Understanding Scripture. Part 3
The bible states, "God hates ALL who work iniquity." Now, the haters of sinners use this scripture as a poison arrow to pull from their hate quiver to shoot from their crooked bowed mouth to accuse God of hating the way they understand hate. Be very careful how you use that statement, this is where hate mongers get slippery. If a believer gets out of line and begins to declare that God loves the people of the world enough to die to save them through Christ, they will whip out that scripture and slam it on the table. Psalm 5:5 clearly and plainly states: God hates ALL who work iniquity. That leaves us in an perplexing situation regarding scripture, one that without correct contextual understanding leaves people saying God hates sinners, therefore, we as believers should hate sinners as well. Thus, the judging and condemning of people who do not believe their understanding of scripture continues.
Paul said it very plainly: Rom 3:23, ALL HAVE SINNED, and come short of the glory of God;
Isa 53:6: All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned EVERY ONE to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. That means you. That means me. That means "every one." That means, according to the the way sinner haters understand the Bible, God hates ALL, because ALL have been "workers of iniquity, therefore, everybody that has ever been born has been at one time or another hated by God." Are you following me so far in the absurdity of sinner haters accusing God of hating people?
2 Corinthians 5:14, For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. Everyone was dead in sin. However, Paul said: when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6). That is quite loving, no? If people interpret God's hate as being an emotional reaction, which would AS A RESULT, preclude Him from loving too much, what is going on here? Would God send his Son to die for people He hates, or people He loves?
As a human, have you ever HATED anyone? I mean have you felt that hot poison in your stomach to where you wanted to spew the poison on the person you hate that would cause them to be in torment forever? Would you then be able to emotionally love that same person that you would kill your son for them? It's a bit hard to imagine isn't it? but, God did it. That's because God's ways are higher than our ways. Even His hatred is higher.
God hated this world of sinners, yet he loved those same sinners. From a human emotional perspective, it is a contradiction. Ancient Semitic people understood exactly how these love/hate statements were intended according to their language traditions: "the language of absoluteness to express a preference."
Regarding God's hate to Esau, Vincent's Word Studies has this to say:
The expression (hatred) is intentionally strong as an expression of moral antipathy. Compare Mat 6:24; Luk 14:26. No idea of malice is implied of course.
The Barnes Commentary on the Bible has this to say:
"Have I hated" - This does not mean any positive hatred; but that he had preferred Jacob, and had withheld from Esau those privileges and blessings which he had conferred on the posterity of Jacob.
This is explained in Mal 1:3, "And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness;” compare Jeremiah 49:17-18; Ezekiel 35:6
It was common among the Hebrews to use the terms “love” and “hatred” in this comparative sense, where the former implied strong positive attachment, and the latter, not positive hatred, but merely a less love, or the withholding of the expressions of affection;
Compare Gen_29:30-31; Pro_13:24: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes;” Mat_6:24, “No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other,” etc.; Luk_14:26, “if any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, etc.”
So "love" and "hate" are not only linguistic exaggerations, common for Hebrews of the time, but are an expression of preference which do not necessarily imply a visceral emotional reaction. So God chose/loved Jacob, and God hated/did-not-choose Esau.
Part 4 to follow