Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
Two weeks ago, we began looking at two new aspects of walking in love. These include loving without hypocrisy, hating evil and clinging to what is good.
LOVING WITHOUT HYPOCRISY
We studied that we can know if our love is genuine in two ways –
1. Genuine love keeps the commandments of God
Jesus pointed out in John 15 that the man who loves God will keep His commandments. It will reflect in his actions, behavior and conduct. He will obey the Word of God.
2. Genuine love loves the commandments of God
When we love what the Commandment of God says and obey it because we love itthen we appreciate and esteem it. Thereby we are fulfilling the law in letter and in spirit. Sadly many people obey the commandments with a legalistic attitude. Their excuse might be to not be punished by God. There is no genuine desire to obey God’s law in their hearts. For example – they will talk about following the laws but often their lifestyles don’t show that obedience. They will happily watch TV shows or programs where totally evil things are happening, completely against God and his nature. In their heart they don’t love God’s commandments enough to hate their entertainment options that stand against God ordained life.
Now in the event we still have doubts about genuine love, then we can turn to God’s Word to see what real love looks like. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, ‘Love suffers long, is kind, love does not envy, love does not parade itself. Love is not puffed up, love does not behave rudely, love does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails’.
Another Bible portion that shows real love is Romans 6:17 that says,‘But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered’. When the truth of God’s Word is preached to us and we receive it, the Holy Spirit begins to change our heart. We slowly start to obey the Word. It is not a legalistic obedience but one that has birthed out of the truth, that has been preached to us.
ABHOR EVIL AND CLING TO GOOD
Now, the other aspect of walking in love includes abhorring and clinging.
The word ‘abhor’ means to hate, to be totally and mentally in opposition to certain things because we dislike it completely. The Bible says that our hatred must be aimed at the evil. Evil is something that is totally the opposite of good. Evil hates the good and works militantly against the good.
Look around the world. We see the ugly face of evil causing havoc everywhere. It is well organized, very powerful and well funded too. It gets a sadistic delight out of the atrocities that are unleashed. Sadly, many governments find themselves no match to the wicked and ruthless attacks of the evil.
The Bible says that we must hate evil. Unfortunately many people don’t obey God and hate evil. They are able to tolerate it. But as a Christian we must hate what is evil. Instead of enjoying or being unperturbed, we must actively abhor and hate the wicked things of this world. There might be good, moralistic people in the world that hate evil but definitely not as much as a Christian can and should.
Let me tell you why.
ONLY A BELIEVER CAN TRULY HATE EVIL
This is because unless we know God, have a relationship with Him, appreciate His goodness, holiness, and perfection, we cannot truly hate evil. Therefore Paul says in Romans 12:1 ‘I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God.’ He is addressing believers who have experienced God’s redemptive Salvation. A believer can understand God’s divine, agape love. It is an intelligent love. Like we already looked at it in the past, the alternative is the animal instinct love. It is like a tiny bird building a beautiful nest to protect its young ones. But divine love is much higher than that. It comes from God and is imparted to us through His Holy Spirit. This love enables us to see God’s glory and perfection and that naturally causes us to hate evil.
THE PSALMIST’S FURY
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters,
Who makes the clouds His chariot,
Who walks on the wings of the wind,
Who makes His angels spirits,
His ministers a flame of fire.
You who laid the foundations of the earth,
So that it should not be moved forever,
You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
The waters stood above the mountains.
At Your rebuke they fled;
At the voice of Your thunder they hastened away.
They went up over the mountains;
They went down into the valleys,
To the place which You founded for them.
You have set a boundary that they may not pass over,
That they may not return to cover the earth’.
He sends the springs into the valleys;
They flow among the hills.
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
By them the birds of the heavens have their home;
They sing among the branches.
He waters the hills from His upper chambers;
The earth is satisfied with the fruit of Your works.
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man’s heart.
The trees of the Lord are full of sap,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds make their nests;
The stork has her home in the fir trees.
The high hills are for the wild goats;
The cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers.
