January 5, 2009
Turning toward the only One who can save!
Most of us have probably entertained a piece of wishful thinking stating something like: “Well, God hates the sin, but He loves the sinner.” Is this pleasant notion valid, or right, or true? I suggest that the Bible says it is neither valid, nor right, nor true, but that it is wrong-headed, designed by evil powers to lead us and keep us away from Christ.
Richard O. Roberts, in his valuable book Repentance: The First Word of the Gospel, shows the fallacy of such teaching by looking a bit more closely at three passages in their context. They are Proverbs 6:16-19; Isaiah 1:4-6, 12-15, and Malachi 2:13-16. Do these speak exclusively of the evil acts, or of evil persons, or both?
Roberts asks a pointed question, “If you were asked the question, ‘Which does God send to hell, sin or sinners,’ how would you answer?” This answer from the Bible is quite plain. It is unrepentant sinners who go there. Consider some of the many verses in the Bible which point us in this direction. (Note that I am also pointing this way, not to turn anyone away from anything that smacks of being biblical or religious – there are more than enough of those folks already – but to help us towards repentance and eternal life!)
Again citing Roberts:
• We know that God hates idolatry (the sin), and yet we read, “Cursed is the man who makes an idol . . .” (Deut. 27:15, emphasis added).
• We know that God hates injustice and yet we read, “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 17:15).
• Read Leviticus 20:23 and note the last phrase, “. . . I have abhorred them.” In conjunction with that verse, see Hebrews 3:16-10, “For who provoked Him when they had heard? Indeed did not all those who came out of Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief.”
• See also Psalm 5:;4-6
• Psalm 7:11-12
• Psalm 11:5-7
• Isaiah 63:10
• Proverbs 11:21; 12:22; 14:32; 15:9
• Romans 1:18; 2:5; 9:13, 22-24
• Ephesians 2:3
• John 3:36
Such verses and many more should encourage us to flee to Christ in repentance and faith. There is a balm in Gilead (Jer. 8:22), a Healer of the sin-sick soul. It is Jesus who died for sinners – us sinners.