God Loves Sinners
by David J. Stewart
November 2005 | Updated August 2016
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“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” —Romans 5:8
God loves you, no matter who you are. Does God love a thief? Yes, He does! Does God love an adulterer? Yes, He does! Does God love a homosexual? Yes, He does! Does God love a murderer? Yes, He does! Please understand that when I say “love,” I mean agape love, that is, God's unconditional love for all mankind. God loves us because of Who He is, and not because of who we are. Phileo love is fondness. God loves (agape) homosexuals, but He is not fond (phileo) of them. God loves all sinners, but He is not fond of them. God is fond of those who obey Him.
I am saddened by the hatred that some professed “Christians” have for the unsaved. It is tragic. Yes, God hates sin and the wrath of God abides upon Christ-rejecters (John 3:36); but let us never stray from the great Biblical doctrine of God's wondrous love for mankind, which allowed Christ to be nailed to the cross for our sins. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Notice the words, “God so loved (agape) THE WORLD.”
Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God in His foreknowledge knew how sinful and rotten mankind would be, but He looked beyond our faults and saw our need for redemption. Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose again from the grave to TAKE AWAY our sins. Jesus did this by the shedding of His own physical blood. 1st Peter 1:18,19, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold... But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Christ died for all men, because God loves all mankind, even the vilest of sinful men.
God extends a warm invitation to all sinners. Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Jesus makes us the promise in John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
“If there was no greater love than the death of your Son, then there is no greater evidence of your love! Think about that statement! If you did not love everyone, how would I know that it included me? If Christ did not pay for all sin, for everyone, how do I know You paid for mine?” (a beautiful quote from Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold, from the timeless MP3 sermon, “How Do I Know God Really Loves Me? - Part 2” | Part 1)
Loving One Another
One of the saddest things of our generation is how professed Christians treat each other. Jesus taught us to wash each other's dirty feet, and to love one another as our self. Pastor Jack Hyles is correct when he says in his sermons, “The Christian army is the only army in the world that slays its wounded.” Brother Hyles makes this wonderful statement...
“Now this work we have here will split right down the middle into fifty different pieces, if we don't learn to say, 'Woe is me!' before we say 'woe is he!' We're going to have to learn some grace. We're gonna have to learn patience with the weaker ones.”
SOURCE: Dr. Jack Hyles, a quote from the sermon, “Six Woes To You And One To Me,” preached at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana Pastor's School.
I hope you'll take the time to listen to the preceding awesome MP3 sermon by Pastor Hyles. In the sermon he says that the big thing which has caused more church splits than anything else in our generation is not the deity of Christ, nor the security of the believer, nor the pretribulation Rapture, nor predestination, nor the inspiration of the Bible; but rather, it is bubblegum! In other words, our churches are fighting over giving bus kids goldfish, having a Christmas tree in the home, coffee, choir robes, using the word “reverend,” clergy collars, beards, pumpkins and other trifle matters. Church are splitting right down the middle over this stuff! Baptists are biting and devouring one another. We're fighting over bubblegum! We are a family in the Church! Yes, we ought to stand for our convictions, but not split churches over these matters.
In the preceding sermon Dr. Hyles says he lives by the following excellent motto...
“On the essentials, unity;
on the non-essentials, liberty;
and in everything, charity!”
I know Independent Baptist churches that excommunicate members when they sin. Prey tell me, how can a spiritually sick person get better if you kick them out of the Church, which is supposed to be a hospital for sinners? I'm sick of hypocritical churches singing “Holy, Holy, Holy,” then kicking sinners out of their church when they stumble, while they never preach on Hell from the pulpit, never comfort the congregation with the promise of Christ's imminent return, never call sin by name, et cetera. It upsets me that compromised pastors, who won't preach against sin, are eager to kick church members out when they sin. If the pastor were the praying man of God that he ought to be, then he would preach the Word like he should, and there wouldn't be so much turmoil in the church. We have a sick form of fundamentalism today in our churches that doesn't preach on Hell, has little patience with weaker believers and doesn't seek the power of the Holy Spirit to do the Lord's work.
Let's be careful about shunning others who sin. The Bible says not to eat or associate closely with a brother who lives in unrepentant sin (1st Corinthians 5:11), but this speaks of present, unrepentant, open, sin. This doesn't mean to kick someone out of the church, which is a hospital for sinners. The Bible never says to physically throw someone out of a church; but rather, they'll voluntarily leave if the pastor starts preaching against sin as he ought from the pulpit. If they stay, good, then preach to them as part of the church family in love. We all need hard Bible preaching to think and live right!!!
“There's not a single person in this house this morning, who's unsaved, but what wouldn't be saved if you realized that the Creator of the universe loves you!” —Pastor Jack Hyles, a beautiful quote from the awesome sermon titled, “How To Love God More”
God Loves Sinners, But Hates the Sin
I once heard evangelist Ray Comfort ask where in the Bible does it say that God loves sinners, but hates their sin? My answer would be John 3:16 for one. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Christ died for all sinners!
