Twelve Things God Hates

What does the statement “God hated Esau” really mean? (Malachi 1:3, Romans 9:11-13) Is it the same kind of hate that a person has for cheesecake or lemon meringue pie? The purpose of this article is to list twelve things that God really does hate. In doing so, we will discover that God loves all people, but it is not the same kind of love that a person has for dessert.

Does God Love and Hate At the Same Time?

It is so very important for us to understand the difference between loving a person and hating the sin. Generally speaking, “God hated Esau” means that God hated sinful behavior, not the actual person of Esau. Since God is love (1 John 4:16) and He hates sin (Proverbs 6:16-19), it follows that God must love all people in the world (John 3:16) unconditionally while also hating the person’s sin at the same time.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only unique Son, and whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).

Five More Things God Hates

In addition to dealing perfectly with each person, God also deals perfectly with nations and groups of people. In Malachi 1:1-3, we find out that Edom refers to Esau’s descendants who are called the Edomites (Genesis 25:30, 36:1, 9). The Lord calls Edom a Wicked Land (Mal. 1:4), meaning a wicked people always under the wrath of the Lord. Why were they under wrath? They were under wrath for the following reasons:

1.) Siding with Israelite enemies (Psalm 83:1-8)

2.) Inflicting revenge on Judah (Ezek. 25:12-14)

In the context of Malachi chapter 1, Edom suffers as a group of people not because God inflicts punishment in a cruel random way, but rather, God is perfectly just when He gives both warnings and consequences. Malachi uses the illustration of “Edom under divine wrath” in order to warn the Israelites that the Israelite priests need to repent from showing contempt for the name of the Lord Almighty. Otherwise, Israel will also suffer divine wrath. Israel was warned about their following sins:

1.) Priests who despise the name of the Lord Almighty (Mal. 1:6)

2.) A people who do not offer the best to the Lord Almighty (Mal. 1:11)

3.) A people who do not fear the name of the Lord Almighty (Mal. 1:14)

Another Thing God Hates

In the book of Revelation, we find out that God commended a certain group of people for hating sin. What sin was that? The people in the church of Ephesus were approved by God for hating the sinful work of the Nicolatians. (Early church Fathers explained that the sin of the Nicolatians refers to allowing heretical doctrine.)

Revelation 2:6 – (The Lord Almighty said,) Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolatians, which I also hate.

The key word in Revelation 2:6 is the word works. It was not the person, per se, that was hated. It was the work of those people. Everyone is called to honor the Lord, no matter who you are or where you live, by following sound doctrine. In addition to being saved by grace through faith in order to do good works, we are also commanded to live by sound doctrine. In order to reject heresies and unorthodox doctrine, one must know the truth of sound doctrine. This is why it is so important to be a student of the Word of God, learn from educated theologians, let the Holy Spirit reveal truth to you, and daily put on the new life in Christ, walking in step with divine guidance.

Does God Only Love Some People?

Maybe you’ve heard a Christian such as a Calvinist say that God only loves some people. Oddly enough, atheists often say the same thing. It is not a good interpretation of Scripture to conclude that God only loves some people. It is false to say that God only loves some people. John 3:16 does not say, “For God so loved only part of the world…” Telling people “God only loves some people” can actually end up triggering hopelessness, anger, and depression.

God’s character is so loving that it is impossible for Him to not love. God is love (1 John 4:16), and that means God naturally loves you. He is always loving in all that He does and in all that He says. The word that we use for God’s all-loving moral attribute is called omnibenevolent. It means He is always good, always loving, and perfectly limitless in being good and loving toward everyone. Nothing is forcing Him to love you. He just does love you with an infinite amount and a divine eternal love. He is so good, that He extends grace and carries out perfect justice to individuals as well as nations.

