Like Psalm 5, which we treated in the last News, Psalm 11 opposes the idea that God loves everybody, including the reprobate—the core position of common grace. The key verses are: “ If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?  The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.  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” (Ps. 11:3-7).
God’s attitude towards the ungodly is that of hatred: “the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (5). When it says that God’s “soul” hates them, it means all that God is. He hates them in His inmost being, so to speak. Moreover, God hates not just the sin, but the sinner: “the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (5).
We are also told the ground for God’s hatred of the wicked. Jehovah hates them (5) and will destroy them (6), “For the righteous Lord loveth righteousness” (7). Jehovah’s perfect righteousness and justice blaze against ungodly rebels. He is the holy and just One, therefore “the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth” (5).
God’s hatred of the ungodly in time issues in their terrible punishment in hell: “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup” (6). This is the ultimate and final expression of His abhorrence of the wicked: their everlasting agony.
Psalm 11 speaks of the reprobate wicked, for those whom God hates (5) He will punish in hell (6). The elect, prior to their conversion, live in sin. But it is not true to say that God hates them, even when they were in unbelief. God eternally loved His people in Christ (Rom. 9:13). Therefore, He brings them all to repentance (Jer. 31:3). We are under His wrath prior to our conversion (Eph. 2:3), but He never hated us, for His hatred is His resolute determination to thrust away from Himself and punish everlastingly.
According to the title, David penned Psalm 11. He is being persecuted by the ungodly in Israel, probably under Saul or Absalom. He asks, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (3). Righteousness and justice are the “foundations” of God’s kingdom on earth. When these are subverted and undermined by wicked leaders so that the saints are persecuted, what can the righteous do? So David recalls the heavenly foundations of God’s church and covenant. No matter what wicked church leaders do, God is holy, reigning in glory; He sees all. “The Lord is in his holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men” (4). His rule is perfectly just. He loves and tests the righteous (5, 7) but He hates the wicked (5), whom He will cast into hell (6). This is the moral foundation of the church and the universe: God’s holy love of His saints in Christ and His righteous hatred of the ungodly.
You see how common grace attacks the foundations? Common grace says that God loves the reprobate wicked. David, do you hear that? God loves Saul (or Absalom) who is hunting you as a partridge on the hills and seeking to kill you (1-2)! But what about God’s holiness and righteousness which He loves (7)? What of His hatred of the wicked with all His “soul” (5)? Common grace puts the world out of kilter; the foundations are moved! For God is not perfectly righteous, if He loves the reprobate who are wholly sinful.
Sadly, many Christians believe in common grace: God loves everybody, there is good in everybody (contra total depravity), God approves of some or much of the world’s activities (contra Prov. 21:4) and Christians should see moral good in just about everything that the wicked do. Thus there is good in the higher critics and their work, though they undermine the authority and inerrancy of Holy Scripture. Because of common grace, we can accept the ideas of the evolutionists (big bang cosmology, uniformitarian geology and macro-evolution from slime to humans), for they are good people, honestly searching for the truth (contra Eph. 2:1-3). The theories of secular psychologists on guilt, family relationships, etc., can be embraced and X-rated movies can be watched because of the powerful operations of common grace, some even dare argue.
Even sodomy! If God loves everybody, then God loves homosexuals—just as they are. There is some moral good in them and so we can learn from them, for they show us true love too. This line of reasoning regarding sodomy has been embraced by many in the churches in the Netherlands, the home country of Abraham Kuyper, the patron saint of common grace, as well as Kuyper’s disciples in Toronto, Canada, etc. The Christian Reformed Church (CRC) in N. America, which in 1924 expelled Herman Hoeksema, justified allowing a lesbian group, singing about lesbianism, at the CRC’s Calvin College on the basis of common grace (2002). Church of England bishops argue for homosexual church members and clergy using common grace: God loves homosexuals; they are in His image. The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, believing that God loves all sinners and under pressure from both homosexuals and political correctness both within and without the denomination, produced a “fudged” and compromised document on sodomy at its 2007 General Assembly (www.cprf.co.uk/articles/pciandsodomy.htm).
If you deny that God hates the wicked and maintain that He loves them, you have destroyed the moral foundations of the church (Jehovah’s righteous and discriminating love for His people only in Jesus Christ) and the church is already falling. The cracks are appearing and will grow—even if this is not admitted or wanted.
- Volume: 12
- Issue: 4
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
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