R.C. Sproul | – Is it biblical to say "God loves the sinner, but hates the sin?"

Does God “love the sinner but hate the sin”? From one of our Ask Ligonier Live events, Burk Parsons explains his concerns related to this common phrase and offers a clearer alternative.

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About The Author

Ligonier Ministries Ligonier Ministries is an international Christian discipleship organization founded by theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul in 1971 to equip Christians to articulate what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it. Proclaiming God’s holiness is central to Ligonier’s purpose. Ligonier produces Renewing Your Mind radio broadcasts, the Reformation Study Bible, Tabletalk magazine, books through the Reformation Trust Publishing division, and various teaching series. It also offers academic degrees through Reformation Bible College. In addition, Ligonier hosts national and regional conferences, offers an online learning community through Ligonier Connect, streams twenty-four-hour Christian internet radio through RefNet, and makes available thousands of unique discipleship resources online at Ligonier.org. Ligonier Ministries

Comment (49)

  1. I do not think God loves the sinners as that is what the Word actually says.  Jesus says he died to kill sin, so to call the saints of God sinners is also incorrect.  John 3:16-21 explains that passage very plainly.  I really wish preachers would just use God's Words and teach us God's Words and not their theological ideas.  God is not going to punish "unsaved sinners" and give "professing Christian" sinners a pass at all.   This makes no biblical sense and totally confuses the sheep.

  2. A rewording of this question that would be helpful would be, "is it wrong to tell people that God loves them and died on the cross for them while also emphasizing the only way your made right with God is by faith in Jesus?"
    I think depending on the lens you see John 3:16, the answer will differ greatly (calvinist/arminian).

  3. God hates sin/sinners, "God is angry with the wicked every day psalm7:11" so he made a provision and that's Jesus so we don't have to go to hell, but most people love their sin rather than God, that's why they end up in hell because they don't want Jesus which is the only way to heaven.

  4. Yes, it is biblical, God does love the sinner, it breaks His heart to send them to hell. God's love alone will not get you into heaven, you also need His righteousness, which is only attained by faith in Jesus.

  5. ( This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.  These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you.  As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.  Now, little children, abide in His, so that when He appears we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.  If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.  See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called the children of God, and such we are.  For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.  Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be.  We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.  And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.  Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.  You know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin.  No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him, or knows Him.  Little children, make sure no one deceives you;  the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous, the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning.  The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.  No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he can not sin because he is born of God.  By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.)   The Apostle John.   Have a blessed day all, dig into the Word of God as it truly is the true treasure.

  6. God loves the sin too. Otherwise, how would we grow closer to God? If we were all sinless we wouldn’t need God now would we? The unfortunate part of modern Christianity is that we have to even ask that question. It shows that most of us don’t understand sin or Christianity itself.

  7. Romans 9:11-13 KJVS
    [11] (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) [12] It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. [13] As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
    Hebrews 12:6 KJVS
    [6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

  8. God doesn’t “send” anyone to hell! Eternity in hell is a choice we make when we are not willing to submit to the saving work that Christ did on Calvary. C.S. Lewis said that “hell is locked from the inside”! Meaning those there have chosen it by denying Jesus Christ. For God is not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth.

  9. You will only be saved and go to heaven if you believe in the patriarchy, misogyny, racism, and homophobia in the Iron Age biblical text, and a genocidal god that murdered the entire population of the world, other than Noah and his incestuous family, and who advocated for the rape of women and children. 'Hate the sin but love the sinner'. Despicable family values.

  10. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, that whosoever, (anybody) believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. First John 2:2 And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world.

    So yes, according to Gods word He died for the sins of the whole world, but only those who believe it are saved. John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, hath everlasting life. John 3:18 Once we believe we can never be condemned again.

    Ephesian 1:13-14 The second we believe we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and given the free gift of eternal life. Romans 6:23. Ephesians 2:8-9. It is Gods will that everyone believe and be saved. First Timothy 2:4, and John 6:40.

  11. What God hates, and how to escape wrath

    Psalm 5:4 For thou [art] not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

    Psalm 5:5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

    Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

    Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, [and] all the nations that forget God.

    Luke 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

    John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

    John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

    John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

    John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

    1Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

    Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

    God justly hates sinners, but offers them mercy and escape from wrath through Jesus, and His Cross.

  12. God sends sinners to hell?
    If they are paying the wage of sin, it's DEATH.
    Do NOT believe that hell is a place where you go to be GIVEN the GIFT of life, just so you can burm and suffer for eternity, while God rubs his hands with glee.
    The wage of sin if you reject salvation, is DEATH.

