God expresses His love in many ways. For example, He brings into His salvation the repentant ones who put their trust in Jesus. But, the unrepentant? He allows them to continue on their path of destruction.
Who is the sinner’s destroyer? To say “God is” is true, but that answer is only partially true due to what it doesn’t say. The fact is that we are to understand that God normally destroys sinners indirectly. By that I mean that God frequently (usually???) permits some sinners to express their selfishness by destroying other selfish sinners.
This idea is laid out quite clearly in the prophets who talked about the Jews being taken into captivity (those that weren’t initially slaughtered) by sinful nations, who in turn would be destroyed by even other sinful nations.
This situation as described in the Old Testament has helped my overall thinking very much. God expresses His hatred toward, and punishment of, human sin by abandoning the guilty sinners to the selfishness of more powerful sinners. In this context, I am struck by Jesus’ comment on the cross, “My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?” The Father was allowing sinners to kill Jesus; that is the way God normally deals with sin when it becomes a life-death issue.
At this point in my understanding, I recognize and teach that the punishment for our sin is our continuing in sin!! Sin begets more sin, and the destructive process continues until God’s mercy and grace is experienced by the desperate and repentant sinner.
The Apostle Paul writes about this in Romans 1. CS Lewis refers to it in his own fashion with the thought that unrepentant sinners make their own hell. God loves us; He is also a realist!!