Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Hatred of Sin (Psalm 119:89-128)

"Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way" (Ps. 119:104).

Because of his great love for God’s righteousness as it is reflected in His law, the writer of Psalm 119 hates all sin. He does not hold back in his language when speaking on this subject: “Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (v. 104). “1 hate the double-minded, but I love Your law” (v. 113). “I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey Your word” (v. 158). The psalmist holds the Word of God in such high esteem that any transgression of it is intolerable and grieves his soul.

He strives after obedience to avoid evil. This is why he says, “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (v. 11). He prays to God to “Turn my heart toward Your statues and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things” (vv. 36–37). He affirms that he has aimed at obedience and submission to God all his life that he might not live in sin: “I have restrained my feet from every evil way that I may keep Your word” (v. 101). The primary desire of this writer is to live in the splendor of God’s holiness, to reflect the very nature of God in his life, to be restored and conformed to His righteous image. The sentiments of the psalmist toward the wicked are a reflection of those belonging to his heavenly Father: “You put away all the wicked of the earth like dross” (v. 119).

Calvin explains that all those who have “already advanced a considerable way in a holy life … should regard all vices with more intense hatred. The beginning of a good life, unquestionably, is when a man endeavors to purge himself from vices; and the more a man has made progress in a good life, he will burn with a proportionate zeal in his detestation of vices and in shunning them. Moreover, we are taught by the words of the prophet, that the reason why men are so involved in falsehoods, and entangled in perverse errors, is, because they have not learned wisdom from the Word of God.” Calvin continues to say that too many in his day do not embrace this wisdom and, as a result, are tossed by Satan’s devices. He concludes saying, “let us apply ourselves with the greater earnestness to the acquisition of this wisdom.”

What is your attitude toward sin? Do you take a light view of it? Do you perhaps have a “favorite” sin, one you wink at, not straining against it? How should God’s attitude toward sin be reflected in your life? Ask God to give you the wisdom to discern recurring sin and to develop a holy hatred toward it.