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Pastoral 2013

I hate every false way - Part II

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(Psalm 119:104b)

On the last Lord’s Day, I published the first part of this article; and as I continue it today, my prayer is that it will set our hearts aflame with a passionate love for God which will compel us to hate all that He hates. May our heart sincerely say, like the Psalmist, “I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104b). Psalm 97:10 urges us, “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil.”

Consider the following biblical facts which insist that all genuine Christians must hate whatever the Lord hates. We cannot have a desire or passion for things that God would not love. May each of us say, “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:128).

Christian discipleship is a love/hate relationship

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26).

That is a Gospel invitation from the blessed Saviour Himself! But I think today the church at large would frown at any Gospel preacher uttering those words for a Gospel invitation. There is a reason why most people would frown at such an invitation, because almost no one would respond to such an invitation!

What is Jesus talking about? He is affirming that to be a disciple, one has to acknowledge that Jesus must have the preeminence above all other persons and pursuits in one’s life from this moment onwards. It means putting Him before everyone and everything else, even before the one who is the dearest. Jesus must not be thrust into a corner of one’s life.

Most churchgoers think that it is sufficient to dedicate a couple of hours on Sunday morning to the Lord while for the rest of the day, they can live any way it pleases them. But the Lord says that if anyone were to truly come to Him, he must be prepared to hate everything that distracts him from his Master, even though it might be a close relation. There is no way anyone can even start following Christ without a willingness to give up all for Him.

Even one’s own life must be “hated” for the pre-eminence of Christ. Jesus said, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (John 12:25). This attitude against one’s own pleasure and prominence is hardly seen among the modern churchgoers. Such a situation is not at all surprising, as the Lord has already predicted that in the last days “men shall be lovers of their own selves” (2 Timothy 3:2a). In these days, it has become necessary to lament like Paul: “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s” (Philippians 2:21).

We do not have to curse Christ to be His enemy. All we have to do is to love ourselves and care more about earthly things than heavenly things. Ultimately, self-preservation, self-love, self-will and self-righteousness, at the expense of Christ, His righteousness and His kingdom, will lead to spiritual peril or selfdestruction, according to Paul. He cautioned, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things” (Philippians 3:18,19).

The church is instructed to hate what the Lord hates

Even within the church, the house of God, abominable doctrines and practices can creep in. Jesus hated what had happened to His Father’s house, and He formed a whip to drive the merchants out of the temple (John 2:13-17). Those who love the Lord might find things, even within the church, that are hated by the Lord. We must mark such things and avoid them. The apostle Paul says, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18).

If we study the Lord’s letters to the seven churches in the first few chapters of Revelation, we will have very clear evidence that the Lord expects the church to hate whatever that He counts abominable. Consider the following portions of His letters:

The Lord warned the church in Pergamos that some members of the church have accepted that which He hates. “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate” (Revelation 2:14-15). The Lord commanded them to repent (Revelation 2:16).

On the other hand, the Lord commended the church in Ephesus for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which He Himself hated. “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” (Revelation 2:6). Holy hatred is important. The Ephesian church hated what the Lord hated. All they had to do now was to make Jesus the first priority and they would be a powerful testimony for the Lord.

Conclusion

The Bible says that Jesus “loved righteousness, and hated iniquity” (Hebrews 1:9a). Jesus has not changed. He passionately loves what His Father loves, and He passionately hates what His Father hates. And this is the One Who lives in us; the One Who makes us in His image. How can one abide in the Lord Jesus without loving what He loves and hating what He hates?

The measure of our love for the Lord and His righteousness is determined by our hatred for iniquity; and the measure of our hatred for iniquity is determined by our love for the Lord and His righteousness. Holy love and holy hatred go hand in hand. Both are gifts from God. Both are powerful motivators, each one being fuelled by the other.

In your life, you will always love something and hate something else. No one can serve two masters. The question is whether you will love what God loves and hate what God hates, or whether you will love what God hates and hate what God loves. “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).