The Holy Hatred of Sin

Written by Thomas Watson

deathofsalesman“Through your precepts I get understanding, therefore I hate every false way.”
-Psalm 119:104

There is in every penitent a sincere hatred of sin, a universal hatred of sin.

True hatred is universal—it is to the whole kind. He who hates sin because it is sin, hates every sin, and therefore he cannot but turn from it, and labor to be the death and ruin of it. Holy hatred is an implacable and an irreconcilable principle. You shall as soon reconcile God and Satan together; Christ and antichrist together; heaven and hell together—as you shall be able to reconcile a penitent soul and his sin together. A true penitent looks upon every sin as contrary to the law of God, the nature of God, the being of God, the glory of God—and accordingly his heart rises against it. He looks upon every sin as poison, as the vomit of a dog, as the mire of the street, as the menstruous cloth— which of all things in the law was most unclean, defiling and polluting—and this turns his heart against every sin.

He looks upon every sin as having a hand in apprehending, betraying, binding, scourging, condemning and murdering his Lord and Master Jesus Christ; and this works him not only to refrain from sin—but to forsake it, and not only to forsake it—but also to abhor it, and to loathe it more than hell itself! The penitent soul will do all he can to be the death of every sin that has a hand in the death of his Lord and Master.

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Watson (1620 – 1686) was an English, Nonconformist, Puritan preacher and author.

He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen-year pastorate at St. Stephen’s, Walbrook. He showed strong Presbyterian views during the civil war, with, however, an attachment to the king, and in 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love’s plot to recall Charles II of England. He was released on 30 June 1652, and was formally reinstated as vicar of St. Stephen’s Walbrook. He obtained great fame and popularity as a preacher until the Restoration, when he was ejected for Nonconformity. Notwithstanding the rigor of the acts against dissenters, Watson continued to exercise his ministry privately as he found opportunity. Upon the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 he obtained a license to preach at the great hall in Crosby House. After preaching there for several years, his health gave way, and he retired to Barnston, Essex, where he died suddenly while praying in secret. He was buried on 28 July 1686

 Character excerpts from Wikipedia

Evidences of Regeneration, and Evidences of the Doctrine of the Saint’s Perseverance.

Written by, William G. T. Shedd.
Taken from, “Sermons to the Spiritual Man.”
Edited for thought and space. 

i-hate-you-but-not-reallyThe duty of the Christian is, to assure himself upon scriptural grounds of his regeneration…

…and then to “work out his salvation with fear and trembling, because it is God that worketh in him to will and to do.” The fact that he is a new creature, if established, is a proof that God is helping him in the struggle with indwelling sin; and when God helps, victory is sure in the end. Believers are commanded to “examine themselves,” not for the purpose of seeing whether they are perfectly sanctified, but “whether they be in the faith.” We may make our self-examination minister to our discouragement, and hindrance in the Christian race, if, instead of instituting it for the purpose of discovering whether we have a penitent spirit, and do cordially accept Christ as our righteousness, we enter upon it for the purpose of discovering if we are entirely free from corruption.

Remainders of the old fallen nature may exist in connection with true faith in Christ, and a new heart.

Paul bemoans himself, saying: “The good which I would I do not; but the evil which I would not that I do.” But Paul was certain that he trusted in the blood of Christ for the remission of sin; that he was a new man in Christ Jesus, and influenced by totally different motives from those that actuated him when he persecuted the Church of Christ; that he loved Christ more than the whole universe, and “counted all things but dung that he might win Christ,” and become a perfect creature in him.

The first and chief thing, therefore, which the Christian should have in his eye, in all his self-examination, is, to determine upon scriptural grounds whether he is a renewed man. The evidences of regeneration are plain, and plainly stated. We have already hinted at them. A sense of guilt and cordial acceptance of Christ’s atonement, a desire to be justified by his precious blood, a peaceful confidence in God’s righteousness and method of justifying a sinner –this is the first and infallible token of a new heart, and a right spirit. Then, secondly, a weariness of sin, “a groaning, being burdened” under its lingering presence and remaining power, a growing desire to be entirely delivered from it, and a purer simpler hungering after holiness –these are the other evidences of regeneration.

