Let me provide an example of the reasons behind the evilness of a particular sin: the unlawful taking of a life. Why is that evil? Life is cheap in our culture—murders are rampant and so called “mercy deaths” are growing in acceptance. Christians protest the abortion of babies in the womb, but why? What makes it really evil? Yes, God says, “You shall not murder,” but what is the logic of this command? After the flood of Noah’s day, God restarted the human race. It had became very wicked and full of violence, so much so that after the flood, He instituted the death penalty for murder, instructing us as to why murder is such a great evil. Murder is not simply a matter of hurting someone or taking their life, as wicked that is. The core of the evil is described in Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”
When we unjustly kill another human being, we are destroying the image of God. We are attacking that image. Murder is ultimately directed at God, the God who created human beings and sovereignly rules over us by His Son, Jesus. Killing babies is a great evil because it is ultimately a war against God waged through an attack on His image bearers. Murder strikes against the very person of God. In the final analysis, however, this is true of all sin, for all sin is against the character and person of God.
Hating Sin and Its Consequences
Hating sin for what it does to you is not the primary reason to hate sin. Everyone hates drunkenness when they experience the hangover. To hate drunkenness because of what it does to you is not hating sin; it is hating the unpleasant consequence of that sin. The reason to hate drunkenness is because God hates it. All people are called to have a sober mind (1 Peter 1:13), therefore we are to avoid drunkenness. We cannot do this without understanding that sin is our enemy and is an offense against our righteous and holy God. The conviction that sin is our deadly enemy because it is contrary to the holiness of God enables us to learn to hate sin, more and more. Thanks be to God, as new creatures in Christ we can love what God loves and hate what He hates for the same reasons that God loves and hates those things. We can more and more hold His honor high and desire to glorify Him in all we think, all we say and all we do (Ps. 97:10).
Love God’s Word
As we learn to hate sin, we must also grow to love God’s Word, filling our mind with His sanctifying truth as we read it, keeping His commandments and growing even more in knowledge (Ps. 119:97–100). This is a means of great spiritual growth and maturity.
The world looks negatively upon Christians and is quick to point out all forms of hypocrisy. If the world expects Christians to have confessed and repented from their sins, how much more does our God? Repentance is the expression of our faith in a meaningful way. If we do not hate sin enough or not at all, let us pray to God for that gift of hatred and, if needed, saving faith, for our good and for God’s glory.