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God Hates Sin and So Should We

by Bob Russell

Recent news has focused on revealing celebrities involved with the convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Discussions swirled, and media pundits gossiped about who traveled on Epstein’s plane to his private island in the Caribbean, infamous for the exploitation and abuse of teenage girls.

     The adage ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ doesn’t always hold true. Often, familiarity leads to acceptance…and that eventually leads to endorsement. Tragically, our culture is creeping towards normalizing pedophilia. Talks of lowering the age of consent circulate, and naive parents laugh at drag queen shows for kindergartners. Pedophiles are euphemistically termed as “minor-attracted persons.” And since Epstein’s death, Epstein Island began drawing many tourists, more intrigued with its infamy than disgusted about “Pedophile Island.”

     Fifty years ago, the American Psychiatrist Dr. Karl Menninger released the bestseller “Whatever Became of Sin?” Menninger predicted a time when ‘sin’ would vanish from our everyday language. He suggested that the definition of wrongdoing would shift to terms like illness, disorder, dysfunction, syndrome, etc., positing that crime might go unpunished and criminal acts excused as medical abnormalities, absolving personal responsibility.

It seems Menninger’s predictions are coming true. Sin is downplayed in our churches, and few sermons even use the term. The traditional church adage “Hate the sin; love the sinner” has been abandoned for fear of offending those who dislike being labeled “sinners.” Current evangelical outreach efforts usually begin with “God loves you, and He wants a relationship with you!” But it’s an oversimplification. First, people should understand that God hates sin and cannot be in a relationship with it. Second, we are all sinners and consequently destined for eternal Hell. Yet God’s desire for us to have a redeemed, healthy, and eternal relationship with Him is why he offered Jesus as a sacrifice for the sins of those who believe.

     Last week a Christian podcaster interviewed a porn star and asked if she thought God was pleased with her occupation. Without hesitation, she responded, “I’m not concerned. After all, we’re not hurting anyone. And I know God loves everyone.” In contrast, a young woman excited about her newfound Christianity shared her story with me. “I visited the church several times and enjoyed it. At a pre-membership class, the pastor outlined the stance on cohabitation, and I was immediately convicted. My boyfriend and I had been living together without much thought. That night, I realized, ‘Wow! We are living in sin. We need to marry and be baptized.” Kudos to that church for boldly defining sin and standing for righteousness!

     Salvation starts with realizing we are sinners destined for Hell. The Bible warns that we are “dead in [our] trespasses and sin” (Ephesians 2:1). Yet sin is so pervasive that we are no longer appalled or disgusted by it or feel guilty when we participate in it. The Bible warns of a fallen state so depraved that the conscience becomes “seared as with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2), and as a result, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18).  And the prophet Ezekiel warned the Israelite priests that they were complicit because they treated the people’s sins as trivial.  (See Ezekiel 8:17.) (See Ezekiel 8:17).

Proverbs 6:16-19 says, “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies    hates sin because it threatens to destroy the people He loves. Have you ever heard the cries of broken-hearted children because their parents were getting a divorce? Have you come upon a deadly drunk-driving accident and heard children screaming in pain and terror? Have you tried to comfort the parents of a teenager who just died from a drug overdose? If so, you understand why God hates sin. And we should, too.

Jesus loved children and unequivocally warned against their abuse. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

     I once bore the grave duty of telling a couple their preschool daughters were abused by a family “friend.” I’ll never forget the look of horror – and then rage – on the parents’ faces as I explained that this self-proclaimed Christian was a pedophile who had exploited their children. I’ll never forget the father pacing the floor like a caged lion, pounding the wall, and threatening to do bodily harm to the offender. I understood his anger. It was righteous. And on that day, I absolutely hated sin.

     The prophet Jeremiah decried Israel’s spiritual insensitivity by asking, “Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!” (Jeremiah 16:5a). Let’s not allow our righteous anger towards pedophilia to be diminished by the familiarity of the Epstein story or the influence of pundits and celebrities. Let’s love what God loves and hate what God hates. All believers should rise in righteous anger against the shameful sin of sex trafficking and insist the perpetrators and those who enabled it to be held accountable regardless of their celebrity status.

“And what does the LORD require of you: ‘to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God'” (Micah 6:8).

Bob Russell is retired minister of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY.

One Response to “God Hates Sin and So Should We”

  1. Buford Smith says:

    Thank you Bro. Russell.
    Your writings should be a wake up call for all Bible Believing Christians.
    I thank our Lord for your efforts to encourage us.
    In His great love,

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10