The phrase, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner”, sounds biblical. The phrase, itself, isn’t found anywhere in Scripture, but it sounds kind of right, right?
God certainly does hate sin. No punches are pulled on the subject. For instance, we read the following in Proverbs 6:16-19:
There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
And there is no doubt that God loves sinners. Paul made that perfectly clear when he said:
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)
To that extent, we can say that God hates sin, but He loves sinners. The phrase, however, is usually stated as a way that we should orient ourselves toward other people. More specifically, the phrase is usually suggested as a way of orienting ourselves (Christians) toward “certain” people. We say it because we hate the sin, especially their sin, and we are reminding ourselves to love the sinner.
It’s a phase that Christians generally seem to like, but non-Christians don’t seem to like it nearly as much as do. We could chalk it up to them not understanding, not believing in the Bible and not appreciating what Jesus did on the cross for us. But is it really biblical?
While it’s biblical to say that God hates sin, but loves sinners, is it biblical instruction for us to say, “Hate sin but love sinners? Jeff Frazier at the Chaplestreet Church in Batavia, IL (who preached on this subject August 2, 2020, and who’s sermon inspires this post) suggests that it isn’t biblical, at least not in the way it is usually applied.