Search yourselves to see whether these things be in you,

…and if you find them really, though it may be faintly and feebly, in your experience, do not be discouraged because along with them you discover remaining corruption. Remember that as a man struck with death is a dead man, so a soul that has been quickened into life is a living soul, even though the remnants of disease still hang about it and upon it. The “new man” in Christ Jesus will eventually slay stone-dead the “old man” of sin. The “strong man” has entered into the house, and bound the occupant hand and foot, and he will in time “spoil his house.”

The truth that God will carry forward his work in the renewed soul, and that the principle of piety implanted by Divine grace will develop to perfection, may indeed be abused by the false Christian; but this is no reason why the genuine child of God should not use it for his encouragement, and progress in this divine life.

One of the evidences of regeneration, however, if considered, will prevent all misuse of the doctrine of the saint’s perseverance.

A “groaning, being burdened” by the remaining presence of sin, is a sign of being a new creature. How can a man have this grief and sadness of heart at the sight of his indwelling corruption, and at the same time roll sin as a sweet morsel under the tongue? How shall one, whose great burden it is, that he is tied to the body of sin and death, proceed to make that burden heavier and heavier, by a life of ease, indifference and worldliness? “How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?”

No, my brother, if you really groan, being burdened because you are still so worldly, so proud, so selfish, so sinful, you are a new creature.

You never did this in the days of your impenitency. You were “alive without the law,” then. You did not feel the heavy, weary, weight pressing down upon you. You did not say with the Psalmist, as you now do: “My sin is ever before me.” This very imperfection which you now painfully feel, is the very evidence that you are on the way to perfection; it is the sign that there is a new principle of holiness implanted in your soul, one of whose effects is this very consciousness of remaining corruption, and one of whose glorious results will be the final and eternal eradication of it, when the soul leaves the body and enters paradise.

The child of God therefore, should not be discouraged because he discovers indwelling sin, and imperfection, within himself. 

A believer in the Lord Jesus Christ ought never to be discouraged. He ought to be humble, watchful, nay, sometimes fearful, but never despondent, or despairing. David, Paul, and the Colossian church were imperfect. But they were new men in Christ Jesus, and they are now perfectly holy and happy in heaven.
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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage:  William Greenough Thayer Shedd (1820 –1894), was an American Presbyterian Theologian born in Acton, Massachusetts.

In 1835, Shedd enrolled at the University of Vermont, He graduated from University of Vermont in 1839 and taught school for one year, during which time he began to attend the Presbyterian Church. Being called to the ministry, Shedd entered Andover Theological Seminary in 1840 and studied under theologian Leonard Woods. He graduated in 1843.

After a short pastorate at Brandon, Vermont, he was successively professor of English literature at the University of Vermont (1845–1852), professor of sacred rhetoric in Auburn Theological Seminary (1852–1854), professor of church history in Andover Theological Seminary (1854–1862), and, after one year (1862–1863) as associate pastor of the Brick Church of New York City, of sacred literature (1863–1874) and of systematic theology (1874–1890) in Union Theological Seminary. He died in New York City on November 17, 1894.

Dr. Shedd was a high Calvinist and was one of the greatest systematic theologians of the American Presbyterian church. His great work was Dogmatic Theology (3 vols, 1888–1894). He served as editor of Coleridge’s Complete Works (7 vols, New York, 1894), and he also wrote: Lectures on the Philosophy of History (1856), in which he applied to history the doctrine of organic evolution. Discourses and Essays (1856) A Manual of Church History (2 vols, 1857), a translation of Guericke A History of Christian Doctrine (2 vols, 1863) Homiletics and Pastoral Theology (1867) Sermons to the Natural Man (1871) Theological Essays (1877) Literary Essays (1878) Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (1879) Sermons to the Spiritual Man (1884) The Doctrine of Endless Punishment (1885)

 

Turning From Sin …THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE. Part 9.

Written by, Thomas Watson.
Taken from, “THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE.”
Published in 1668.

In this series we are looking at all the ingredients necessary for true repentance. In today’s thoughts, we are looking at “Turning From Sin.” Today, observe how Thomas Watson skillfully puts together the Biblical case.  Now, let us look again at the sixth of these respective ingredients. –MWP]

Turning-from-Sin_wide_t_nv1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin

REMEMBER: If any one ingredient is left out, repentance loses its virtue.

