Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Seven Things the Lord Hates", Love Your Enemies Part 3

"There are six things which the Lord hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,

And hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that run rapidly to evil,
false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers."
(Proverbs 6:16-19)

Good day to you all.

Since I have been speaking about loving your enemies lately, I want to speak about something which many persons get stuck on. That is the hatred of God.

How can God love and hate at the same time? When we look at the Bible, we can see that there at least seems to be a God of hatred and of love. Like Proverbs 6:16-19 states, there are many things which Yahweh hates. From that set of verses alone, it even sounds like God hates people, and not just their sins. If we look further in the Bible, this idea of God's hatred for individuals is further confirmed.

"The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.
The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked,
And the one who loves violence His soul hates.
Upon the wicked He will rain snares;
Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness;
The upright will behold His face." (Psalm 11:4-7)

An especially relevant passage gives us a long list of sins which the pre-Israeli inhabitants of the Promised Land committed continuously. This list included child sacrifice, adultery, witchcraft, cursing one's parents, homosexuality, bestiality, and incest. All of these abominable actions made the Lord exceedingly furious. As He declared,

 "You are therefore to keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and do them, so that the land to which I am bringing you to live will not spew you out. Moreover, you shall not follow the customs of the nation which I will drive out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I have abhorred them (the peoples committing sin)." (Leviticus 20:22)

Furthermore, if we take the Bible at its word, then we will see that God is always furious. Yet, this is not just God being angry at sin, rather He is angry with sinners. In fact, this anger is one of violent (not to be confused with murderous) hatred.

"Arise, O Lord, in Your anger;
Lift up Yourself against the rage of my adversaries,
And arouse Yourself for me; You have appointed judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples encompass You,
And over them return on high.
The Lord judges the peoples;
Vindicate me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me.
O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous;
For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.

"My shield is with God,
Who saves the upright in heart. 
God is a righteous judge,
And a God who has indignation every day. 

"If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword;
He has bent His bow and made it ready.
He has also prepared for Himself deadly weapons;
He makes His arrows fiery shafts.

"Behold, he travails with wickedness,
And he conceives mischief and brings forth falsehood.
He has dug a pit and hollowed it out,
And has fallen into the hole which he made. 
His mischief will return upon his own head,
And his violence will descend upon his own pate." (Psalm 7:6-16)

Looking at just these few verses, we find that God is a God of righteous, pure, and even violent hatred (I do not know what is more violent than God sharpening Hist sword to cut down those who do not repent). This fact makes many nervous, since these verses seem to say that God is unloving. Thus, they come up with relatively complicated, or at least nice sounding explanations.

The most well-known explanation that I have found is that God only hates the sin, but not the sinner. However, if we look at the above verses, we find that this simply cannot be the case. If God "hates... a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers" (which are both people, not actions), hates "one who loves violence", and abhorred the Canaanites, then God must apparently hate sinners and not just their sins.

A second well-known explanation is that the Old Testament (and the parts of the New Testament that say the same) is not inspired by God. I am not even going to argue about this. However, if one believes this, please do not claim to be a follower of God for you are calling God a liar. 

So, if we wish to take God at His word, we must believe that God does hate sinners. 

Now, what does all of this have to do with loving your enemies? It determines our message of pleading for them to repent and obey God. As I said before, we love all men and long for the wicked to turn from his ways and live. However, if we do not tell them why they must do so, why do we think they will repent? 

In Psalm 2, we find a good summary of the content of our pleas to the unsaved.

"Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?

The kings of the earth take their stand

And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,

'Let us tear their fetters apart

And cast away their cords from us!'
 "He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.

Then He will speak to them in His anger

And terrify them in His fury, saying,

'But as for Me, I have installed My King

Upon Zion, My holy mountain.'

"'I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:

He said to Me, "You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.

"Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,

And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
 "You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware."'
 "Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
 Worship the Lord with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.

Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,

For His wrath may soon be kindled. 
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" 
This is our message: God is a God of vengeance. He cannot allow evil to stand in His presence, because it offends His holy nature. Yet, not only does He hate evil actions, He hates those who do evil. Because all men are evil (Rom. 3:10-18), all men are under God's wrath and hatred. We are His enemies, and He is preparing His weaponry in order to wipe us all out. Once we have been killed and brought before His judgement seat, He will cast all who are wicked into the lake of eternal fire, being tortured under His righteous hatred forever.

