Did God Really Say That?

by Douglas Hoff

 

People often picture God as a loving heavenly Father and indeed He is.  However, he is also a God who hates sin and, yes, even sinners.  This is a characteristic of our Creator that is often ignored or minimized.  It may seem repulsive to some but if we wish to please Him, then we must not only love what and who he loves but we must also hate what he hates as well.  If we tolerate (or, God forbid, love) what he hates, can it rightly be said that we are following His perfect example (1 John 2:6)?

            I urge you to consider the following three statements found in the Bible.  These are sayings about which some people may ask, “Did God really say that?”  They seem inconsistent with their concept of God.  Perhaps they have not studied the scriptures to see the whole picture regarding how God is actually portrayed.

 

1.              God said “Do not pray for this people.”

 

The Bible certainly urges man to pray.  However, God’s word also says to pray according to His will (1 John 5:14).  It is possible to pray incorrectly and not receive what one asked for (James 4:3).  Three times in the book of Jeremiah God told the prophet not to pray for his countrymen (Jeremiah 7:16; 11:14; 14:11).  The first time God said, “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you” (Jeremiah 7:16; NKJV).  The second time God said, “So do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their trouble” (Jeremiah 11:14; NKJV).  In each case God specified their stubborn idolatry and gross immorality was the cause of his displeasure and refusal to heed any prayer on behalf of the people of Judah.  When their calamity came upon them they would cry out to the Lord but he would not heed their prayer.  See Proverbs 1:23-32 (especially verse 26).

            Lest the reader think this applies only to the Old Testament please read and consider 1 John 5:16 – “There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.”  Now what does this mean?  Verses sixteen and seventeen show some sin leads to death while others will not.  The sin that leads to death, and for which Christians ought not pray, is the sin which one will not forsake.  If a person stubbornly holds on to any sin he will be lost because of his choice not to be forgiven.  This is the same thing that happened in the Old Testament.

 

2.              God said “I hate them.”

 

To some people this probably sounds like heresy.  How could God hate anyone?  Doesn’t John 3:16 say God loves the whole world?  Of course it does.  That verse reveals that God wants the best for everyone.  Paul even said that God demonstrated his love for sinful man while we were still his enemies (Romans 5:8, 10).

            However, the same Bible that affirms God’s love for sinful mankind also teaches he hates the wicked:

 

(Psalms 5:4-6; NKJV)  For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. {5} The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate (emphasis added, DBH) all workers of iniquity. {6} You shall destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”

 

(Psalms 11:5, 6; NKJV)  The LORD tests the righteous, But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates (emphasis added, DBH). {6} Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind Shall be the portion of their cup.”

 

The psalmist David stated his hatred for God’s enemies:

 

(Psalms 139:19-22; NKJV)  Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men. {20} For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain. {21} Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? {22} I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies” (emphasis added, DBH).

 

            Do we hate what God hates?  Psalm 97:10 says, “You who love the LORD, hate evil!  It has often been said that Christians should hate sin but love sinners like Jesus did.  I agree with that statement.  However, remember Jesus overturned tables when he saw the Jews making the temple into a den of thieves (Mark 11:15-17).  On a previous occasion the Lord even made a whip of cords when he drove out the money changers (John 2:13-17).

 

3.               God said “I Will Destroy Them.”

 

Sure, we know when Jesus comes again God will judge the world and condemn the wicked to eternity in hellfire.  Jesus used the Flood of Noah’s day as proof of the coming Judgment upon mankind (Matthew 24:37, 38).  It is noteworthy to recall the stated purpose for the Flood: “And God said to Noah, The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them (emphasis added, DBH) with the earth” (Genesis 6:13; NKJV).

            We need to appreciate the fact that some of God’s people will be among the lost on the last day.  The Israelites of old were counted as God’s people yet the majority of them perished in the wilderness during the forty years.  God became so displeased by the golden calf that he said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed they are a stiff-necked people.  Let Me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven” (Deuteronomy 9:13, 14; NKJV).  Indeed, had it not been for the prayer of Moses, they would have been wiped out in an instant (Psalms 106:19-23).

            Yes, God really did say these things.  He wants us to understand that he hates sin and will not admit sinners into heaven.  Think about it!

 

Douglas Hoff, preacher

Flat Rock Church of Christ

(734) 782-2886 [office]

P.O. Box 12

Flat Rock, MI 48134-0012

 

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