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Walking in God's Will: What He Loves and What He Hates

By Clovis E. Miller

Scripture declares that God is love (I John 4:16). Not only does He have love, but He is love. It's one of the eternal attribute of His person (like life, time, truth, cognition, etc.) which reach beyond our capacity to fully understand. Man is given freewill whereby he is at liberty to accept or reject the love which God extends to him; it being understood that freewill ultimately entails both everlasting rewards and consequences. Rebellion, through freewill, is permitted that God's justness might be realized. Forgiveness is also offered that the greatness of His mercy be manifested. So what does God want from you and me? Is He sternly forbidding that we should do certain things because He wants our lives to be unhappy? In order for us to fulfill the destiny for which we were created, our freewill must be expressed in a manner which is in harmony with His will. Choosing obedience over rebellion will insure that we will not only fulfill His plan, but attain the greatest good which God has for each of us.

In so many verses in the Bible the love which God has for man is clearly stated (ex., John 3:16 ; II Thess. 2:16 ; I John 4:10-11, 19). In other places, His great love for man is implied (ex., Ps.45:7 ; Ezekiel 18:23). God loves His creation, and will not allow anything, or anyone, to ultimately destroy it. He has a plan and purpose for man and that plan will be realized, regardless of the current situation in the world. The question is, whether or not, we will be participants in that plan. Rebellion against Him will be brought to a conclusion. That which is in harmony with His will shall continue, and that which is contrary, shall be forever removed from His presence. We cannot escape the reality of the eternal knowledge which God has about each of our lives. There is nothing which we may think, say or do, which God didn't know about in advance. Even though we are given freewill; He, without manipulation, already knows every choice we will make in our lives.

Having been given that gift, we learn at a very early age, that we have the power to make choices, eventhough we don't understand that there are consequences for our actions. Violation of the fourth commandment (Ex. 20:12) is probably the first sin that any individual willfully commits. Initially, we are unable to grasp the concept that challenging the authority of our parents is a moral issue. When a child does something for which he, or she, is rebuked, by a parent, and then willfully does the same thing afterwards to test the veracity of the correction, is really where it all begins. Children will often test a rebuke to see if the answer is consistent with the previous response of the parent. Even at that young age we have some sense of truthfulness, from which we begin to develope our understanding of right and wrong. The more inconsistent a parent is in teaching the child; the more likely it is that the rebellion of that child will become stronger , and expand into other areas of their life (Prov. 22:6 ; Prov. 29:15).

That initial rebellion eventually leads us to challenge not only the authority of our parents over us, but the authority of God Himself. Disrespect for the will of our parents, ultimately escalates into willful disrespect for God, as well. The relationship between a parent and their child is comparable to that between God and the human race. Rebellion of the human race towards God, and the rebellion of a child to their parents are parallel realities. Because both the parents and the child have an inherited inclination towards sin (Rom. 5:12), the enemies of God are in a position to begin the manipulation of a child's freewill (Eph. 6:12), at a point when they are too young to understand the repercussions for their actions. By the time they do understand, they are already entrapped by it. It's the vicious cycle of how sin controls our lives. Only when we understand what is going on, are we in a position where positive change can take place. Without the help of God's Holy Spirit, we would all be hopelessly entangled in the sin cycle.

At the point at which we fully understand right and wrong (submission or rebellion), a struggle begins in our hearts, as to whether, or not, we will ever return to our initial innocence, and follow God's will exclusively. To know evil, and then turn our backs on it, is the ultimate testimony of a correct attitude towards God. God will forgive anyone who will truly turn their back on sin and ask for forgiveness. He takes no pleasure in the condemnation of any person (Ezekiel 18:23). Judgment however, is reserved for those who have set their hearts and minds to follow a path which leads away from the will of God. Our choice in freewill is to follow God's will; or to follow that which is contrary to it. He will respect whatever choice we make concerning the matter. We become enemies of God, not because we commit a sin, but rather because we commit ourselves to following that lifestyle. The unrepentant practice of sin is where the problem lies (Luke 13:3).

