Guilt. Anger. Disappointment. Shame.
When we consider just how sinful we are before God, it can lead to a painful sense of just how horrible and sinful we really can be. Sin can lead to deeply painful emotions. We have all experienced instances when we do something that we know to be sinful, instances when we consciously made the choice to sin, and it makes us wonder if God is mad at us. We wonder if he is somewhere out there punishing us for our bad behavior and rewarding us for our good behavior.
Yet as we study what the Bible says about sin and God’s anger, we find that we have no need to be held down in these emotions. We find that God’s love for us is eternal, powerful, and deeper than we can possibly ever imagine.
What Is Sin and Why Does God Hate It?
God hates sin because it is destructive. Sin itself is not actually defined as good or bad behavior, but simply as “missing the mark.” The words present us with an idea of an archer shooting at a target and missing every time. In fact, God’s righteousness is a target that no one can hit. The perfect righteousness of God is forever beyond our reach, and therefore we all miss the mark and are sinful in nature.
As we are all sinful, any of our “bad” thoughts and actions are merely a symptom of a much deeper disease. Just like we can’t kill a weed without pulling out the root, in the same way, we can’t fix our own sin without digging much, much deeper. The problem is that the roots of sin go deeper than we could ever fix. They go all the way back to Genesis 3. All the way back to Adam and Eve.
Ever since that fateful moment when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit of the tree, sin has been a part of who we are. No matter how hard we try on our own to get rid of it, our sin is always with us, and only through the blood of Christ can sin be forgiven.
Does God Hate Me When I Sin?
The short answer is that God does not hate you. He loves you deeply. He hates what sin has done to you. God created a perfect world that sin corrupted and destroyed. Just like an amazing work of art that that has been senselessly ruined, we don’t hate the art, but we hate the destruction that prevents it from being the beauty it was meant to be.
Even knowing this, it is not surprising that we ask ourselves if God hates us because it is the very question that seems to have been on the minds of Adam and Eve. The first time they encountered God after the Fall, the first time they encountered God after doing wrong, they were afraid that God hated them:
Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?” He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:8-10)
Prior to this moment, they had no reason to be afraid of God, no reason to hide from him. He was their creator, their friend, and comforter. So why did they hide? Were they afraid? The answer is that what the serpent told them in verse five was devastatingly accurate: “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
They were afraid because for the first time they knew what evil was and knew that evil is what they had done. They who had been innocent now understood what it felt like to do evil and were afraid that God would be angry with them for having done it. Since that moment, all the fear, all the pain, all the hate, all the death and war, and all that is wrong in this world that God created is a result of that first sin.
Another result of sin is separation from God. As much as we may try to “be good,” there is nothing we can do to return ourselves to a right relationship with God. We can’t pray enough or serve enough or do anything enough. We will miss the mark every time. It simply cannot be done. Even the Apostle Paul felt this weight of sin in his life: “I do not understand what I do… for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:15, 18).
The Apostle Paul was a man who knew what sin meant. He had spent time persecuting the very God who offered him redemption. Just like Adam and Eve, it could have made him afraid. That fear and guilt could have destroyed him. In the same way, King David understood the curse of sin:
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me (Psalm 51:3-5).
This is the prayer of King David after his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba is called out by Nathan, the prophet. At this moment, the man after God’s own heart felt the full weight of his sin, a weight that we all feel. He expresses that because we are all conceived in sin, outside of God’s mercy we are doomed to live in it.
How Can We Be Free of Sin?
“For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God” (Ephesians 1:7).
The great news of the gospel is that we can be free of sin! There is a remedy for sin and a cure for the disease that has plagued humanity from the beginning. The sin that caused us to hide from God has been defeated by the one who knew no sin, so that we may be welcomed back to God as his very own children. We find our freedom and forgiveness in the blood of Christ shed on the cross for us:
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:5-6).
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God’s Love for You Is Immeasurable
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
So, does God hate us when we sin? The answer is a resounding no! Jesus was fully God and fully man. He walked among us, understood our struggles, spoke truth into our sinful world, and loved those who were considered “sinners,” those who were considered “not good enough.” Jesus didn’t show them anger but a deep steadfast love that can only be found in him.
God doesn’t hate you. God loves you.
We will always miss the mark, but Christ was the perfect human, the most amazing person who ever lived, and because he did hit the mark, we can find life and truth and joy in him.
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Davizro
Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and author of A Journey to Bethlehem: Inspiring Thoughts for Christmas and Hope for the New Year. He serves as worship pastor and in Colorado and spends his weekends exploring the Rocky Mountains with his family. Connect on Twitter, Instagram, or at JasonSoroski.net.