Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. (Psalms 119:104)
Edward Reyner an English nonconformist of the early 17th century wrote, “Hatred is a stabbing, murdering affection.” If this were all we knew of Reyner’s quote, we would assume hatred is perfectly inconsistent with Christian teachings about love. However, we go on to read the rest of his thought in which he said, “Hate sin perfectly and perpetually and then you will not spare it but kill it presently. Till sin be hated, it cannot be mortified; you will not cry against it, as the Jews did against Christ, Crucify it! Crucify it! but show indulgence to it as David did to Absalom and say, Deal gently with the young man—with this or that lust, for my sake. Mercy to sin is cruelty to the soul.”
Reyner’s thoughts capture the meaning of Psalms 119:104 extremely well. Knowledge of God’s Word will cause us to hate every false way. The Word enlightens the mind to the destructive nature of sin. We hardly believe sin will kill us, and yet it was sin that brought death to the world. As Reyner said, “Mercy to sin is cruelty to the soul.” Sin always leaves death in its wake. To allow it and tolerate it, is to let it ruin us. Jonathan Edwards said hatred of sin is the way true religion may be known and distinguished.
These quotes show the great disparity of understanding about what Jesus taught. It is not uncommon in today’s world to hear Jesus’ approval attached to support nearly every false way rather than to hear Him thundering against sin. God’s love is defined. It exists within the parameters of His holiness, so that it cannot embrace sin any form—not the act nor the ones who commit it. The scriptures say God is love and God hates sin. Therefore, it is nonsense to create in our minds a Jesus who loves and is at the same time tolerant of sinful lifestyles.
From this point, I could go on to enumerate the multitude of sins that have become accepted as normal behavior, but I am sure you are very aware of our church’s position on these. Rather, I prefer to take a moment to speak of other false ways we must hate. We must hate and take to task any religion that denies the deity of Jesus Christ. We must hate and strongly preach against those religions that deny justification by faith alone in Jesus Christ. We must hate and take a resolute stand against religions that claim there is any other God but Jesus Christ, and any other way to the Father but Him. We must hate the influx into our society of those who say they practice their religion peacefully when that same religion teaches them to be violent and to kill those who disagree with them. We dare not fool ourselves that a religion is peaceful when its history is one of murder, especially murder of those who since Abraham have been called God’s chosen people. We are fooling ourselves to think we can take a cold, dormant viper into our bosom, warm him up, and not expect him to bite.
Sin in any form always destroys. Your personal sin will do it; your toleration of sin in others will do it. Your compassion to give it mercy is cruelty to your soul. When the preacher preaches against sin and those who perpetrate it, do not think he is without love. Hatred of sin distinguishes true Christians. No one can love your soul more than one who says, Crucify sin! Crucify it! Stand with the preacher who stands for God. Stand with the preacher who stands against a society without God, or one that tolerates the wrong god. Anything less is cruel death.
Pastor V. Mark Smith