Archive for the ‘Hating God’ Category

Hating God, Part 35

March 22, 2009

The soul that is given over to the love of self, which is the self-centeredness and pride of the fleshly nature, is a soul that is at enmity with the living God who commands supreme love for Himself in all things. The soul will reject and be at enmity with His authority and His commands. The authority of God commands human beings to be holy as He is holy and to love Him with all of their beings. The unbroken and unregenerate heart is given over to self-love and hates the command to give up its own authority and to do things for God rather than for self. This self-focused soul may be orthodox in its theology and have the outer appearances of love and good works, but without the supreme love of God in all things that soul is doing all it does out of enmity toward God. The authority of God is rejected with open hostility by some, though in others they come up with different ideas about God. The natural human heart, though perhaps very religious, does not want the true God in its knowledge.

Down deep in our souls we know that self-centeredness, selfishness, and pride are hateful things. We do hate them when we see them in others, but instead of hating them out of love for God we hate them because of our own pride and self-centeredness. Those that are ruled by self-love will love those that love them (Luke 6:32), but those that are ruled by the love of God in them can love even their enemies. Since those that are ruled by self-love love those that love them, they love all things for self. As long as God is seen as benevolent toward them and doing what they see as good to them, they will love that idea of God. As long as others do what they want and in accordance with their self-love and interests, they will love them. But when self is crossed, the love of self blinds them to how hateful self-centeredness and pride is. Self-love will does its blinding work by interpreting all things in light of itself. The self-love and self-centeredness of others is hateful to me because it is against my self-love.

When we see the inner-workings of the soul in this light, the bright light of God’s holiness and love for Himself as triune can be seen. For God His self-love is His holiness and for Him to share His love for Himself and His holiness with others requires them to love Him as their holiness. But the unbelieving soul hates God’s self-centeredness and His love for Himself because self wants to rule rather than God. Isaiah 6:3 gives us a picture of the holiness of God: “And one called out to another and said, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.” There is at least a connection between God being thrice holy and the whole earth being full of His glory. It is because God is holy that the whole earth is full of His glory. Isaiah 42:8 tells us of God’s holiness: “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.” Isaiah 48:11 tells us even more of His holiness and glory: “For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.” His holiness is to be focused on Himself.

We can see, then, that a human being that does not live to the glory of God in intent and from love is living in direct opposition to God Himself. The enmity can be clearly seen in that the holiness of God is that He will do all out of love for Himself and His own glory and yet a sinful human being lives for self. John 5:44 puts it this way: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” The pride and self-love of man wants to receive glory from human beings and in this the self-love and pride of man is displayed in its enmity toward God. The Pharisees prayed in order to receive honor from others (Mat 6:1, 5). They did not pray for the glory and honor of God as Jesus instructed (Mat 6:6), but they prayed in order to be seen and honored by men. They gave alms and fasted in order to receive notice and honor from men (Mat 6:2, 16). This shows us that it is possible to preach and do all sorts of religious activities from love for self and the desire to gain the notice and honor of human beings. If we do those things in order to be noticed and honored by men, we are at enmity with the living God who does all things for His own glory.

The book of Revelation speaks of what men need to repent of: “Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory” (16:9). On the other hand, Psalm 115:1 shows us the heart of those that love God: “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, But to Your name give glory Because of Your lovingkindness, because of Your truth.” The one that loves God prays not to receive glory, but that the glory would be God’s. When sinners seek honor for self they are at enmity with the God who does all for His own glory. Wherever a person is seen that desires to be seen by men and to seek honor for self, there is a person that is in open enmity with God. If the person is using religious things to seek self, that person is even more at enmity with God. Self-love and pride is not just to focus on self more than what is healthy, it is to be in open warfare in its enmity toward the living God. Hatred for God is very common.

Hating God, Part 34

March 20, 2009

In the modern world self-love is considered a necessary thing to get by and even to be moral. The necessary consequence of supreme self-love, however, is enmity with God. The Greatest Command is to love God with all of our beings. If we do not have a supreme love to God, which only truly converted people have, then we are of necessity given over to the love of self as the supreme love and governing principle in the heart. If the command is to love God with all of the heart, mind, soul, and strength, then any love for self or for our neighbor must flow from a love for Him. Any love for self that does not flow from a primary love for Him is idolatry and is clearly to be at enmity with Him. The supreme love of a human being is to be reserved for God and for Him alone.

