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.