Spiritual Hatred - Not Carnal Hatred
By: Brian A. Yeager

Some form of the word hate appears well over one hundred times in the Bible. When you consider that the word abhor often means the same thing, there are even more verses to consider on the subject. Therefore, it is obvious that this article will not deal with every one of those verses. What we will do in our study is see that there is a difference in how that word is used. It is an important study for we will find that Christians are supposed to be a people who hate. Yet, there is a wrong hatred and right hatred.

There are some people that will take some of the points made in this article and they will say something like: “you hate the sin, not the sinner”. Let me be clear in stating that you CANNOT separate the sin from the sinner (Jeremiah 4:1, Matthew 7:16, Matthew 7:20, John 5:28-29, and II Corinthians 5:10). Sin would not exist without sinners (Romans 14:23, James 1:14-15, James 4:17, and I John 3:4). For those people who are baffled, please follow through with this whole study before drawing any conclusions. Having said that, let’s begin our study with the FACT that we are supposed to hate sin and sinners.

Hating Sin and Sinners

We should all realize that the foremost example we have to follow is God (Ephesians 5:1 and I Peter 2:21-22). Since God is our example, we should certainly share His view of sin and sinners. Please consider the following Scriptures: “For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man… The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright... These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren… Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished… But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Psalms 5:4-6, Psalms 11:5-7, Proverbs 6:16-19, Proverbs 16:5, and Hebrews 1:8-9).

God’s view of sin and sinners is clear. Yet, some would argue that God doesn’t want us to share those feelings. That argument is far from the truth. Notice:
“I have hated them that regard lying vanities: but I trust in the LORD… Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way… I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love… Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies… 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… Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good… For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it… But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” (Psalms 31:6, Psalms 119:104, Psalms 119:163, Psalms 139:21-22, Amos 5:15, Romans 12:9, I Peter 3:10-11, and Revelation 2:6).

Now those verses are very clear. What is not so clear, unless you really study this subject, is that those verses show a rightful spiritual hatred, not a carnal hatred. There is a difference. We need to study that difference to fully understand how we are to hate sin and sinners.

It Is Not A Carnal Hatred We Are To Have

Carnal hatred is the kind of hatred that causes one to seek to harm another (Matthew 24:9-10 and Luke 6:22). Spiritual hatred produces a different type of actions. Spiritual hatred causes one to separate from sinful company (Psalms 26:5). Spiritual hatred causes one to look away from the sin or sinner (Psalms 101:3). For example, I hate women who dress immodestly. Therefore, I look away from them. I do not stay in their company. I do not go to places that promote such things (i.e. beaches and public swimming pools). I do not run up to immodestly dressed women and harm them in some way or yell out statements intended to hurt them. That would display carnal hatred.

When you hate evil and those that bring it about, your hatred will drive you to change that person. Consider this verse:
“And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 23). I hate tuna (a running joke here in El Paso). If I could turn a tuna sandwich into a burger, I would do so in a second. When we hate sinners and the things they do, we do not seek to harm them. We seek to change them from that which we hate into that which we can love. When a person is in sin they are filthy and polluted (Zephaniah 3:1-7). To take that person or group of people from something hated to something cherished, there has to be a change (Zephaniah 3:8-13). On the other hand, you may hate false brethren and false teachers with spiritual hatred (Revelation 2:14-15). In such a case, you will be motivated to properly mark and avoid such people (Romans 16:17-18).


The Scriptures speak of a carnal hatred that we are not to have (Galatians 5:19-21). We should not be hateful people (Titus 3:1-3). Yet, as we have seen, we are supposed to abhor and to hate. The word abhor, as used in Romans 12:9, means to “detest” (Strong’s # 655) as does the word hate as it appears in Revelation 2:6 (Strong’s # 3404). When you detest sin and sinners you are only looking at them the same way that God does. This is right. Yet, we have to be sure we focus that hatred in spiritual ways rather than allowing it to turn into a carnal hatred.

Volume 13 – Issue 45 - July 28th, 2013