Scripture tells us this in other words as well: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). Surely this verse requires a supreme love to God in all things and shows us how easy it is to fall into idolatry. It is so easy to love family and friends simply from a love for self and think that we have true love. When we think we have true love, we think that we have God and so use our idolatrous love of others to confirm us in our sin. In other words, it is very easy to use our enmity with God as a “biblical” reason to justify ourselves into thinking we have love. The Bible commands people to honor their fathers and mothers. However, one cannot truly love them apart from having the Spirit who works the fruit of love in the soul and one cannot truly love them apart from loving God with the whole being. Yet when a person has been raised in a family where the people are knit together in some way it is very easy to think that is true love. True love must always comes from God and will have God first.

The Scripture will show us the need to be stripped of self and the power of self to truly love. The Spirit will use that Word to hack and hew away at the love of self that all have. The reason this is true is because the love of self is to be at enmity with true love. The Spirit will not allow His people to have such unholiness to remain in the heart that God dwells in. Those that do not truly believe must be broken of this hideous sin of self and pride which is at the heart of the natural man. God demands supreme love for Himself which demands that we love all things for His sake rather than our own. God demands supreme love for Himself even in human relations and our regard for self. That supreme love, of course, is not in the power of the human being but must be worked in the hearts of humans by God Himself. This requires an act or declaration of war in all cases.

When self is supreme, it is the enemy of God. The “mind set on the flesh [self-love, pride, self-centeredness] is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:7-8). The Great Commandment is the Law that all other laws bow to. The mind set on the flesh is hostile to God because it does not love God and so cannot keep even the slightest of His laws from the heart. The mind set on the flesh is a mind that does not have the love of God dwelling in it and so has no ability to keep His law and cannot please God in any way. That mind has no love of God in it and so is at enmity with the true God in all that it does. It is at enmity with God in all it does in religion and even in the ministry. This mind has nothing but enmity toward the true God because it has no true love for God. That mind that has no love for God in it may be very civil toward family and others, but without the true love of God in that soul all that it does is enmity toward God.

The love of human beings for self is the moral governor in the soul and is nothing but the height of idolatry in its enmity toward God and His Great Commandments. The person that is at enmity with God in all that s/he does may be the nicest of human beings as far as other people can tell. That person may be very sweet and servant-like on the outside, but without the love of God in that soul that person is at enmity with Him. That person that is so sweet may go to prayer meetings and plead with God for the physical well-being of others and perhaps even for the salvation of others, but without the love of God in that soul those prayers are at enmity with God too. “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Proverbs 15:8). What we must get our hearts to see and then the hearts of others is that even our prayers and greatest acts we can think of are acts of enmity against God unless we have a true supreme love for Him in our hearts. Human beings idolize self and use the means of grace given by God as nothing but means of self. The idol of self cannot be touched without anger toward people. Why is there so much trouble in professing churches today? It is because there are so many idols of self either being challenged by the truth or they are simply colliding with each other. When our prayers and prayer meetings are acts of enmity against God, we are in great darkness.

Hating God, Part 33

March 17, 2009

The Scripture tells us to “Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor” (1 Cor 10:24) and that true love “does not seek its own” (1 Cor 13:5). In contrast to that, Paul had no one to send as a minister “For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:21). The Word of God tells us not to seek our own and to seek the good of our neighbor (Phil 2:3-4). That is in line with the two Greatest Commandments. It is in light of the Greatest Commandments that we can see the great evil of seeking our own interests. When a minister seeks his own interests rather than the glory of God and the good of human beings, that minister prefers self to the glory of God and the good of the people of God. That is a wicked sin and shows that the minister loves self rather than God Himself. That is a clear violation of the Great Commandments and is the idolatry of self.

In comparing these texts of Scripture we can see the selfishness and self-centeredness of our own hearts. The reason that only believers have true love is because only believers are born of God and know God. The heart that does not know God is a heart that is full of self and pride. The hearts of those that know God are full of the love of God to differing degrees. Only believers have God Himself dwelling in their hearts and so have the love of God in their souls which is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). Those that do not have this love of God in their souls have nothing to move them but their love for self. All that they do, even the best of their religious actions, are things that come from the love of self. All that they do, therefore, are acts of hate toward God because they have no love of God in them but instead are full of self which is opposed to God.

Preachers are commanded to be like Paul who said this in II Corinthians 4:5: “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.” On the other hand, we are told in Philippians 1:15 that some, “to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife.” We also see from John 10:12-13 that there are hirelings as well: “He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 “He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep.” This is what a man does that preaches error or truth for self. One can be as orthodox as a man can possibly be and yet do all for self. One can teach great things and yet the heart still be devoted to self. One can do all the work of the ministry and yet do it all for self. Paul tells us that if we “speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love,” we have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (I Cor 13:1). He goes on to tell us in verse 2 that if we “have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge…but do not have love,” we are nothing.

