Why Does God Hate Sin?

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is one of the festivals of God, that he commanded to be kept by his chosen people, which includes not only ancient Israel, but the Church of God established under the New Covenant (Exodus 12:15-16; Leviticus 23:6-8; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; see also chapters 9 and 10 of our book, When is the Biblical Passover?). One of the key lessons intended to be taught by keeping the Feast of Unleavened Bread is that we are to put sin out. But what is it about sin that we should put it out? Is it that God wants to keep us from having fun? Does God hate to see people enjoy life? Or does God have our best interests in mind when he commands us not to sin?

Let’s discuss why God hates sin, and why we also should hate sin, and want to put it out of our lives.

It’s important that we understand how sin occurs. Sin begins in the mind, with lust, that is, illicit desire (James 1:14-15). First comes the desire, then as we entertain the evil thought and are drawn along, we are enticed, then lust conceives and gives birth to sin. But notice, when the sin has run its course it brings forth, or produces, death.

Why would we be enticed – why would we desire to sin? Could it be that sin is pleasurable? (Hebrews 11:25). People don’t usually sin because we love to suffer. When we sin we do so very often because we find pleasure in it. Sin appeals to our fleshly nature and appetites (Titus 3:3). Why do some people eat pork chops? Because they hate the taste of pork? No, it’s because they think it tastes good.

Why do people gossip? Because to some people, gossip is so much fun. Why do people commit sexual sins? Because, at least for awhile, they find pleasure in them. Even murderers not uncommonly murder because of the thrill of it. Or if not, that they think they’ll gain some other advantage.

But, while sin may bring temporary pleasure, it is deceptive (Hebrews 3:13). The temporary pleasure of sin is far outweighed by its long term destructive effects. Eve, when she took of the forbidden fruit, was deceived (Genesis 3:1-6; 1 Timothy 2:14). She thought sin was good, and that it would produce the things she desired. Adam, though he was not deceived in the same way, followed her into sin. Both were guilty. Both suffered the penalty for their sin. They eventually died, because sin produces death (Romans 7:11). The commandment was good, but sin, which is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4, KJV), took occasion by the commandment, deceived Eve and eventually led to her death, as God had told her it would (Romans 6:23).

We need to bear in mind what the fruit of sin is. Not just the temporary, superficial fruit, but the entire range of consequences. Yes, sin may produce pleasure for a little while, but it has other ramifications, other longer term outcomes, which are not so pleasurable.

God had told Eve that the eventual outcome of sin would be death. As James wrote, “sin, when it is finished, brings forth death” (James 1:15, American King James Version; cf. Proverbs 8:36).

Though sin may bring temporary pleasure, it’s final result is destruction. Sometime ago I read about an experiment where rats were fed cocaine from a device each time they pulled a lever. Cocaine produces a temporary pleasurable sensation. For that reason it’s highly addictive. But in it’s refined form it’s also highly toxic and can easily cause death, especially when used repeatedly in higher and higher doses. In the experiment, the rats kept pushing the lever over and over until they died.

In a similar manner, the pleasure of sin can quickly become addictive. It’s much easier to prevent sin by rejecting the temptation in the first place. Just like it’s much easier to determine never to try cocaine to begin with, than to kick the habit once it’s got a grip on you. Sin entraps and enslaves us if we allow it to. The primary meaning of the Greek word translated “enticed” in James 1:14 (“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed”) is “entrap” (Strong’s), or “lure” (Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich), or “bait, catch by bait” (Thayer’s). Lust baits, entraps and then sin enslaves us, unless we successfully resist it.

Note how Solomon warns us concerning the sin of adultery for example (Proverbs 6:23-29, 32; 2:10-22; 23:27-28). The examples here concern adultery and fornication. But the principle extends to many other sins as well, especially idolatry, which is spiritual adultery. We must be very careful not to get drawn in to any lust, any sin, including religious deception.

God does not withhold anything good from us (Psalm 84:11).

But God hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19; Jeremiah 44:3-4; Zechariah 8:17).

God sees the destructiveness of sin. That’s why he hates it. God saw in the midst of Egypt a nation in slavery—the people of Israel. He sought to free them. To give them joy instead of sorrow, health instead of sickness, freedom instead of slavery, life instead of death.

It had gotten so bad in Egypt, that Hebrew babies were being murdered as a means of birth control (Exodus 1:7-10, 15-16). Certainly that was a horrible evil. But today, we are spiritually in the same kind of slavery. Egyptians don’t have to kill our babies because we’re doing it ourselves. Egypt was a nation given over to gross idolatry and every kind of evil. But so is our nation (USA) today.

The whole world labors under sins of every description – oppressive governments; spouse abuse; child abuse and neglect; sexual sins; all sorts of addictions; religious deception; ethnic, national and racial hatred; class warfare; murders; fraud and other kinds of larceny; and the list could go on and on and on. The consequence is all manner of suffering and finally death.

Because of sin we live under a reign of death (Romans 5:12, 14). Where righteousness reigns, however, there is rejoicing (Proverbs 29:2). God’s will is that we “may have life, and …have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Sin prevents us from achieving the abundant, joyous life that God desires for us. Instead, it produces misery and unhappiness, and every kind of evil imaginable. So we ought to hate sin just as God does. “You who love the Lord, hate evil!” (Psalm 97:10).

Jesus Christ has been exalted to the right hand of God because he has demonstrated that he loves righteousness and hates sin (Hebrews 1:9). “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). And “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13). “In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil” (Proverbs 16:6).

In the days and months to come we need to strive to grow in our fear of God and our hatred of sin. We need to ask God to grant us the same hatred of sin that he has, so we may forsake it utterly, and live.

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