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TEXT: Psalm 97:10
SUBJECT: Baxter on Hating Sin #2
Tonight, with the Lord's help, we'll continue our study of Richard Baxter on Hating Sin. The Bible says that sin is a hateful thing to God and ought to be hated by everyone else.
Do you hate sin? Sure you do. Everyone does. In other people. But do you hate your own sin? You ought to. For, as bad as the sins of the unsaved are, yours and mine are far worse.
We have to get this into our heads. Although God loves us, He does not love our sins. Though He forgives our sins, He does not overlook them or mitigate their seriousness.
Thus, if you want to hate your sin, you must be convinced that it's worse than the unbeliever's. How can that be? Because (1) You're a child of God, (2) You're a part of Christ's body, (3) You've enjoyed the special work of the Holy Spirit in your soul, (4) You've received saving grace, (5) You've been forgiven, (6) You've promised to quit your sins, (7) You know the bitterness of sin, and, (8) You know better.
This is what we've studied last now. Now let's move on to the rest of the Puritan's first point.
If you want to hate your sin, you must remember that it's worse than the unbeliever's sin because,
YOU'VE SPOKEN EVIL OF IT.
There's nothing worse than hypocrisy-than doing the very things you've said you hate. Have you spoken evil of sin? Have you confessed it to God with many tears? Have you told others how bad you were before you were saved? Have you rebuked them for their sins? Have you even gossiped about their evil ways?
If you have, then why have you done the very thing you've spoken out against so often? Surely, if it's confessed to God and denounced in public, it must be a very hateful thing. Well, if it's such a bad thing, why have you done it?
"They have often confessed their sin to God and spoken odiously of it, as the vilest thing. They claim to obey the Lord more strictly Than others.They have reproved and exhorted Others, telling them how unreasonable it is To provoke the Lord.This greatly aggravates The sins of God's own children".
The person who has confessed his sins to God and rebuked others for them must know their wickedness. And knowing this-and going on record as knowing it-doubles your guilt when you sin.
Hypocrisy is bad in anyone. But especially in the believer. If you say sin is a hateful thing, then live as though it were.
That's Number One.
YOU DISHONOR GOD MORE THAN OTHERS DO.
If you read the Bible, you'll come across a lot of sin. There's a lot of idolatry, a lot of violence, a lot of immorality, and a lot of other bad things. But did you notice, the only ones who dishonored the Lord by their sins are His People? God never said that Hamaan made Him look bad. Or that the Philistines brought Him into disrepute. II Samuel 12:14 charges a man with, "Giving great cause for the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme".
Do you know who that man was? It wasn't Cain or Nimrod or Pharaoh, or some other notorious enemy of God. No, it was one of His best friends, David.
That verse is quoted in Romans 2:24 and applied to a whole nation. Do you know which one? It wasn't the Sidonians with their human sacrifices; it wasn't the Canaanites with their pornographic worship; it wasn't the Babylonians with their vicious war crimes. No, it was the nation of Israel. It was the sin of God's People that made the world mock the Lord.
I Timothy 6:1 gives the same warning to Christian employees with a bad attitude or work ethic. It says if we do a bad job at work, "The Name.and doctrine of God will be blasphemed".
Titus 2:5 says the same thing to women who don't take care of their families. If they don't,
"The Word of God will be blasphemed".
Professing faith in Christ puts you under surveillance. People who didn't care what you did before, now do. They're eager to find fault with God-to make a mockery of His gospel and to justify their unbelief. When you sin, you give them an excuse. It's not right, of course; it's not fair, but it's still true.
They shouldn't blame God for your sins. But they do. The believer's sin is very hurtful because it makes God look bad to the world.
Here's the quote,
"They dishonor God more than others do by their sins. His honor lies, not so much on the actions of the Ungodly, as on those who are nearest to Him".
Public sins reverse the words of our Lord. He said-Matthew 5:16-but we do the opposite. We make others laugh at God or even wonder if He's there at all! Shame on us for turning the Living God into a joke!
That's Number Two.
YOU HARDEN OTHERS IN THEIR SIN.
What you do affects other people--for good or bad. A good man will often restrain wickedness in other people. I have a friend who's very quiet about his faith, but lives an exemplary life. When he walks into a room, people stop telling dirty jokes. His holiness has a power over those who know him.
A bad example has even more power. When the unsaved hear us gossiping they feel free to do the same. When they see us at ungodly movies, they feel no guilt about being there. Our lives ought to awake their consciences. When we sin, though, we have the opposite effect: We make their sleep even deeper.
"They harden the wicked.They cause them to blaspheme and to make all religion into hypocrisy. They hinder the conversion of others; they grieve The godly; they wrong the church; and The cause of God".
Why are your sins worse than others? Because they harden sinners and bring them one step closer to hell. That's Number Three.
YOU PLEASE THE DEVIL.
The believer's sin is much worse than the unbeliever's because it makes the devil so much happier! When Satan induces one of his servants to sin, what does he have to boast of? Nothing.
But, when he gets the servant of God to sin, he has a lot to be proud of! The devil's joy in getting you to sin makes your sin worse than others'. Baxter says,
"They please the devil more than the sins of other men. How busy is he to cause Job to sin! And how he would have boasted Against God and His grace had he succeeded!"
GOD LOVES YOU.
"The high titles of love and praise which God gives them in His Word, make their sins worse. That He should call them His Treasure, His Peculiar People, His Jewels, and the Apple of His Eye, His Sons and Daughters, a Holy People, and Priests to God! Will God lavish all this praise On you and you repay Him with your sins?"
I'm not sure I can add much to this one. Sinning against knowledge is bad. Sinning against love is worse. God loves us with an everlasting love. He promised that Love in His word and proved it on the Cross.
To sin while knowing that God loves you makes your sin far worse than the sin of the unconverted.
If only we felt the wickedness of our sins! If only we knew how they deform our souls and hurt our neighbors and defame the Church and dishonor the Lord!
If we could only remember how shameful they are in light of God's love for us, then, maybe, just maybe, we'd hate our sins with the hate they deserve.
That's my prayer for you. And me.
"You who love the LORD, hate evil".
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