Question: "Why does God hate sin?"
Answer: God hates sin because it is the very antithesis of His nature. The psalmist describes God’s hatred of sin this way: “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You” (Psalm 5:4). God hates sin because He is holy; holiness is the most exalted of all His attributes (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 6:8). His holiness totally saturates His being. His holiness epitomizes His moral perfection and His absolute freedom from blemish of any kind (Psalm 89:35; 92:15; Romans 9:14).
The Bible presents God’s attitude toward sin with strong feelings of hostility, disgust, and utter dislike. For example, sin is described as putrefying sores (Isaiah 1:6, NKJV), a heavy burden (Psalm 38:4), defiling filth (Titus 1:15; 2 Corinthians 7:1), a binding debt (Matthew 6:12-15), darkness (1 John 1:6) and a scarlet stain (Isaiah 1:18).
God hates sin for the simple reason that sin separates us from Him: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:2; see also Isaiah 13:11; Jeremiah 5:25). It was sin that caused Adam and Eve to run away from God and hide “among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). Sin always brings separation, and the fact that God hates sin means that He hates being separated from us. His love demands restoration, which in turn demands holiness.
God also hates sin because of its subtle deceitfulness which entices us to focus on worldly pleasure to the exclusion of God’s blessings. Those who have their sins forgiven can say, “You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11). To pursue sin is to turn one’s back on the gifts of God, who has “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). God’s hatred of sin implies that He loves His people and wants to bless them.
Another reason God hates sin is that it blinds us to the truth. Jesus likened false teachers to “blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14, NKJV). John said that the one who hates his brother “does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him” (1 John 2:11). Sin has consequences which the sinner often disregards. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7; see also Numbers 32:23). God hates sin for the same reason that light hates darkness and truth hates a lie. God wants His children to “have the full riches of complete understanding” (Colossians 2:2), and sin only gets in the way.
God hates sin because it enslaves us and will eventually destroy us. Just as Samson’s sin led to his physical blindness and captivity (Judges 16:21), our sin will lead to spiritual blindness and bondage. “Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Romans 6:16). God is the source of life, and He will extend that life eternally to all who believe. Sin is a barrier to our reception of life, and that is one reason why God hates it.
God hates sin because it lessens our love for Him. The Bible says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15-16). James warns us of the danger of embracing the world: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4). No one can serve two masters (Luke 16:13), and we must choose between sin and righteousness.
As believers, we should hate sin as does God. We are “sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5). We must recognize that God has set us apart; we are “a holy nation, a people belonging to God” (1 Peter 2:9). We cannot become holy on our own, but God gives us His Holy Spirit to sanctify us (2 Thessalonians 2:13). We have His promise that He will help us in our struggle against sin (1 Corinthians 1:8).
We hate sin because it separates us from God. We hate it because it lessens our love and dulls our conscience, because it binds us and blinds us. We hate it because it grieves the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30). Our prayer to the Holy One is “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).