Just as a parent disciplines his child in order to keep him from repeating dangerous actions, our Heavenly Father pours out divine wrath in wicked places – out of His desire for people to repent from sin. Even though He actively hates sin, His loving character does not change. His loving character is constantly loving and constantly unchanging. The way God loves is not the exact same way a person loves dessert. The way God hates is not the exact same way a person hates cheesecake. Psalm 5:5 says, “You hate all workers of iniquity.” Psalm 11:5 says, “The Lord’s soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.” Divine hate and divine wrath are a means of divine discipline in order to get a human being to repent from sinful behavior.

How Do I Know If God Really Loves Me?

I met a lady one day who told me she thought God did not love her. When I asked why she thought that, she said it was because someone told her that God only chooses to love some people, and He decided to love other people but not love her. What?! That is a terrible misunderstanding of God’s unchanging nature. I assured her that God does love her with an everlasting love that endures forever, and He is just waiting for her to love Him back. Rest assured, you can be confident that God first loved you. Most certainly! “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). The love that God has for all people is impartial, universal, and unconditional. He loves you so much that Jesus willingly died for you in order to pay the penalty for all your sin. The natural response is for you to thank God for the good work He did for you. We love, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

I might never know if God hates cheesecake, but I do know He hates pride, lying, murdering innocent blood, devising wicked plans, rushing into evil, false witnesses, and stirring up conflict. Never give up what you know for what you don’t know.

It is very clear in the Bible that God does not love sin. In the Scriptures, we find out that He loves all people. Likewise, we are commanded to love one another just as Jesus loved one another. We are never commanded to love the sin in a person’s life. Rather, we can dislike the sin in a person’s life while continuing to love the person. A parent is always expected to love his or her child unconditionally, impartially, and at all times.

If you have not done so already, get in a good Bible study with a teacher who follows sound doctrine and prays for you. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments” (John 14:15). Never give up being a student of the Bible. The best way to genuinely love God is getting to know His divine attributes, the good work He has done, and all the good promises He has for you. And praise Him for it all!

Ultimate happiness is found in a right relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

 

What About Those Who Have Never Heard?

“What About Those Who Have Never Heard?” is a book divided into three sections. Each section presents a particular view on whether the unevangelized can go to heaven after bodily death. John Sanders, Gabriel Fackre, and Ronald Nash present three views—restrictivism, divine perseverance, and inclusivism—on whether souls can go to heaven if they never heard about Jesus. Even though all three authors searched through Scripture to find answers, the interpretations and handling of particular verses varied. Each author attempted to build a biblical case for his view, but each case seemed to add his own interpretation of what he thinks John 14:6 is saying. The strongest case came from the most assertive author, Nash, while the most accurate case for salvation came from Sanders. The weakest case came from Fackre.

Two more views are briefly presented on just one page of the book. Universal Opportunity Before Death is a view where all people are given an opportunity to be saved, by God sending the Gospel message through human messengers, angels, dreams, just before death, or by middle knowledge. Universalism is a view where all people will eventually be saved by Jesus somehow someway, and no one goes to hell. Universalism is heretical, and it is known to officially be condemned at the Fifth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople in AD 553. Universalism is unbiblical because it is contrary to God’s justice and the biblical teaching on hell.

Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Restrictivism

Represented by Nash

This view limits God to only working a certain method of salvation throughout history. An extreme version of this view basically tells God who God can let into heaven. This view also says, in a rather harsh way, that each individual, before he dies, must have Jesus as his Savior or he will go to hell.

Nash seems to mishandle divine redemption throughout the ages. Salvation has always depended on God’s mercy (Ro. 9:6). While John 14:6 sounds like salvation-through-Jesus is a guarantee, John 14:6 is not stating the negative where all people throughout history who do not have Jesus as his Savior will go to hell. Salvation is offered to all people, but individuals need to personally receive divine mercy and believe by faith.

Postmortem Evangelism PME (Divine Perseverance)

Represented by Fackre

This view claims God will provide a second chance to the unevangelized people after they die. PME says salvation will be declared to all even after an unbeliever dies.

