Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. –NIV 84’
I’ve gone through times in my Christian walk when I felt powerless over sin and evil. I had to wonder what people meant by saying we no longer have to sin after we become Christians. Supposedly we only have to be born spiritually and our desire for sin is automatically cut off. And all we want is to do good.
Unfortunately, for many people it doesn’t work that way. It didn’t work that way for me. I guess I shouldn’t say unfortunately, because there is a reason for it that comes from God’s storehouse of wisdom.
Learning To Hate Evil
After going through the process of refinement, chastening and fire long enough, I found victory in many areas of my life. In retrospect, when it comes to sin, I have found that my victory over it was always contingent on my view of it. As long as I looked at it as anything but a serious offense to God and harmful to myself, I was bound to fall into it again and again.
But once I came to a place where I could see that the sin I was flirting with was what caused the pain, suffering and discipline in my life, I began to hate it. And after I developed a thorough distaste for it, I was finally able to sincerely repent of it and find freedom.
So it is perhaps no coincidence that in the verse above it doesn’t just say cling to what is good. Maybe Paul understood through the Spirit that it was impossible for people still clothed in the flesh, to cling to what is good without first learning to hate evil.
Some people who come to the Lord are thoroughly fed up with their life of sin and they truly repent of it when they come to Jesus. These are the ones who have an overnight transformation. But on the other hand, those of us who hold back some evil with only lip service repentance, also have an over night transformation—but only when true repentance finally happens. And only with as many sins as we’ve truly learned to hate.
He Only Takes What We Give Him
For example, when I came to the Lord, I had learned to thoroughly hate the drugs I was addicted to. God honored that hatred of evil and the repentance I had of it and I haven’t touched narcotics since that day a little over 13 years ago. If only I would have had that attitude toward all the sin in my life!
We cannot deceive God. He knows when we are sincere. He knows when we are being fake. Wanting to quit sinning just to avoid a sentence to hell, while still secretly loving the sin, doesn’t cut it. The fruit we bear, testifies to the affections of our heart. If we love the flesh, then carnal fruit in the form of sin and evil will come out of us. If we love the Spirit, He will flow through us, causing us to bear His fruits in keeping with true repentance.