In the verses in the paragraph above we can see how those in the ministry can be at enmity with God. When the ministry is about self, whether it is about money or about status and honor, then it is self that is being served. We simply must see that this is to be at enmity with God. The ministry is not a place where we can assume that God is served at all times, but it is also a place where self can be put on display. When this is done, regardless of the person’s orthodoxy, it is hatred of God. Judas was a disciple of Christ in name, but he loved the money that was found in the moneybag. Judas was most likely one of those sent out by Christ to preach and to do miracles. But all that he did was for self and he was eventually found out to be a hypocrite.

It is a terrible shame when ministers serve self. It is nothing short of a cosmic crime when these ministers of self take the name of God on their lips and do it for self. Each and every time they read the Bible they are taking the name of God in vain as they are doing it for self. Each time they preach a sermon they are adding to their condemnation because they are preaching for self and as such they are at enmity with God who does all for His own glory. A minister that seeks the interests of self, even if he is a nice and gracious man, is one that is at enmity with God in all that he does. It is a terrible thing to be a minister if that minister does all he does for self. But it is also a terrible thing to profess the name of Christ and to serve self by using His name. This should awaken us to understand and see that we can be very religious and yet use that religious activity for the sake of self. All that we do for the sake and love of self is to be at enmity with God. When even our religious actions are considered by Christ to be lawlessness (Mat 7:21-23), we can know that our sin is truly far greater than we can know. As David says in Psalm 51:4: “Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.” All of our sins are acts of enmity against God, but our religious sins are especially heinous as seen by the fact that Jesus was the hardest on the Pharisees. Could it be that the modern version of Christianity is the most wicked thing in the eyes of God since it is a greater abuse of His truth? The Pharisees would not believe that either.

Hating God, Part 32

March 15, 2009

While this teaching of Scripture is not taught often, it is still necessary. Paul tells us in Romans 7:7 that he “would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.”” Neither do people know that they hate God unless people tell them. People will not believe this about themselves unless it is made clear. While it is clear that people are commanded to love God as the Greatest Commandment in Scripture, it is not so clear to the fallen mind and heart the greatness of the sin in not loving God with all of the being. The fallen mind and heart wants to think that its lack of loving God with all of its being is but a small thing. It wants to think that it is not all that bad and does some good things. The non-religious that do not absolutely deny that God exists think that they love God in not being as bad as others. The religious think that they love God to some degree and that the rest God will just close His eyes to them.

One thing that people do not understand is that their self-love is hatred of God. This is shocking to the fallen soul that does all for itself and then thinks that by doing good things it loves God. Let us look at some Scriptures and compare them with each other. From 1 Corinthians 13:5 we see that love “does not seek its own.” In direct contrast to that we see from II Timothy 3:2 that “men will be lovers of self.” Perhaps the depth of this issue is not obvious on the surface, but it is if we look into the shining character of God. The heart that has been regenerated has the very love of God in it. A true love is a love that comes from a heart that loves God supremely and that can only come from the God of love. A true love for God, then, comes from God and as such is a love that does not seek self as the center and focus of all things. Even in religious things to seek self is not to seek things out of love for God. Yet in the last days the Word tells us that men will be lovers of self. In other words, being given over to love for self is a great judgment because in those that love self supremely the love of God is absent. Where the love of God is absent is a heart that loves self supremely and so does all for self which is hatred of God.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 16:24 that “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” On the other hand, Psalm 12:4 quotes people saying this: “With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” We see the problem so clearly at this point. The denial of self is utterly necessary if we are going to follow Christ. Indeed many try to follow Christ by denying themselves certain things, but they have never truly denied self. When self is not denied, then all that the person does is to follow self. There is no taking up the cross in reality unless self has been denied. True enough some will do many religious things out of a love for the applause of others, but that is simply doing things out of a love for self. Instead people want to have their lips as their own which is to be lord of self. It is not just the lips of the self that people want to be lord over, but all of self. But surely it can be seen that the love of self always leads a person to follow self though it will pretend to follow Christ at times from a love for self. Following Christ out of love for self is hatred for God and not love for Him. It is an attempt to use Him to obtain something for self rather than to serve Him out of true love.

