Summary: There is a growing belief that God does not need to punish people for sin...
There is a growing belief that God does not need to punish people for sin and that His just wrath is directed specifically against all the ungodly behavior and unrighteousness of humanity that is damaging them, hurting them, causing them to sin against each other, and anything that is contrary to His nature. Some believe that Jesus became sin, rather than becoming a sin sacrifice, and paying the penalty by taking upon Himself the punishment of God’s wrath against sin.
How can a person reconcile the verses in the Bible that seem to suggest that God hates sinners, but loves them at the same time? Love and hate are actions verbs. It is important to understand the ancient principles of such things as rhetoric, exaggeration, hyperbole and figures of speech such as “metonymy” which is defined as: “A figure by which one name or noun is used instead of another, to which it stands in a certain relation.” (Bullinger, E.W (1898) Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker)
When a person applies these principles when studying Scripture, they will see that the original meaning is not a contradiction of other verses in the Bible such as God “hating sinners” because they will see that the word “sinner” is put in place of the word “sin.” Or, when they read a Scripture that says God hates “a false witness who pours out lies” (Prov 6:19 NIV), they will understand that God hates the lies, and the one who is doing the lying (the cause) is put in place of the lies (the effect).
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa 55:8-9 NIV)
Christians cannot attribute their personal emotional psychology that comes from the pride of the human heart to the Word of God. That is making their thoughts to be God's thoughts, and their ways, His ways. The Bible says the heart is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9 NIV).
The root of all sin is pride. Idolatry is the worship of anything other than God. Pride is fundamentally the worship of self. Every sin emanates from pride. It is what keeps a person from experiencing all that God has for them. It caused Adam and Eve to be cast out of the Garden of Eden. It caused satan to be cast out of Heaven, and it will keep the Christian from entering into deep intimacy with eternal Love Himself. When a person admits they are a sinner and receives Jesus into their heart as their personal Lord and Savior, the gates of Heaven are opened to them as they become a Born-Again child of God.
Christians are admonished by Jesus to: "Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31 NIV). Thinking one’s self to be better than another for any reason is pride. Too often Christians are seen casting stones towards those who have sinned when EVERYONE has sinned! Christians are just “saved” sinners but still a sinner none the less. Jesus asked a provocative question and gave a biting rebuke to those who judged others:
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.” (Matt 7:3-5 NIV)
When people use "hate" Scriptures from the Bible to share the Gospel message with others they are showing “contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience” because they don’t understand that it is not anger and hatred but in fact “God's kindness” that will lead them to repentance” (Rom 2:4 NIV).
The Cross is the plan of God from before the foundation of the world to redeem humanity from being lost and remaining in the grip of the enemy and their own sinfulness. There is no hope for anyone apart from the Cross.
Contrary to much humanistic teaching on the subject, the just wrath of God is not some sort of divine child abuse or an angry, vindictive, temper tantrum of a deity who did not get their way so that fire and brimstone must be poured out as punishment on a wicked world. Rather, it is God’s reaction and resistance towards sin. Bad things happen because the Earth is under a curse as a result of the inherited sin nature being passed down to every generation in the Fall.