Today I shared some verses with my class, and I gave a little talk about hate and love and Jesus, and what it all has to do with being a Christian.
First, I read a few verses in Romans 2, and I described the importance of God’s righteous judgment. We’re all broken, messed up sinners, seemingly without hope. And worse than that, God’s wrath will be kindled against all that evil and sin. That’s a little bit scary.
But why is God so angry? Why does He hate so much? That was my next point: He hates evil and wickedness and sin so much because it hurts the things He loves. His love for us is so great, that He abhors the evil that hurts us, that separates us from Himself. He loves his creation, and He hates the wickedness that destroys it.
So then what?
God loves his creation so much, He loves you and me with such deep commitment, that He took all that wrath and punishment, and He put it all on his own Son, so that his perfect Son would take it and be the propitiation for your sin. for my sin. For all the sin and wickedness that God hates. Imagine how potent God’s wrath must be. And He put it all on his Son, on the cross, for you. for me. Because He loves is that immense.
When we see this, when we see our sinful state, when we see that our current situation is that we are awaiting God’s wrath, we know we have a problem. But as we see God’s love, and how his compassion for us is so great, so merciful, that He put that wrath on Jesus, for us, we can come to him for grace, mercy, forgiveness… we can be put back together! We can be made whole. This is what it means to be a Christian. It means we know and understand God’s love, and we receive it because of who He is. Because of what He did, we are SAVED.
The more we understand God’s love (like, hey, He put his hatred an anger on his Son for us!), the more we want to love the things God loves, and hate the things God hates.
And as I was teaching this today to my students, I thought, man I needed to hear it this way, too. As a believer, a follower of Jesus, my duty is to love the things God loves. Hate the things God hates. We often get caught up in some kind of man-made Christianity that puts us in a box, that we are to be a certain way. Often with good intentions, we build extra standards to separate ourselves from what seems to be evil. Unfortunately, we end up separating ourselves by raising ourselves higher than others. And then, not only do we look down on people, we cannot love them from above. We are not loving people… and we should, because God loves people.
Romans 2 talks about how those who seek honor will find peace. And those who seek evil or are self-seeking will find tribulation. When we live our self-made world we will find problems because no one else is living in that world. We will have fights and contention because we want to do it our way, and who else would want to live only to please us? But when we live with our eyes focused on Jesus, that peace surrounds us, no matter what the situation. We live to serve God and others, and that breeds peace. This is the love/hate idea… if we love the things Jesus loves, we fill find peace. If we hate the things Jesus hates, we will find peace. We cannot hate the things He loves. And we cannot love the things He hates.
Look at God’s love. Respond to it. Know Him. Then love the things He loves. Hate the things he hates.