When we see hearts that are so out of line with the Word of God, we can know that there is hatred of God in those hearts whether it is admitted or not. The Word of God (Mat 6:24) tells us that “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other.” If we love and are devoted to self, then we hate God. If we love God, we will hate the pride of self in our own hearts and cry out to God to deliver us from that. Self-love is not just a little something that we do that is wrong; it is to be at enmity with God. To be a lover of self (II Tim 3:2) ends up two verses later (II Tim 3:4) as being “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” If we are religious out of a love for self rather than a love for God, then the whole of our religion is idolatry. We like to think of ourselves as nice people that do mostly good things and refrain from most bad things. But when we are in the service of self, all that we do is bad. Even our righteous acts are as filthy rags (Isa 64:6). When we take Scripture seriously and see what we really do as contrasted with what Scripture really commands, we should be like Isaiah who saw that he had a filthy mouth and pronounced woes upon himself (Isaiah 6:1-5). If we think of ourselves as something other than vile wretches in utter need of grace, perhaps we have not seen the God that Isaiah saw. We must see the true God in order to see the true state of our own hearts.

Hating God, Part 31

March 13, 2009

In the last BLOG we considered out attitude toward those that hate God. In this BLOG we will look at one way to see in our own hearts and others if there is hatred for God there. When the world has brought the idea of love into the professing Church, love has to be looked at from a different way in order to see what it really is. In Paul’s letter to the Romans he shows us one way to do that. In previous BLOGS we have looked at how we can only keep the commandments of God out of love. Paul shows us another other side of the picture: “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Rom 8:7).

In this text Paul shows us that the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile toward God. He makes this statement, but he does not just leave it there. He gives the reason for this. The reason that the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God is that it does not subject itself to the law of God. In fact, not only does this mind set on the flesh not subject itself to the law of God, it is not even able to do so. The word for “able” in this verse is dunamai (dunamai) which is the Greek word for power. As easily seen it is also a word that we get the word “dynamite” from. It has the meaning of “to be able” or “to have power.” The mind set on the flesh is hostile to God and that can be seen in the refusal of people to subject themselves to the law of God. At some point the unbelieving person will not subject him or herself to the Word of God because it has no ability or power to do so.

This is a very hard teaching, but it is the Word of God. In fact, it may be that some reading this may hate what they read. If that is so, then it may be that they are having a hard time subjecting themselves to the law of God. Hatred for God, then, can be seen by the refusal of people to follow the law of God. This will not always be so obvious to outsiders, but it can be obvious to the person and at times to those around them. In line with the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5:17-20, our righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were content to set up laws around the biblical laws which gave them the appearance of keeping the law while they actually violated it. This happens today as well. The biblical law goes to the heart and not just to the external person. The Pharisees would not commit adultery as they counted it, but they were not concerned about their hearts or about unbiblical divorces. They had no power to keep the law because only those who are born of God and know God can keep the law in the heart out of true love (I John 4:7-8).

The Pharisees sure thought they loved God and others seemed to think so as well, but they did not. Since they had no power to keep the law from the heart, they simply “adjusted” the law so that they could make themselves think that they were keeping it. The same thing is happening in America and Europe as well. There are many that want to twist the Scriptures to say that homosexuality is not a sin. Some have no power or ability to flee from that sin and so they twist the Scriptures to their own destruction. Others see that divorce is a problem so they live together in fornication to try marriage out. They also twist the Scriptures to their own destruction. Others don’t like having to believe certain things that the Bible teaches about creation or social issues and so they twist the Bible in order to fit in to some degree with the intellectuals of the world.

There are also many within the professing Church that want to do away with various commands in Scripture in one way or another. We must not hide our heads in the sand and just allow things to go on in this way. The Word of God must be handled with reverence and awe. We understand that people that hate God want to do away with the words and commands of God. What we don’t understand is how people that claim to love God and to revere His Word can still work to hack and hew away at it. When the heart that is opposed to the law of God runs into something it cannot and will not obey, instead of seeking God for repentance it takes out its hermeneutic (interpretation) knife and goes to work to give itself a biblical reason to say that the commandment does not mean what it plainly says. There is a lot of hatred for God that could easily be seen in its opposition to the law of God except that it is hidden under the rubbish of a theological disguise and interpretive gymnastics. But why is it that the heart that hates God hates the law of God? It is because the law of God sets out the character of God and keeping the law from the heart is to be like God. The glory of the holiness of God shines through the Great Commands and then the Ten Commandments. The heart that hates God does not like the God that shines through the law nor does it have the power and ability to keep that law. So in its self-sufficiency it sets out to do away with the law of God. In doing that a horrible self-sufficiency and pride is seen in the heart. Twisting the law of God is nothing less than twisting the character of God and trying to make Him appear like self. Attempting to make the thrice holy God to look like fallen self is an act of hatred far more hideous than words can describe.