Ingredient 6: Turning from Sin

The sixth ingredient in repentance is a turning from sin. Reformation is left last to bring up the rear of repentance. True repentance, like aquafortis [nitric acid], eats asunder the iron chain of sin. Therefore, weeping and turning are put together (Joel 2:12). After the cloud of sorrow has dropped in tears, the firmament of the soul is clearer: ‘Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations’ (Ezek. 14:6).

This turning from sin is called a forsaking of sin (Is. 55:7)

as a man forsakes the company of a thief or sorcerer. It is called ‘a putting of sin far away’ (job 11:14), Paul Put away the viper and shook it into the fire (Acts 28:5). Dying to sin is the life of repentance. The very day a Christian turns from sin he must enjoin himself a perpetual fast. The eye must fast from impure glances. The ear must fast from hearing slanders. The tongue must fast from oaths. The hands must fast from bribes. The feet must fast from the path of the harlot. And the soul must fast from the love of wickedness.

This turning from sin implies a notable change.

There is a change wrought in the heart. The flinty heart has become fleshly. Satan would have Christ prove his deity by turning stones into bread. Christ has wrought a far greater miracle in making stones become flesh. In repentance, Christ turns a heart of stone into flesh. There is a change wrought in the life. Turning from sin is so visible that others may discern it. Therefore it is called a change from darkness to light (Eph. 5:8). Paul, after he had seen the heavenly vision, was so turned that all men wondered at the change (Acts 9:21).

Repentance turned the jailer into a nurse and physician (Acts 16:33).

He took the apostles and washed their wounds and set meat before them. A ship is going eastward; there comes a wind which turns it westward. Likewise, a man was turning hell-ward before the contrary wind of the Spirit blew, turned his course, and caused him to sail heavenward. Chrysostom, speaking of the Ninevites’ repentance, said that if a stranger who had seen Nineveh’s excess had gone into the city after they repented, he would scarce have believed it was the same city because it was so metamorphosed and reformed. Such a visible change does repentance make in a person, as if another soul did lodge in the same body.

That the turning from sin be rightly qualified, these few things are requisite:

It must be a turning from sin with the heart. The heart is the primum vivens, the first thing that lives, and it must be the primum vertens, the first thing that turns. The heart is that which the devil strives hardest for. Never did he so strive for the body of Moses as he does for the heart of man; In religion the heart is all. If the heart be not turned froirn sin, it is no better than a lie: ‘her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly’ (Jer. 3:10), or as in the Hebrew, ‘in a lie’. Judah did make a show of reformation; she was not so grossly idolatrous as the ten tribes. Yet Judah was worse than Israel: she is called ‘treacherous’ Judah. She pretended to a reformation, but it was not in truth. Her heart was not for God: she turned not with the whole heart.

It is odious to make a show of turning from sin while the heart is yet in league with it, I have read of one of our Saxon kings who was baptized, who in the same church had one altar for the Christian religion and another for the heathen. God will have the whole heart turned from sin.

True repentance must have no reserves or inmates.

It must be a turning from all sin ‘Let the wicked forsake his way’ (Isa. 55:7). A real penitent turns out of the road of sin. Every sin is abandoned: as Jehu would have all the priests of Baal slain (2 Kings 10:24) — not one must escape — so a true convert seeks the destruction of every lust. He knows how dangerous it is to entertain any one sin. He that hides one rebel in his house is a traitor to the Crown, and he that indulges one sin is a traitorous hypocrite.

freed_from_sin-249x300It must be a turning from sin upon a spiritual ground.

A man may restrain the acts of sin, yet not turn from sin in a right manner. Acts of sin may be restrained out of fear or design, but a true penitent turns from sin out of a religious principle, namely, love to God. Even if sin did not bear such bitter fruit, if death did not grow on this tree, a gracious soul would forsake it out of love to God.

This is the most kindly turning from sin. When things are frozen and congealed, the best way to separate them is by fire. When men and their sins are congealed together, the best way to separate them is by the fire of love. Three men, asking one another what made them leave sin: one says, I think of the joys of heaven; another, I think of the torments of hell; but the third, I think of the love of God, and that makes me forsake it. How shall I offend the God of love?