God loves people, righteousness and those who are persecuted as a results of it (Matt. 5:6, 10-11), integrity (Prov. 11:3), honesty (Rom. 12:17 ; Phil. 4:8), sincerity (Jos. 24:14), humility (I Pet. 5:5), fairness (Prov. 11:1), meekness (Matt. 5:5), truthfulness (I Kings 2:4), purity (Matt.5:8 ; Rom 12:9), thankfulness (Ps. 100:4), endurance (Jas. 1:12), single-mindedness (Jas. 1:8), hospitality (Titus 1:8), peacemakers (Matt. 5:9), a trusting heart (Ps. 37:3 ; Prov. 29:25), the sanctity of life (Matt. 18:5-6). In His love, we find that God is compassionate, faithful, forgiving, just, merciful, kind, long-suffering and understanding. Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Good and evil must run their full course because they are a part of His eternal knowledge. God has complete knowledge of all things. Even in His total holiness, God understood that freewill would ultimately be pushed to the limit, producing rebellion, opening the door the the revelation of knowledge which He has about it. Good things happen to evil people, and bad things happen to good people. The satanic enemies of God are able to manipulate situations to the benefit of those who willing practice rebellion against God (Luke 4:5-7); and at the same time effect negative results against those who seek to follow God's will (Matt. 5:10). Eventually however, everything will be vindicated: either by justice, or by mercy; and God in His fairness, will rectify all the inequalities which are currently realized (Ezekiel 18:25). The very nature of sin quite often produces widespread colateral damage which will be experienced by most of us at some point in our lifetime.

God hates hypocrisy (Job 13:15-16 ; Matt. 23:28 ; Matt. 24:50-51), deception (Ps. 101:7 ; Jer. 9:6), arrogance (Isa. 13:11), pretense (Matt. 23:13-14), untruth (Ps. 119:104, 163), diluted truth (Rom. 1:25), and everything else that implies or says: good is evil, and evil is good (Isa. 5:20). Contrary to what some people believe, good and evil are not subjective terms. In God's eyes, good and evil are terms of absolute condition (they are not debatable). How I feel about this moral issue, or that one, has absolutely no bearing on how God sees it. Relative truth is a way through which we pacify our responsibitlty to seek that which is absolute. Rather than seeking a "black and white" understanding; for the most part, we are quite content to live somewhere within the bounds of the ten thousand shades of gray which seperates the two. The choices we make, reflect the value we place upon the things which we permit. This is further complicated by the fact that we are engaged wih an enemy, who is continuously striving to manipulate our freewill by keeping us on a short tether within the "gray zone". Uncertainty is one of the enemy's greatest tools for keeping us under their control. No human on earth is immune from the deceptive qualities of sin; and the enemy preys on the inherited weakness we have towards it (Prov. 7:23). We will remain subject to their manipulation as long as they can keep us from the knowledge and awareness of the absolute truth about sin, and what they are attempting to accompolish through it (John 8:12, 31-32 ; John 12:35). To be sure, there is a spiritual war going on between God and Satan, and the primary battlefield where that war is being fought is your mind and mine. The Holy Spirit is given to the believer, to teach and enable him to prevail over the deception and rebellion of the enemy (Ps. 91:3 ; Ps. 124:7). The creation itself is the prize for which the enemy is fighting. God made man to be the heir of it (Ps.8:6), and as such, Satan is at war not only with God, but with man as well. The outcome of this war however, is already determined: God wins, man wins, and Satan, as well as those who follow him, lose!

The short answer to the correct formula for being in God's will is: to love what He loves; and hate what He hates (Job 1:8 ; Ps. 45:7 ; Ps. 97:10 ; Prov. 8:13). It requires a mind set: that if we seek and follow the former, it will affect the proper attitude towards the latter. If we truly love God, we will seek to do the things which please Him (John 8:29), and as a consequence, we will cease to do the things which He hates. Our focus should be on our love for Him; however, when we are confronted with sin, we should judge it and cast it down as unworthy of our consideration (II Cor. 10:5 ; Col. 3:2) . In other words, if we want to please God, we need to be single-minded in the way we conduct our lives before Him (I Kings 18:21 ; Ps. 66:18 ; Jas. 1:8).

Proverbs 15:9

"The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness."

Matt. 5:6)

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled."

Sinners can commit wicked acts without actually giving their hearts fully to an evil conscience. There is a line drawn however, over which a sinner (whom God loves) can step by freewill, and enter a state of being whereby He will actually be hated by God. It's not a scenario we like to dwell on, but it is a reality. The sinner is one who is basically ignorant of the truth about what he is doing. The wicked, on the other hand, has come to an understanding of the truth, and has subsequently rejected it. The latter person has yeilded his heart totally to the practice of evil. His freewill is absolutely and irreversibly surrendered to the enemies of God. Because of his devotion to the things which God hates, and the hardness of his heart, He will never repent, and thereby dying in an unforgiven condition. It might also be added, that every sinner who doesn't repent and turn to God, prior to death will be regarded by God as an enemy (even if he didn't fully give his heart to evil in his lifetime). There will not be a seperate group of unrepentant sinners forever dwelling in God's presence (Luke 13:5). In the end, one will either be counted as righteous, or they will be counted as wicked. The former will forever dwell with God; the latter with forever be banished from His presence. It's a clear cut situation; no exceptions. In His love for man, the door is always open; even for the wicked to repent, although God, in His eternal knowledge, knows that they will not do so (Ezekiel 18:21-22).

