Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. —Romans 12:9b NIV
The word hate seems almost totally opposed to the rest of Scripture. But we are told in Ecclesiastes, that there is a time to hate. It is hard for us to imagine God hating anything. I think that is because we cannot comprehend the depth of His love for us and the price He paid to redeem us. God hates sin, but He loves the sinner. We are to follow His example in this. In our world, we are subjected to so much evil that we are losing our sensibilities to it. We must be very careful in our use of hate. satan will try to trick us into hating the sinner as well as the sin.
As C S Lewis says in his book “The Screwtape Letters”:
“The demonic objective is to convince the hater that his/her hate is justified. The people who are being hated, deserve to be hated. Satan will even pervert the scripture in the cause of hate.”
Hating the sinner is never justified. So, after Paul tells us to hate what is evil, he immediately reminds us to “cling to what is good”. We must keep our focus on Jesus, if we are to cling to what is good. If we learn to truly hate what is evil, there are times when we will have to speak out against it. We need to pray without ceasing for discernment and boldness to do just that. Jesus shows us this example when He chased the money changers out of the temple.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. — Jude 18 NLT
If you have been keeping an eye on the Middle East, you can see that God’s clock is ticking down the minutes until Jesus returns. All over the world and especially here in our great country, we can see the signs of the “last times”. We hear people more and more saying that there is no God, scoffing at Biblical principles and the words spoken by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Atheists are becoming more outspoken and militant with their comments. When people say there is no God, what they are really saying is they don’t accept the truth of the God of the Bible. Their pride is saying “I will not accept any god that I have to be accountable to. Everyone has a “god”, someone or something that they are devoted to, even if it is their self. False prophets will rise up with such convincing truths that even the most devout Christian can be deceived unless we are “rooted and grounded” in the truths of the Bible. We must spend more time with our God. If you are having trouble finding answers, do not dig a wider hole or forsake your first Love, just dig deeper into the Holy Scriptures and meditate on them. The answer is there and God is waiting to reveal it to you.
6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.” — Proverbs 9:6 NLT
The word proverb means “to be like” . The book of Proverbs is a collection of thoughts or sayings teaching us what we should be like. The Proverbs and there are many proverbs in the Bible that are outside of the Book of Proverbs show us aspects of our lives and how we should look at them and how we should respond to them. In other words, Proverbs gives us a picture of the lifestyle of a Christian versus a non-Christian by contrasting how we respond to situations. Proverbs teaches us to respect wisdom and to seek wisdom for every decision we make. As in the passage we are looking at today, we are invited to partake of God’s wisdom as we would of food and drink. We need to sit with Jesus and ask Him for Godly wisdom before we make our decisions. Not just the decisions that we would consider as major, life-changing decisions but all of our decisions because God is concerned with the smallest things in our lives. Whether we turn left or right at the next intersection (be it on the physical highway or the Spiritual highway) could be the difference in whether we make it home safely or not.
1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. — Romans 14:1-4 NIV
The Scriptures caution us over and over to watch out so that we will not be deceived. We should pray for discernment, so that we are not swept away by every new and foolish doctrine that comes along. But we also need to be careful that in our discerning, we don’t give in to a habit of criticism and judgment. It is very easy for our righteousness to turn into self-righteousness. If God had wanted one person to corner the market on all of His truth, our New Testament would contain only one book. The Scriptures and the truths that they present to us never change. but, thank God, that as we mature, our perception of the Scriptures does change. As we follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit and meditate on God’s word, He opens up new meanings for us. We must be very sure that our discernment is not clouded by our flesh but that it is guided by the Holy Spirit. God made each of us different in many ways, then He did a wonderful, amazing thing — He died on a cross so that we all could become like Him.
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolateror slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”—1 Cor. 5:9-13 NIV
God is waiting to show you the Way.
Paul is not suggesting that we never associate with worldly people whose lives are controlled by their fleshly desires. Just as Jesus said, we “are in the world but not of the world”. We hold ourselves to different standards. We are not to think of ourselves as “better than” nor are we to think of ourselves as “holier than” anyone. What we are to do is to separate ourselves from our Christian brothers and sisters who have chosen to live unholy lifestyles. We are as Paul puts it to “expel the wicked person from among you.” This seems harsh to us. We had rather hide behind verses such as “judge not lest you be judged” and “pull the plank out of your own eye before you point out the toothpick in your brother’s eye”. (my paraphrase) We must keep the Temple of Christ clean and holy.
1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.—2 Cor. 7:1 NIV