Many of you know that my New Jersey friend Frank and I are reading through God’s Word together (described here). We’re now in the book of Romans and are reading chapter 12 each day this week.I count 24 injunctions or commands or imperatives for the believer here in Romans 12. I’m aware that the expression “critical imperative” is redundant, but I think it’s useful for what we see here in this great chapter. Let’s continue our multipart study by looking at verse 9.
We’ve seen that the believer is to offer his body as a living sacrifice, not to conform to the pattern of this world, to be transformed by the renewing of his mind, to think of himself with sober judgment, and to use his gifts to build up the body of Christ.
The sixth critical imperative is —6. The believer is to HATE! (v. 9)
The topic of HATRED is seldom studied in the Scriptures. God hates. And godly people are to hate. Really! Here is the biblical evidence:
VERSES OF GOD HATING:
Psalm 5:5 The arrogant cannot stand in your presence. You hate all who do wrong;
Psalm 11:5 The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.
Proverbs 6:16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
Isaiah 1:14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
Hosea 9:15 “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious.
Amos 5:21 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.
Zechariah 8:17 “do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,” declares the Lord.
Malachi 1:3 2 “I have loved you,” says the Lord. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’
“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, 3 but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”
VERSES OF OUR HATING:
Ecclesiastes 3:8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
Psalm 31:6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the Lord.
Psalm 45:7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.
Psalm 97:10 Let those who love the Lord hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 119:113 I hate double-minded people, but I love your law.
Psalm 139:21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
Proverbs 8:13 To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
Amos 5:15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts.
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
John 12:25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Romans 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Revelation 2:6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
A SUMMARY OF THIS ISSUE OF HATE!
We must recognize that just as there is godly pride and godly jealousy, there is also a kind of godly hatred! The Bible teaches that God hates those who do wrong; He hates “with a passion” those who love violence. Seven sins are hated by the Lord (and the seventh He really detests). God hates “with all [His] being” Israel’s empty New Moon feasts and appointed festivals.
God says of His people Israel in Hosea, “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there.” Again He shows His contempt for His people’s religious emptiness when He says, “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.” God hates the sin of those who plot evil against another and who love to swear falsely. We learn in Malachi of the Lord saying, “I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated.”
It’s one thing for God to hate, but are we too as well? Yes! There is “a time to hate,” says Ecclesiastes. The Psalmist says he hates those who cling to worthless idols, that those who love the Lord should hate evil. He says he hates double-minded people and declares, “Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?” In fact, the very definition of fearing the Lord, according to Proverbs is “to hate evil.” Amos tells us that we are to “hate evil, love good.”
Amazingly, in Luke Jesus says that one must hate his family . . . or he cannot be Christ’s disciple. He actually tells us to hate our own life so that we will gain eternal life. The Apostle Paul looks at his life and says that he doesn’t do what he should and hates what he does do! Believers are commanded in Romans 12 to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (very similar to Amos’ statement).
Obviously in some of these passages the Lord Jesus is using hyperbole, an exaggeration for effect. But figures of speech (like hyperbole) are used when “normal” language doesn’t suffice. Feeling intense animosity against those things that God hates is one aspect of the Christian life that we have missed. Perhaps we have overemphasized our understanding of His “love” to our own detriment.
Today’s Challenge: What should you actively HATE today? Why? And how will you express that godly hatred?