Let us think for one moment about a huge body of water being held in place by a dam that has no outlet for the water that is backing up. One day that dam will burst and all that is behind it will come flooding out and destroying everything, totally inundating everyone in its path. That, in a nutshell is how we should see the wrath and judgment of God that will one day come on this earth and on people because of sin.
The Bible says that God hates sin. It is totally abhorrent to Him, for it is a transgression of His laws and is spitting in His face, telling Him that you don't want His rule over your life. Further, it is a complete affront to His character.
And, like the dam, Scripture indicates that the Lord is holding back His wrath on this planet. We see this in verses such as Psalm 7:11 which states that:
"God is a just judge and God is angry with the wicked every day."
Paul further clarifies this when he tells us in Romans:
"But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed" (2:5).
We try to lessen the intensity of this hatred of sin by somehow attempting to separate the sin from the person by saying things like: "God hates the sin but loves the sinner." While it is true that God loved the world and gave His only Son to redeem it, we can't simply leave out other Scriptures such as Psalm 5:5,6 which tells us:
“The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers, You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”
Also another Psalm which states:
"The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot. For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face" (Psalm 11:5-7).
And we cannot neglect the fact that fourteen times in the first fifty psalms alone we see that God hates evildoers and that His wrath is upon them.
While you can understand why the phrase is said about loving the sinner but hating the sin, it really isn't Scriptural and makes sin look more like a disease that we played no part in getting, something outside of us rather than being at the very center of our nature. Sin is actually ingrained into who we really are as human beings descended from Adam, of whom it was said:
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world. And death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Romans 5:12).
People adore hearing about what and who God loves. But most don't want to hear a sermon on what or who the Lord hates. However, in order to understand the wonderful salvation that God has wrought through our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, we have to first comprehend where we truly were before Jesus entered our life. We were His enemies, and all of us were without hope and without God in the world (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 2:12).
I. God's Hatred and Love are Holy
In order to say what the Bible says, the phrase that we just talked about might be more accurately spoken by saying:
"God both loves and hates the sinner."
God's hatred is not like man's. It is a righteous hatred in which He is totally unable to look upon sin and He understands sin's destructiveness. In Habakkuk 1:13 the prophet cries out to the Lord:
"You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
And cannot look on wickedness."
Man's hatred is self-centered, bigoted and comes from a heart that is totally looking out for his own selfish way and gain. God, on the other hand is holy, righteous and just. And being all of these things, He cannot do anything but hate the sin and sinner in his present form without Christ. Just as He turned His face against His Son on the cross, He must do the same for the sinner who is before Him.
Also, our Lord cannot be who He is and leave sin or sinners unjudged and unpunished.
One day, as the Psalmist has said:
"The wicked will be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17).
At the same time, God is a God of love. It is a holy and righteous love. The New Testament uses the term agape for God's love because it entails selflessly putting the needs of the other person before your own. It goes beyond emotions and seeks the highest good of the person being loved. Agape isn't based upon the character of the person being loved. And it's not based on what another has done or will do for the lover. It also doesn't depend on whether or not the object of your love will, or even can, love you back. Agape is universal, unconditional and persists despite a change in circumstances. That is God's love for us.
The wonderful thing about salvation is that God took a loathsome, sinful creature that He cannot stand to look upon, and has transformed that person into a trophy of His grace with whom He can now fellowship for eternity and call them His child (I John 3:1).
And a knowledge of the pigpen that God has brought us out of and the transformation that He is making in our lives should cause us to hate sin as much as He does and to do all that we can to avoid it as His children.
Further, we should also understand that when we become His children through faith in Christ, it doesn't make sin any less loathsome in His sight. Sin keeps us from the fellowship God desires us to have with Him and harms us in some way. We don't lose our salvation, for that is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9). However, it keeps us from growing in our relationship with God and becoming, as well as doing, all that He has planned for our lives.
II. God Hates Sin's Destruction
God's holy righteous hatred of sin further includes the fact that it, by it's very nature destroys all that is holy and good. Indeed all of creation, because of man's sin is said to be groaning and has been subjected to a bondage to decay (Romans 8:21,22).
Also, God's hatred of sin's destruction in the life of His children causes Him, at times, to take drastic actions to get them away from it.
Some may say of God that if He is truly a God of love, He should let those He loves do what they please. But when you think about it, you can never be truly loving unless you set boundaries. Just what kind of a loving parent, for instance, would just allow their offspring to run wild and do anything that they like? They know that if their child does certain things that those things will hurt, or even kill them.
For example, the parent should hate it that their boy or girl takes illegal drugs, or joins a gang and will do what they can to keep them from those destructive choices. Hatred of the child's behavior is not the opposite of love. Rather, apathy is the polar opposite. In other words, not caring at all for anything or anyone, or about what they do.
God is not apathetic. He cares for His children deeply, which means that He hates some things completely that they do. He truly hates sin. Not simply because it grates against His very holy nature, but because it destroys that which He has created to be perfect and good.
All sin is destructive in some way. It is a violation of the created order of things and destroys the beauty that God has made in the universe.
Some people see God as an old cosmic kill-joy who doesn't want anyone to have fun. However, prohibitions against sin are not that at all. The Lord created the universe to work in a certain way. There are laws that cannot be violated without causing devastating results of some kind.