He appointed the moon for seasons;
The sun knows its going down.
You make darkness, and it is night,
In which all the beasts of the forest creep about.
The young lions roar after their prey,
And seek their food from God.
When the sun rises, they gather together
And lie down in their dens.
Man goes out to his work
And to his labor until the evening’.
O Lord, how manifold are Your works!’
In wisdom You have made them all.
The earth is full of Your possessions—
This great and wide sea,
In which are innumerable teeming things,
Living things both small and great’.
There the ships sail about;
There is that Leviathanwhich You have made to play there.
These all wait for You,
That You may give them their food in due season.
What You give them they gather in;
You open Your hand, they are filled with good.
You hide Your face, they are troubled;
You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
You send forth Your Spirit, they are created;
And You renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
May the Lord rejoice in His works.
He looks on the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the hills, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
May my meditation be sweet to Him;
I will be glad in the Lord.
May sinners be consumed from the earth,
And the wicked be no more.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord
In the first 34 verses, we read the Psalmist ascribing glory and honor to God, the Master Creator and His wonderful works. Then just before he concludes, he makes a startling statement – that sinners must be no more and that they must be consumed. That’s because the more he understands the love, holiness and perfection of God, he cannot but hate the evil and wicked people that spoil God’s beautiful creation and His glorious name. God had created this earth stocked with wonderful provisions so that we could be blessed. He provided everything that we would ever need, even before creating Adam and Eve. But wicked sinners have ruined this earth and destroyed it. Therefore the Psalmist gets angry. He hates the evil and lashes out against it.
WHAT ELSE DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT HATING EVIL?
Let us look at some more Bible passages to see what God says about evil.
- Psalm 97:10 says,‘You who love theLord, hate evil’. The Bible says that if we love the Lord then we must hate evil. Sometimes we think that as a Christian we are meant to be polite and gentle. Well, that’s absolutely necessary. But at the same time, we are called to completely hate evil. If we love God truly, then hating evil is something that is just like the other side of thecoin.
- Amos 5:15 says, ‘Hate evil, love good’. Everything good comes from God. God Himself is good. So if we love God, then we will love everything that is good and we will hate everything that is evil.
- 1 Peter 3:10, 11 says,‘For He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it’. Here again we read that God asks us to hate evil and to do good.
- Jude23 says, ‘but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire,hating even the garment defiled by the flesh’. Every evil, even the smallest amount that comes and clings to us must be hated like a dirty garment.
- 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 say, ‘Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God’This passage draws a comparison between the believer and the unbeliever, righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness, Christ and Belialand temple of God and idol. We cannot compare these contrasting categories. They can never agree in anyway.
SO WHY DO WE OBEY THE COMMANDMENTS?
We look at the commandments of God as an expression of His nature, not as rules and regulations. For example – God says don’t murder because He is the giver of life, or when He says don’t commit adultery it is because He is a truthful and faithful God. We see that these commandments reflect His nature, character and love. Disobedience to the law is rebellion against God.
CLING TO GOOD
Finally, let us see what God says about clinging to good. Some translations refer to cling as to cleave. To cleave is to be joined together. Therefore, God commands man and woman to cleave to each other in marriage and become one. Similarly, we are meant to cling to that which is good.
So what is good? Everything that is good in God’s sight is good for us to cling to. So in our mind, mental attitudes and disposition we are called to cling to that which is good, to appreciate and esteem the good.
So, loving without hypocrisy and abhorring evil and clinging to good are commandments of God. When we love God and follow these commandments, we are able to have a successful Christian life in all areas of our lives. Unfortunately, as a young boy I thought that I needed to attend deliverance meetings and be prayed for so that evil would leave me. But that is not enough. The truth is that we need to understand God’s Word in order to hate evil. As we stand on and walk in God’s Word every day, loving God and hating evil, the Holy Spirit will enable us to live a successful life. So let us love one another without any hypocrisy, hate every form of evil, as God wants us to and cling to His good.