I wrote this little orange book and it has gotten some publicity in a few different places, and one place in particular locally for us was in the Birmingham news. So this guy from the Birmingham news decides to pick a couple of quotes and have a good time with them… and so one quote he used – he said “While it's a common pulpit truism that God hates sin but loves the sinner, Platt argues that God hates sinners.” and then the article just kind of moves on. That's a quote from the book and so people started emailing, calling churchmen. Because people started coming to them saying: “Your pastor preaches hatred.” Pastor, do you believe God hates sinners? Did you say that? It's one of those places where we can find ourselves in a bit of trouble for quoting the Bible. Does God hate sinners?
Let me read to you, you don't have to turn there, Psalm chapter 5 verse 5: “The boastful shall not stand before your eyes Lord, You hate all evildoers, You destroy those who speak lies. The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” Maybe I should have said abhors? Maybe that's a better word? No God doesn't hate sinners He abhors them, and destroys them. Could you quote me on that? You look at it and 14 times in the first 50 songs alone we see God's hatred for the sinner, His wrath on the liar and so on and so on. It's not just Old Testament, in the New Testament one of the chapters contains the most famous verses about God's love in John 3:16. We find one of the most neglected verses about God's wrath in John 3:36. So does God hate the sin and love the sinner? Sure in a sense but does God hate the sinner as well? Yes and this is so key to understanding the cross.
We have this tendency to think of sin as if it is something that is outside of us, and then when Jesus went to the cross he was enduring the penalty for all this stuff that we have done all these things such as lying and cheating or lusting or whatever it is, all these things are outside of us brothers and sisters our sin was not outside of us it is a part of us. It is the core of who we are in this world. We are sinners with a deep sinful nature and all holy God who is dead set against sin is also dead set against sinners. His Holy hatred and holy wrath due sin is not just do something outside of us, it is due us. This is the beauty of the cross because when Jesus went to the cross He did not just takes sin like it's something outside of us upon Himself, He stood where we belong, He stood in our place and he took the full force of the holy righteous wrath and hatred of God due sin and sinners alike upon Himself in our place instead of us. So let us not be quick to lean on trite and comfortable clichés in our culture that robbed the cross of its meaning. Jesus stood in the place sinners.
This is the deal, we are sinners we like sheep have gone astray there are obviously many preachers who say that we should believe in ourselves and trust ourselves and confident have confidence in ourselves and they are lying. The last thing we need to do is believe in ourselves our trust in ourselves and have confidence in ourselves we are dumb sheep. The smartest, most intelligent, richest, wealthiest, most talented person is nothing more than a dumb sheep who is prone to wander. We are sinners and God infinitely holy and possesses holy hatred of sin and sinners alike, and he loves sinners.
So how is this possible? How can God show wrath towards sinners and love towards sinners at the same time? How can God express the fullness of his attributes how can He satisfy Himself and save sinners at the exact same time? That is the question of the Bible, and the answer is the cross. Does God hate sinners? Look at Isaiah 53 verses 4 through six. All of these things pierced, crushed, punishment, wounds all of these things are evidence of the wrath of God upon sinners. Look at the cross: absolutely God hates sin and sinners. Does God loves sinners? Look at the cross because the Lord's will force tends to crush his son for the salvation of His people. He absolutely hate sin and sinners, and he absolutely loves sinners. And then the cross: we see the full expression of His holy wrath and His Holy love coming together in one glorious moment for our salvation, and that is a scandal. Because now and you read throughout the rest of Isaiah 53 and you see that all who trust in Christ my righteous servant (verse 11) says will justify many. You trust in Christ and your sins are removed. Isaiah 43:25 says He will remember them no more. That's good news. And it's not that God has amnesia. He is omniscient, He knows everything, but by the grace of God expressed in the cross of Christ, the God who knows everything has chosen for the sake of His name, (Isaiah 48:9-11), for the sake of His name has chosen not to hold any one of your sins against you.
There’s a story about a wealthy Englishman who bought the Royals Royce. Royals Royce was billed as the car that would never ever ever break down and so he bought one at a hefty price and he was driving one day actually in France the car broke down. And so he called Royals Royce and said: “Well the car you said would never break down has broken down.” And what they did, immediately, is that put a mechanic on a plane flew him to France, fixed the car as fast as they could, and the mechanic flew back. And the guy drove on the guy expected to receive a bill, it's not often that someone will send a mechanic to you fix your car and fly him back, and so he's a wealthy man he could pay his bill… But the bill wasn't coming and so he called Royals Royce and he said “Listen I'd like to get this behind and just pay my bill.” And the people at Royals Royce told that man “We're sorry sir but we have absolutely no record of anything ever having gone wrong with your car.” Yes! To think that the holy God of the universe has looked upon your life and my life based on the Suffering Servant and He pronounces: “I have absolutely no record of anything ever having gone wrong in your life.” That is a scandal scandalous mercy.