Do We Hate Sin Or Play With It?
Parents who truly love a newborn child hate and avoid anything which harms that child. Environments of disease and sickness are avoided. People who have contagious diseases are not welcomed guests. This is as it should be, and most understand this is for the good of the child.
That same hatred for anything that harms physically should also apply to anything that harms spiritually -- sin. David said, "Through Thy precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way" (Psa. 119:104). A similar statement later is, "Therefore I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; And I hate every false way" (vs. 128).
Moses anticipated Israel's entrance into Canaan's idolatrous culture and warned, "The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the Lord your God. Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Utterly abhor and detest it, for it is set apart for destruction" (Deut. 7:25,26). Abhor and detest are good synonyms for hate, and such was to be Israel's feelings toward the idolatrous trappings of Canaan.
However, Israel's toying (dealing with something lightly or without vigor or purpose) with idolatry later led Joshua to say that Israel could not "serve Jehovah" as long as these remained (Josh. 24:19). He was right. Following his death, Israel "forsook Jehovah, and served Baal and the Ashtaroth" (Jdgs. 2:13). This led to a downward spiral ending eventually in their destruction as a nation.
Lest anyone think that God has "softened" His Old Testament view of sin, Jesus Himself said, "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matt. 18:6). It is difficult to imagine how execution by drowning at sea is "better" than anything. However, Jesus said that such was "better" because one who leads another to sin has the ultimate destiny of hell that is much "worse"!
Paul told Ephesian Christians, "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience". (Eph. 5:3-6, NKJV). Clearly, Christians are to abhor and detest sins common to our society to the degree that there is not "even a hint" of them around us. Love for God and a desire to go to heaven should form a hatred for sin and avoidance of everything that would lead one to hell. Since this is true...
1. Never Intentionally Sin Even Once: -- One's conscience can become "seared" (1 Tim. 4:2) and insensitive to the terribleness of it. Something by which one was "bothered" earlier becomes, as lying does, a little easier every time it's done. Sin is "deceitful" (Heb. 3:13). It promises what it cannot fulfill, costs more than expected, and will keep one longer than intended. No wonder Paul said to "exhort one another daily... so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." Once you deliberately violate your conscience and intentionally sin, the road to hell becomes easier.
2. Hate Sin Enough That Even If Doing Right, Nothing Will Appear To Be Wrong: -- The influence of sin is so terrible that we should not only do right, but also do nothing that looks wrong! Paul knew questions might arise concerning any misallocation of the monetary gift Gentile churches were collecting for Jerusalem saints. To avoid raising any questions of impropriety, Paul had several men accompany him and the gift. "We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men" (2 Cor. 8:20,21). Perception of wrong even to the world should be a concern to Christians.
I have known faithful brethren who would never be alone in a house with another woman who was not his wife or relative. This illustrates the principle above. However, some have never been taught or have forgotten this principle. In last month's Truth Magazine, Connie Adams had this to say even about preachers misbehaving:
"And what shall we say about purity toward the sisters?
The cause of Christ suffers from those who preach the
truth about purity while living immorally. Out of "counsel-
ling" sessions in the preacher's study affairs have devel-
oped, flirtations have matured into inflamed passion,
marriage vows have been violated, and then a trail of lies
invented to cover such betrayals of trust. When these
come to light, families are shattered, children bewildered,
is lost, the weak are made to stumble, and only
the judgment will reveal the number of lost souls in the
wake of such deeds."
If I had a car problem, needed help, and a bar were close by, and other help a half-mile or so away, I would walk! Even if one didn't drink in the bar, his appearance going into, time spent inside, and coming out would give anyone who saw him justifiable questions. Someone may say, "That's judging" Yes, but why do people go to bars? Not to make calls but to drink liquor. Your presence, even if you were doing right, leads to wrong assumptions. Influence is important, especially on the world (Matt. 5:13-16), and we are to live so as to influence everyone to live righteously, not ungodly lives. We are to "Have regard for good things in the sight of all men." (Rom. 12:17), and "give no occasion of stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the church of God" (1 Cor. 10:32). It's sinful to drink (1 Pet. 4:3). It is likewise wrong to sit around socializing at a place where such is done. One should not only not drink, but also never give anyone a reason to believe that he does.
We are to "flee fornication" (1 Cor. 6:18), which means avoid putting ourselves in a position where fornication is easy, such as when an unmarried and eligible man and woman live together and alone in a house. Christians should live so as not only to avoid fornication, but also avoid appearing to others that such occurs.
Loving and hating anything generally comes by learning more about that thing; why it is lovable or detestable. The more we know of God's character, His Word, the more we will view sin from His point of view, and the more we will grow to hate it, not flirt with it. God's Will, found in His Word, defines what sin is (1 Jno. 3:4), and is our shield against it. "Thy Word have I laid up in my heart, That I might not sin against Thee" (Psa. 119:11). Let us hate sin and not play with it, and love righteousness and be serious about it.