At best, this is only a man-made hope, not a direct biblical teaching. While it is possible that God could offer a second chance, the Bible does not teach it probably because people would take advantage of it in this life by living a self-centered life instead of a God-honoring life.

Inclusivism

Represented by Sanders

This view generally explains God’s great love and amazing grace as being a divine gift, extending to all people everywhere throughout history (including unlimited atonement – John 3:16). Just knowing Jesus is not the way to salvation—even the demons believe. Like the other two views, inclusivists believe salvation today is through Jesus alone. God is the only one who offers his plan of making atonement for human beings who all have a sin nature. Apart from God, we have no salvation. The Trinity is the means of salvation. Jesus is the one and only Savior because Jesus is God. Apart from Christ, we have no mankind redeemer. Inclusivists usually say salvation can also be found in general revelation, in addition to a special revelation of Jesus Christ.

The problem to the question at hand begins with the title question itself. “Those” are the people who never heard the good news about Jesus offering eternal life. We are essentially asking what happened to all the dead people who never had an opportunity to receive Jesus as his or her personal Savior. A leading evangelical theologian in America, John Walvoord, explained one dilemma as such. “The Old Testament saints did not believe in Christ in the same way and with the same comprehension that believers with the New Testament do for the simple reason that they were not in possession of the same information.” Walvoord went on to explain Old Testament salvation as trust in Jehovah himself while animal and grain sacrifices could not save. The act of sacrifices performed a work which demonstrated faith in God as his Savior. The Old Testament saints recognized and held to the promise of the future Son of God. Old Testament salvation “was still a work of God for man, not a work of man for God.” In addition, the pre-flood people did not know about Jesus who died on the cross one dark afternoon at Golgotha, a place known as the skull outside Jerusalem where capitol punishment was carried out. How did any of the Adam-Noah people get into heaven? Is getting into heaven only about knowing Jesus? Satan knows about Jesus, but Satan has been kicked out of heaven. There must be something about getting into heaven other than just knowing about Jesus. How then can any person be certain if his loved one has been accepted into heaven apart from knowing about Jesus?

Next, let us present the bad news – all people inherit Adam’s sin nature, which means all people are in need of getting in a right standing with God. No matter how good a person is, he falls short of God’s holy standard, which means all people are in need of receiving divine grace. The good news is that God loves everyone (John 3:16). The question remains. Can a guilty sinner get into heaven if they do not know Jesus? A simple answer says God is the one who judges each human heart. The question still remains, though. Can a soul get into heaven if they never accepted Christ as his Savior who paid the penalty for all human sin on the cross? The shortest answer is maybe. If the answer is maybe, then how exactly can a person get into heaven if they do not have Christ as his personal Savior? This is the point of the whole book, “What About Those Who Have Never Heard?”

Sanders, Fackre, and Nash agree on the following:

1.) God is all-loving and divinely just.

2.) It is God’s desire that He wants all human beings existing today to receive a saving faith in Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior.

3.) Jesus is the only Savior of the world (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).

4.) The one true God is revealed in the Trinity.

5.) By his nature, God is loving. He cannot be not loving.

6.) Jesus is the only way to the Father.

7.) The answers are found in the Bible.

The three views seem to struggle with a biblical explanation on why God would not give mercy to someone who does know Jesus, such as in the case of Satan. In addition, the views differ on how God extends his mercy on people today, and the three authors often misunderstand each other.