I have received dozens of letters from professed “Christians” who are upset with me for my article God Loves People. One woman sent several internet links to me, linking to articles which teach that God doesn't love sinners. Oh, listen my friend, God loves mankind more than we could love Him in return. She doesn't understand the difference between agape verses phileo love. Luke 19:10 reads, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” 1st John 3:16a, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down his life for us.”
Notice the words, “the love of God.” God loves humanity, which is why He sent His Son to pay the debt for our sins. How could anyone say that God hates sinners? God DOES hate sin, and God IS angry with the wicked every day; but God equally loves each and every person and desires for them to repent and get saved. 2nd peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” God is “not willing that any should perish.”
“If all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, then why would you use those rags as evidence that you're saved?” (a beautiful quote from Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold, from the timeless MP3 sermon, “How Do I Know God Really Loves Me? - Part 2” | Part 1)
When Moses went up to the top of Mount Sinai to beg God to forgive the sins of the Jews, God did. Exodus 32:14, “And the LORD repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people.” Unfortunately, the people were dancing naked around a calf committing idolatry and adultery before Moses even got back down to the camp. They had already broken all of the Ten Commandments! Then Moses got mad. Please notice that NO ONE died that day accept those who chose to. Exodus 32:26 reads, “Who is on the LORD's side? let him come unto me.” The Jews who refused to come over to the Lord's side were killed that day (thousands of them). God didn't just kill them! It was their own sinful pride that got them killed. Pride is destructive! America's day of reckoning is coming, when her proud neck will be broken.
Yes, God does get angry about sin, very angry! In fact, Psalm 7:11 declares that “God is angry with the wicked every day.” John 3:36 warns that the "wrath of God abideth" upon Christ-rejecters.
However, the entire Bible is based upon the FACT that God loves mankind, so much so that God the Father sent His only begotten Son into the world to suffer and die for our sins. Romans 5:8,9 reads, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” God proved His love toward mankind by sending His Son into this hostile, sin-cursed world and giving His life for our sins.
“God loves you. It doesn't make any difference who you are. You can't keep Him from loving you. Now you can get into a place where you won't experience the love of God. When you put up an umbrella of sin, the sunshine of God's love sure won't fall on you. But it's still there for you.”
SOURCE: Pastor J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988), from the Book of Nahum; TTB.ORG
God First Loved Us
1st John 4:19 declares, “We love him, because He first loved us.” The Bible teaches that God loved us before we loved Him. When we didn't love God, the Bible says that He still loved us. The truth is that God loved mankind before He ever spoke the universe into existence. Revelation 13:8 reads, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Jesus is the “Lamb of God,” Who in God's time (eternity) was slain before the foundation of the world (our time). Remember, we live in time but God lives in eternity where there is NO TIME (Revelation 10:6). In God's mind, Jesus had already died upon the cross before man ever became a living soul.
Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus Christ laid down His life for us, knowing every sin which we would ever commit. The Bible declares that this is PROOF of God's love toward mankind. God commended (or revealed) His genuine love toward us by making a way of escape from the curse of the Law—a plan of redemption—a Savior to TAKE AWAY our sins. Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay.
Again, 1st John 4:19, “We love him, because He first loved us.” Notice the words, “...because He first loved us.” When people don't love God, they live in sin. Before we loved Him, we were still wicked sinners; yet the Bible says that God loved us and paid for our sins. The problem with the world isn't that God has stopped loving man; but that man has never started loving God. God loves sinners in spite of their lack of love for Him. God's love is unconditional.
If Jesus Loves Everyone, Then What's The Value Of Love?
Do you know who asked that question? Heavy rocker Marilyn Manson (real name: Brian Warner). Mr. Warner doesn't love God and has rejected God's love for Him in Christ; hence, Marilyn Manson only understands one type of love and that is the world's affectionate type of love.
We learn from the Bible that there are two different types of love mentioned in the New Testament. There is God's love (Greek: agape, meaning, “to love in a social or moral sense”), which is unconditional love; and then there is, (Greek: phileo, meaning, “to be a friend to, have affection”) which is a fondness type of love. We see both types of love at work in John 21:16 in a conversation between the Apostle Peter and the Lord Jesus Christ...
John 21:16, “He [Jesus] saith to him [Peter] again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [agapao] thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love [phileo] thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”
God loves [agapao] all mankind, which is why He sent His only begotten Son to pay everyone's sin debt. However, God has a special love [phileo] for His own, affectionate toward those who love and obey Him. It's the same way that we love as Christians. I love [agapao] all people, whoever you may be; but I have an affectionate love [phileo] for those dear to me, such as my web visitors.
