(Warning: Only for those who desire a radical faith!)
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9 NIV)
In Romans 12:9-21, Paul pens verses that make a wonderful dance partner for 1st Corinthians 13, the love chapter of the bible.
He begins in verse nine with, “Love must be sincere.” Meaning unfeigned—real and not fake, not simply a pretense of love. He goes on to describe what this kind of love looks like in action.
It’s interesting that the very first description of true, unfeigned love involves something that seems quite contrary to love’s very essence. But upon close scrutiny it is not contrary, but necessary. The NIV translators use the word “Hate,” seemingly, an opposite to love. The word originally penned in Greek is, “Apostugeo”, and means to ‘utterly detest’. KJV renders the word, “Abhor”.
One cannot love well, until they develop a genuine disgust for all that is evil and contrary to love. We should have a distinct aversion to anything unholy or wicked. Assimilating God’s feelings and responses toward evil into the core of our being, is essential, in order to be truly united with God, through our faith in Christ Jesus. Hate what is evil, while clinging tightly to all that is good. That’s what true conversion is: A turning of our affections from the sin and wickedness of the world, to the righteousness, holiness and love of heaven.
“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)
Our hearts and minds are now “set” on God, on righteousness and holiness. It’s where our affections lie. We hunger and thirst for righteousness, and are repulsed by the opposite of it. How can we possibly resist doing something we are still kindly dispositioned towards? We cannot! If I still love my sin, I cannot fully turn from it. I can try, but will fail.
For example, if I’d had a former love for the lifestyle of drug and alcohol abuse, carousing, sexual promiscuity and such, and if I now don’t hate it, I’ll not be able to resist its appeal for long, and will return to my sin, as a pig returns to its wallowing in the mud.
We must develop a hatred for sin, just as God hates sin. And until we do, we shall never be fully transformed and joined to the ways of love. Neither will we know the full contentment and satisfaction that being fully immersed in that love provides. We will seek satisfaction elsewhere and return to our old sin to find it. Strange, how so easily we can forget that our sin never really satisfied us, but only left us with a hunger for more.
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