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Evangelist, Baptist, Husband, Father, Mid-30's.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hate Well

It is a tremendous failing of the last century to focus only on the love of God, for without knowing what he hates it is impossible to truly know him. If I tell you that I love Mexican Food, puppy dogs, motorcycles, and God, then you get a basic understanding of who I am, but the details are largely lost. If you find out I hate socialism, capitalism, infanticide, and blasphemy, you learn a lot more about me.

You learn far more about a person (and God) by what they hate than what they love. To only know what someone loves is to know very little about them. One place this has been exacerbated is in the translation of love in the Bible, four different Greek words translate love (biblical: Agape, Phileo, Storge; extrabiblical: Eros), and another can mean love (Thelema) but is never translated that way, and they are considerably separated from one another. A parent loves their child in a radically different way than I love Mexican food. By associating eros with love in our culture, the love between a husband and wife, Jesus Christ has become the great cosmic girlfriend of the United States. The King James translators recognized that they were translating a lot of words as love and that all of those words didn’t mean the same thing, so much so that they began, in many places, to translate agape love as charity instead of love. Charity is an infinitely better translation for agape than love, and we’ll look at why a little later.

This “God is Love” (God is not love, God is charity) culture has lead to an idolatrous pagan worship of a tender loving jesus christ who shares none more in common with the Faithful and True God than a name. If God loves you just the way you are, then beloved, you have no reason to change. But if God hates you just the way you are, then there is a call to action on the part of the sinner to be reconciled to God.

But does God hate you just the way you are? God hates the lawbreaker (Psalm 5:5), he is angry with the wicked everyday (Psalm 7:11), he hates not only the one who sheds blood (Proverbs 6:16-19), but also the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5) Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 12:22); God hates you just the way you are.

But that’s the Old Testament God, the New Testament God is this lovey-dovey God who has nothing in common with that vengeful God of the Old Testament…Beloved, read your New Testament. Jesus Christ is exalted on his throne forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of his kingdom, he has loved righteousness, and he has hated wickedness. (Hebrews 1:8-9) Lest you kiss the Son, you will perish in the way. (Psalm 2:12, Luke 13:1-5) One of the most glorious pictures of Christ’s perfect wrath is found in Isaiah 63,
Who is this who comes from Edom, in crimsoned garments from Bozrah, he who is splendid in his apparel, marching in the greatness of his strength?

"It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save."

Why is your apparel red, and your garments like his who treads in the winepress?

"I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with me; I trod them in my anger and trampled them in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and stained all my apparel. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come. I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled, but there was no one to uphold; so my own arm brought me salvation, and my wrath upheld me. I trampled down the peoples in my anger; I made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth." (Compare Revelation 14:14-20)
On the Day of Wrath, as the song says, he will trample out the vineyards where the grapes of wrath are stored. On that day the murderer and the rapist will be punished, but so will the reviler and the swindler, the liar and the thief, the gossip and the self-righteous, the coward and the unbeliever. Beloved, Jesus hates you just the way you are, and lest you repent, such will be your fate.

But what about that song? Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. The Bible tells no such thing, it is a dastardly translation of agape and one that has murdered souls. Agape is a sacrificial lovingkindness offered freely without prior instigation or promise of recompense, in other words, Charity. The song would be much better sung,

Jesus has a long-suffering sacrificial lovingkindness towards me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

And Jesus does have charity towards everyone, but do not presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, for this kindness is meant to lead you to repentance, otherwise the wrath you are storing up to be revealed on the Day of Wrath will be poured out upon you.

If you want to know how much God hates sin and sinners, you need look no farther than Calvary’s cross, at which time the Lord of Glory, though God in every way, humbled himself to obedience to die on a cross, forsaken and crushed by his Just and Holy Father who was pleased beyond all measure to pour out his wrath upon his only begotten Son, who was made the embodiment of our sins and God held nothing back. John Flavel, of Puritan fame, expressed it this way in his presumption of speaking on eternity's eve,
Father: My son, here is a company of poor miserable souls, that have utterly undone themselves, and now lie open to my justice! Justice demands satisfaction for them, or will satisfy itself in the eternal ruin of them: What shall be done for these souls?

Son: O my Father, such is my love to, and pity for them, that rather than they shall perish eternally, I will be responsible for them as their Surety; bring in all thy bills, that I may see what they owe thee; Lord, bring them all in, that there may be no after-reckonings with them; at my hand shalt thou require it. I will rather choose to suffer thy wrath than they should suffer it: upon me, my Father, upon me be all their debt.

Father: But, my Son, if thou undertake for them, thou must reckon to pay the last mite, expect no abatements; if I spare them, I will not spare thee.

Son: Content, Father, let it be so; charge it all upon me, I am able to discharge it: and though it prove a kind of undoing to me, though it impoverish all my riches, empty all my treasures, yet I am content to undertake it.
Calvary’s cross is the epitome of God’s hatred against sinners, all of the torments of Hell everlasting were demonstrated during six agonizing hours on the bruised and bloody Messiah. Recount his agony at the separation from his Father in Psalm 69,
Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.
and Psalm 22,
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.
The face of God was turned from his Son, unable to look upon sin, Christ was abandoned by the God from whom all good things flow, so that in this perfect sacrifice, once for all, the Just for the unjust, the Christian will never know this hellish separation. While we were alienated from God and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, Christ has reconciled us in his body of flesh through his death. (Colossians 1:21-22) In this reconciliation, the Christian is adopted into the family of God into the love of the Father, but what kind of love? Storge love, an unconditional love demonstrated from parents to children. The Christian is also privy to Phileo love with the Son, a love demonstrated between siblings. As many as Christ philo's he also rebukes and chastens (Revelation 3:19), refining the Christian away from sin towards purity and holiness. (1 John 3:3, Hebrews 12:14) The Father also thelema's (loves/desires) the Christian's sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

So, in our emulation of Christ, are we to love sin and sinners and keep hatred from our hearts? Heaven forbid! Emulate the Living Christ in a hatred of sin, hating even, as Jude exhorts, the garment stained by their sin. (Jude 23) True love is this: Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (Romans 12:9) David said it best,
Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain!

Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies.
– Psalm 139:19-22
Leave all action up to God, do not hate in action, instead Paul exhorts thusly,
Never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." To the contrary "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:19-21
Genuine love is a hatred of evil, it is a godly and holy love which hates the sinner for his sins against Heaven, and in this we must emulate Jesus Christ that we be patient and kind towards our enemies in hopes that they believe and are saved, not on their own merits, but on his. Even when the wicked boast and all of their thoughts are towards, “There is no God” (Psalm 10:4), we have a promise from God,
They will say, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation." For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
– 2 Peter 3:4-9
When God's lovingkindness towards a person runs out, then Christ will with an overflowing flood make a complete end of his adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into the darkness. (Nahum 1) God hates sinners, so ought we, but similarly we should extend reconciliation, as he does, because but for the grace of God, there go we.

Repent, and believe the Gospel, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.


Fred said...

Thanks I really enjoyed that.

Grace Abounds said...

That was great! Had I read that when I was a religious person (false convert), I would have been so upset about what you wrote. Now though, I rejoice! God saved me... someone He had to have hated, but paid for in His blood and adopted me as His daughter :)

Tamara Slack