To Love What God Loves, And To Hate What God Hates

Yesterday at services, one of our deacons gave a message based on Proverbs 6:12-19 [1] that discussed, in great detail, what God hates. This came on the heels of a message by one of our congregation’s elders on the different manifestations of the singular fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives, ultimately ending in self-sacrificial love for others, even those who hate us. While I have written often, and at length, about matters of God’s love and hatred [2], clearly the subject is far beyond what a short post of mine, written in the midst of a hurry about getting ready for a drive, can hope to accomplish. Nevertheless, I would like to indicate at least both sides of this difficulty, in that we must love what God loves, and hate what God hates, and not view people themselves, especially believers, as the abomination, but rather view different forms of wickedness as the abomination. Although this is difficult to do, it is a matter of considerable importance in the development of godly character demonstrated in a passionate love and outgoing concern for God’s people and God’s ways.

It is surprisingly, and lamentably, easy, for us to view people as an abomination. In Acts 10:25-29, in discussing the change in Peter’s viewpoint of the ceremonially clean status of believers, whether Jew or Gentile, a vision that is often illegitimately used to discuss clean and unclean meats [3] ends up demonstrating that the Jewish view of Gentiles, even Godfearing Gentiles, as common and unclean was itself unjust: “As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?”

Let us briefly note at least a few areas of interest for this passage. For one, despite the idolatrous regard that some who profess themselves Christians give to Peter and those who claim to be his successors, Peter here refused worship for he was only a man and a servant of God, in the same way that the angels of Revelation refused worship from John on the same grounds (see, for example: Revelation 22:8). Additionally, we see that Peter got the point of his vision with the unclean and common meats, in that he erred by calling any man unclean or common, in the way that Jews considered Gentiles to be dogs, a snobbery that ended up being visited back in turn with hatred and contempt in the aftermath of the Jewish rebellion. Nevertheless, even Jewish Christians with the Holy Spirit gave Peter a hard time about fellowshipping with Cornelius and his party before he explained himself, leaving them to the obvious, if grudging, conclusion in Acts 11:18b: “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” In brief, loving like God loves means loving people who love God.

Hating what God hates is no less problematic. What God views as an abomination or what God hates is far too long of a list to discuss here, but a brief list is suggestive: divorce (Malachi 2:16), evil (Amos 5:15), idolatrous pillars (Deuteronomy 16:22), the way that heathen people worship God, including child sacrifice (Deuteronomy 12:31), unclean meats (Leviticus 11:10-13, 20, 23, 41-42), homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), other sexual sins, including adultery and incest (the rest of Leviticus 18), and so on. Sometimes to understand the reason why something is an abomination to God is not always clear to people, but we are to follow God’s instructions and seek to understand later in the context of obedience. In general, though, there are some patterns to what God hates, those who corrupt His purposes for life, those who cross over the boundaries God has set to protect us from harm, and those who take advantage of others and fail to restrain their own behavior. As difficult as such matters may be in our life, let us be people of godly restraint, with a passionate hatred for evil, even given our complexities of character and nature. Nothing worth becoming is an easy or trivial thing to become, though.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/portrait-of-a-wicked-man-proverbs-612-19/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/i-hate-them-with-perfect-hatred/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/god-put-you-in-my-way/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/pure-and-undefiled-religion-before-god-and-the-father-is-this-part-one/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/the-glory-of-love/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2015/07/13/i-thought-that-love-watched-over-this-house-but-youre-boarding-up-the-windows-now/

[3] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/book-review-eat-like-jesus/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/07/23/you-shall-not-eat-an-examination-of-the-biblical-food-laws/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Christianity, Church of God, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to To Love What God Loves, And To Hate What God Hates

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