“Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?” Psalm 139:21-22
Jehu son of Hanani the seer went out to confront him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD? Because of this, the wrath of the LORD is upon you. II Chronicles 19:2
‘Even when God hated us He loved us.”
When God through the proclamation of the Gospel reveals His opposition to people who are by nature children of Wrath (Eph. 2:3) it is often with the purpose that His people would flee to Jesus for safety from His present wrath (Rmns. 1:18). That is to say that in God’s economy the reason God makes known His wrath against workers of iniquity is so He might pour out His love out upon those who take refuge in the self-appeasement He has provided in His Son. We who proclaim such a message do not take some kind of maniacal pleasure in God’s opposition to sinners, enjoying seeing people squirm, but rather the reason we declare God’s wrath (and what is Wrath but hatred expressed?) is so that His people would discover their sin and dreadful situation and flee to Jesus and in Jesus learn that God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives. When we proclaim God’s opposition it is with the express purpose that people might discover His unmerited favor.
We proclaim God’s hatred of the workers of iniquity so that we might proclaim to them that God’s hatred for those who look to Jesus has already been extinguished in the cross. That is to say that workers of iniquity can now become beloved of God because the hatred God had for them was poured out upon their substitute in the work of the Cross where His wrath against His people is exhausted. We also tell them though that if they will not look to Jesus and become part of a local covenant community (Church) then the Wrath of God remains on them. If we start by telling unbelievers that God loves them then the Cross makes no sense in the telling. The Cross only makes sense in the context of God hating sin and workers of iniquity. If God does not hate sin and workers of iniquity then the Cross was certainly stupid and definitely unnecessary.