For instance, who would argue with God and tell Him: "I don't think that I should have to obey the law of gravity. That is a rule that God has put on this earth to stop us from doing what we want to do and I'm not going to be told how to live!?"
Lets say that this same person walks off of a cliff in defiance of the law. What do you think will happen? Obviously, the guy who does this is going to die. Because, no matter how much he refuses to believe that gravity exists, or refuses to obey it, there are dire consequences for his defiant actions.
The same is true in the spiritual realm. If we disobey the spiritual laws that God has placed in the universe, it will cause death and destruction every time. God says:
"The soul that sins, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20).
He also tells us:
"For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
Death can be physical, spiritual and eternal. Physical death separates soul from body. Spiritual death separates the soul from a holy God. And eternal death is eternal separation from God in Hell.
Though the Christian has been saved from spiritual and eternal death and will one day never have to face physical death again, nevertheless sin can destroy his present life, his family, his testimony and can harm his fellowship with God.
So God hates that which causes the ruin of all the good things that He has made, which brings a separation between Himself and mankind, created in His very image. Indeed He so violently hates sin because He so intensely loves His creation. That is especially true of mankind for whom He gave His only Son to die.
The Lord says in Ezekiel 33:11 that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. His holy hatred is mitigated by His holy love. He doesn't want them to die and face eternal judgment and separation from Him.
And it is because of this same love that the Lord will sometimes discipline His children, who sin as well. He does this like a loving Father would do, in order to correct them and get them back on the right path (Hebrews 12:7).
III. Specific Sins God Hates
Interestingly, although we could say, in a general way, that God hates all that is sinful, Scripture actually gets specific about certain sins that the Lord hates. It would seem that these are particularly bad because they are extremely devastating.
For instance, Scripture points out that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). This would seem to be true because marriage is the very foundation of society. Man and woman, created in the image of God, were designed to unite as one flesh and demonstrate the glory of God throughout the world. As the family unit is destroyed, so the destruction of society becomes more imminent.
Now let us look at another place in the Word of God and see a famous passage which discusses seven other things that God hates.
In Proverbs 6:16-19 we read:
"There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers."
1. Haughty eyes or Pride, the great sin of Satan, is the exaltation of self above all else, even God. It goes completely against the humility shown by Christ, the real master of the universe, who humbled himself, even to death on a cross. A prideful person cannot, or more accurately, will not serve and give the rightful glory to the God of the universe.
2. A lying tongue is not from the God of truth, but from Satan himself. Jesus told some people in His day: "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do" (John 8:44). However, when we come to know Him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, the truth will make us free (John 8:32).
3. Hands that shed innocent blood. God does not like those who would destroy a person created in His image. Murder is forbidden precisely for this fact. But we can also murder people's character with the words that we speak and by hating our brother (I John 3:15).
4. A heart that devises wicked schemes. Sin begins in the heart. The evil that is sown in the heart, is reaped in actions. And the God who looks upon the heart sees the wicked schemes being devised.
5. Feet that are quick to rush into evil. These are people who flagrantly violate the will of God. They openly boast of their acts and don't even pretend to be good. But they will not escape God's judgment.
6. A false witness who pours out lies. The prohibition against false testimony, or witness, is seen as a natural consequence of loving your neighbor as yourself. It includes the idea of a person who gives false reports about another. It is slandering his good name. God despises those who lie and destroy the character of another.
7. A man who stirs up dissension among the brothers. God originally intended mankind to live in community. The Body of Christ today is a restoration of that community. Someone who sows discord, or stirs up dissension, destroys God's original design.
A Good Explanation For God's Hatred of Sin
T. Dewitt Talmage tells a story that might be appropriate to conclude this message on God's hatred of sin. He says:
One of the most famous pictures in the world is the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Jesus sits at the table with His twelve disciples. It is said that the artist sought long for a model for the Saviour. He wanted a young man of pure holy look. At length his attention was fixed on a chorister in the cathedral named Pietro Bandinelli. This young man had a very noble face and a devout demeanour. Leonardo used him as a model in painting the face of the Master. Soon after this Pietro went to Rome to study music. There he fell among evil companions and was led to drink, and then into all manner of debasing sins. Year after year the painter went on with his picture. All the apostles were now painted save one — Judas, the traitor. Da Vinci went from place to place, looking for some debased man who would be suitable as a model. He was walking one day on the streets of Milan, watching the faces of evil men he chanced to meet, when his eyes fell on one who seemed to have in his features the character he sought. He was a miserable unclean beggar, wearing rags, with villainous look.
The man sat as the artist's model for Judas. After the face was painted Da Vinci learned that the man who sat for him was his old friend Pietro Bandinelli, the same who had sat a few years before as the model for the Master. Wickedness had debased the beautiful life into hideous deformity. Sin distorts, deforms, and destroys the human soul. It drags it down from its greatness until it grovels in the dust.
And that is why God hates it. We as His people need to learn to hate what He hates as well. May it never be said of any of us that we loved sin in any of its forms. But rather may we all despise it and do our best, with the Help of the Holy Spirit, to remove evil thoughts and deeds from our lives.
Finally, may we thank the Lord daily that He has seen fit to give us all an escape from sin with all of its devastations. That escape is Jesus Christ, the One who became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
And one day we will be totally free from the very presence of that which God hates. And we finally will be like Him, the one who loved us enough to look beyond our faults and see our needs. Praise God for His amazing grace!
© 2013 Jeff Shirley