Hating God, Part 30

March 11, 2009

In the last BLOG we saw that Moses prayed against those that hated God. He was a man that knew God and spoke to Him face to face. He was the man that cried to see the glory of God (Ex 33:18) and God revealed His glory to. Was Moses in sin in this prayer? Is there that much difference between the Testaments? It brought us to the thought of how to treat those that openly hate the God we love with all of our being. While we are to treat our personal enemies with love, how are we to treat the public enemies of God? David was a man after God’s heart and wrote many Psalms about how much he desired God and longed for God from the depths of his heart.

63:1 – A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 Thus I have seen You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. 3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. 4 So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 5 My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. 6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, 7 For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.

139:19 O that You would slay the wicked, O God; Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed. 20. For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain. 21. Do I not hate those who hate You, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? 22. I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me.

It might appear that these Psalms are direct opposites and we might question whether the same man wrote these. However, these are all from David and all reflect the same heart of love for God. David longed for God and desired to taste His glory. When others oppose God and hate Him, a hatred for them from David was a sign of love for God. David, as King of Israel, was on the throne of a theocracy. In one sense his enemies were God’s enemies. However, in Psalm 139 we see the enemies of God taking His name in vain (v. 20). This is a violation of the third commandment and we hear that in America all of the time. David wrote this after words of exalting God and expressing His love for God. This should be seen as a continuance of praise and worship of God.

In Psalm 139 David prays that God would slay the wicked (v. 19). He says that he hates those that hate the LORD and loathes those that rise against Him (v. 21). He even says that he hates them with the utmost hatred (v. 22) which is more than just a little. What is interesting, then, is that David then asks God to search his heart and to try his heart and his anxious thoughts to see if there was a hurtful way in him (v. 23). This last part shows that David did not see one thing wrong with his attitude toward God and those that hated God, but instead he saw it as true worship of the true and living God. He saw his prayer and attitude as flowing from His love for God. In his younger years we see David killing Goliath. His words as he approached Goliath are very relevant: Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted”” (I Sam 17:45). David’s love for God and His kingdom at that time was seen in his taking up arms and killing Goliath.

Some might say that Jesus had a far different attitude. I am not so sure that He did. He had very strong words for the Pharisees over and over again. Matthew 23:33 is one location for His strong words: “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” He came and disarmed rulers and authorities and triumphed over them (Col 2:15). He came to rule until all the enemies of God are put under His feet (I Cor 15:25). At the cross Jesus defeated the devil and took captives from him. Jesus came and was the kingdom of God that fought against the kingdom of evil. The kingdom of God is in every person that has truly repented of sin and has Christ as his or her life. But we must be very careful here. While indeed we are truly in a spiritual war with the devil and the enemies of God, we are not longer a physical nation to take up arms. We certainly are not to kill our personal enemies nor take it upon ourselves to kill the enemies of God. But surely this should instruct our prayer lives. While we pray for our personal enemies and pray for the Gospel to go out, surely we must pray for God to overcome His enemies. While we don’t know whether He will convert them or not, surely a prayer for His kingdom to come will include the defeat of the enemies of God. Do we really love God?

Hating God, Part 29

March 9, 2009

It is not a pleasant thought to think that true believers are joining with those that hate the LORD. It is not pleasant on at least four counts. One, it is not pleasant to think this because of the greatness and glory of God who deserves a true and pure love. Two, it is not pleasant to think of because of believers who are being deceived. Three, it is not pleasant to think of because of unbelievers who are being deceived. Four, it is not pleasant to think of because the nature of true and pure Christianity is being diluted and misrepresented. The world appears to have taken over in many ways and much of what seems to be happening in the professing Church is more like the world than of Christ. This is simply appalling and unacceptable. Even worse, it is wickedness.

Why is it that the world wants to be religious? Why is it that ministers that don’t believe the Bible at all still want to be a minister? Why do so many people in our day want to be religious in some way? Psalm 81:15 has one part of the answer: “Those who hate the LORD would pretend obedience to Him.” The context of this passage is what would happen to the enemies of Israel if Israel would follow the LORD. Instead of the people listening to the LORD, they followed their own wisdom which came from their own stubborn hearts. This is true of the professing Church today. It is following after the wisdom of men instead of the LORD Himself. In the context of Psalm 81:15 they were told that if they would listen to the LORD He would subdue their enemies who would then pretend obedience to Him. The same is true today. When the LORD rises even His enemies pretend obedience to Him. There are still many people in our day that know that they will die and be in the hands of the living God. That moves them to a pretended obedience. But they have not had their hearts changed to where they love God.