However, God declared to His Son, Jesus Christ, that He would have a Kingdom filled with sons of God as an inheritance forever. Since in Adam, all men are now sinners (Rom. 5:12), all men must be sentenced to Hell, for the wages of sin is eternal death in the lake of fire. Yet, if all men are sentenced to Hell, how can there be an inheritance of men for Christ?

In order to fulfill His promise to Christ, the Father decreed that His Son would pay the penalty of enduring the eternal wrath and hatred of God poured out upon Him for all those whom the Lord has chosen to save. Therefore, the Son came to Earth as a man, lived a perfect life and was crucified by the Father as a perfect sacrifice. As a result, God's wrath for those whom He would save was satisfied eternally.

Yet, how will this substitution be granted to us? How can we escape the wrath of God? We must repent from our wickedness and worship Yahweh in fear. This is impossible for us, because repentance requires that we be born from God. Being born of God means that your soul is crucified with Christ, placed into the grave with Him, and then being resurrected with Christ unto a new soul (Rom. 6:1-11, cf. baptism of the spirit in John 3:5-8). As with one's natural birth, you have no power over this birth (John 3:8). Nevertheless, if you call upon the Name of the Lord, lay down your sins, surrender your life to the King, and fall upon your face in fear before your Heavenly Judge and Executor, He will save you (Rom. 10:13, Psalm 2, Matt. 4:17, Mark 1:15, 6:12, Luke 3:3, Acts 8:22, Jude 1, Acts 16:31, Rom. 10:9). Turn from your evil, for the wrath of God is at hand.

That is our message, the message of the Gospel. It comes forth in great measure from the wrath of God. Therefore, if one does not understand the hatred that God has for sinners, how can one understand fully the Gospel and its magnificence? If we wish to know how to love the unsaved, we must understand the hatred and love of God. If one throws aside the doctrine of God's hatred and judgement for sinners, then one finds an impotent, lackluster "gospel" devoid of any salvific or sanctifying power. Moreover, the holy and glorious God is thrown under the bus in exchange for some foofy, impotent, worthless excuse for a god. However, if all one speaks of is the hatred of God, then one causes a kind of demonic fear and belief (James 2:19) which cannot bring salvation. Also, the greatest attribute of the Trinitarian Lord, which attribute is love, is hidden and thus a demonic, sadistic god is put in God's place.

Therefore, I urge all of you to think about these things. Read the Word of the Lord, and understand who He is. Moreover, I beg of you to ponder the fearful majesty of our God. Do not take His love nor His hatred lightly. Instead, rejoice with trembling, glory in His grace, and serve Him with fear (Deut. 10:12, 1 Samuel 12:24).

God Bless.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Love Your Enemies, Part 2

 Hello Brethren, after hearing feedback from some of you about my last post, and personally thinking through the topic of loving one's enemies, I feel the need to possibly clarify what loving your enemies looks like. Because of the time I have today, I will have to elaborate on some things in the next post.

When most people hear the word, "love", they instantly conjure up innumerable, often unbiblical ideals of what love is. Some will say that love never judges, is never offended, never confronts sin, "embraces" everybody (i.e. compromises with regards to righteousness), and loves everybody in the same exact way. Is this true?

In my last post (Love Your Enemies), I wrote that in order to love properly, we must love like God loves. Why? Matthew 5 establishes that we are to love our enemies (and our friends) so that we may be the children of our Father, acting in the way Christ acted (Rom. 8:28-30), and Christ only does what He sees His Father doing (John 5:19). Therefore, we must love in like manner as the Father loves.

Now that is established, we must now determine how exactly God does love. For the purposes of this post, I will be focusing on how God does (and thus how Christians must) love the unsaved.

Let us turn to the words of the Lord in order to determine some specifics about loving one's enemies.

 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:27-36)

In this passage, we see the Lord explaining what it means to "love your enemies". [Note: This also extends to all who are not Christians. How so? Well, a disciple is not greater than his Master, is he? Therefore, if they hated Christ, how much more will they hate us (Mat. 10:25)! This does not mean that they will actively attack you, but they will ultimately hate you because of your message.] 

Because of the rather self-explanatory way in which the Lord explains love here, I will make as few comments as possible. 

