My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Devotional Thoughts on Romans 12:9

"Love must be sincere, Hate what is evil, cling to what is good."

Among well-intentioned sayings that creep in unwanted to the Christian faith is one particularly noxious one. It goes "Hate the sin, but love the sinner." I quick survey of Christians, even Lutherans, may turn up that many among the faithful believe this to be a Bible verse. A quick googling of the phrase turns up many Christian sites both for and against the phrase. The person to whom the quotation is ascribed? Ghandi. A decent human being for sure, but not the best Christian.

King David, a man after God's own heart, put it another way "But all sinners will be destroyed;
the future of the wicked will be cut off." (Psalm 37:38)

We are a squishy people. As a generality, and in specific, we do not handle God's holy and efficacious Word with the reverence it demands. We treat God's law as if it was a hot potato and we cast it aside as soon as it gets uncomfortable. Yes, it seems, some may dawdle a little longer and tempt the heat but sooner, rather than later, everyone gives up to the lack of comfort one finds in the mirror of the law.

Who are we to tell others that they're not good people? Its just not done! Its not right! God says to love everyone doesn't he? It certainly doesn't seem loving to tell other people they're wrong.

Revelation 3:19 "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline, So be earnest and repent"

We are no one to tell others that they are doing wrong. However God's law is a immutable rule that cannot and does not have room for love in it. Those who break the law are not to be shown love, the purpose of the law is to cut...and sharply. CFW Walther wrote that Law and Gospel are not properly distinguished when they are co-mingled. It is true that when we as humans try to blunt the law with "But it's ok, you're still saved" It only leads the listener only farther down the path of licentiousness which eventually leads to destruction. Unrepentant sin will always tear down and destroy faith.

Repentance is not saying you're sorry, it is not trying to be better, or even promising to do good. Repentance is not an act that we can even perform for ourselves. Sin will only lead to more sin, and God hates sin. Therefore, God through his holy Word and Sacraments works repentance in us. He turns our sinful hearts of stone and shows us a better way, a way that leads to him. Yes it is true to say that God hates sin and therefore God hates sinners. But it is just as true and so much more blessed to say God loves all people and desires that they be turned from their lives of sin to live with him forever.

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