It must be a turning from sin and a turning unto God. This is in the text, ‘that they should repent and turn to God’ (Acts 2 6.2 o). Turning from sin is like pulling the arrow out of the wound; turning to God is like pouring in the balm. We read in scripture of a repentance from dead works (Heb. 6:1), and a repentance toward God (Acts 20:21). Unsound hearts pretend to leave old sins, but they do not turn to God or embrace his service. It is not enough to forsake the devil’s quarters, but we must get under Christ’s banner and wear his colours. The repenting prodigal did not only leave his harlots, but he arose and went to his father. It was God’s complaint, ‘They return, but not to the most High’ (Hos. 7.16). In true repentance the heart points directly to God as the needle to the North Pole.

True turning from sin is such a turn that has has no return. ‘Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols?’ (Hos. 14:8). Forsaking sin must be like forsaking one’s native soil, never more to return to it. Some have seemed to be converts and to have turned from sin, but they have returned to their sins again. This is a returning to folly (Ps. 85:8). It is a fearful sin, for it is against clear light.

It is to be supposed that he who did once leave his sin felt it bitter in the pangs of conscience. Yet he returned to it again; he therefore sins against the illuminations of the Spirit. Such a return to sin reproaches God: ‘What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me?’ (Jer. 2:5).

He that returns to sin by implication charges God with some evil. If a man puts away his wife, it implies he knows some fault by her. To leave God and return to sin is tacitly to asperse the Deity. God, who ‘hateth putting away’ (Mat. 2:16), hates that he himself should be put away.

To return to sin gives the devil more power over a man that ever. When a man turns from sin, the devil seems to be cast out of him, but when he returns to sin, the devil enters into his house again and takes possession, and ‘the last state of that man is worse than the first’ (Matt. 12:45). When a prisoner has broken prison, and the jailer gets him again, he will lay stronger irons upon him. He who leaves off a course of sinning, as it were, breaks the devil’s prison, but if Satan takes him returning to sin, he will hold him faster and take fuller possession of him than ever.

Oh take heed of this!

A true turning from sin is a divorcing of  it, so that it will never to come near it any more. Whoever is thus turned from sin is a blessed person: ‘God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities’ (Acts 3:26).

Is turning from sin a necessary ingredient in repentance?

If so, then there is little repentance to be found. People are not turned from their sins; they are still the same as they were. They were proud, and so they are still. Like the beasts in Noah’s ark, they went into the ark unclean and came out unclean. Men comes to ordinances impure and go away impure. Though men have seen so many changes without, yet there is no change wrought within: ‘the people turneth not unto Him that smiteth’ (ha.9.13). How can they say they repent who do not turn? Are they washed in Jordan who still have their leprosy upon their forehead?

May not God say to the unreformed, as once to Ephraim, ‘Ephraim is joined to idols: l will leave him alone’(Hos. 4:17) Likewise, here is a man joined to his drunkenness and uncleanness, let him alone; let him go on in sin; but if there be either justice in heaven or vengeance in hell, he shall not go unpunished.

The conscience reproves those who are but half-turned.

And who are these? Such as turn in their judgment but not in their practice. They cannot but acknowledge that sin, has a bad aspect and influence and will weep for sin, yet they are so bewitched with it that they have no power to leave it. Their corruptions are stronger than their convictions. These are half-turned, ‘almost Christians’ (Acts 26:28). They are like Ephraim, who was a cake baked on one side and dough on the other (Hos. 7:8). They are but half-turned who turn only from gross sin but have no intrinsic work of grace. They do not prize Christ or love holiness.

It is with civil persons as with Jonah; he got a gourd to defend him from the heat of the sun, and thought that he was safe, but a worm presently arose and devoured the gourd. So men, when they are turned from gross sin, think their civility will be a gourd to defend them from the wrath of God, but at death there arises the worm of conscience, which smites this gourd, and then their hearts fail, and they begin to despair. They are but half-turned who turn from many sins but are unturned from some special sin. There is a harlot in the bosom they will not let go. As if a man should be cured of several diseases but has a cancer in his breast, which kills him.

It reproves those whose turning is as good as no turning…

…who expel one devil and welcome another. They turn from swearing to slandering, from profuseness to covetousness; such turning will turn men to hell.

Let us show ourselves penitents in turning from sin to God.

