When we think about the things of the Lord, we can often misshape our picture of God into something of man’s own contrivance. We take a little Bible, a little Disney, a little culture, roll them up, and we come up with a depiction of God that is not that of the word.
Consider the idea of God’s love and God’s hate. Whom does God love? Everybody? Just some folks? Everybody but Hitler? Be careful before you answer.
The word of God speaks of God as loving the world. At the same time, the Bible speaks of God as hating the wicked.
The Lord tests the righteous,
but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
Does God Love the world? Has he proved his love for the world? Yes, we see that in John 3:16. God sent Jesus Christ to save for God a people from every nation.
Does God hate the wicked? The answer here must also be yes. WE see it with absolute clarity. When the psalmist was writing about those who would do murder to the righteous, those who love violence, his language is uncompromising. God hates the wicked.
What do we do with this? We let the word speak and define God for us. God is gloriously loving. God has made it abundantly clear that any person who turns from sin and trusts in Jesus will be saved. That is true for the world, all people all over the entire globe. It is also true that those who do not have Jesus, who hate God and his ways, are under the wrath of the Almighty. They will face his judgment in fury and fire.
What do we do as Christians? We show the love of God in honestly proclaiming the gospel. We promote justice and mercy, holiness and righteousness, and all sorts of attributes of God that stand out in a fallen world. We share the genuine gospel with all we can so as to call people to faith, repentance, and salvation. But we do not soften the person of God by pretending that God does not hate the wicked. God says so. WE do not pretend that God is really sorry about hell, but his hands are tied. WE embrace the Bible’s picture of a loving God who welcomes all who come to him and who judges all who oppose him.