April 18, 2017
Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. – Romans 12:9
During the Second World War, I was stationed overseas on an island in the Pacific. Our mess hall had been bombed and we did not have anything to eat for about three days. We were working hard, and after three days of no food, we were hungry—plenty hungry. We were scrounging around for K-rations or anything we could find, and one of the men got a big can of meat from somewhere. It did not have a label on it, but we opened it and everybody took a big chunk and started eating. I took one bite, and I found it was ox tongue. I said, “No thanks, it will be another day at least before I can eat that.” I hated it! The sight of it was enough to make me lose my appetite entirely.
If you hate something, you are not going to do it. No one has to tell you not to do it and you do not struggle to stay away from it. You naturally avoid it because you dislike it so much.
That is the kind of feeling we must have toward sin. Sin, or iniquity, is a transgression of God’s law, a departure from God, and we need a spontaneous hatred for it. The two commands in today’s focus verse are the secret of keeping God’s love in our hearts. The measure in which we hate evil determines the measure in which we love God. Or change it around—the measure we love God is the measure of how much we hate iniquity.
Think about the words Paul used: “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” What emphatic terms! Abhor evil. That is an even stronger word than hate. If the devil ever tempts us to indulge in sin, we can just remember that we are to abhor it. And cleave to that which is good. To cleave to something means that you have such a grip on it that you can hardly let go. That is the way to hold on to what is good. Do not just grip it—we must cleave to it with all our might!
If we hate iniquity, we will not wake up some morning and find that we are backslidden. We will not come to the end of a day wondering if we have sinned. No! If we abhor sin, we will know the taste of it, and we will not be fooled.
As we add more love for God into our lives, we are going to have less regard for the things of the world. If we consecrate to give up something in our lives we think God is not too pleased with, we will find our love for God grows deeper. This is the way to ensure our home in Heaven.