Hate the Sin and Love the Sinner?

Nothing can make a creature, whether elect or non-elect, an object of hate or God’s curse except sin. God only hates sin. But as he judges sin – as he must! – the judgments terminate upon the person.

What this means in sum is this: God can both love and hate the same person, and in different ways. As Augustine said, “in a wonderful and divine manner, even when He hated us, He loved us; for He hated us, in so far as we were not what He Himself had made; and because our own iniquity had not in every part consumed His work, He knew at once both how, in each of us, to hate what we had done, and to love what He had done” (Lectures on…John, 2:461). Naturally, when a person comes to faith they are no longer hated in any way, shape, or form. God will necessarily hate the sin in the believer, but he cannot hate the believer. Again, Augustine: “Seeing, then, that He hates nothing that He has made, who can worthily describe how much He loves the members of His Only-begotten?” (2:461). To hate the believer God would have to hate his Son, which is an ontological impossibility.

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