  13. Psalm 5:5 clearly tells us that God hates the (Worker) of iniquity. It says the complete opposite of what most people believe. Nowhere does it say God hates the sin but loves The Sinner. Now yes it does say in John 3:16 that God so loved the world, He loved the world as a whole, meaning He loved His creation and He provided a way through the death of His Son Jesus for us to be loved and become children of God. God commands all men everywhere to repent for He appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness.
    Acts 17:30
    Let everyone that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 2 Timothy 2:19

  14. The only thing that is appropriate is the first and only Voluntary Commandment made solely for mankind, and it is simply this!,
    Genesis 2:17,
    17, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; for in the day that you eat of it, you will surely die.”,
    The Divine Law was made for Angels, Demons and Devils, it was never meant for mankind, man Stole the Divine Law from the garden, now God freely offers mankind the get out of sin accountability clause, the Kinsman Redeemer Law designed to save us from the curse (catch 22) of Divine Law,
    I strongly advise that you take it, get right with God.

  15. "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: for thou hatest all them that work iniquity." –Psalm 5:5
    "And then will I profess to them, I never knew you, depart from me ye that work iniquity." –Matthew 7:23
    God gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem the world from iniquity (Titus 2:14) and to reconcile all things to Himself (2 Cor 5:18-20).

    The sinner can be defined as one who rebels and subjugates the authority of God and replaces it with his or her own, doing what is right in his own eyes, which is iniquity.

    Let's look at John 3:16:

    "For God so loveth the world, that he hath given his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."

    This shows the condition of God's love for the world. He gave the gift of gracious mercy in the form of His Son on the cross so that workers of iniquity may see their depravity and come to repentance, but here's the condition: "that whosever believeth in Him, should not perish."

    People blame God for all the evil in the world yet will not set Him apart as the ultimate standard by which to determine their reasoning upon. It's not that they don't believe because they are without evidence, for we are all the evidence of His creation, but because they refuse God and His gracious gift of mercy for their rebellion against Him, the world's only Hope.

  16. God loves everyone. Is there enmity between a sinner and God? Yes, but God loves His enemies. It doesn’t mean they’re spared His wrath but He does love them despite their sin.

  17. The way I interpret it is that we are all sinners and God loves all of us unconditionally. In the Bible God is also known as the father. When children do something wrong that doesn't make the father stop loving them but it can make the father angry and it can make the father punish the child. God loves us unconditionally just as a father loves his children unconditionally. God never stops loving us despite the fact that we are sinners. So yes, God hates the sin but he does love the sinner.

  18. Y’all are making this hard on yourselves, God doesn’t love you if you’re currently choosing sin over Him, he states it in Psalm 5:5, also that He is angry with the wicked

    The difference between a sinner and a saint is that a sinner takes pleasure in their sin, they live for their sin, a saint QUICKLY repents when they make a mistake and continues to live holy and righteous to please the Lord.

  19. Wait … I always thought I was a sinner.. because in my nature I was born into sin ,, so I sinned,, it came natural… and then I got saved and became a new creation . My new nature in Christ desires no sin my new nature desires the Spiritual . So if I’m crucified with Christ and my old self has passed away ,, why would I still be a sinner ??? I refer to sinners as people who are not a new creature in Christ.

  20. We don't physically send ourselves to hell, but spiritual we do. By not expecting the the everlasting life and love that Christ gave us on the cross.

    Romans 5:8 says that "God showed his love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
    This shows that while we were still sinners, he loved us so much, he was willing to send his Son to die in our place so that we wouldn't go to hell.

  21. Just say it like you mean it man, God hates sinners. but God doesn’t hat those who repent. Repentance feels a lot like a “work” or act that you must perform… sounds a lot less like faith. am i understanding this wrong?

  22. This is one of those paradoxes that suggests the Christian understanding of and concept of God is wrong. God clearly doesn't send sinners to hell otherwise the moment you sinned you'd die and go to hell. He sends you to hell if you haven't repented before you die. Until then he loves you. I guess it can be framed as God hates dead sinners.

  23. God hates evil. If you could only know how much He hated it, you would never do it again. If you could have seen the tears fall from God's eyes when darkness began you would put evil far away from you. Put a brick on evils gas pedal, open the window, shut the door, throw it in gear and let it drive off a cliff, never to be seen again. Amen

  24. This is how I view it:

    Of course he loves the sinner. He literally died for sinners. If a sinner humbles himself and accepts Jesus as his Lord, Savior, and God, of course he loves him. However, if one knowingly rejects it, I think he hates the sinner. He literally died for us, and for you to reject that, wow.

    I accept it!!!! ✝️

  25. Romans 5:8 'But God demonstrates His own love (agarpe-unconditional love) towards us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.'
    God doesn't send anyone to hell.. This is corrupted doctrine! Hell is eternal death. The 'eternal fire' is God Himself Hebrews 12:29
    Sin is destroyed when Christ returns to this earth… As well as all those who wilfully hold onto it! 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, 2:8
    The whole reason we are still awaiting the 2nd Advent is because '… God is longsuffering towards us, not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance.' 2 Peter 3:8 Yes God does love the sinner "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 EVERYONE except our Savior (Emmanuel-God with us) who perfectly fulfilled the law of God and who could alone atone for the sins of mankind.