On the other hand, there is the tendency of those that hate God to exalt themselves. Psalm 83:2 tells us this: “For behold, Your enemies make an uproar, And those who hate You have exalted themselves.” Psalm 83 is in the context of those that hate Israel and want to destroy them. It is also a prayer for God to destroy His and Israel’s enemies. The principle is that those that hate God exalt themselves. The Pharisees hated God as seen by their hatred for Jesus. John 15:23 shows that: “He who hates Me hates My Father also.” They used religion to exalt themselves over others. When they prayed and gave alms they sought the honor of others (Matthew 6:1-6). When the true God is hated, people seek to exalt themselves in many ways. Some want to take leadership in churches as a way to exalt themselves. Others want to distort the teaching of the Bible and yet it is to exalt themselves. It is not inconsistent with the hatred of God to desire to be exalted in the things of religion.

In our day people judge the success of a church by the numbers. For some reason they seem to think that God is impressed with numbers, though it may be more likely that it is more like the Pharisees who sought honor among men. The focus of a church is to be God. A church is only successful in a biblical sense if God is present among it. On the other hand, it may have a million members and be a total failure. It is so easy in that atmosphere to be one that exalts self and also bring in false theology and practices. As the Israelites did not think that they were committing idolatry when the made the golden calf, so many today do not see it as a problem to be innovative in things of theology and bringing people into a building under the idea of church. It is within the heart of all human beings to be to one degree or another religious. It is also within the sinful heart of unregenerate human beings to twist and distort the true God in order to live as they please and even to worship as they please.

Scripture is clear that believers are commanded to love their enemies. However, there is a distinction to make here. While we are commanded to love our personal enemy, that is not the same thing as those that that clearly hate and oppose the living God. While all unbelievers hate God, there are those that have given themselves over to a fuller hatred of Him. Num 10:35 is an example of this: “Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, “Rise up, O LORD! & let Your enemies be scattered, And let those who hate You flee before You.” This was from the most humble man on earth at the time (Num 12:3). Perhaps the Church needs to consider things like this more. We like the idea that we are to be nice to everybody and think that God will be nice to us. True love, however, loves the objects of its love enough to hate those that want to harm the objects of its love. If we love God with the love that He puts in us, we will not always be nice and polite to those that hate Him and abuse His holy name. If we will defend the family we love, we should speak for our God and defend His name against those that hate Him. Those that oppose and hate the Church of the living God and God Himself are different than just being personal enemies of believers. This is a subject that needs a lot more thought. But can it be said that we love God if we love those that utterly hate and despise Him and His Church?

Hating God, Part 28

March 7, 2009

One reason that we must consider the reality that all human beings are divided into two kinds (those that love God and those that hate Him) is that we must be careful or those that love God will be greatly influenced by those that hate God. When those that hate God in reality water down the truth to be more acceptable to themselves and others, the problem is not that believers stop loving God, but are deceived into a false standard. If the professing Church has swallowed a false idea of what love is so that people that hate God actually think they love Him, then it is also possible to deceive other about what humility really is as well. So we have love replaced with politeness and niceness and humility is replaced with the idea that it is prideful to assert something as true. In reality humility is the emptiness of self and then the faith that is there receives grace from God. If God reveals Himself to humble souls, it is no longer humility to say that we may not know and assert certain things. It is but nothing but vile pride not to assert truth. It is not love to be polite and externally nice when we must stand for the truth of God and the true good of eternal souls. Those that hate God will not like what is said and will be what moderns think of as offended, but it is not really hate. Those that hate God are offended by the truth and call it unloving and rude.

We must think very carefully through things like this or we will accept in the name of Christ what is in reality directly opposed to Him. Exodus 20:5 warns us of the dangers of idolatry: “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me.” James 4:4 warns us of the dangers of being friends with the world: You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” When the world is brought into the professing Church in the name of Christ, idolatry is sure to follow. When worldly ideas using biblical words and concepts are brought into the professing Church, being friends with the world is sure to follow. What will follow both of those things, then, is that many within the professing Church will be at enmity with God.

In 2 Chronicles 18 we have the story of Jehoshaphat becoming allied with Ahab against Syria. Jehoshaphat was King of Judah and Ahab was King of Israel. It would perhaps have appeared natural to them to be allies since they were, after all, the ones that God had brought out of Egypt and gave the land. They were the twelve tribes of Israel. But remember that Israel had sold itself to idols when it left Judah. The words to King Jehoshaphat in II Chronicles 19:2 are stunning: “Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the LORD and so bring wrath on yourself from the LORD? Jehoshaphat was a good leader compared to many and made many reforms. Yet he was soundly rebuked for helping the wicked and loving those who hated the LORD. He brought wrath on himself for what he did.

