Love God; Hate Evil
Today’s reading: Psalm 96-98; Romans 12
10 O you who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the lives of his saints; he delivers them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 97:10
9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:9-10
The true disciple will bring his or her whole being to God as a living sacrifice and be transformed by a renewed mind.
Our psalms for today are at the heart of a section in which God is worshiped and praised as King (Psalm 93, 95-100). We hear the exclamation, “The Lord reigns” several times. God is also portrayed as the Judge of all the earth. His rule is absolute. His laws are perfectly just and His judgments are flawless. Obviously, human kings have laws which can be and often are biased. Their judicial rulings are not perfect. But our God is just in every way and His laws and judgments are infallible. So it is not only safe but right to love the Lord and to hate evil, as He defines it by His law. The Psalmist exhorts us, who love the Lord, to hate evil. These are two sides of a coin, impossible to separate. If you love the Lord, you will hate evil. If you do not hate evil, your love for the Lord is in question. Can one’s love for God be genuine, if he does not hate what God hates?
Paul makes an exhortation to the recipients of his letter in Rome which similarly includes the words “love” and “abhor.” He raises the possibility, the danger, of phony love. One may pretend to love but not truly love. Loving action can be counterfeit, a setup for later betrayal, like Judas Iscariot. Check your love to be sure it is genuine, writes Paul. He goes on to tell them to “Abhor what is evil.”
The Christian faith and life is not only a matter of correct theology, although that is essential, but also a matter of attitudes and actions, the involvement of the will and emotions. The one who brings himself to God as a living sacrifice seeking a renewed mind will be transformed in thoughts, attitudes, and actions. That renewing will not be completed instantly. It is a life-long process called sanctification which culminates when we see the Lord face to face (I John 3:1-3).
Take one step forward in godliness today, by presenting yourself to Him as a living sacrifice out of genuine love for Him. Combine that with a hatred of evil, confessing the sin that lurks in your own heart. You will be transformed as your mind is renewed to love God and hate evil.