For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NIV).
Why does God hate sin? More specifically, why, with every ounce of His being, does God totally abhor sin? To say that God abhors sin is not an understatement. In fact He finds sin utterly disgusting – describing it as a putrefying sore (Isaiah 1:6), a heavy burden (Psalm 38:4), contaminating filth (2 Corinthians 7:1), a binding debt (Matthew:12-15) and a scarlet stain (Isaiah 1:18). No matter how you slice and dice it, there’s no getting around it – God loathes, detests and unreservedly despises sin. This is true throughout the Bible. God doesn’t take pleasure in evil and with Him the wicked cannot dwell (Psalm 5:4).
Now isn’t it a bit heavy handed on God’s part to hate sin? How do we reconcile a view of God as One who is loving, nice or empathetic with One who is revolted by sin? To our ears a sin hating God sounds intolerant, unloving and certainly not inclusive. And if God hates sin, then where does that leave us because we’re all sinners?
Here’s why God hates sin:
Firstly, God hates sin because it ruins lives. “Like ripples on a tranquil pond that reach the farthest shore, our sins affect those close to us, and many, many more.” Sin not only ruins our lives, it also ruins the lives of others. As the Roman proverb expressed it homo homini lupus, “man is a wolf to man’. It all began with our common ancestors – Adam and Eve. They disobeyed God (Genesis 3) and the consequences have had a ripple effect from generation to generation. “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin” Romans 5:12. No wonder God hates sin. It’s set us Hell-bent on a course of self-destruction. It’s ruining our lives and the lives of many, many more.
Secondly, God hates sin because it rejects Him. Because of sin our natural inclination is to disobey God. Even from birth, in fact from the time when we were conceived, we go astray (Psalm 51:5). Sin makes us anti-God, stand in opposition to Him, suppress and reject the truth (Romans 1:18, 2:8). Even when we’re trying to be good, we don’t always do what we should (James 4:17). As Socrates observed, “Men know what is good, but do what is bad.” Disobedience is bad enough, but our rejection of God goes deeper than disobedience. When we ignore God, oppose God, or defy Him, we’re ultimately committing treason. Oswald Chambers said, “The essence of sin is the refusal to recognize that we are accountable to God at all!” So God hates sin because it ultimately usurps God and becomes our master.
Thirdly, God hates sin because it results in death. In the first few years of our married life we lived in a cottage that was plagued with rats. It was terrible. So I bought boxes of Rattex and placed them in the ceiling. The tasty night-time snack soon did its deadly work. What the rats thought was good, was actually deadly. That’s how it is with sin. It can taste really good at times, but the Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23 (NIV). And that’s what God hates. He detests the fact that sin separates us from Him in the here and now, and ultimately separates us from Him in eternity.
This is the heart of the matter for God. “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” 2 Peter 3:9 (NLT). And that’s why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the once for all sacrifice for our sin. God hates sin, and because He does, He did something about it. He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness ” Titus 2:14 (NIV). Yes, sin ruins lives, rejects God, and results in death. But that’s not the end of the story. God hated sin enough to do something about it. He became the solution for what He hated. He died on the cross of Calvary, the righteous for the unrighteous. Then He rose from the dead, to “set us free from sin” Romans 6:18 (NIV).