Recently, I observed a young father worshipping Christ during a chapel service. He had one raised and the other holding his crippled 18mo old daughter; she was enjoying a few minutes out of her wheelchair.
One of my dearest friends waits daily for his hospital-issued beeper to go off so he can rush his four year old daughter, “Leah,” to the hospital for a heart transplant—Leah’s heart will not last much longer.
Several years ago, a close family member was kidnapped, beaten, molested, and left unconscious in the edge of the woods; a few high school boys thought this was a good idea for gang initiation.
What emotions manifest when you hear these stories? Fury, for me! But, furious at who? Or what? Psalm 97:10—“O you who love the Lord, hate evil!”
Rarely are we reminded of Scripture’s instruction to hate sin. I do not have in mind the theological dilemma about whether or not God hates sin and sinners, but simply the fact that when Christians grow deeper in their love for God, their hatred for sin should deepen also.
Rape, incest, abortion, fathers who abandon their families, theft, sex trafficking, greed, million dollar mansions built next to tents and trailer parks, genocide, homicide, infanticide, suicide, sex trafficking—all man-initiated realities in God’s good world, but not what God intended.
Cancer, hunger, still-born babies, tornadoes that destroy towns, hurricanes that sink cities, tsunamis that devastate districts and earthquakes that cripple countries—all the effects of sin in creation that have taken the lives of countless millions.
How can these things be??? They are both the effects and outworking of sin.
And here’s the kicker, we are participants.
Men, every time you gratify yourself with a glance at a short skirt, a gorging at the buffet, or yet another draw-attention-to-yourself comment about who you know or what you’ve done, you fight for sin’s team. Ladies, each time you cover your mouth to whisper gossip, starve yourself so you’re more relationally marketable, or enjoy the thought that your kids are better dressed and better behaved than so and so’s kids, you fuel sin’s fire. As the redeemed of God, we certainly still struggle with sin, but it is not enough to “try harder to stop”; while resting in the sin-destroying work of Christ in our lives, we must increasingly hate sin and its effects. We must recognize that when we sin, we participate in the very evil that rapes women, kills children, starves families, and ravishes every ounce of order in creation. Hate sin!
But, love righteousness. God’s mission is to destroy this sin and evil that He too hates. By way of Christ’s finished work, and His Kingdom come, God will destroy death, sin and evil and restore all things to Himself where His people will reign with Him forever with righteousness and equity. What a privilege to share this great news with those who are slaves to sin, but can become slaves to righteousness.
As your love for God deepens, so should your hatred of sin. Don’t counsel porn addicts simply to “stop.” Help them understand that they’re contributing to the very thing that causes chaos and suffering in our world. Hate sin, but love, evermore, the One who has crushed it and will destroy it.
He bids us come and fight for His team. And, Christ, the team captain, “loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed [Him]…” Heb 1:9