Ps. 7:11

"...God is angry with the wicked every day."

Sometimes it is difficult to get a grasp of how a loving God could hate anyone to the point of inflicting everlasting punishment upon them. God is holy! Although He is long suffering towards us, anything which does not eventually uphold the certainty of that truth, will be violently cast away from Himself, in His righteous wrath. God speaks for Himself when He says, "I love them that love Me." (Pr. 8:17 ; John 14:21). He also says, "The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence, His soul hateth" (Ps. 11:5). To love what God hates and to hate what God loves, is the recipe for disaster and judgment.

In Judaism it is understood, that for purposes of judgment, God divides all people into three classes, according to the focus of their hearts. The three classes are: the righteous, the wicked (or ungodly) and the sinner (I Pet. 4:18). It is imperative that we understand the differences which exist between these groups of people.

The righteous and the wicked are both single-minded people. The slant of their thinking however, is in opposite directions. The righteous have set their minds to follow the will of God, and will not turn back. The wicked, on the other hand, have rejected God's will, giving themselves totally to the pursuit of all things which corrupt. They will never repent of the evil which they are pursuing anymore than Satan will.

What about the sinner; that group caught in the middle? For the most part, sinners see themselves as "good people". It's a part of the deception of sin, and another instance of employing relative truth (ex. "I'm not perfect, but I'm not as bad as some people"). This group is guilty of being what Scripture calls, "double-minded" (Jas. 1:8). They represent the vast majority of people who live on the earth. They have neither fully commited their lives to God, nor have they fully given themselves over to following the rebellion led by Satan. They wrestle with the false concept of being able to "have it both ways", primarily because the enemies of man keeps them is a constant state of spiritual blindness. Their hope is: that the good in their lives will out weigh the evil, and God will eventually accept them on that basis. That, of course, is another false concept. Repentance is the only way for a person to be absolved from a destructive destiny.

The wicked and the sinner are both called to repent, and come to God for forgiveness (Ezekiel 18:23 ; Matt. 3:5-8). The heart of the truly wicked is set like stone, and absolutely will not come to God. There will be however, a great number of sinners who will respond to His invitation, and be added to the ranks of those deemed to be righteous. Every "born again" believer was among the ranks of the sinners at one point in their life. Having received the seed of truth into their hearts, the veil of spiritual darkness begins to lift. As they commit themselves to following the leading of the Holy Spirit, that love of the truth grows stronger and stronger (John 14:26 ; John 8:31-32), and they begin to break free of the shackles of bondage put upon them by the enemy.

The point of conversion, which is an instantaneous event, should not be confused with full conversion, which is a lifelong process (I Cor. 15:53-54). Our mortality is tainted by our inherited inclination to commit sin. It's a problem we continue to deal with all of our lives, regardless of whether, or not, we are born again. Full conversion is accompolished through the working of the Holy Spirit by a process called sanctifcation, (i.e. setting aside for purposes of purification). The rate of progress at which it occurs varies from one individual to another; because each individual is unique with a particular set of circumstances and weaknesses with which to deal. In all cases however, it leads one to a closer relationship with God. This is certainly not true of the wicked (II Tim. 3:13).

John 15:22

"If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin."

God disapproves continuously of the lifestyle of the rebellious. He is not a respecter of persons. It doesn't matter how high or low a person is on the social scale, God never approves of wickedness, and He will make no exceptions regarding it. Everyone will be held accountable for their actions, in how they addressed the issue of sin. If we repent (cease to practice sin); we will find mercy and forgiveness (Ezekiel 18:21-22). If we allow sin to run its course without challenge, we will find ourselves being judged and condemned by it. God is not playing games with people. He has given us freewlll, and will judge us according to how we have managed it. We will all be held accountable for the evil which we embrace. The solution: cut the tentacles of sin by rejecting the temptation to participate in it (I John 5:3-5). We must break the cycle of deception by understanding that we have an enemy (Satan), who is bent on exacting compulsive servitude from us through sin, which will eventually lead to our everlasting destruction. Temptation does not offer us an alternative way to goodness, but an opportunity to choose that which is right and reject that which is wrong. It's quite simple: we align ourselves with one side, or the other, by the choices we make.

