The God Who Hates Sin
By J. A. White
If I love children, I must hate abortion. This analogy may seem needlessly provocative, but I assure you it is completely appropriate in regards to the topic at hand. The inherent logic is simple and, in my opinion, self-evident: If I love and care for the well-being, safety, and overall nurture of children, then the logical outflow is that I must abhor the mutilation and murder of children. Likewise, since God is the pinnacle of perfection, holy in all His attributes, zealously devoted to His own honor, and in love with all that is good (that which conforms to His very nature), He must hate that which is in opposition to His nature and holy name. Although the earnest seeker of teaching on the holy wrath of God may search in vain in the milieu of today’s Christian culture, he need only turn to the Scriptures to find strikingly clear affirmations of God’s righteous wrath toward sin.
Christ’s words to Nicodemus found in John 3:16 are iconic, though rarely are His words, spoken twenty verses later, uttered or expounded upon: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him" (John 3:36). Ironically, the verse that many Christians and even non-Christians have memorized and display on various items of merchandise as a signpost of God’s love is, contextually, the foundation for a verse that clearly teaches that God experiences holy wrath toward the reprobate. Paul boldly declares that "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth" (Rom. 1:18). In the book of Exodus, we see the anger of God kindled against the gross idolatry of the Israelites: "And the Lord said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you’" (Ex. 32:9-10). To the naysayer that objects to the idea of God being angry, wrathful, or capable of hate, the Scriptures themselves rise up and denounce him. God hates sin. It is because of sin that God is "a God who feels indignation [righteous anger] every day" (Psa. 7:11). In light of the many Scriptures that attest to the reality of God’s righteous anger, Arthur Pink, in The Attributes of God, states:
"Yes, many there are who turn away from a vision of God’s wrath as though they were called to look upon some blotch in the Divine character or some blot upon the Divine government. But what saith the Scriptures? As we turn to them we find that God has made no attempt to conceal the facts concerning His wrath. He is not ashamed to make it known that vengeance and fury belong to Him. …A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; and because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner (Psa. 7:11)."
Such weighty truth demands that we acknowledge the perfection of God’s wrath as an attribute equal, and not subordinate, to His holiness. Furthermore, this divine manifestation of justice against sin should cause the true Christian to weep with joy, sing with thanksgiving, serve with compassion, and preach with fiery zeal. It is against the backdrop of the dreadful reality of God’s righteous anger that we savor the words of Paul: "Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God" (Rom. 5:9). It is imperative at this point that the reader’s eyes, heart, and affection be turned toward the wrath-bearer:
"My Father, enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips, supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’ There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on Thy Son, made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me; There the word of Thy justice smote the man, Thy fellow; There Thy infinite attributes were magnified, and infinite atonement was made; There infinite punishment was due, and infinite punishment was endured…. O Father, who spared not Thine only Son that Thou mightest spare me, all this transfer Thy love designed and accomplished; help me to adore Thee by lips and life" (Bennett, The Valley of Vision).
– Taken from The Gospel Of Our Grandfathers: Preserving The Good News For Future Generations by J. A. White. Copyright © 2013 by J. A. White. Published by CrossBooks (LifeWay). Used by permission of the author.