But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Friday, April 23, 2010
"Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin"
Recently I was driving on a highway in upper Wisconsin on a weekend away with the wife. Plastered on the side of a barn visible to everyone that drove by was the oft quoted evangelical proverb "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin". I have been reflecting on this idea for a while now and the more I think about it the more I realize it is by and large the basis of the evangelical community's relationship to the world. It of course seems to capture the essential ideas of God's love for his fallen world, but as I have rolled this over in my mind I'm growing in my doubt about whether this is really a biblical concept for two reasons.
First, the concept inappropriately separates deeds from person. The Bible seems to rather point the opposite direction: our deeds are a reflection of who we are. I find it all to common that people rationalize deviant behavior with the thought "this isn't really me". My retort is: "No this is you. And until you embrace that fact there can be no growth". In my view, the mirror reflection of one's identity is one's deeds.
Second, the perspective seems to undermine the radical message of Paul's Gospel of God's love for sinners. This is particularly pointed when I consider Romans 5:8-10:
These verses suggest to me that God doesn't divide between person and deeds. God loves sinners full stop.
Do you think this oft quoted evangelical proverb is biblical?