The Right Kind of Hatred

 

Amos 5:15


Introduction


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.

Amos 5:15
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.


Exposition:

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.
~ Dave
 
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
Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church
 

Transformed by God: New Covenant Life and Ministry

CMC Editor: This review courtesy The Gospel Coalition

 
David G. Peterson’s
Transformed by God: New Covenant Life and Ministry.
Downers Grove: IVP, 2012. 192 pp. $20.00.

 
Anyone familiar with the work of David Peterson has come to expect work of the highest caliber. His numerous books always exhibit a thorough exegesis, a careful reading of texts within the storyline of Scripture, and a practical application for the church. Transformed by God is no exception. The first four chapters were originally given as a series of lectures in May 2011 at the Oak Hill College Annual School of Theology in London, England. Peterson served as the Principal of Oak Hill from 1996 to 2007 before assuming his present post of senior research fellow and lecturer in New Testament at Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia. Since giving the lectures, he added two more chapters to complete the book.
As Peterson notes in the “Introduction,” the purpose of the book is to expound upon the Bible’s teaching regarding the new covenant. Peterson argues that the new covenant” is central to NT thinking about the saving work of Christ and the way it is appropriated by believers” (p. 15). It is only when we grasp the nature of the new covenant, Peterson insists, that we will understand “the differences between pre-Christ and post-Christ experiences of God” and how “the Christian dispensation is a fulfillment and perfection of the covenant first established by God with Abraham and his offspring” (p. 15), let alone comprehend the profound practical implications for Christian ministry. Such areas as evangelism, the nurture of believers, and NT teaching on perseverance, growth, and change are all grounded in new covenant realities.
Chapter 1, “The New Covenant in Jeremiah,” begins by setting the stage for the subsequent chapters. It is a model in exegesis and biblical theology. Peterson discusses Jeremiah’s new covenant prophecy (Jer 31:31-34) by placing it first within the book of Jeremiah and then in relationship to other OT prophets who also speak of and anticipate the dawning of the new covenant age (e.g., Isa 11:16-20; 42:6; 49:8; 54-55; Joel 2:28-29;Ezek 11:17-20; 36:26-28; 37). By doing so, he avoids atomistic exegesis and demonstrates that the new covenant promise includes a larger hope that includes the anticipation of a new Davidic king, a new Zion tied to a new creation, a new community comprised of Jews and Gentiles, and most significantly a new act of salvation. Peterson also contends that in the OT, when the new covenant dawns, all of the previous covenants in redemptive-history are “reaffirmed and fulfilled” (p. 39; cf. pp. 42-43). In this way, the new covenant is no mere renewal of the older covenants; it is “new” and specifically in three areas: (1) God writes the law “on their hearts” (Jer 31:33) thus fulfilling God’s promise to circumcise the heart of his people (Deut 30:6) so that they will love and obey God wholeheartedly; (2) the entire covenant community will “know the Lord” salvifically, which includes the elect from Israel and from the nations; and (3) the new covenant will be an unbreakable covenant given the definitive forgiveness of sins it achieves (Jer 31:34). “Radical forgiveness is the basis for the promised spiritual and moral transformation of the people” (p. 35).
In the remaining five chapters, Peterson develops how the new covenant promise is worked out in the NT, first in Jesus and then in its application to the church. In chapter 2, “Israel and the Nations Renewed,” he begins with Luke-Acts. Not only does Jeremiah’s prophecy provide the interpretative key to the Last Supper (Luke 22:20), but throughout Luke-Acts, the fulfillment of God’s plan of redemption for Israel and the nations is viewed in new covenant terms. Peterson nicely demonstrates how central the new covenant is to Luke-Acts by walking through the opening chapters of Luke, which announce the coming of Christ in new covenant categories; examining Christ’s ministry, which uniquely focuses on the centrality of forgiveness of sins in him; and unpacking Christ’s cross, resurrection, and the pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost and the incorporation of the nations into God’s people. Specifically, he develops the crucial Christ-Spirit link that brings to fulfillment OT expectation. In the new covenant, the Spirit “is not simply given to equip believers for service but to make possible the sort of transformed relationship with God promised in passages such as Isaiah 32:15-17; 44:2-5; Ezekiel 11:19-20; 36:26-27” (p. 64).
In chapter 3, “The Renewal of Worship,” Peterson turns to Hebrews, where Jeremiah’s prophecy is more directly prominent than any other NT book. He nicely links Christ’s high priestly work to the new covenant promises and how Christ’s substitutionary death is what is necessary to secure the definitive forgiveness Jeremiah anticipated. At the heart of the problem with the old covenant is sin. Fundamentally, the old covenant was unable “to maintain the people in faithfulness to God and to prevent them from experiencing his wrath” (p. 82). But in Christ, sin is definitely dealt with, a new heart is now secured, and the new covenant promises now become a reality in our lives in an “already-not yet” fashion. In addition, Peterson wrestles with the warnings of Hebrews in light of the unbreakable nature of the new covenant. He concludes that genuine Christians cannot fall away, yet people “can be caught up in a group experience, without being genuinely converted. . . . Hebrews has in view those who see clearly where the truth lies, conform to it for a while, and then, for various reasons, renounce it” (p. 97). Ultimately all true believers persevere to the end. As in every chapter, Peterson concludes by drawing helpful pastoral application. In this case, he challenges Christians to maintain the balance between warning and assurance, urging us to press on in the knowledge of God and his grace with the accent on the assurance of sins forgiven in Christ.
In chapters 4-6, Peterson focuses on “New Covenant Ministry” (e.g., 2 Cor 3-4), “Hearts and Lives Transformed” (e.g., Rom 2:12-15, 25-29; 5:1-5; 6; 11:26-27; 12:1-2; Gal 4:24-28), and “The Transforming Knowledge of God” (e.g., John, 1 John 2:20). Peterson leaves no stone unturned as he sets each new covenant text within its immediate and then canonical context. He demonstrates that Jeremiah’s promise occurs everywhere in the NT and is foundational to the gospel itself. Ultimately what the new covenant brings is transformation: spiritually (in our relation to God), morally (enabling a new life of obedience and service), and physically (allowing us to share in Christ’s resurrection from death in a new creation). “What law was seeking to achieve for Israel is now accomplished for believers in Christ through the ministry of the gospel by the enabling of the Spirit,” and foundational to this knowledge is “the certainty of justification by faith and of trespasses not being counted against those who believe” (p. 126). All of these realities are central to the new covenant being worked out in the church.
The strengths of Peterson’s work are numerous: solid exegesis, biblical theology at its best, and application rooted in new covenant realities. The only weakness is I would have liked to see him apply some of his conclusions to ongoing debates within systematic theology, specifically the differences in how dispensational and covenant theology view the new covenant. Is the new covenant community the “new Israel”? If so, is there a future role for ethnic Israel? Is the new covenant community best viewed as a regenerate community or still a “mixed” entity like Israel of old? Given the tight linkage of the Spirit, forgiveness of sin/justification, and heart transformation for all those in the new covenant, must one not affirm that the church is a regenerate community, a people in faith union with Christ by the Spirit? If not, why not? If so, what implications does this have for ecclesiology? However, a book can only do so much, and regardless of this weakness, I highly recommend this book to anyone who desires to think deeply about the glory of Christ and his new covenant work.
 
Dr Stephen J. WellumStephen J. Wellum
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky, USA