08 May, 2016

Hatred Is Different From Wrath


Prof. Herman Hanko

That Scripture speaks of God's hatred against the wicked is evident. Psalm 5:5 is decisive: "The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity."

Sometimes there is some confusion on this question. The confusion lies in the failure to distinguish properly between wrath and hatred. God is indeed filled with wrath against the wicked; but He is also angry with His people. David complains: "O Lord, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure" (Psalm 38:1). Yet, in His wrath towards His people, God still loves them. This is evident from the following considerations.

1) Wrath is not incompatible with love. A father may be very angry with his son who walks in sin and may as a result of that anger chasten his son. But this anger and chastisement, if it is godly, is a manifestation of love. In fact, the opposite is also true. If an earthly father did not chasten his son for wrongdoing, but allowed his son to continue in a way of sin, this would not be a manifestation of love at all, but of hatred. His hatred would be evident in his utter unconcern for the spiritual welfare of his son. It is love which makes him angry.

2) The text itself speaks exactly of such chastisement. As is so often true in the Psalms, Psalm 38:1 is also an incident of Hebrew parallelism. The last clause of the text is an explanation of the first. God's wrath is His hot displeasure, and God's rebuke is His chastisement. When His people walk in sin, God does not, in love, allow them to continue in their sins, but He turns them again to Himself through the rod of His chastisement. Chastisement hurts; it hurts very much; it hurts so much that David fears it, as is evident in his anguished plea. But this does not alter the fact that chastisement is visited upon sons, for "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth" (Hebrews 12:6).

But hatred is different from wrath. Hatred includes wrath—of course. God's wrath is upon the wicked reprobate, but the wrath of God upon the wicked is hatred, not love. Only sons are chastened in love. "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" (Hebrews 12:7).

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