So we now understand the answer to Marilyn Manson's question. Mr. Warner only comprehends one type of love in the world, an affectionate type of love; but he is oblivious to God's unconditional love which can love a complete stranger, even someone who is being unkind to us, mistreating us, or who has hurt us. The unsaved world mocks, scoffs and despises true love, because they have rejected the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus the Lord. Thus, they cannot express love for a stranger when they are strangers themselves to the kingdom of God. Please read, God's Unconditional Love and God's Love In You.
You don't go to Heaven because God loves you, nor because you love Him. You don't go to Heaven because you amend your sinful ways or clean up your act. Turning over a new leaf is rehabilitation, which is not salvation. Education is not the answer. Reformation is not the answer. Legislation is not the answer. My friend, the answer is REGENERATION. Ye must be born again! We are saved by receiving Christ's payment for our sins. Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose again 3-days later for our justification. Jesus applied His literal blood to the mercy seat in Heaven in the presence of the Father (Hebrews 9:12,24). Thank you Lord!
God's love [agapao] sent Christ to the cross to pay the sin debt of ALL MANKIND; but God is only a friend [phileo] to those who are His friends in Christ...
James 4:4, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
God Has No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked
The Bible teaches that God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. Ezekiel 33:11, "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel." If we are to be Christlike, then we must not rejoice in the death of the unsaved. It is a sad thing when someone dies and goes into Hell.
No Christian who has God's love in their heart should be glad to see anyone go to Hell. Many people rejoice that sinners are burning in Hell, but God is not pleased about it. God does NOT want any soul to perish into Hell. 2nd Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
“I believe any man in this world, can love any other man in this world, if he thinks right! The reason you hate is because you think hate. The reason you love is because you think love.” —Dr. Jack Hyles, a quote from the excellent MP3 sermon, “What The Law Could Not Do” (July 5, 1987 - First Baptist Church of Hammond, PM service).
Modern Corrupt Bibles Remove the “Love of God”
Few believers have the great heart of God nowadays. They have God's Holy Spirit living in their soul, but they've never yielded their mind and will to God. Most believers today are immature. They fail to abide in Christ and to allow God's Word to abide in them. One of the big problems is that many believers are using a corrupted version of the Bible. I am so tired of hearing people say bad things about the King James Bible. Every modern Bible version is corrupt except the King James!
I guarantee you that most of the professed Christians who deny the pretribulation Rapture are using a New International Version [NIV] of the Bible. The NIV removes or changes 65,000 words as compared to the King James Bible. The only reliable English Bible today is the King James Bible. As churchgoers are being led astray from the true Word of God, they are descending into heresy, compromise and even apostasy. The King James Bible is powerful. Listen to the words of Hebrews 4:12 in the King James Bible, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." All of the modern Bible versions have been watered down, diluted, reading like a newspaper. Today's Bible versions are powerless, wimpy, and impotent. The NIV horrifyingly reduces "God was manifest in the flesh" in 1st Timothy 3:16 to "he was revealed in a body." Is this easier to understand? Better comprehension? More modernized English?
It is NOT surprising that professed Christians who use such flawed Bible versions as the NIV would also believe that God hates sinners. Here's a classic example: 1st John 3:16 in the King James Bible reads,
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
Now here's the perverted NIV...
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
Notice that the NIV completely removes “the love of God” from 1st John 3:16. The New King James Bible also butchers the same Scripture. It is wicked!!! Do you see why so many people are being deceived by Satan nowadays? It is obvious to faithful Christians who are awake to righteousness.
If I had my way, I would burn every New International Version of the Bible in existence! I would burn every copy of Today's International Version as well. I would burn every copy of the corrupted New King James Version. I would burn every perverted Bible out there, including the Living Bible and Good News for Modern Man. I would burn the Revised Standard Version. Satan's Modern Bible Revisions Remove Acts 8:37 (the NIV, VOICE, HCSB, ERV and other corrupt modern revisions teach the heresy of water baptism for salvation).
Satanic 'Easy-To-Read Version' (ERV) Errantly Says In Mark 10:24 It Is Hard To Enter Heaven. Are you getting this? The modern Alexandrian Bible revisions are of the Devil. GET YOU A KING JAMES BIBLE!!!
God only wrote one Book! Matthew 4:4 commands us to live by “every word” of the Bible. To do that we must have an “every word” Bible. We have it in the preserved 1611 King James Bible, which has been tested and proven to be trustworthy over the centuries. If the King James Bible was good enough for Charles Spurgeon, Dwight L. Moody, Billy Sunday and Harry Ironside, bless God, it's good enough for you and me!
