We live in a culture that detests moral absolutes. The greatest wrong in the opinion of some is to say that something is wrong or right. “We all have our own alternative lifestyles!” is the not so happy attitude of people who envision a society without consequences. Such a viewpoint only breeds social chaos, and with the approval of the media and the courts, we are fast descending into the pit.
In contradiction to the contemporary foolishness, God tells us that there are certain attitudes, actions, and words that are right and others that are wrong. I think that all Christians recognize the truth of that statement. However, the Lord will not allow us to remain at the level of mere intellectual assent. He demands the involvement of our emotions and will. He wants us to delight in the truth (1 Cor 13:6), and he wants us to hate evil, which is the teaching of our text. We have to come to grips with the fact that there is a right kind of hatred—the kind that God also has.
Point: As God’s image bearers, we are to reflect his glory by being like him. This means that we must respond in life situations in conformity with his will. Usually, this is going to require us to love God and love our neighbors. But to love properly, there are some things that we must hate.
Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
I. We must hate sin out of obedience to God’s command.
A. What do we mean by “hate”?
1. Hate is the opposite of love. If we are to understand what the Bible means by this command, we must see it in contrast to love. John Piper defines love as “the overflow of joy in God which gladly meets the needs of others.” [Desiring God, p. 103] Love understands the ultimate worth of God, rejoices in him, and wants to share that joy with others, even at the cost of pain to the lover. Thus a man or a woman will work long hours and deny himself or herself some personal satisfaction to be more highly satisfied with the joy of his or her beloved.
2. In contrast with this, hate understands the unworthiness of something, does not set its affection on it, and will not seek its satisfaction. It understands that what should be hated deserves wrath and leaves it in the realm of wrath.
B. Hatred, like love, can be perverted. Love can mutate into lust and hatred into malice.
1. However, both emotions are right when they reflect the character of God. When his will (expressed in the Scriptures) says that I should do something or refrain from doing something else, God’s will must be my standard, and not my understanding of the situation.
2. The command to hate evil is not an optional matter. We may not pick and choose a subset of words, actions and attitudes out of the Bible. We must obey this command of God (Rm 12:9).
Illustration: God’s will is not like ordering a cheeseburger at Cheeburger, Cheeburger. We cannot form our life choices out of “suggested content”. We must mold our choices according to God’s choices.
Transition: So we hate evil out of obedience to God’s command, and…
II. We must hate sin out of conformity with God.
A. Sin God detests evil (Hab 1:13), we also must hate it.
1. This demands that we have Biblical ideas about God.
Action Step: To help you learn from the Bible, you can use Packer’s Knowing God or Pink’s The Attributes of God.
2. In our knowledge of the Lord, our Father expects us to manifest a change of character (Eph 4:20-24). Notice in the following context how this demands that we hate evil as well as delight in righteous conduct.
3. As we grow in understanding of the word of God, we come to understand that we must hate every wrong path (Ps 119:104). We learn to distinguish good from evil.
B. The Lord Jesus Christ is an example of hating evil. Ps 45:7; Heb 1:9
1. His hatred of evil is clear in the cleansing of the temple (Jn 2:13-17).
2. His hatred of evil is plain when he denounced the Pharisees (Mt 23).
C. God’s hatred of sin is displayed preeminently at the cross of Christ.
1. Why did God put his beloved Son to grief? Why did he crush the Son he had full pleasure in? The answer is his hated of sin. Is 53:5-6, 10; cf. 2 Cor 5:21
2. Hatred for sin is learned at the foot of the cross of Christ.
a. When we look by faith and say, “Ah, it was for my sin that he suffered,” then sin begins to lose its attraction and we develop hatred for it.
Comment: All the paintings of the crucifixion lack the awesome wonder that faith sees!
b. Would you want to use the knife that killed your father?
Transition: So we hate evil out of obedience to God’s command; we hate evil out of conformity to God, and…
III. We must hate sin in order to grow in holiness.
A. We must view sin as something that God hates.
1. Sin is something that is against God (Gen 39:9; Ps 51:4; Is 1:2).
2. Therefore, we cannot flirt with sin. In a practical way, this is only going to occur as we delight in the Lord. If we do not make him and what he loves the object of our affections, then we will find it far too easy to flirt with sin.
B. We cannot be selective in hating sins. Ps 119:127-128
1. We cannot be selective about the type of sin. Who do we deceive when we want to part ways with every sin, except one? We deceive only ourselves.
2. We cannot be selective about the time of hating sin. We must hate it consistently and constantly.
Illustration: Remember the Roman senator who closed every speech with the words, “Carthage must be destroyed!” So we must utterly reject sin.
Pastor Dave Frampton
When push comes to shove there is usually nothing more satisfying than for a saint of God to have at his or her disposal a source of biblically sound instruction in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are here at CMC to be a blessing. Bible teacher and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church