How can a man love what God hates and still love God?

Indeed, we must love our neighbor. In fact we must love him as ourselves.

However this love is not something sentimental. It is not something of the flesh. God is love. But God has no flesh. And when we speak of the love of God, we are not speaking of an activity of His mind and will that is characterized by human sentimentality. If we may say it, God is not squeamish. He is not emotional as man is touched in his flesh. And when God demands of us that we love the neighbor, He does not mean that every neighbor should have a fleshly attraction for us. Some men you simply cannot love in that fleshly sentimental way. The seventh commandment forbids us to lave another man’s wife, another woman’s husband. And the same God Who moved John to write, “For this is the message which ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,” in I John 3:11 had already moved him to write in I John 2:15, 16, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” That is right, the love of the Father is not in him. There is then a hatred that is demanded of the child of God in order to love God. And the love that he must have for his neighbor cannot be in conflict with that hatred which he must have of God’s enemies.

That love for the neighbor is a matter of his will. It must be his love for God. Jesus, speaks of the first table of the law as the great commandment, and the second is like unto it. This love for the neighbor is, not something different from the love to God. It is the same love as it goes, out now to God’s creature. It is the desire to do with that creature what God wants us to do with that creature. Once again, John says in I John 5:3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” If we love God we will want to please Him. And therefore, if we love God we will desire to deal with the neighbor in the love of God. We will want to obey that neighbor when God invests him with authority over us. We will not want to injure him, steal his goods, defile him, speak evil of him or even covet his goods. We will know that the best way to serve God with the neighbor’s goods is to leave them in that neighbor’s possession.

However, in as far as this neighbor performs acts of hatred against God we cannot love him. We still, in the love of God, will not hurt him, but we will not be attracted to him, will not enjoy his fellowship but will find in our souls an unchangeable loathing of his works and abhorrence of his fellowship. It cannot be otherwise. For man was made to live antithetically opposed to evil. He was made to be God’s friend-servant. And as God’s friend-servant in Paradise he hated the devil, until the devil deceived him by the lie whereby he caused man to hate God. Man is never neutral. It is either God or his awn flesh that he loves. He does not love the devil; and the temptation of Satan in Paradise did not have for its purpose the affections of man for the devil himself. No, he is perfectly content that the sinner loves himself. His purpose in the temptation in Paradise was to get man to hate God. In this he succeeded. And so today man either loves God or hates Him. And he either hates God’s enemies or he hates God. One cannot love two extremes at the same time. He cannot desire light and dark at the same time. He cannot enjoy heat and cold at the same moment. And he cannot love God and God’s enemies at the same time. Shall we love God’s name and then love those who take it in vain? Can you love your father and mother and also love those who insult and defame them? As a neighbor we will love him in the sense that we will still seek his good because we love God. But as God’s enemy we have no delight in his fellowship. We have only a strong urge to withdraw from his fellow-person. It is not simply from his sin but from his person that we are repelled. As God’s enemy we have a strong revulsion from him. We cannot say that he is good and a nice fellow. We cannot invite him into our homes, and spend an hour of joy in his company. We have a strong feeling of aversion for him—not simply his works. And that is hating him.

How can a man love what God hates and still love God?

Did Jesus simply hate the works of those evil doers whom He drove out of the temple? Why did He drive them out? Why not, in a tone that oozed with what men call love, plead with these nice people to get these wicked things out of the temple? And does the sin consist in things, or in the use of these things by men? Jesus called the Pharisees whited sepulchers that outside looked nice and clean but inside were filled with dead men’s bones and of all uncleanness. Matthew 23:27. And He pronounced woes upon them. Does one in love pronounce woes? Did He mean that their works were so terribly evil but they themselves were so lovely and precious? The very opposite is true. Outside they looked beautiful. As far as man’s eye could see, they were indeed the righteous among the righteous. But Jesus tells them that as God sees them, they are utterly filthy. THEY! They are filthy and full of uncleanness. It is not simply a question of their works. God hates the sinner as well as his sin. And with a perfect hatred we are to hate those that hate God even while in the love to God we do only good to our neighbor.

And the brother? Because he is born again with the life of Christ, because he is a fellow citizen in the kingdom of heaven, we love him with the love which we have towards God. Him we cannot hate without hating God, for the life of God is in him. He is the product of God’s work of grace. And he that loves God whom he has not seen, surely loves the brother in whom be sees the Spirit and life of God.

