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TEXT: Psalm 97:10
SUBJECT: Baxter on Hating Sin #4
Tonight, Lord willing, we'll finish our study of Richard Baxter on Hating Sin. It is the believer's duty to hate his sin. Psalm 97:10 says so. So does Romans 12:9. And many other verses.
Do you hate your sin? I suppose you do. But not as much as you ought to. To help you hate your sin more, Richard Baxter has quite a bit to say. Thus far, we've looked at five good reasons to hate your sin. Now, we'll look at seven more. Because they're all short and obvious, we can move through them pretty quickly.
If you want to hate your sins more than you do.
REMEMBER WHAT THEY ROB YOU OF.
When it comes to sin's consequences, most people think of what it inflicts on them-pain, embarrassment, remorse, disease, and so on. If they hadn't sinned, they wouldn't have to cope with all these things. And that's true, of course.
But in thinking about these things, don't forget the other consequences of sin. Sin not only inflicts bad things on you, it also robs you of the good things you would have had if you hadn't sinned.
Think of secondary things. Good health is often lost through sin. So is usefulness. Many marriages are ruined by sin. Careers are wrecked. Reputations are lost. You might have been healthier, happier, and more productive if it weren't for your sin. If it robs you of these good things, it must be a very hateful thing.
But these things not the main things sin takes away from you. Baxter says,
"Think well what pure and sweet delights a holy soul may enjoy from God, and then you will see what sin is that robs you of these delights. O what happiness you would find in His love, Acceptance, and foresight of everlasting bliss, If it were not for sin, which brings down the soul From the doors of heaven, to wallow with sin In the dunghill".
What a happy life you would be living, if you hadn't lived so much of it in sin. If sin robs you of all this happiness, it must be a horrible, awful, atrocious thing. And, of course, it is. Think about what sin takes away from you, and you'll hate it more than you do. That's Number One.
ALWAYS KEEP SIN AND JUDGMENT TOGETHER IN YOUR MIND.
There's nothing Satan loves more than to separate sin from the judgment that comes with it. He told Eve that, if she ate the forbidden fruit, she would "not surely die". It might be wrong to eat it, of course, but it won't hurt anything. Well, it did hurt something. Everything, in fact.
The devil keeps using the old temptation for the simple reason that it keeps working! Psalm 10:13 describes most people, "Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, you will not require an account'".
The Bible says-and our experiences confirm it-that sin always brings down a judgment of one sort or another. I know a man who has lived his whole adult life up to his eyeballs in debt. His family and friends have bailed him out a hundred times; he declared bankruptcy, twice, I think; his car has been repossessed a few times, he's been evicted from his apartment, he's lost everything several times over the years. Yet, he keeps forgetting that his covetous ways lead to financial ruin.
He's not alone. We all tend to think the same way, though hopefully not to the same degree. We all forget that sin brings down judgments upon me. If we're believers, the punishments are good for us, but still, they're painful and often unnecessary.
James 1:15 is a good verse to memorize,
"When lust has conceived, it brings forth sin, and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death".
That's exactly what the Puritan says,
"Look always on sin and judgment together- remember that you must answer for it to God, and you will better hate it".
Everything we see is affected by light. The woman who's beautiful in candlelight is hideous under the floodlight. The same thing is true of sin. What looks pretty in the light of desire, is ugly in light of the judgment. Sin and judgment. Keep the two together and you'll hate your sin more than you do. That's Number Two.
COMPARE THE HOLY PEOPLE YOU KNOW TO THE UNHOLY.
It's easy to laugh at holy people and to admire the wicked. Easy in public, that is. But when you're alone; when you're being thoughtful and honest, holiness looks a whole lot better than wickedness.
The saints are real and solid; sinners are all phony and flimsy. It's easier to be clever, but don't you admire someone who's honest and straighforward? During the Vietnam era, it was easier to protest the war, but, right now, don't you think the men who fought it feel better about themselves than those who dodged it?
If you'd compare the character of saints with sinners, you'd know how shallow and petty and worse sin is. Baxter says,
"Look upon some eminent, holy persons and upon the profane, malignant world, and the difference may tell you how bad sin is. Is there not a beauty in a holy, blameless person? Is not the mad. Confused, ignorant, ungodly state of The world a pitiful sight? What then Is the quality of sin?"
If you want to hate your sins more, compare saints and sinners. Do it honestly, in private, and you'll know how awful sin is. That's Number Three.
ASK YOURSELF WHAT SIN WILL LOOK LIKE AS YOU LAY DYING.
Death has a way of putting things in perspective. Baxter says,
"Look always at sin as if you were ready to die. Will it be followed with the delight then that It is now? No! Even those who love their sins In life speak evil of it in death".
On this point, Richard Baxter spoke from experience. As an old pastor of a big church he had often sat by the dying and heard their bitter confessions. The sins they had laughed about when healthy, they wept for in sickness and death.
As you lay dying, will you be happy about all the sins you committed? And all the good you left undone? No you won't. On that day, sin will be a hateful thing to you. It's just as hateful now as it will be then. That's Number Four.
THINK OF HELL
The punishment of hell fits the crime of sin. If the torments of that world are what the Bible says they are, sin must be something much worse than you think it is. It must be the most hateful of all things.
Think about hell and you'll hate sin. The Puritan says,
"Look at the state and torment of the damned and you will know what sin is. If hell fire is not good then sin is not good".
THINK OF HEAVEN
"Think what a life it is which you must live forever if you live in heaven. And then think whether sin which is so contrary to it is not a vile and hateful thing. Oh, if you could but see those blessed spirits magnifying the glorious God in purity and holiness and how far they are from sin, it would make you loathe sin ever after, and look on sinners as men in bedlam, wallowing naked in their dung".
Here is Puritan earthiness at its best! If you could see how pure heaven is, how clean and bright and radiant it is, you'd know that sin is a filthy, dirty, degraded thing. That it's repulsive by nature and ought to sicken you.
Think about the purity of heaven and you'll hate your sin.
That's the end of Richard Baxter on Hating Sin. But where he ends, we start. He's taught us God way very well. Now we have to act on what he's taught us.
Baxter has proven that sin is a hateful thing. It's hateful to God and to the saints in heaven, to good men below, and to the sinners now under the wrath of God. Sin is a hateful thing. Not just hateful to me or you or him or her, but objectively hateful. Intrinsically hateful. It cannot be anything but hateful.
Because it is hateful, you ought to hate it. With a growing hatred.
If you don't hate sin, think about what it is, what it is to God, what it does to you, what it will do to you.
Then, stop listening to those people and media outlets that make sin seem to be what it is not.
Then pray for a hatred of sin. Don't let it be said of you that,"you have not because you ask not".
"You who love the Lord hate evil".
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