The main conflict in the title question usually comes from how one is supposed to interpret John 14:6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The main difference between inclusivism and the other two views is that inclusivism significantly honors the Trinity as the Savior of the world whereas the other two views limit salvation to man’s idea of what God needs to do for salvation. “No one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ” is understood by Nash in Nash’s restrictive sense of how he thinks God must offer salvation. Exceptions are given to the mentally incapable. I would guess that all three authors would, once again, affirm their belief in Jesus being both fully God and fully man and the only way to the Father. While I am not stating that Nash and Fackre deny the nature of the Son of God, they both seem to cut short the ability of the Father and the Holy Spirit offering salvation even if a person is ignorant about Jesus. Nash and Fackre both seem to limit historical salvation to accepting Christ as his personal Savior, with the exception of infants and the mentally challenged, all the way back to Adam. There is salvation in no one else which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Yes, all three views agree that Jesus is the only Savior. All three authors affirm Acts 4:12, but out of the three views, inclusivism welcomes and honors the salvific work of the Trinity, even if a person is ignorant about Jesus. In other words, it is correct to say, “No one comes to the Father except through God.” It is more clearly understood to say, “No one comes to the Father except through Jesus.” Walvoord affirmed, “the Savior of the Old Testament is the Savior of the New Testament.”

Sander’s book reveals a tension that exists among three different Christian beliefs. You very well might hear two Christians clashing, due to different ways the verses are interpreted and due to different conclusions that are drawn. Sanders, Fackre, and Nash each believe his own view about the unevangelized is the correct view and the others are wrong. The correct understanding of who goes to heaven is found in God’s historical work of biblical salvation and the actual act of divine redemption.

All five views below agree that Jesus is the only way to the Father. Listed below are five views strategically positioned on the Destiny of the Unevangelized Spectrum. Beginning with the heretical side of the spectrum, universalism says all people go to heaven. Ending with the most abrasive side of the spectrum, restrictivism says if Christ isn’t your Savior, you go to hell.

Destiny of the Unevangelized Spectrum

1 – Universalism – All people go to heaven. God figures out how to get everyone to heaven. CS Lewis alluded to this heretical view when he said, “It is the view I call Christianity-and-water, the view which simply says there is a good God in heaven and everything is all right – leaving out all the difficult and terrible doctrines about sin and hell and the devil, and the redemption.”

2 – Divine Perseverance (Postmortem Evangelism) – The unevangelized will get an opportunity after death to receive Christ as his Savior.

3 – Inclusivism – The unevangelized will be accountable to God and might get to go to heaven, based on the revelation they had.

4 – Universal Opportunity Before Death – All people get an opportunity to be saved before they die, by God’s Gospel message, through human messengers, angels, dreams, at the moment of death, or by middle knowledge (God knows what the individual would have done if he had an opportunity to receive Christ as his personal Savior).

5 – Restrictivism – Anyone who does not receive Christ as his personal Savior will go to hell.

In my experience, I have found that most Christians I know are either a 3 or a 4. In summary, God has provided salvation in the one and only Savior, Jesus Christ. Forgiveness, righteousness, eternal life, abundant life, and a right relationship with God are found in no other name.

If you are not sure if your soul is going to heaven after you die, please take a moment right now and admit that you fall short of God’s holy standard (Ro. 3:23). The gift of eternal life is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ro. 6:23). Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Ro. 10:13). Thank God for the finished work He did for you at the cross since Jesus paid the penalty for all your sins. Now go and repent from sin and tell someone that you received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Find a good Bible believing church, give your salvation testimony, and make a commitment to grow as a believer in the Word and as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Assurance of salvation:

Romans 10:9

John 5:24

John 20:31

CS Lewis gave the following analogy for a stubborn, unthankful man who received an offer of atonement by God. “If I am drowning in a rapid river, a man who still has one foot on the bank may give me a hand which saves my life. Ought I to shout back, between gasps, ‘No, it’s not fair! You have an advantage. You’re keeping one foot on the bank’? That advantage – call it unfair if you like – is the only reason why he can be of any use to me. To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself? Such is my own way of looking at what Christians call the atonement.”

Sources

Geisler, Dr. Norman. Systematic Theology: Volume Three – Sin, Salvation. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2004.

Lewis, CS. Mere Christianity. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1952.

Sanders, John. What About Those Who Have Never Heard? Three Views on the Destiny of the Unevangelized. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1995.

Walvoord, John F. Jesus Christ Our Lord. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1969.