Does God approve of sin? At first, this may seem like an absurd question, but when we consider that much modern day thinking redefines right and wrong and also redefines the very nature of God, the question becomes quite clear. The thinking is something like this: "God is love, and He wants us to be happy, so He would never hate or even disapprove of the things we want to do if those things make us happy. Maybe God has even changed His mind about certain things as society has changed, and He has moved on into the twenty-first century. Maybe things that used to be called sin are not sin any longer." Such foolishness is contrary to Scripture, violates every level of common sense, and is dangerous to the human soul and to society as a whole.
There are several problems with such thinking:
First: There is the assumption that the statement, “God is love,” is a definition of God. Nothing could be further from the truth. Love is not by any means a complete definition of God. Love is merely one of His many attributes. It is important to note that “hate” is also one of His attributes. He has many attributes, including righteousness, holiness, purity, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, etc. “Love” is most certainly not all there is to the nature of God.
Second: There is the assumption that it’s all about us rather than about God. Our alleged “happiness” seems to trump everything else, including doing what is right and bringing glory to God. God has created us for Himself, for His pleasure and for His glory.
“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11, NKJV).
“Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (Isaiah 43:7, NKJV).
Third: There is the assumption that sin brings true happiness. Regardless of how counterintuitive this may be, there are many who fall into the trap of believing that self-gratification is the pathway to happiness. However, both the Scriptures and secular history are filled with examples of people who destroyed themselves in the pursuit of sinful pleasure. Think of King David and his great sin of taking a man’s wife and having the man killed so he could cover up what he had done. This sin led to much grief over the rest of his life. His son, King Solomon, because of his lust for many women, went from being the wisest of men to being one of the greatest fools who ever lived. Sin does not bring happiness.
Fourth: There is the assumption that the things we humans desire are good for us. Clearly, this is in error. Many things we desire are anything but good for us and are in some cases very detrimental and even fatal. For God to approve of things that would hurt us is not love in any way. No parent who loves his children would send them out to play in the back yard if he knew there was a rattlesnake out there, even if his children had an interest in snakes from reading books on the subject. That would not be love.
Fifth: There is the assumption that God never hates. That is an assumption based on human, touchy-feely reasoning, not on the Scriptures. The Bible tells us of many things God hates. Seven of the things He hates are listed in one passage:
“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19, NKJV). God also hates idolatry (Deuteronomy 12:31; 16:22), those who do evil (Psalm 5:4-6; 11:5), and a number of other things that can easily be found with a quick search of the Scriptures.
Some may say, “Well, those things are from the Old Testament. The New Testament God is more loving than the Old Testament God.” Is this a true statement? In reality, the New Testament God, in the Person of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Creator-God of the Universe, and is the same God as the Old Testament God. He is the eternal, all-powerful God who never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV). There are specific references in the New Testament to God hating. Probably the most well-know is found in Romans 9:13. “As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated’” (NKJV).
Yes, God IS love, and he DOES love us and want the best for us. If He loved our sin and rebellion, He would not in any way be wanting what is best for us. Just like parents who want the best for their children and set boundaries on their behavior for their safety and well-being, God sets boundaries on our behavior because of His great love for us. His hatred of evil is proof of His love and concern for us. God is not Someone with whom anyone should be foolish enough to trifle. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31, NKJV).
Conclusion: It is not safe ground to believe that God somehow approves of, and maybe even likes, our sin. He has not changed. Sin is still sin and is an abomination in His sight. No matter what society may say about God being an old-fashioned idea and the Bible being out-of-date, God is still on the throne, and He will judge sin. No amount of rationalization and legalizing of sinful acts can make those things good and right. This is the truth, and truth always triumphs over falsehood.
Laws have been passed legalizing many things that God calls sin, thereby illustrating the truth that “just because something is legal doesn’t make it right.” Our culture has not only practiced those things which God hates, but government has given official “hearty approval” to many of those things. “…who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32, NKJV) or “…give hearty approval to those who practice them” (NASB).
Regardless of the insanity of our present-day culture, God is still doing what He pleased to do. He saves those who come to Him in faith. The Gospel message is just as relevant as it has ever been. Sin is a reality, and unbelievers are condemned without the Lord Jesus Christ.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NKJV).
“...the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NKJV).
“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10, NKJV).
“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, NKJV).