There are some persons I have little hope to prevail with. Let the trumpet of the word sound never so some flashes of hell-fire be thrown in their faces, yet they will have the other game at sin. These persons seem to be like the swine in the Gospel, carried down by the devil violently into the sea. They will rather damn than turn: they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. But if there be any candour or sobriety in us, if conscience be not cast into a deep sleep, let us listen to the voice of the charmer, and turn to God our supreme good.

How often does God call upon us to turn to him? He swears, ‘As I live, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways’ (Ezek. 33.11). God would rather have our repenting tears than our blood.

Turning to God makes for our profit.

Our repentance is of no benefit to God, but to ourselves. If a man drinks of a fountain he benefits himself, not the fountain. If he beholds the light of the sun, he himself is refreshed by it, not the sun. If we turn from our sins to God, God is not advantaged by it. It is only we ourselves who reap the benefit. In this case self-love should prevail with us: ‘If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself (Prof. 9.12).

If we turn to God, he will turn to us.

He will turn his anger from us, and his face to us. It was David’s prayer, turn unto me, and have mercy upon me’ (Ps. 86.16). Our turning will make God turn: ‘Turn yo unto me, saith the Lord, and I will turn unto you’ (Zech. 1.31). He who was an enemy will turn to be our friend. If God turns to us, the angels are turned to us. We shall have their tutelage and guardianship (Ps. 91.11). If God turns to us, all things shall turn to our good, both mercies and afflictions; we shall taste honey at the end of the rod.

Thus,we have seen the several ingredients of repentance.

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Watson (1620 – 1686) was an English, Nonconformist, Puritan preacher and author.

He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen-year pastorate at St. Stephen’s, Walbrook. He showed strong Presbyterian views during the civil war, with, however, an attachment to the king, and in 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love’s plot to recall Charles II of England. He was released on 30 June 1652, and was formally reinstated as vicar of St. Stephen’s Walbrook. He obtained great fame and popularity as a preacher until the Restoration, when he was ejected for Nonconformity. Notwithstanding the rigor of the acts against dissenters, Watson continued to exercise his ministry privately as he found opportunity. Upon the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 he obtained a license to preach at the great hall in Crosby House. After preaching there for several years, his health gave way, and he retired to Barnston, Essex, where he died suddenly while praying in secret. He was buried on 28 July 1686

 

Hatred for Sin …THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE. Part 8.

Written by, Thomas Watson.
Taken from, “THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE.”
Published in 1668.

zz_sin_041714In this series we are looking at all the ingredients necessary for true repentance. In today’s thoughts, we are looking at Hatred for sin. Today, observe how Thomas Watson paints sin in its “blackest black.”  Now, let us look again at the fifth of these respective ingredients. –MWP]

1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin

REMEMBER: If any one ingredient is left out, repentance loses its virtue.

Ingredient 5. HATRED of Sin

Firstly, there is a hatred or loathing of ABOMINATIONS:

“Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices!” (Ezek. 36:31). A true penitent is a sin-loather. If a man loathes that which makes his stomach sick, much more will he loathe that which makes his soul sick! It is greater to loathe sin—than to leave it. One may leave sin for fear, as in a storm the jewels are cast overboard—but the nauseating and loathing of sin argues a detestation of it. Christ is never loved—until sin is loathed. Heaven is never longed for—until sin is loathed. When the soul sees its filthiness, he cries out, “Lord, when shall I be freed from this body of death! When shall I put off these filthy garments of sin—and be arrayed in the robe of Your perfect righteousness! Let all my self-love be turned into self-loathing!” (Zech. 3:4-5). We are never more precious in God’s eyes—than when we are lepers in our own eyes!

Secondly, there is a hatred of ENMITY.

There is no better way to discover life—than by motion. The eye moves, the pulse beats. So to discover repentance there is no better sign than by a holy antipathy against sin. Sound repentance begins in love to God—and ends in the hatred of sin. How may true hatred of sin be known?

1. When a man’s HEART is set against sin.

Not only does the tongue protest against sin—but the heart abhors it. However lovely sin is painted—we find it odious—just as we abhor the picture of one whom we mortally hate, even though it may be well drawn. Suppose a dish be finely cooked and the sauce good—yet if a man has an antipathy against the meat—he will not eat it. So let the devil cook and dress sin with pleasure and profit—yet a true penitent has a secret abhorrence of it, is disgusted by it, and will not meddle with it.

