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148h April, 2011

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Why God hates sin

Jesus' sacrifice demonstrates not only God's love for mankind, but also His abhorrence of sin.

Isn't it strange? Dogs never ask their master "why?", and never, ever reject their master's commands; most of God's children, by contrast, couldn't care less what God thinks about sin. (Or should I say, what God knows about sin.) What does God know that we don't know? The answer to that question is stated as plainly as it can be in Romans 6:23:

For the wages of sin is death.

God hates sin because it leads to death, and God detests death. This verse shows that sin's natural outcome is death. God does not need to decree death as a punishment for sin; death is its automatic consequence. Let's go a step further by seeking to understand the difference between death and life.

In a nutshell, life is not what most people deem it to be. From what this author has heard at a number of funerals in recent years, it would seem that the greatest tribute that can be paid to a dead person is to state that he or she "loved life". Most people, it would seem, see life as consciousness overlaid with sensory pleasure. Someone who "loves life" really enjoys the pleasures available to a conscious, sentient being. The truth is, "real" life entails much, much more than mere consciousness and sensory pleasures. And eternal life involves much, much more than mere immortality. The truth is that a conscious, sentient being - either a mortal human being or an immortal demon - can be dead. Satan, though immortal, is dead. He's a misery guts through and through. That's not being alive, that's dead, dead, dead! In His infinite mercy, God has decreed that people who stubbornly refuse to embrace real life should perish completely, forever and ever. Eternal death will put them out of their own misery as well as out of everybody else's misery.

Life involves a way of thinking and behaving that will always bring joy, both to oneself and to others. Jesus Christ is life (John 11:25) in that He is the definitive yardstick by which all thought and behavior can be judged. Any thinking that deviates from His thinking and any behavior that He detests will bring sorrow to the perpetrator thereof. Jesus never thought a sinful thought and never committed a sinful deed. In His goodness, God has given us the basic information we need to understand the character of sin; it's called "the law". As Paul said, ". by the law is the

knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20). Real life is happy life, and happy life comes from embracing the licit and running screaming from the illicit. Jesus Christ is the ultimate interpreter of divine law and the exemplar of the law-abiding way of life. To follow in His footsteps is to seek life. Real life involves harmonious relationships, with God first and foremost, and with our fellow man second. (Even the most committed hermit will shrivel and die if he has no dealings with others.). Eternal life consists of living in perfect harmony with God and one's fellows on into eternity. Where conflict abounds, so does misery, and misery is death. Conflict is incompatible with real life. Where does conflict come from? From sin! Consider some real life examples.

Egomaniacs drive everybody around them to distraction. A person who is constantly singing his own praises is hard to endure. You can probably think of a few insufferable egomaniacs whose presence robs you of joy. Having to live forever in intimate association with someone like that can hardly be called "life". Is egomania sin? Sure it is; it breaks the first commandment, which is to have no other gods before God. The narcissist worships himself.

Harmonious relationships are not the result of natural attraction between two or more parties. No matter how strongly you may naturally click with another person, if sin enters the relationship, the relationship will eventually crumble. This simple truism cannot be disputed; it is proven every day. How many young couples have fallen deeply in love only to divorce some years later? What went wrong? Did they fail to find someone to whom they are naturally attracted? Of course not. They would never have tied the knot if they had not been magnetically drawn to each other. Sin is the culprit. Perhaps one, or maybe both, have broken the commandment against adultery. That is certain to torpedo a relationship. Could laziness on the part of one party erode the relationship? Certainly. Is that sin? Once you understand that the laws of God take the form of core statements of fundamental principles that have enormously broad scope, you can see why laziness is sin. If one party is taking a free ride on the efforts of the other, that party is guilty of theft as surely as if they stole the other person's goods.

We could go on, but you get the idea. Yes, sin brings misery, which is death. No wonder God hates sin so passionately. Obedience made possible by the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ brings life (Lev. 18:5, Gal. 2:20). Jesus is not only "the life", He is also "the resurrection" (John 11:25). He yearns to give immortality to those who have embraced life. And He will.


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For more about the real difference between life and death, see "The living dead and the dead living"


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