I don’t have the book with me, so forgive me if the quote isn’t verbatim.
He said, “Do we hate sin or do we hate the penalty of sin?”
His argument is that as we mature in our relationships with Christ, we will begin to hate sin itself, merely because it is sin, and not just the repercussions of sin.
Why? Because God hates sin itself.
Ergo, the more Christlike we become, the more we will hate sin itself.
(“Ergo” needs to become more prevalent in our modern language. It’s a cute little phrase that reminds me of yesteryear. It adds a Shakespearean flavor to our communication, whom I could not under-appreciate anymore than I do now.)
I guess Chan’s question is sticking with me because, as I study Hosea, it is glaringly obvious that GOD HATES SIN.
Why? Because sin dishonors Him. Because it is hurtful to us and those around us. Because it is in NO ONE’S best interest. Because it interferes with our purposes for being here – to know Him and to make Him known.
God hates sin not just because of the unpleasant disciplinary action He has to exact upon us to make us return to our senses (i.e. – to Him), but because sin itself, apart from His response to it, is so damaging.
And I have to ask myself, “Do I hate sin like God hates sin? Or do I just hate the effects of sin – God’s discipline in my life?” In other words, do I refrain from sinning because I am afraid of God’s discipline or because I hate the ugliness of the sin itself?
And what difference would that make in my day to day life?
Well, for starters, I hope I’d sin a lot less if I thought about sin from God’s perspective more often.
But, beyond that, I think I would respond to the sin of others TOTALLY differently than I do now.
For example, when I hear someone speaking badly about someone else, my first inclination is to judge the speaker. I think, “That person should not be talking about someone else negatively. That’s just not a Christ-like thing to do.” And I am right to think that, but all that thinking does is make me feel negatively about the speaker. That doesn’t help me or the speaker become more Christ-like.
However, if I can learn to hate sin like God hates sin, the situation would look like this: the speaker would say something bad about someone else, and my stomach would turn. I would think, “This person has no idea that what they are saying is hurtful to THEMSELVES. They are damaging THEIR OWN walk with Christ and witness for Christ by engaging in bad-mouthing someone else. I want better for them! ” And then I would enter into a gentle, edifying conversation with them about their unwise conversation, bathed in love for them.
THAT would be life-changing for the both of us.
And it all comes from changing how I view sin.