People who make the claim that God loves all people unconditionally are going to have to distort verses like Psalm 11:5, “His soul hates the wicked“. Similarly, Psalm 5:5 sings to God, “You hate all evildoers“. This whole idea that God hates all sin but loves all sinners is foreign to Scripture.
And verse 7 of Psalm 11 might initially give somebody comfort. In contrast to God’s hatred of the wicked, we read that, “the LORD is righteous; He loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold His face.” We like to think that we fall in that category instead. I’m not wicked! I’m not an evildoer. I do righteous deeds! I’m upright, so I shall behold His face!
God loves righteousness, and He hates wickedness. He loves those who are righteous, and He hates those who are evil. This is not good for us humans. There is no one who, on their own, is upright. There is no one who, on their own, does truly righteous deeds. Here’s a sampling of the human condition:
Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?“
Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.“
Ephesians 2:1-3, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.“
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God“.
Genesis 6:5, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.“
Romans 8:7, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.“
Isaiah 64:6, “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.“
Romans 3:10-11, “As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.’“
So, you see, this is a problem for us. If God hates evildoers and loves the righteous, and we all do evil and none of us are righteous, then God rightfully should hate all of us.
Praise God that that isn’t the end of the story. What happened on the cross was this: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus took on the sins of His people and put them on Himself. And God took the righteousness of Jesus and put it on His people. And so, now, God looks at His people not in their sinfulness, but in the righteousness of Jesus.
As a follower of Christ, I am “found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith” (Philippians 3:9). God no longer looks at me as an evildoer, but as someone who is “upright“, not because of my own merit, but because of His Son’s.
- Psalm 11
- Genesis 12-13:1
- 1 Chronicles 12
- Luke 7:36-8:3