Deuteronomy 7:10 says that the LORD “repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face.” God does judge each sin now, but also in eternity if a person does not have Christ. Romans 1:18-32 tells us that God judges sin now. It is correct that a believer that has Christ will not suffer torment in hell for sin. However, the true believer should be moved by love for God and others to flee from sin. When God comes in judgment on the professing Church it does not mean that true believers will be unscathed. God does discipline His children when they are in sin and it is sin when they are joined with those that hate God. This is simply the character of God in both Testaments.

Colossians 1:21 describes what a believer formerly was. They “were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds.” That has to do with religious unbelievers as well. That would include Arminian and Reformed unbelievers as well. That includes both legalistic and liberal religious people. People that are religious can also be alienated from God and hostile to the truth of God. Religious people that do not truly know God are engaged in vile and wicked deeds even in their acts and works of righteousness (Isa 64:6). When believers are deceived and are mixed in with those that hate God, this brings the judgment of God upon all though it is in differing ways. The professing Church is under the judgment of God in our day. Some of it is because believers have been deceived and are mixing in with unbelievers in professing churches. If we wish to be a friend of the world, even though it calls itself a church, we are at enmity with God. It may be that we love those that hate the LORD. Whatever the case, we need to be on our faces seeking wisdom from the LORD to deliver us from those that hate Him and are yet very religious and perhaps orthodox. We need to be delivered from the world’s idea of love and humility that we may be truly humble and truly love from the love that flows from God.

Hating God, Part 27

March 5, 2009

Jesus, Paul and John tell us in many places that to love God we must keep His commandments and love His people. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments” (John 5:2). These verses show us what the heartbeat of Scripture is on this. Those that love God will keep His commandments and love His children. There is no love for God and no love for human beings apart from loving God and keeping His commandments. In fact, it demonstrates hatred for God when we do not love Christians (His children) and do not love and keep His commandments. This is based on two things. One, there are only two kinds of people in the world. There are those that love God and then there are those that hate Him. Two, John 7:7 tells us that “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. People hated Jesus when He preached the Law and told people that they were sinners. God is the Supreme Lawgiver and Judge and sinners hate Him and all about Him.

The Law of God stands in the way of the comfort of sinners in their self-love. The Law stands and tells them that they are violators of God’s Law, that they cannot make up for the guilt of sin, and that they cannot do what they want. The bent of their hearts lead them against the Law and they want to live in the lusts of their pleasures of the body and mind. But the Law stands against them and their consciences. The Greatest Commandment tells them that they must love God with all of their being, but their hearts lead them to love themselves with all of their being. The Second Greatest Commandment tells them that they are to love their neighbors as themselves, but their heart tells them to love their neighbor only to the degree that the neighbor is good for them.

The first command of the Ten Commandments tells sinners that they must always have God first in all things, but sinners do not want God to rule over them and tell them what they can and cannot do. Each sinner is first in his heart and will do what he wants. The second command is not to have idols, but the hearts of men are idol factories. Some think the second command has to do with worship which then tells us to worship God as He has commanded how to be worshipped. But human beings want to worship God as they want to worship Him. The third command tells us to use the name of God and all He has to do with in a reverent way. Yet man reveres himself and will treat God with disdain in order to set up his own rule. Man is far tenderer toward himself and his own honor than he is toward the honor of God. The fourth command sets apart one day in seven to devote to the things of God in an especial way. Yet throughout the history of the Israelites the Sabbath day was violated and opposed. The same is true today. Man wants each day to be at his own disposal and each one wants to rule over all days for himself. We can see, therefore, without going into the commandments in detail how those that do not love God oppose Him in all four of the first table of the commandments. To oppose Him in these is to hate Him rather than love Him.

The second table of the Ten Commandments begins with the command to honor our parents. But of course children want to follow their own heart and modern ways so they violate this commandment. Add to that a society that wants to do away with spanking and allow children free reign of their hearts and we can see a big problem. Then we move on to the sixth which forbids murder. We see and hear about a lot of murders, but we don’t see all the hate that people have for each other. If we hate another person we have hate in our heart and we are guilty of murder. Hate in the heart is a sign of hatred for God. If we love God, we will obey His commandments. Then we come to the seventh which prohibits adultery, but people want to be free in their expression of their sexuality. But as Romans 1:18-32 shows very clearly this is really God turning people over to their sin and hardened hearts because they do not wish to keep Him in their knowledge. People will steal in many ways, lie in many ways, and yet think they are keeping the basic commands. They want to possess what they want when they want it and they think they are lord of their own lips and tongues. But the tenth command reaches the hearts in even deeper ways when it tells us not to covet. This is a direct commandment to the heart. The first command tells us that we are to have God in all things and the tenth command tells us that He is to be all in the heart.