2. True hatred of sin is UNIVERSAL.

True hatred of sin is universal in two ways: in respect of the faculties, and of the object.

(1) Hatred is universal in respect of the faculties. That is, there is a dislike of sin not only in the judgment—but in the will and affections. Many a one is convinced that sin is a vile thing, and in his judgment has an aversion to it—yet he tastes sweetness in it—and has a secret delight in it. Here is a disliking of sin in the judgment and an embracing of it in the affections! Whereas in true repentance, the hatred of sin is in all the faculties, not only in the intellectual part—but chiefly in the will: “I do the very thing I hate!” (Romans 7:15). Paul was not free from sin—yet his will was against it.

(2) Hatred is universal in respect of the object. He who truly hates one sin—hates all sins. He who hates a serpent—hates all serpents. “I hate every false way!” (Psalm 119:104). Hypocrites will hate some sins which mar their credit. But a true convert hates all sins—gainful sins, complexion sins, the very stirrings of corruption. Paul hated the motions of sin within him (Romans 7:23).

3. True hatred against sin is against sin in all forms.

A holy heart detests sin for its intrinsic pollution. Sin leaves a stain upon the soul. A regenerate person abhors sin not only for the curse—but for the contagion. He hates this serpent not only for its sting but for its poison. He hates sin not only for hell—but as hell.

4. True hatred is IMPLACABLE.

It will never be reconciled to sin any more. Anger may be reconciled—but hatred cannot. Sin is that Amalek which is never to be taken into favor again. The war between a child of God and sin is like the war between those two princes: “there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days” (1 Kings 14:30).

5. Where there is a real hatred, we not only oppose sin in ourselves but in OTHERS too.

The church at Ephesus could not bear with those who were evil (Rev. 2:2). Paul sharply censured Peter for his deception, although he was an apostle. Christ in a holy anger, whipped the money-changers out of the temple (John 2:15). He would not allow the temple to be made an exchange. Nehemiah rebuked the nobles for their usury (Neh. 5:7) and their Sabbath profanation (Neb. 13:17).

A sin-hater will not endure wickedness in his family: “He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house” (Psalm 101:7). What a shame it is when magistrates can show height of spirit in their passions—but no heroic spirit in suppressing vice.

Those who have no antipathy against sin, are strangers to repentance. Sin is in them—as poison in a serpent, which, being natural to it, affords delight. How far are they from repentance who, instead of hating sin, love sin! To the godly—sin is as a thorn in the eye; to the wicked sin is as a crown on the head! “They actually rejoice in doing evil!” (Jer. 11:15).

Loving of sin is worse than committing it. A good man may run into a sinful action unawares—but to love sin is desperate. What is it, which makes a swine love to tumble in the mire? Its love of filth. To love sin shows that the will is in sin, and the more of the will there is in a sin, the greater the sin. Willfulness makes it a sin not to be purged by sacrifice (Heb. 10:26). O how many there are—who love the forbidden fruit! They love their oaths and adulteries; they love the sin and hate the reproof. Solomon speaks of a generation of men: “madness is in their heart while they live” (Eccles. 9:3). So for men to love sin, to hug that which will be their death, to sport with damnation, “madness is in their heart”. It persuades us to show our repentance, by a bitter hatred of sin. There is a deadly antipathy between the scorpion and the crocodile; such should there be between the heart and sin.

Question: What is there in sin, which may make a penitent hate it?

Answer: Sin is the accursed thing, the most deformed monster. The apostle Paul uses a very emphatic word to express it: “that sin might become exceedingly sinful” (Romans 7:13), or as it is in the Greek, “exaggeratedly sinful”. That sin is an exaggerated mischief, and deserves hatred will appear if we look upon sin as a fourfold conceit:

(1) Look upon the origin of sin, from whence it comes. It fetches its pedigree from hell: “He who commits sin is of the devil!” (1 John 3:8). Sin is the devil’s special work. God has a hand in ordering sin, it is true—but Satan has a hand in acting it out. How hateful is it to be doing that which is the special work of the devil, indeed, that which makes men into devils!

