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Does God Hate the Sin but love the sinner? Part 2

In the previous part we say that God hates the sin. Here we see that God loves the Sinner.

God Loves the Sinner

After stating that God hates sin, some may be left with the mistaken impression that God hates those who sin. But God loves the sinner. Here are five strands of evidence. 

Evidence from Romans 5: 8, 10

[8] but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

[10]For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Romans 5:8, 10

Put these verses together, and we have a wonderful syllogism. 

  1. While we were still sinners, unreconciled to God, we were his enemies. 
  2. But he showed love towards us, his enemies, by reconciling us to him by his death. 
  3. Therefore, Conclusion. God loves the sinner.
Evidence from John 3:16

God so loves the world that he gave his one and only son 

John 3:16

Some people suggest that the ‘world’ here refers to those who are in the world but called to be children of God. That this verse does not refer to mankind universally, but a select group who were the ones that God loves so much that he gave his son. However, the same author John writes…

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:2

John here contrasts ‘ours’ with ‘the whole world.’ He believes that he and his Christian readers are among those whom have an advocate with the Father for their sins, Jesus Christ, who is their atoning sacrifice. He adds “not only for ours but also,” meaning that if there be anyone in the whole world who does sin, Christ can be their advocate too. So according to usage here, we can make the reasonable inference that in John 3:16 the author  means to say that Christ dies for mankind universally, not just the elect. 

Evidence from Jesus’ ministry

Jesus looked at him and loved him. 

Mark 10:21

If you want to know what God is like, Jesus is the person you should look to. The rich young ruler came to Jesus asking how to inherit eternal life, and eventually chooses to keep his riches rather than follow the Lord. Jesus looks at him. Here is a person who is a sinner, and remains unsaved, yet the Bible says here that Jesus loved him. Ergo, God loves sinners. 

Evidence from God’s desire that all should be saved

Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

Ezekiel 33:11

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

To a stubbornly rebellious Israel, God pleads with them to turn from their evil ways. Similarly, Peter says that the Lord is patient because he wants all to come to repentance. He implies that without that patience, there are those who would perish as unrepentant. So sinners are shown God’s love by being given his patience; time for them to remain rebellious while they come to their senses and repent. 

Evidence from Greatest Possible Being Theology

The idea from Greatest Possible Being Theology is that God is the Greatest Possible Being. As such he not only has these superlative attributes (knowledge, power, etc), but has them to the greatest possible degree (omniscience, omnipotence, etc). Because love is one the attributes that God has, he must, according to this well established theory on the nature of God, be the most loving. If there is a way you can conceive that God could be more loving, then he is closer to that degree of being loving, than any alternative of lesser degree. 

  1. It is more loving to love everyone (including sinners), than it is to love only a select few (just the elect)
  2. God must love to the greatest degree possible (from Greatest Possible Being Theology). 
  3. Therefore, God loves everyone, including sinners. 

In the next post I discuss possible objections.

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