In counseling, parenting, and my own personal pursuit of godliness I have found that hating sin is an easily overlooked but never overstated priority. Sin brings consequences. Often these consequences are painful. It is a real temptation for us to hate the consequences and never get around to hating the sin. Don’t get me wrong, we should hate how sin hurts ourselves and others. But we can’t leave it there. Until sin is actually hated for its odious and repulsive character we will not make true progress in godliness. We may make progress in morality but not holiness; for this requires a godly hatred of sin.
So here are three reasons why you should hate sin. In thinking upon these, may they provoke a holy hatred of all that opposes the reign of God in our lives.
1. BECAUSE IT OPPOSES GOD’S WORD
The Word of God is good. It reflects God’s character, teaching us what holiness is and isn’t (Rom. 7:12-13). Sin therefore is transgression of God’s law (1 Jn. 3:4). Sin is the staged opposition to goodness. It is our protest in the streets of God’s rule over us. Furthermore, it is not a peaceful protest. It is the raised hand to regality. And this rule of God is a good rule. He defines what good is (Ps. 119:68); anything that opposes God is evil and wicked. See, we need to think like this. Sin is not simply our condition, personal proclivities, or the result of our environment. It is all of these, but it is far more! Sin is evil because it opposes a good God. It disregards his Word and raises a backhand to him upon his throne. Dear friends, hate sin because it is drenched in bile of all that is undesirable. There is nothing commendable, humorous, cute, or good about it. Sin is, at its core, odious.
2. BECAUSE OF ITS DESTRUCTIVENESS
We understand from the Bible that the wages of sin is death. Think about this, every single tombstone throughout history is a trademark of sin. Every minute 105 people die. That is 151,600 people per day and more than 55 million per year. Sin is destructive. But not only does it end life, it also makes life miserable. Every argument, punch in the face, stabbing, gossip, and raised voice in anger comes from sin. The tears of regret, guilt, shame, and fear come from sin. Sin destroys lives at a record pace. Take a look around see its destructiveness. Don’t simply hate the confined consequences of sin in your own life, consider the cataclysmic ravaging of depravity upon humanity. Hate all of the consequences, but even more, hate sin.
3. BECAUSE JESUS BLED FOR IT
If I haven’t won you yet, I pray that now I will. How evil is sin that Christ must die to pay for it? How vile a thing is sin that it claimed the infinite beauty of Immanuel? Do you not see its soot and stench now with Christ hanging naked and clamoring for breath? The bruised and battered Jesus was paying sin’s tab.
Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load;
‘Tis the WORD, the LORD’S ANOINTED,
Son of Man and Son of God.
When you are tempted to sin, consider how Christ bled and died for that sin. Consider how he himself so hated sin and so loved you that he bore that awful load.
Who but Christ had dared to drain,
Steeped in gall, the cup of pain
And with tender body bear
Thorns and nails and piercing spear?
When you are considering how to fight sin, consider your Savior fighting against sin. See him guzzle that eternal vat of divine wrath so that you could come to the Lord’s Table and drink the cup of blessing. Friend, consider Jesus shedding his precious blood for your sin. And then with your teary eyes and white-knuckled resolve, lean into the Spirit and echo God’s hatred of sin. The grace of Calvary will train your spiritual nostrils to see sin as supremely repulsive.
Editor's note: This piece originally published at Erik's blog on The Gospel Coalition.