Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 22 April 21:
Romans 12:9 — “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil.”
To truly love is to hate evil; it is impossible to love while accepting evil which is always wholly contrary to love. God, who is Love, hates, “abhors” evil; therefore, we must hate evil also. God says that to truly worship Him, we must “present [our] bodies as… living sacrifice[s], holy and acceptable to God,” and He warns us that the world’s concept of love, which accepts and even approves of sin, is contrary to His – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Romans 12:2).” As we read in Judges today, the world loves evil and will violently oppose those who live by the love of God, but Paul encourages us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).”
- Isaiah 5:20 — Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
- Proverbs 8:13 — The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
- Psalm 97:10-12 — O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous, and give thanks to his holy name!
- Amos 5:14, 15 — Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
- 3 John 1:11 — Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.
- Psalm 11:5 — The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.
- Proverbs 25:26 — Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) Do you have “acceptable” sins in your life which have been weighing you down, robbing you of your joy and peace, hindering your relationship with God and with others? Today is the day to lay them aside and run your best race.
“Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:11-12) “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1) Love demands that you intervene in the lives of others who are being led astray by sin – it is unloving not to “hold back those who are stumbling.” However, confrontation must be done with wisdom and grace. It isn’t judgmental to convict someone of their sin; it is judgmental to condemn them because of their sin with a self-righteous spirit (as if we aren’t also sinners totally dependent on God’s mercy and grace). “Silence is consent.” If you say and do nothing, you are implicitly condoning their demise. True love speaks the truth in love.
- Ezekiel 3:17-21 — Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul. Again, if a righteous person turns from his righteousness and commits injustice, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die. Because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the righteous person not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning, and you will have delivered your soul.”
- Jude 1:17-23 — But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.
Dig deeper on hating sin and loving the sinner by reading this sermon delivered on Sabbath morning, August 8, 1858, by the Reverend Charles H. Spurgeon at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens: “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” (Psalm 97:10) — https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/0208.cfm
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 22 Apr 21: Practice genuine love by abiding in Christ, hating sin, and loving sinners.