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TEXT: Psalm 97:10
SUBJECT: Baxter on Hating Sin #3
Tonight, with God's help, we'll continue our study of Richard Baxter on Hating Sin. The believer in Christ ought to hate his sin with a strong and growing hatred. One reason to hate your sin is because it is worse than the unbeliever's. We've spent the last two weeks developing that idea.
Now, we'll move on to some others. If you want to hate your sin.
GET TO KNOW GOD BETTER.
The key to growing in grace is growing in the knowledge of God. The better you know the Lord, the worse you'll hate your sin.
Think of God's character. The Lord is perfectly holy. It's hard to think of that without feeling dirty and ashamed of yourself. Isaiah felt that way. As far as we know, he was a good and religious man. He felt pretty good about himself. Until the year that King Uzziah died. For that year, he
"Saw the LORD, high and lifted up. Seraphim were flying around Him chanting, `Holy, Holy,Holy, LORD God Almighty'"
How did the vision make the man feel? Terrible!
"Woe is me, for I am undone! I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell among a people Of unclean lips-for my eyes Have seen King, the LORD of Hosts".
Thinking of the holy character of God will make you hate your sin.
Thinking of His attributes will have the same effect. If God is everywhere, it means I've sinned before His face. That reminds me of the arrogance of my sin. If God is all powerful, it means He can punish my sin with an infinite and eternal power. If God is all knowing, it means He's caught me in my sin, even the mixed motives behind my good works are known to Him. Thinking about these things increases my hatred of sin.
Thinking of the punishments He's poured out on other sinners makes our sin more hateful. He destroyed Sodom for their lusts-are we free of all lust? He killed King Saul for his pride-how humble are we? For his love of money, He turned Judas over to the devil-is anyone here perfectly content with what he has?
Nothing will increase your hatred of sin like a growing knowledge of God, Psalm 119:11 says,
"Your word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you".
Some people parade their knowledge of God. They like nothing more than showing off how much they know. If you're that way, you don't know anything. For the knowledge of God-rather than puffing you up-has the opposite effect: It deflates you.
"Labor to know God, and to be affected by His attributes. You cannot know what sin is unless you know the God you sin against. The wicked have no practical knowledge of sin because they have no such knowledge of God.Nothing will tell us so plainly and powerfully of the evil of sin, as the knowledge of the greatness, wisdom, goodness, holiness, authority, and truth of God. The sense of His presence, therefore, will revive our sense of sin's wickedness".
If you want to hate your sin, know God. That's Number One.
MEDITATE ON THE SAVING WORK OF CHRIST.
If sin is "no big deal", please explain to me why Jesus Christ came into the world? Why He lived in poverty? Why He suffered? Why He died? Surely, God would not subject His Son to these things if He hadn't hated sin with an extreme hatred!
In the hymn, Stricken, Smitten, a verse says,
"Ye who think of sin but lightly, nor suppose its evil great, here may view its nature rightly, Here its guilt may estimate: Mark the sacrifice appointed, See who bears the awful load, Tis the Word, the Lord's Anointed, Son of Man and Son of God".
"Consider well the work, the bloodshed, and the holy life of Christ. His work is to expiate sin, and to destroy it. His blood was shed for it; His Life condemned it. Love Christ And you will hate that which Caused His death. Love Him And you will hate what is so Contrary to Him".
It's hard to imagine someone meditating on the life of Christ and at the same time justifying a grudge. Is it possible to weep at His cross and to laugh at the things that nailed Him to it?
If you want to hate your sin, meditate on the saving work of Christ-both His life which reproved sin and His death which suffered its curse. That's Number Two.
REMEMBER THE HOLY SPIRIT LIVES IN YOU TO MAKE YOU HOLY.
"Think of how holy the work of the Spirit is and how great a mercy it is to have Him in us. Shall God Himself-the Heavenly Light-come down to illuminate my heart, Yet I continue walking in darkness? Shall He come to purify it and I Hold onto my defilement in opposition To such wonderful mercies?"
If God has come into your soul to give you light, then darkness must be a hateful thing to Him. If He has come to scour the dirt from your soul, then the pollutions of sin must be awful.
Think about the Spirit within you. What a mercy it is to have Him there! How much it cost God to send Him there! What He wants to do there! And how grieved He is when we resist His purifying work!
The more you think of the Holy Spirit, the less you'll think of your sin. That's Number Three.
MEDITATE ON THE WONDERFUL LOVE OF GOD.
A man once told me he was strongly tempted to commit adultery. He was out of town on a business trip-nobody knew him-and he met a woman who was eager to join him in his hotel room. I asked him how he resisted the temptation. He said "I remembered how much my wife loved me". Not how much he loved his wife, mind you, but how much she loved him.
He thought of her patience, of her cheerfulness, of his contentment, of her loyalty, and all the good things she had done for him. Thinking of how much she loved him made the thought of betraying her ugly and repulsive.
He was right, of course. Betraying a wife's love is a hideous thing. But there's Someone who loves you much more than your wife. And that is your God. Marital love (at its best!) is but a dim reflection of the Lord's love for His Church.
Betraying His love is a hateful thing to do. Thinking about His love will make you hate your sin. Baxter says,
"Know and consider the wonderful love and mercy of God, and you will hate sin and be ashamed of it. It will grieve you if you offend a close friend; his kindness and generosity will make you think ill of your unkindness. Look over the catalogue of God's kindnesses to you and you will hate your sin".
If hate is the opposite of love. And if we "love Him because He first loved us", then it follows that thinking about His love for us will make us hate our sin. That's Number Four.
THINK OF WHAT YOU'RE MADE FOR.
"Think of what the soul (and body) were made for- to love, obey, and glorify our Maker. Then you will see what sin is and how it perverts and disables you! What an excellent work we are made for! Should we leave that work undone to serve The devil in filthiness and folly?"
What would you think of a surgeon who left his patients to play tic-tac-toe? You'd say, "What a waste!" You'd be right. A surgeon has better things to do than to play games. You have better things to do than to sin. If it's wrong and hateful for a doctor to waste his talents in favor on nonsense, then it's even more wrong and hateful for a Christian to lay aside his calling to serve sin.
Think about what you're here for and you'll hate your sins more than you do.
You ought to hate your sins. The Bible tells you to, Psalm 97:10, Romans 12:9.
But hating your sins is easier said than done. Tonight, through a man long dead, God has given you five good reasons to hate your sin with a growing hatred.
Now, go out and do it. And the love of God be with you. Amen.
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