Does God hate sinners?

It’s Monday Grace!

Years ago we attended a children’s Bible contest. The kids had worked hard, memorized a lot, and were ready to go. At the beginning of the competition, the leader, a man from out of town, talked about being there for the glory of the Lord. Then he said, “Remember now, God hates cheaters!”

That’s how some people are taught, I guess. They think God hates sinners. He hates sin and He hates the people who sin. No wonder unbelievers don’t want anything to do with the church that has that message. And, no wonder the people in those churches never feel comfortable in the presence of God.

But God doesn’t hate sinners. He loves sinners. He loves them so much that He sent His own Son to the cross for them. There are many ideas of what happened on that cross and why Jesus had to die, but all of them agree that He died for you and me. And the Scripture says it was “while we were yet sinners.”

The idea that God hates sinners is wrong. God hates what sin does to people, how it separates them from Him and hurts others. He calls us out of sin to Himself in love.

Yet, many churches continue to teach this broken idea. Their people are fearful and discouraged. You see, if I manage to come to Jesus out of fear for the consequence of sin, if I find His forgiveness for what I have done, then what happens when I sin again, after becoming a believer? So many preachers tell their people how unhappy God is with their performance. So many people leave church each Sunday thinking God must hate them still.

Try harder, do more, give more—maybe that feeling will go away. Except that it won’t. The system has discovered that fearful people are easier to manipulate, to control. These churches avoid the rest of the gospel, that coming to Jesus washes away sin forever.

When you sin, come to Jesus. He loves you. If you see someone who sins, never forget that Jesus loves them. The message of the gospel is not about hate, but about love.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
1 Timothy 1:15

21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight–
Colossians 1:21-22


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One response to “Does God hate sinners?

  1. Selma

    One Sunday recently, a harried father of three boys (all under the age of 5) was seated behind me. He was having difficulty getting the 4-year-old & the 2-year-old to “behave.” Then, I heard him say to the oldest, “Jesus is very disappointed in you right now.” While I was trying to convince myself that he hadn’t really said what I thought he said, he repeated it. It made me want to burst into tears.

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