Today’s Scripture: Psalm 11:5
“The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked.”
Reconciliation by definition assumes a previous state of alienation and hostility caused by the offensive actions of one or both parties. Our sin has separated us from God (Isaiah 59:2) and caused us to be “God’s enemies” (Romans 5:10, NIV), those hated by God. Does God actually hate people? Yes, the psalmist wrote, “you hate all who do wrong” (Psalm 5:5, NIV). So when Paul described us as God’s enemies, he was describing not our sinful hatred of God but rather his righteous hatred of us because of our sin.
It’s difficult for us to conceive of God’s holy hatred toward people. But this is simply his just and holy revulsion against sin and his holy antagonism toward those who rebel against him.
This is why God’s act of reconciling us to himself through Christ is so amazing. We were powerless to do anything to help ourselves (Romans 5:6); nor would we even want to, left to ourselves. As Paul wrote in Romans 8:7, “The sinful mind is hostile to God” (NIV). In our natural state, not one of us would want to be reconciled to God.
The Gospel’s good news is that God himself took the initiative by sending his Son to die in our place to satisfy his justice and absorb his wrath. He didn’t wait for a change of heart on our part. He made the first move. Indeed, he did more: he did all that was necessary to secure our reconciliation, including our change of heart. Though he is the one offended by our sin, he is the one who makes amends to himself through Christ’s death. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19, NIV).