That does not mean that we cannot become angry when we see him walk in evil ways and propagating false doctrines. It does not mean that this anger may not be very intense, so that it becomes a righteous wrath. Satan would like to have us believe exactly that! It would please Satan very much to have you and me have a love for the sinner that opposes God. In that way heresies can be fostered; evil practices will not be halted. And the cause of Satan is prospered by this so-called love, this false love which is hatred of the living God. But we maintain that the more we love God, the more indignant we will become at evil practices and God-insulting doctrines. And to be lacking in anger when these things are being done simply means that our love has waxed cold.

That was the trouble with the church at Laodicea inRevelation 3:14-20. They were lukewarm. Nothing bothered the congregation. There was no enthusiasm for the truth and for good Biblical preaching. The congregation could go to sleep aid leave the services untouched by the Word when it was preached by a guest minister. Their own minister preached heresy, was a modernist and spoke a line of philosophy. That is why Christ knocks on the door of that church (not man’s heart) and calls the elect out of that church to reorganize and reconstitute so that He can come in and sup with them in their new church. Where Christ is not preached there can be no presence of Christ to bless the preaching. But that heresy and God-insulting preaching did not bother them either. They were DEAD! The lie did not disturb them. And the truth did not move them. God forbid that we should be like that!

The lie must bother us. And its effect upon us must not be that we grow in our love of that individual who insults the living God therewith. We must become angry and at times even reach the point of righteous wrath! As Peter writes (I Peter 2:5), we are “lively stones” in God’s “spiritual house.” There are no dead stones in His house. If we live, and by God’s grace we do, we will be affected by sin round about us. It will fill us with loathing. It will bring tears to our eyes and heaviness in our souls. As the psalmist says in Psalm 119:134, “Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because they keep not Thy law.”

And that it is a brother in Christ who practices and defends sin, that it is one in the Church of Jesus Christ who spreads and promotes the lie, does not rule out that anger and righteous wrath. As we pointed ,out last time, anger and wrath are not the opposite of love but can be rooted in love. The opposite of love is hatred. We do not hate the brother when we become angry. Hatred seeks to destroy. But anger can very well be rooted in the desire to save. Why all the time spent to try to convince the brother of his error? Is it hate, or is it love? Why the concern for his wellbeing and his rejection of the lie? O, we have our flesh too, and often we raise our voices and sometimes speak very unadvisedly. Sin cleaves unto us in all our works, and our best works are polluted with sin. Yet the child of God may and must became angry when he sees sin in the Church and hears false doctrines. Otherwise he must brand himself a Laodicean who is spiritually dead. The dead are not affected by your actions and words, even though you may kick their dead bodies and speak exceedingly insulting words about them.

Were there only more love to God in this big church world in which we live today, there would not be so much of this false ecumenicity in the church. There would not be so much giving up of doctrinal positions for social security, for the sake of numbers, for honor and fame, for the satisfaction of the flesh. So much of this ecumenicity is possible exactly because the love of men waxes cold. Under the guise of a love for man, they perform deeds that do not spring forth from the love to God. And one who is, affected by that which insults the living God, denies Him His glory and reduces Him to a creature with all the weaknesses and sentimentality of human flesh is branded as a child of the devil, because he does not show “love” toward mankind. Thus it has always been. The prophets who loved God and ripped into the false teachers and workers of iniquity were stoned. Stephen says, “Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?” Acts 7:52. Micah complains in Micah 2:6, “Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy.” Paul speaks of the days in which we now live that men “will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” II Timothy 4:3. And he adds, “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables.”

What is the conclusion of the whole matter?

It is this: Show me a man who becomes angry when the lie is presented and maintained, and I will show you a man that loves God. Show me a man that can continue to smile and affectionately put his arms around one who persists in preaching and defending the lie, and I will show you a man who loves the world, and therefore in whom is not the love of the Father.

It makes no difference how pious he may speak otherwise. It makes no difference how tender and gentle he may be and how much fleshly love he bestows upon his fellow men, he does it at the expense of the love of God. Such an one plainly does not hate sin, does, not make plain to his brother that it IS sin. Do that and the erring “brother” will soon care not at all for your presence and fellowship.

The enmity IS there as God predicted and promised in Paradise.

It is a sign of sanctification to be filled with righteous wrath. And it is a blot on one’s name to have it said, as Paul does in Romans 1:32, that one sees evil and has pleasure in them that walk therein.

He who fears God loves Him.

And that love will always be displeased with sin and the lie.