I realize that a believer is under grace and no longer under the curse of the Law, but to say that God hates the wicked is foolish and unbiblical. The great heart of God is much bigger than that. God loves mankind with an unconditional love that supersedes our words or actions. How shallow and immature for anyone to claim that God hates sinners. When a believer sins, they fall IN GRACE, never FROM GRACE! Don't forget that. If saved, always saved! I know that I am saved because I am trusting in what Christ did to pay for my sins on the cross of Calvary. It is what Jesus did to pay for my sins with His precious blood, and not anything that I can do in my own human effort, that saves me.
Jesus doesn't forgive sin! That is correct! Jesus has already paid for everyone's sins on the cross. Hence, forgiveness of sins is a free gift that we simply receive by faith. This is why we read in 1st Timothy 4:10, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” Jesus is the Savior of ALL MEN, because He died on the cross for ALL MEN; but you still must believe on Him in order to obtain that gift of forgiveness and eternal life. Forgiveness can be yours right now, friend, if you'll simply come as a sinner and believe the Gospel.
There's a group of self-righteous people in our churches today, going around lying, telling lost sinners that they cannot be saved unless they give up their sinful lifestyle and stop sinning. Nothing could be further from the truth of God's Word. Who can stop sinning? Who can cease from committing sin? All that God requires is that a man acknowledge his guilt of sin and deserved penalty in hellfire, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be forgiven. The change that genuine repentance brings is God's department. Our part is simply to BELIEVE.
God Loves Sinners!
God loves sinners! Now God certainly does NOT love sin, but He loves the individual. How could God not love His own creation? How could God not love the object of His plan of redemptive?
As I mentioned earlier, I've had many people write me letters, upset because I say that "God loves people." They send me verses in the Bible where God opened the ground to devour people, or killed thousands of people in His anger. Although God certainly did execute judgment in many places in the Old Testament, it does not in any way diminish the fact that God loved those people who were destroyed. Christ died for those people.
There are some false prophets who teach that Jesus only died for the elect and not the unsaved. This is certainly not Biblical. Jesus died for THE WHOLE WORLD, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1st John 2:2). Notice the words, "the whole world." Jesus died for the sins of "the whole world." Amen.
In Luke 9:54-56, we find James and John eager to destroy the wicked with the wrath of God, but Jesus rebuked them instead, "And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village." And likewise I say to you professed Christians who insist that God hates sinners... "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of." In case you don't know, it is the spirit of Satan. Jesus came into this world to save sinners; not to hate them and destroy men's lives.
There are only two Scriptures in the New Testament where Jesus said "I hate" (Revelation 2:6 and 2:15). Revelation 2:6 states, "But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." And again in Revelation 2:15, "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate." Jesus said that He hated the "deeds" of the Nicolaitans, and their "doctrine." Please notice that Jesus DIDN'T say He hated the Nicolaitans (a false cult). Jesus loves all sinners, not because they are sinners, but because they are people with souls whom He loves. John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The “world” includes EVERYBODY, even a dirty, rotten, vile sinner like me.
Yes, I do take an uncompromising stand on my website against all types of wickedness, heresies, and sins; but I will never stop proclaiming the Biblical truth that God loves ALL people (no matter what they have done). That's not to say that God approves of their wickedness, it just means that God unconditionally loves people.
Even after being nailed to a cross, Jesus expressed forgiveness to the Roman soldiers who had stripped him naked, beat Him beyond recognition, placed a sharp crown of thorns upon His head, mocked Him, spit on Him and then nailed Him to a cross to bleed and die (Luke 23:34). Don't you tell me that God doesn't love sinners! There is no depth of sin known to man which can prevent the arm of God from saving the sinner who seeks forgiveness, “Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God...” If Jesus would save a murderer like Saul (later to become the Apostle Paul), then he will save anybody! If Jesus would save a drunkard like Noah, then He will save anybody. If Jesus would save an adulterer like David, then He will save anybody.
God will receive any repentant sinner that comes to Jesus Christ for salvation (John 6:37). By “repentant” I do not mean to turn from sin; but rather, to change your mind from what you want to do to get to Heaven, to what God says that you must do to get to Heaven. God's way is through faith alone in Christ's death on the cross for your sins, His burial and resurrection. This is the Gospel (good news). We are saved by believing the Gospel, by receiving Christ's sacrifice on the cross as full payment for our sins. If you go to Hellfire (and you will if you don't become born-again), it will be your own stubborn fault (Romans 1:20; Revelation 20:15). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and the work is done. John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
What a tragedy that 95% of all the people in the world will one day burn in the Lake of Fire, forfeiting the free gift of eternal life which is already paid in full by Jesus' precious blood (1st Peter 1:18,19). God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved. If you will right now, admit that you are a guilty sinner in God's sight, and receive Christ's sacrifice on the cross as full-payment for your sins, believing that He was buried, and bodily raised up from the dead 72 hours later, you are saved! Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith.
God's Simple Plan of Salvation
The Imputed Righteousness of Jesus Christ
Psalms 145:9, “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”