“Is it possible for God to hate?” I threw this question out to a group of high school students and watched their brains start processing. God and hate . . . the look on their faces told me they were struggling with this apparent oxymoron. Combining those two words didn’t compute . . . they thought I was asking a trick question, so they started discussing and collaborating to come up with an answer. I told them to investigate the topic in Scripture and let me know what they found out.
The next day a couple of the guys ran up to me and told me they knew the answer.
“God can’t hate anything because God is love!”
I smiled and told them I agreed that God is love (they looked pretty satisfied with themselves). I gently added, “God is love . . . AND because He is love, He also hates . . .” Their satisfaction gave way to bewilderment.
I threw out these verses and asked them for some comments:
[box]“The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.” (Psalm 5:5)[/box]
[box]“The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” (Psalm 11:5)[/box]
Pretty strong words for youngsters who’ve grown up with a mushy image of God.
How have we reached the point where we see hatred as only an evil action? How have we missed the point that in order to truly love with perfect and pure love, there must also be a holy, God-centered hatred?
Saying that “God hates” is definitely not a politically correct message.
We are doing a disservice to ourselves when we reinvent God and form Him into a comfortable fit for our lives. Not to mention the disservice and dishonor we do to God, or the inaccurate view we give to a needy world.
I’m grieved by seeing ugly misrepresentations of God’s disposition toward sin.
This generation has witnessed two unbiblical extremes. For the most part, we’ve seen God portrayed as soft on sin. There have been a few fringe groups who’ve performed outrageous and cruel antics and claim to be doing it because of God’s hatred for sinners. So sad.
We are in desperate need of a clear and true vision of God in all His glory, the beautiful and holy One.
“We are not in tune with the biblical perception of sin as pollution—dirt, to use a four-letter word—in the eyes of God, and when we find Scripture telling us that there are ways of behaving that God positively hates . . . we treat it as imaginative exaggeration.” (J. I . Packer)
God’s hatred is all about God’s love: God’s love for us, for His glory, for the beauty of holiness. Love is really at the heart of God’s hatred for sin.
The further I go in my study of the Holy Spirit, the more these two words keep cropping up: Love and Holy (or holiness).
Love and holiness not only crop up, but are intricately intertwined and intimately connected with the Holy Sprit’s work in our lives. Carefully read through this passage and note every time you see the connection between love, holiness, and the work of the Holy Spirit:
[box]May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father . . .
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.
For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:3–7)[/box]
It is no wonder that we are inundated with sexual immorality today. Holiness is an expression of love. Sexual immorality is an expression of lust—selfish consumption of another for your own gratification. The further a society moves from exposure to God’s love and holiness, the more rampant self-centered immorality will grow.
I think we’ve arrived at this desolate place because we have a warped view of God.
We’ve reinvented God. Whether it is the obnoxious graveside protestors yelling out hate messages to homosexuals or the milk-toast version of a “loving” God who is out of date and impotent, the God of Scripture is being misrepresented. The world desperately needs a clear vision of the true and living God radiating the beauty of His holiness.
What is your view of God?