How Much Does God Hate Sin?

Flight of Lot

Sin is not taken very seriously by many in our society. People ignore it, make excuses for it, and joke about it. This casual attitude is in stark contrast with the way God views sin.

There are three examples from the book of Genesis that clearly demonstrate to us just how much God hates sin. We will briefly look at each of these examples as well as how they compare with God’s view of sin under the gospel age.

Garden of Eden

In the beginning, God created all things (Genesis 1:1). This included man who was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). This fact alone shows us that man is special. We also see God’s favor for man in that he was placed over all creation (Genesis 1:28-29). God “planted a garden…in Eden” in which man would live. This garden included the tree of life (Genesis 2:8-9). We also learn that He would interact with man in the garden (Genesis 3:8). As God said when He completed His creation, the sum of what He had made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Unfortunately, this would not last. Sin entered the world when Eve believed the serpent’s lie and she and Adam disobeyed God (Genesis 3:1-6). There were three consequences that came as a result of their sin:

  1. Death was introduced into the world – Adam and Eve would eventually die a physical death since they no longer had access to the tree of life. But there was an immediate death following their sin. God “made garments of skin” to cover them (Genesis 3:21). Where did He get these skins? One of the creatures God made had to be slaughtered to cover the shame of their sin.
  2. Thorns and thistles began to grow – Even in the garden of Eden, Adam had to work (Genesis 2:15). But now his work would be difficult. The ground would not produce as well as it did before but would instead be cursed (Genesis 2:17). Because of Adam’s sin, it would now yield thorns and thistles (Genesis 2:18). This was a permanent change. The earth that God made “very good” was no longer as good as it was when He created it.
  3. Adam and Eve were separated from God – This was the death – a spiritual death – that man and woman experienced the day they ate of the tree (cf. Genesis 2:17). They were driven out of God’s presence (Genesis 3:23-24). The close association between God and man was lost.

The Flood

Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). Because of this, he found grace in God’s sight (Genesis 6:8). This also made Noah very different than the others who inhabited the earth at this time. Mankind’s population had grown considerably since the time of Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 6:1). But as the population grew, so did man’s sin: “Every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Because of the great sin that existed, God regretted creating man (Genesis 6:6). So He decided to destroy mankind (Genesis 6:7). However, Noah would be spared. God told him of His plan and gave instructions to follow in order to be saved. He told Noah, “I am about to destroy them [mankind] with the earth” (Genesis 6:13).

There were two things that God decided to do. First, He destroyed man (Genesis 7:23) who was made in His image (Genesis 1:26). This alone would suffice to show us God’s attitude toward sin. But He did something else as well. He destroyed man “with the earth” which was “very good” as He created it. When He sent the flood, “all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11-12). This violent and catastrophic event forever changed the face of this planet, all because of the wickedness of man.

Sodom and Gomorrah

Lot enjoyed great wealth with Abraham (Genesis 13:2-5) – so much so that “the land could not sustain them while dwelling together” and they had to separate from each another (Genesis 13:6-9). When Lot departed, he chose to move towards Sodom (Genesis 13:10-12).

The people of Sodom were “wicked exceedingly and sinners against the Lord” (Genesis 13:13). God was aware of this and had heard the outcry against them (Genesis 18:20). They are most remembered for the sin of homosexuality (Jude 7), though they were guilty of other sins as well (Ezekiel 16:49). We get an idea of just how wicked they were in the account of the angels coming to the city to warn Lot. The men of the city gathered intending to rape the visitors that had come to Lot’s house (Genesis 19:4-5). When Lot refused to send them out, they threatened to do worse to him (Genesis 19:9). Then after the angels brought Lot back into the house and smote the men of the city with blindness, they were still undeterred and continued to try and find the door despite losing their vision (Genesis 19:10-11).

After these events, Lot escaped and God destroyed the cities (Genesis 19:22-25). But he did more than just wipe out the wicked people. He destroyed “the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground” (Genesis 19:25). The area around Sodom had been very fertile. This is why Lot chose to go in that direction. But that was “before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah” (Genesis 13:10). After the destruction, it became a place of “perpetual desolation” (Zephaniah 2:9). In fact, there was a valley that existed in the time before the destruction that afterwards was part of the Dead Sea (Genesis 14:3). This was due to God’s destruction. It is a testament to God’s hatred of this sin.

The Cross

One may point out that the above examples happened in the Old Testament and that we are under a different law today. This is true. However, God does not change (Malachi 3:6). If He hated sin during the days of the Old Testament, He still hates sin today.

One example that shows us this is the cross. Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). This would be done by reconciling man back to God (Ephesians 2:13, 16). In order to do this, He would have to deal with the problem of sin since this was what separates man from God (Isaiah 59:2).

Jesus’ death on the cross was a public demonstration to all of God’s attitude towards sin. Paul told the Romans that Jesus was “displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood” (Romans 3:25). This public sacrifice – the propitiation – was God’s way of dealing with sin (Romans 3:23; cf. 1 John 2:1). Peter said that Jesus “bore our sins in His body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24). Just as the animal sacrifices under the old law were a “reminder of sins year by year” (Hebrews 10:3), Jesus’ sacrifice serves as a reminder for us as well. His cruel death on the cross shows us just how terrible and ugly sin is.

The End of the World

In each of the examples we noticed from Genesis, when God punished man for sin the earth suffered as well. When Adam sinned, the ground was cursed. When the people of Noah’s day were exceedingly wicked, the earth was destroyed by the flood. When the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah pursued “gross immorality” (Jude 7), the once fertile land became a place of desolation and had at least partially been swallowed up by the Dead Sea. When sin was punished, God’s creation was damaged.

Peter used the example of the flood to discuss the pending destruction of the world. He wrote, “The world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water” (2 Peter 3:6). This, of course, was due to mankind’s sin (Genesis 6:5-7). But Peter continued, “By His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7). Ungodly men will be destroyed at the end of the world. Paul said the Lord is coming “in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8). But along with the ungodly men, “the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). The world that God created was “very good”; but when sin is ultimately punished, the earth will be ultimately destroyed.

Hell

Even with the death of Christ on the cross, there is still the possibility of eternal suffering in Hell (Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9). Some will disagree with this, saying that since Jesus died for us we cannot be lost. They say that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins by dying in our place. But this is not what the Bible teaches.

Jesus suffered a terrible, painful, physical death on the cross. We stand to face an eternal spiritual death. Some might say, “But the Bible says He bore our sins!” He did. It was the same way He “took our infirmities and carried away our diseases” (Matthew 8:17; Isaiah 53:4). He dealt with them and removed them. He did not contract the diseases He healed or become possessed with the demons He cast out (Matthew 8:16).

Why do I make this point here? It is because we need to remember it. Jesus did not die in our place as our substitute as if the penalty for our sins is now gone. The penalty we deserve is much worse. Jesus made an atonement sacrifice, giving us time to repent by delaying the wrath of God. God’s wrath still exists (Romans 2:4-6). If we do not obey Him, we will “pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Conclusion

All of these examples show us God’s hatred for sin. What does that mean for us? First and most obviously, if we want to please God, we must remove sin from our lives. Second, as we strive to be like God, we must develop the same attitude toward sin that He has. The psalmist wrote, “From Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104). Do we hate sin as much as God does? If we do, we should not only remove it from our lives, but also try to lead others out of it and into fellowship with God.


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