God is love.
That popular notion—excerpted from 1 John 4:8—is often seen as the trump card to God’s other, less popular characteristics. Those looking to ignore His judgment and dispense with His wrath see God’s loving nature as His alpha attribute by which all others are to be defined, or altogether overridden.
But as John MacArthur points out in his sermon “The Love God Hates,” God’s attributes of justice and wrath aren’t in conflict with His love—they are rather a natural extension of that love.
Because God loves perfectly, He also hates perfectly. The two are actually inseparable—to love perfectly is to hate perfectly. That is to say if you love something, you hate whatever threatens that something. If you love someone, you hate whoever threatens that someone. And the greater your love, the greater your hatred. The more your affection for what is right, the more your disaffection for what is wrong. That’s why Psalm 97:10 says, “Hate evil, you who love the Lord.”
As John explains, loving God requires us to hate all that is opposed to Him and His Word.
Whatever it is that you love most causes you to hate whatever is contrary to that. And the absolutely perfect love of God demands an absolutely perfect hatred of those things which are contrary to that love. God loves perfectly, and He hates perfectly.
God’s perfect love for His people is relentless and lavish. He rightly expects us to reciprocate—not in scope, because our capacity to love is finite. Rather, He requires us to be single-minded in our affections. Any divergence or distraction amounts to betrayal.
The divine perspective on such spiritual infidelity is spelled out in 1 John 2:15: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” That verse describes in detail the kind of love God hates, and it is the text at the heart of John MacArthur’s message.
God hates anything that robs Him of His glory and the love of His people. And as His people, we should love what He loves and hate what He hates. Such godly passions are an authenticating mark of our love for God.
“The Love God Hates” is a timely and necessary reminder of what genuine faith and godly love look like in this fallen world.
Click here to listen to “The Love God Hates.”