The violation of the laws of God demonstrates a hatred for God and holiness. Deut 20:5 which speaks of those that hate God is in the context of the second command and idolatry. “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me.” All sin is idolatry in some way and so all violations of the commands are idolatry and hatred of God. We keep the commandments from love and violate them from hatred. The hatred of God is widespread because the violation of His commandments is widespread, even in the church.

Hating God, Part 26

March 2, 2009

Scripture teaches us that “the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so” (Rom 8:7). The unbelieving person lives out of self-love and then hatred of God. The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile toward God and it is not able to do anything else but be hostile to God. Many are talked into saying prayers, walking aisles, and signing cards. Those things are professions of religion but they do not change the fundamental nature of the heart. For a person to be truly converted that person’s heart has to be changed from hatred of God to love for God. All the prayers in the world will not change a heart from hating God to loving Him. The Pharisees prayed much and hated even more.

What we see, one would hope with clarity, is that a person of flesh that is hostile toward God cannot subject him or herself to God. This means that the only hope is for God to change the person’s heart and indwell that person with Himself so that the person can love Him. What that means is that all the religions of self are nothing but acts of hatred toward God. That also means that much of what has the name of Christianity today sure appears to be the works of the flesh and so is hatred toward God. The flesh will always be the flesh and will always act like the flesh apart from the regenerating work of the living God. Religious works and activities apart from the work of God can be nothing but the work of the flesh and as such is hatred of God. The flesh will not and cannot change apart from God doing it. All that the flesh can do, despite the appearance of religious activities, is hatred of God. As can be seen from the Israelites God seemed to hate their religious activities when done in the flesh more than the world that did not have the revealed ways of God.

We know that the Greatest Commandment is what is to guide all that a human being is to do. A believer has the love of God in the soul and so lives out of love for God. However, the believer is still far from having a perfect love for God. But the fact that there is some love in the act shows that God is at work in the soul. But the unbeliever has nothing but hatred for God. The unbeliever has no love for God at all because the God of love is not in his or her soul. Nothing the unbeliever does can possibly be acceptable to God apart from the love of God in the soul. Yet the believer is acceptable to God because Christ has died for the believer and God lives in and works love in the soul of that person. What the believer does is accepted on behalf of Christ. All that the unbeliever does is moved from a heart that hates God in all that it does.

It is true, however, that unbelievers do not hate the god they believe in. But the god they believe in is not the holy and just God who revealed and reveals Himself in nature and Scripture. Professing atheists try to convince themselves that they do not believe in God, yet others try to convince themselves to twist the Bible or other things enough to enable them to believe in a god but not the God. Much religious activity happens in the spoken name of the God of the Bible but it has nothing to do with love for the true God. Many will weep and shed tears for many things in the name of love for the god of their own imaginations while using the name of the God of the Bible. This is very deceptive to them and to the watching world. It is no wonder that the world mocks Christianity so much because the fake gods that are presented are worthy of nothing but disdain. The world mocks “Christians” because of their behavior and irrational outlook, and the truth of the matter is that the world is right much of the time. Many of those who speak name of Christ actually hate the true God and so their religious and moral behavior is indeed irrational in many ways. A false god leads to false behavior. A fleshly person following a god of the imagination is not one that will gender anything but contempt. But the world and religious people alike, apart from the regenerating work of God, hate the true God. While they come at it from different ways and are hidden under different guises, the hatred of all those that hate God comes from a love of self which is the true idol.

People are afraid to hate God, so they must do something to cover their hatred of Him. They will twist and turn to get out of a conscious awareness of being in His presence. They intellectually try to deny Him or distort who He really is. Psalm 10 gives us a picture of this. In verse 4 it says that “The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”” Yet it says in verse 11 that “He says to himself, “God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.”” On the one hand the wicked tries to make self think that there is no God in order to commit the wicked acts. Yet after the wicked acts s/he will try to convince himself that God will never see it. Both are acts of hatred against God. Both come from a desire to be god to self and to distort reality for the sake of self. Both reflect the heart that hates the idea of the true God because He is in conflict with the desires of the sinful self. Both are undiluted hatred of God, religious or not.