Hate sin, love sinner?

The late Dr. Gerstner once wrote on the question of whether God hates the sin and loves the sinner. His words (excerpts below) are a reminder for Christians to be thankful and to pray for our unsaved loved ones, remembering that it is their injustice, not God’s justice, that is the problem.

How can God let the sinner live and give him so many blessings, unless He loves him? There is a kind of love between God and sinners. We call it the “love of benevolence.” That means the love of good will. [cf. 2 Peter 3:9]

… The sinner hates God, disobeys God, is ungrateful to God for all His favors, would kill God if he could. He is dead in trespasses and sins. (Eph.2:1) “The thoughts and intents of his heart are only evil continually.” (Gen.6:5). He is the slave of sin (John 8:34), the servant of the devil (Eph.2:2).

God has no complacent [affectionate] love for the sinner at all. He has a perfect hatred of him, “I hate them with a perfect hatred.” (Ps. 139:22) … It shows the sincerity of God’s willingness to pardon the greatest sinner that, even while He hates him with a perfect hatred, He showers him with constant daily blessings.

… [God] is determined to give the sinner a “chance,” an opportunity to repent. Alas, most sinners use it as a chance to sin! They make God’s blessed love of benevolence into a curse.

In this world the sinner enjoys nothing but the benevolent love of God. Every experience of pain as well as pleasure is from God’s love of benevolence. Even pain is from love because it tends to wake the sinner to his danger.

… Construing God’s love of benevolence as a love of complacency [affection] is fatal. Instead of the divine forbearance leading to repentance, it is used as an excuse for non-repentance. Thus the sinner is not saved but damned by God’s love of benevolence.

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