(2) Look upon sin in its nature, and it will appear very hateful. See how scripture has penciled sin out: it is a dishonoring of God (Romans 2:23 ); a despising of God (1 Sam. 2:30); a fretting of God (Ezek. 16:43); a wearying of God (Isaiah 7:13); a grieving the heart of God, as a loving husband is with the unchaste conduct of his wife: “I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols” (Ezek. 6:9). Sin, when acted to the height, is a crucifying Christ afresh and putting him to open shame (Heb. 6:6), that is, impudent sinners pierce Christ in his saints, and were he now upon earth they would crucify him again in his person. Behold the odious nature of sin.

(3) Look upon sin in its comparison, and it appears ghastly. Compare sin with AFFLICTION and hell, and it is worse than both. It is worse than affliction, sickness, poverty, or death. There is more malignity in a drop of sin than in a sea of affliction—for sin is the cause of affliction, and the cause is more than the effect. The sword of God’s justice lies quiet in the scabbard—until sin draws it out! Affliction is good for us: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted” (Psalm 119:71). Affliction causes repentance (2 Chron. 33:12). The viper, being stricken, casts up its poison. Just so, when God’s rod strikes us with affliction, we spit away the poison of sin! Affliction betters our grace. Gold is purest, and juniper sweetest—when in the fire. Affliction prevents damnation. “We are being disciplined—so that we will not be condemned with the world.” (1 Cor. 11:32). Therefore, Maurice the emperor prayed to God to punish him in this life—that he might not be punished hereafter.

Thus, affliction is in many ways for our good—but there is no good in sin. Manasseh’s affliction brought him to humiliation and repentance—but Judas’ sin brought him to desperation and damnation. Affliction only reaches the body—but sin goes further: it poisons the mind, disorders the affections. Affliction is but corrective; sin is destructive. Affliction can but take away the life; sin takes away the soul (Luke 12:20).

A man who is afflicted may have his conscience quiet. When the ark was tossed on the flood waves, Noah could sing in the ark. When the body is afflicted and tossed, a Christian can “make melody in his heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). But when a man commits sin, conscience is terrified. Witness Spira, who upon his abjuring the faith, said that he thought the damned spirits did not feel those torments which he inwardly endured. In affliction, one may have the love of God (Rev. 3:19). If a man should throw a bag of money at another, and in throwing it should hurt him a little—he will not take it unkindly—but will look upon it as a fruit of love. Just so, when God bruises us with affliction—it is to enrich us with the golden graces and comforts of his Spirit. All is in love. But when we commit sin, God withdraws his love. When David sinned, he felt nothing but displeasure from God: “Clouds and thick darkness surround him” (Psalm 97:2). David found it so. He could see no rainbow, no sunbeam, nothing but clouds and darkness about God’s face.

That sin is worse than affliction is evident, because the greatest judgment God lays upon a man in this life is to let him sin without control. When the Lord’s displeasure is most severely kindled against a person, he does not say, I will bring the sword and the plague on this man—but, I will let him sin on: “I gave them up unto their own hearts lust, living according to their own desires” (Psalm 81:12). Now, if the giving up of a man to his sins (in the account of God himself) is the most dreadful evil, then sin is far worse than affliction. And if it is so, then how should it be hated by us!

Compare sin with HELL, and you shall see that sin is worse. Torment has its epitome in hell—yet nothing in hell is as bad as sin. Hell is of God’s making—but sin is not of God’s making. Sin is the devil’s creature. The torments of hell are a burden only to the sinner—but sin is a burden to God. In the torments of hell, there is something that is good, namely, the execution of divine justice. There is justice to be found in hell—but sin is a piece of the highest injustice. It would rob God of his glory, Christ of his purchase, the soul of its happiness. Judge then if sin is not a most hateful thing—which is worse than affliction, or the torments of hell.

(4) Look upon sin in the CONSEQUENCE, and it will appear hateful. Sin reaches the BODY. It has exposed it to a variety of miseries. We come into the world with a cry—and go out with a groan! It made the Thracians weep on their children’s birthday—to consider the calamities they were to undergo in the world. Sin is the Trojan horse out of which comes a whole army of troubles. I need not name them because almost everyone feels them. While we suck the honey—we are pricked with the briar. Sin puts a dreg in the wine of all our comforts. Sin digs our grave (Romans 5:12).