So, in this passage, we find that the Lord brings up certain realities about loving an enemy. Firstly, we must do good to those who hate you. The meaning of this is very basic. To those who do evil to you, or who merely hate you in their hearts, you must do good to them. This encompasses any kind of good: if your enemy is in physical need, give them what they need (Rom. 12:20); if they are in physical danger, sacrifice your own life for them (Use wisdom regarding the circumstances though, e.g. don't take the death penalty for a murderer, or pay the fine for a thief. Nevertheless, we must follow our Lord's example by sacrificing ourselves for the ungodly, Rom. 5:6-10); and preaching to them the Gospel and Truth (2 Tim. 4:1-5). Ultimately, doing good to someone is not dependent upon what they have done to you or to anyone else. If it were, then we who are now saved would have been justly damned to Hell for our utter hatred of God and all the love which He has shown to us (John 3:14-20). 

Secondly, we must bless those who curse us. For example, if someone slanders you, speak good of and to them in return.

Thirdly, pray for those who mistreat us. This is one of the hardest things to do. One can "pray to God" for your enemy without actually meaning it. However, what is called for here is true worship of God through praying to Him on their behalf (as it were). It is a prayer for His blessing, mercy, and love to be showered upon them. The greatest example of this is when Christ hung on the cross, beating, mocked, spat upon, reviled by godless men. Did He revile in return? When He was about to be executed, did He call forth legions of angels to wipe out His attackers? When the merciful, loving, compassionate, good, kind, patient, selfless Lamb of God was brought to be slaughtered, did He call upon His Father to damn them all to eternal torment? No. Instead, He begged,

"Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) (Note: the proper translation of this verse says, "Jesus was saying". If I remember correctly, this probably means in the Greek that Jesus was repeatedly saying this as they went to kill Him.) 

You, dear Christian, are just as sadistic, unloving, murderous, idolatrous, hateful, wretched and depraved as those men who nailed Christ to the cross. Did Christ curse you and damn you to Hell? If not, then why are you doing the same to others?! It is the height of hypocrisy to say that Jesus has blessed us (we who were enemies of God) and then turn around and curse your enemy!

I am going to be very honest with you all (and with myself), even though this will hurt. If it is still hard for you to love those who have harmed you, hard to bless them and do good to them, you apparently have no clue about the depths of your own sickening, awful, vile depravity. If you did, you would not hate them or be angry with them since you see that what they are doing is inside yourself. Every single act of sin, be it hatred, idolatry, murder, lust, homosexuality, drug abuse, or any other sin, it is found in your own self (Titus 3:1-8). Therefore, do not hate them or be angry with them, for it is love which produces the righteousness that God requires, not anger (James 1:20).

Since time is flying by, I will let you all finish the section in your own Bible time. It is rather self-evident what these verses mean, the only issue that we will encounter is when we try to actually abide by what is found therein. However, we must abide by them, no matter how we feel.

My next post will focus on how God can hate and love the sinner (yes, hate the sinner), and whether (and how) we should judge the unsaved. Until then, may you all be blessed. 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Serpent and the Cross: Rethinking John 3:16

Hello brethren. As some of you know, my pastor (the author) and I (the editor) have been working for a couple of months on one of his book projects. Well, I want to let you all know that we are now finished and the book is available on Amazon.

The book is called, "The Serpent and the Cross: Rethinking John 3:16". In it, one of the most beloved, yet most often misunderstood verses in the Bible is given a close examination. I think you will be as surprised as I was with what the verse truly teaches about the love of God, and its consequences for we who follow Christ.

Here is the official description of the book:

"John 3:16 is the most popular verse in all the Bible. Many quote it assuming to understand its meaning. Sermons are preached from it. Businesses use it as their slogan. It has even made its way into professional sports! Yet, the meaning and import of this profound verse is still as dark to many as its truth was to Nicodemus. Jesus brings the truth of His kingdom into the mind and heart of Nicodemus in an unexpected comparison between the serpent on the pole deep in Israel's history, and the Son of Man on the cross yet future to Nicodemus. The parallels are striking. More importantly, a proper understanding of the serpent on the pole leads to a proper understanding of the Son of Man on the cross."

As I worked on this book, I must admit that there is so much to be found within John 3:16 that, as a result of our modern mushy-minds, we do not quickly see. However, as Pastor Charlie explains, a proper interpretation of this verse grants the Lord far more glory than the fluffy "God is in love with you" gospel so often preached today.

Currently, the book is available in paperback from Amazon, and the Kindle version is currently being processed (but will be out soon). Here is a link to it:

I hope you all have a blessed week!

Edit: The Kindle version is now available here: