Why does God dislike sin?

I think a lot of us walk around with an idea that sin is sin because those are the things that offend God or make Him angry.

I grew up learning that “sin” is derived from an archery term meaning to miss the mark. Meaning, God’s will is the bull’s-eye and anything that misses the bull’s-eye is sin.

But my heart at times responds to a definition like this and asks, “Well sure, but why?”

Why is good that instead of something else? Why is the bull’s-eye there instead of there? Why not two inches to the left, or in an entirely different neighborhood, for that matter?

Bringing this into the relational-sexual realm, some would ask:

  • If I love him, why shouldn’t I sleep with my boyfriend?
  • Why would God give me these desires and then tell me not to act on them?
  • What’s the matter with a sexually monogamous gay relationship?
  • As long as I’m not hurting anyone, what’s so bad about looking at porn or hooking up on a Saturday night if we both enjoy it?

Another way of thinking about all this is by asking, did God arbitrarily select some behaviors and call them bad, while other behaviors he pulled randomly from a hat and called them good?

If we consciously or unconsciously believe that sometimes God’s yes or God’s no is arbitrary, then we end up with an image of God that’s inconsistent with Christianity. He becomes like a stressed-out dad who wants his kids to behave so he can have some peace and quiet. Or He becomes like an insecure tyrant who likes to be obeyed because it strokes His ego. We obey for His sake. We obey or He’s not okay. And if He’s not okay, we’re not okay.

Here’s an idea I want to offer for your consideration: What if sin is sin not because it displeases God, but because, in an ultimate sense, it displeases us?

In other words, when God tells us how to live and how not to live, it’s because as the Creator, He knows what will bring us to ultimate joy or ultimate sorrow.

Think of Genesis 1 and 2: He tells the first man and woman to have lots of sex and lots of children and grandchildren, to be rulers on the earth over every living thing, and that everything is their’s as a gift from Him (see Genesis 1:28-31). Of the one thing He forbids them to do, he warns them it will kill them (2:17).

Does this sound like an insecure tyrant, a glory-seeking boss, or a stressed out dad?

Read on in the story and we find that even before the fall, man and woman couldn’t see the truth about the destructiveness of disobedience on their own (see Genesis 3:4-7). And then after the fall, after “their eyes were opened” (3:7), they were even more twisted up about what was good for them and what wasn’t.

We experience this today in a thousand ways. In this fallen world, doing good doesn’t always bring us pleasure. In fact, sometimes doing good hurts like hell and doing bad “feels so right.”

In the beginning, God wasn’t protecting Himself, He was trying to protect us. He wasn’t trying to keep all the pleasure or glory for Himself, He was trying to keep us with Him, to share in His pleasure and glory forever.

And even when we strayed far, He didn’t yell at us to clean up the mess, He didn’t stand aloof to protect Himself. He came for us. He came into our disobedient, destructive, death-oriented world for our sake. And for our sake, He resisted every “feels so right” wrong and walked through the ultimate “hurts like hell” good. Even now if we’ll let Him, He shares His obedience with us and bears away our disobedience from us.

God’s not an insecure tyrant who wants to be obeyed from a distance, but a loving Father who want us to enjoy what He made us for, what we truly long for—His joy, His favor, His love, Himself—forever.

I’d love to hear from you: How might practicing these truths change the way you think of those sins that look so good and feel so right? Leave a comment here.

For you,

P.S. Listen and subscribe to our new podcast! Search for “Regeneration Ministries Podcast” on iTunes or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts!

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Christian JamesJosh GlaserScott WolgamuthSharon McConnellJudy Flowers Recent comment authors
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Judy Flowers
Judy Flowers

This is so on point in my life right now
I know Gods will

Sharon McConnell
Sharon McConnell

I’m going to see if my son will allow me to read this to him (he can’t see to read it himself). I think it addresses an attitude toward God that I simply did not have an answer to that satisfied him.

Scott Wolgamuth
Scott Wolgamuth

I spent many decades believing God’s laws were arbitrary especially why only heterosexual marriage is the only context in which He TOLD us we could have sex with His blessing. It’s only in the past few years, as I’ve realized the many lies I believed about God, myself, my parents, etc. that I can begin to not only see but belief the truth Josh is sharing…”He knows what will bring us to ultimate joy or ultimate sorrow.” Thank You, God, for your incredible patience!

Christian James
Christian James

Hello Josh, First big thanks to you for all the work you do at ReGen i know that i have been blessed by it. I praise God for you and your ministry. I have found many of your posts to be helpful. I wanted to put that out there before i say i disagree with the idea for consideration. You ask, “(what if sin is sin not because it displeases God, but because, in an ultimate sense, it displeases us.” So that you see that I’m not just criticizing because i disagree allow me to address my reasoning, briefly. 1.… Read more »

Christian James
Christian James


Thank you for the clarification it seemed that our issue was somewhat semantic. I do appreciate you taking the time to respond. Indeed sin does not lead to our ultimate pleasure.

I thank God that you are writing about the realities of obedience and causing us to look to reality that God cares for us, even when suffering for his sake makes us feel like he doesn’t.

Love you bro,


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