Sin reaches the SOUL. By sin we have lost the image of God, wherein did consist both our sanctity and our majesty. Adam in his pristine glory, was like a herald who has his king’s coat of arms upon him. All reverence him because he carries the king’s coat of arms—but pull this coat off, and no man regards him. Sin has done this disgrace to us. It has plucked off our coat of innocency. But that is not all. This virulent arrow of sin would strike yet deeper. It would forever separate us from the beautiful vision of God, in whose presence is fullness of joy. If sin be so foully sinful, it should stir up our implacable indignation against it. As Ammon’s hatred of Tamar was greater than the love with which he had loved her (2 Sam. 13:15), so we should hate sin infinitely more, than ever we loved it.

A Holy Hatred Against Sin

by Thomas Watson

josephThere is no better sign of true repentance—than a holy hatred against sin.
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Sound repentance begins in love to God, and ends in the hatred of sin.

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How may true hatred of sin be known?

When a man’s HEART is set against sin. Not only does the tongue protest against sin—but the heart abhors it. However lovely sin is painted—we find it odious—just as we abhor the picture of one whom we mortally hate, even though it may be well drawn.

Suppose a dish be finely cooked and the sauce good—yet if a man has an antipathy against the meat, he will not eat it. So let the devil cook and dress sin with pleasure and profit—yet a true penitent has a secret abhorrence of it, is disgusted by it, and will not meddle with it.

True hatred of sin is UNIVERSAL.

There is a dislike of sin not only in the judgment—but in the will and affections. Many a one is convinced that sin is a vile thing, and in his judgment has an aversion to it—yet he tastes sweetness in it—and has a secret delight in it. Here is a disliking of sin in the judgment—and an embracing of it in the affections! Whereas in true repentance, the hatred of sin is in all the faculties,not only in the mind—but chiefly in the will: “I do the very thing I hate!” (Rom. 7:15). Paul was not free from sin—yet his will was against it.

He who truly hates one sin—hates all sins.

He who hates a serpent—hates all serpents. “I hate every false way!” (Psalm 119:104). Hypocrites will hate some sins which mar their credit. But a true convert hates all sins—gainful sins, complexion sins, the very stirrings of corruption.

A holy heart detests sin for its intrinsic pollution.

Sin leaves a stain upon the soul. A regenerate person abhors sin not only for the curse—but for the contagion. He hates this serpent not only for its sting but for its poison. He hates sin not only for hell—but as hell.

Those who have no antipathy against sin, are strangers to repentance.

Sin is in them—as poison in a serpent, which, being natural to it, affords delight. How far are they from repentance who, instead of hating sin—love sin! To the godly—sin is as a thorn in the eye; to the wicked—sin is as a crown on the head! “They actually rejoice in doing evil!” (Jer. 11:15).

Loving of sin is worse than committing it.

What is it, which makes a swine love to tumble in the mire? Its love of filth. O how many there are—who love the forbidden fruit! They love their sin—and hate holiness.

There should be a deadly antipathy between the heart and sin. What is there in sin, which may make a penitent hate it?

imagesCASHQ1T1Sin is the accursed thing, the most deformed monster!

Look upon the origin of sin, from whence it comes. It fetches its pedigree from hell: “He who commits sin is of the devil!” (1 Jn. 3:8). Sin is the devil’s special work. How hateful is it to be doing that which is the special work of the devil—indeed, that which makes men into devils!

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Watson (c. 1620 – 1686) was an English, Nonconformist, Puritan preacher and author.

He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen-year pastorate at St. Stephen’s, Walbrook. He showed strong Presbyterian views during the civil war, with, however, an attachment to the king, and in 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love’s plot to recall Charles II of England. He was released on 30 June 1652, and was formally reinstated as vicar of St. Stephen’s Walbrook. He obtained great fame and popularity as a preacher until the Restoration, when he was ejected for Nonconformity. Notwithstanding the rigor of the acts against dissenters, Watson continued to exercise his ministry privately as he found opportunity. Upon the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 he obtained a license to preach at the great hall in Crosby House. After preaching there for several years, his health gave way, and he retired to Barnston, Essex, where he died suddenly while praying in secret. He was buried on 28 July 1686.

From Wikipedia