Hos. 4:6

"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;..."

Personal destruction, for the most part, comes about through ignorance of the truth. Temptation and sin are empowered primarily through a lack of knowledge concerning the truth. Laxness in meditating on the truth we have learned, can also open the door to sin. By embracing the truth, a light is shined on the underlying motives and methods employed by the enemies of God. When eternal truth is adhered to, sin cannot prevail in a persons life, because the workings of both are absolutely contrary to each other. Repentance doesn't mean that we will never fall to the temptation to sin again; but that we will not actively practice a sin, or sins, as a normal part of our lives. Forgiveness is readily available to us when we fail (I John 2:1), but does not extend to continuous and willful practice of any sin (Heb. 10:26), unless we repent of it. We should be aware of the fact that no one is guranteed that they will live to see tomorrow; so today is the day to set things right.

John 14:16-17, 26

Below is a broad cross section of verses from the Old and New Testaments, which should give the reader a sound understanding of how God relates to us, and how wants us to relate to Him. What He hates, He hates for our sakes. Sin is destructive to the creation which He has brought forth. He desires goodness, happiness and blessings for all of His creation; and as a righteous God, He will not approve anything which is harmful to it. Rebellion against His perfect plan, will ultimately be crushed. Those who follow His will, will be heirs to all He shall bring forth in the unfathomable future. The self-seeking lovers of those things which God hates, will be forever cast from His presence without any hope of reprieve (Ps. 9:17). The ultimate destiny of living a defiant lifestyle, is to be cut off from the very presence of God, and everything which is good. That is the ultimate definition of death!


Some of the things God loves (L) and Hates (H), according to Scripture:

(H) Gen. 6:5, 11-12

"5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth."

(H) Ex. 20:4-5

"4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;"

(L) Ex. 20:6

"6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments."

(H) Ex. 20:7

"7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

(L) Ex. 20:8-9

"8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:"

(L) Ex. 20:12

"12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee."

(H) Ex. 20:13

"13 Thou shalt not kill."

(H) Ex. 20:14

"14 Thou shalt not commit adultery."

(H) Ex. 20:15

"15 Thou shalt not steal."

(H) Ex. 20:16

"16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."

(H) Ex. 20:17

"17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."

(L) I Chron. 16:34

"34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever."

(H) Ps. 5:4, 6, 12

"4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee."

"6 Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man."

"12 For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield."

(L) Ps. 9:9-10

"9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.

10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee."

(H-L) Ps. 11:5, 7

"5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth...

7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright."

(L) Ps. 33:5

"5 He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD."

(L) Ps. 37:8, 23-26, 27-28, 39-40

"8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil...

23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

26 He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed."

27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.

"28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off...

39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.

40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him."

(L) Ps. 45:7

"7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."

(H-L) Ps. 101:4-8

"4 A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person.

5 Whoso privily slandereth his neighbour, him will I cut off: him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer.

6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.

. 7 He that worketh deceit shall not dwell within my house: he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight.

8 I will early destroy all the wicked of the land; that I may cut off all wicked doers from the city of the LORD."

(H-L) Ps. 119:104

"104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way."

(L) Ps. 146:8

"8 The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous:"

(H) Pr. 6:16-19

"16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren."

(L) Pr. 8:17

"17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me."

(H) Pr. 8:32, 35-36

"32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways..."

35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. 36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

(H-L) Pr. 11:1, 13

"1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight..,

13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter."

(H-L) Pr. 12:22

"22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight."

(H-L) Pr. 15:9

"9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness."

(L) Pr. 13:24

"24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."

(L-H) Isa. 61:8

"8 For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them."

(L) Ezekiel 18:23

"23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?"

(H-L) Hos. 14:4

"4 I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him."

(H-L) Amos 5:14-15

"14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.

15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph."

(H) Zech. 8:17

"17 And let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against his neighbour; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith the LORD."

New Testament

(L) Matt. 5:44-45

"44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

(L) John 3:16-17

"16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."

(L) John 14:21-23

"21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
(L) John 16:27

"27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God."

(L) Rom. 5:8

"8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

(L) II Cor. 9:7

"7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."

(L) Heb. 12:6

"6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."

(H-L) Jas. 4:6-7

"6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."

(H) II Tim. 3:2-5

"2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

(L) II Pet. 3:9

"9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

(L) I John 4:8, 10, 16, 19

"8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love...

10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins...

16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him...

19 We love him, because he first loved us."

Ps.33:4 "For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth."


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