06 November, 2005

On Hating Sin and Hating Sinners

While discussing the idea of the heinousness of sin, the Westminster Divines understood that not all sin is seen as being equal in the sight of God. While all sin deserves eternal damnation in hell; not all are equally repulsive in God's sight.

When asking modern evangelicals about God's view of sin, besides the notable, "God hates the sin and not the sinner," it is interesting to note that lifestyle choices are often seen as the most heinous of sin. Homosexuality and drunkenness are often cited as being most despicable in the eyes of God.

Scripture has another idea. Notice questions 150 and 151 of the Westminster Larger Catechism show that the sins that are most heinous in the sight of God are those that go against His Word, His Son, and His worship.

This is not how we are taught to think, even in our self-centered American evangelical minds. God is a jealous God for His worship...His name IS jealous.

Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
A. All transgressions of the law of God are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

Q. 151. What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
A. Sins receive their aggravations,
1. From the persons offending if they be of riper age, greater experience or grace, eminent for profession, gifts, place, office, guides to others, and whose example is likely to be followed by others.
2. From the parties offended:if immediately against God, his attributes, and worship; against Christ, and his grace; the Holy Spirit, his witness,and workings against superiors, men of eminency, and such as we stand especially related and engaged unto; against any of the saints, particularly weak brethren the souls of them, or any other,and the common good of all or many.
3. From the nature and quality of the offense: if it be against the express letter of the law, break many commandments, contain in it many sins: if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in words and actions, scandalize others, and admit of no reparation: if against means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of conscience, public or private admonition, censures of the church, civil punishments; and our prayers, purposes, promises, vows, covenants, and engagements to God or men: if done deliberately, wilfully, presumptuously, impudently, boastingly, maliciously, frequently, obstinately, with delight, continuance, or relapsing after repentance.
4. From circumstances of time and place: if on the LordÂ’s day, or other times of divine worship; or immediately before or after these, or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriage if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled.

Discussion Points:
-If Dispensationalists were right on the negation of the law, then by what standard are we to judge the lawfulness of an act?
-What are some biblical examples of God's punishment for false worship?
-By what standard do "New Testament" Christians worship? What does worship look like and contain?


Anonymous said...

"-If Dispensationalists were right on the negation of the law, then by what standard are we to judge the lawfulness of an act?"
-What is it that they specifically believe concerning the negation of the law?
-If it's the negation of the first table of the law:
Logically it could not be God's word (i.e. the old and n.t.)? How could it be that a negation of the source of God's law (1st command) be allowing of the 2nd table?

"-What are some biblical examples of God's punishment for false worship?"
-Nadab and Abihu, the Corinthian communion problem, Israelites and the making of golden calfs, the book of Judges

Nate said...

Due to my wife being creeped out by the nun-pig I would like to add this disclaimer:

Heironymous Bosch
(c. 1450-1516) was a Roman Catholic painter who painted images in hell. This is a detail from the painting "Garden of Earthly Delights (c.1504)" and is a disturbing visual representation of the effects of sin (and the affects of sin as well.)

Back to the discussion....

tam said...

the nun-pig is disturbing, but i do think i get it. eww

By what standard do "New Testament" Christians worship? What does worship look like and contain?

The NT worship is so good, so easy, so free and liberating. Free from numerous signs and sacrifices, free to do what they signified, enjoying free access to the throne of Grace by our Saviour, and are enabled to worship perfectly in the sight of God through Christ's mediation. We now by the commandment of Jesus, sing Psalms, read the Word, Pray, use the Sacraments, and hear the Preaching of the Word.

shawn said...

Simple hermeneutic really...

"What Christ has not changed by way of New Testament, remains from the Old, and remains the same."

Notice both Homosexuality and worshipping false gods are punishable by death, oh and my wife is reminding me that so is Sabbath breaking!

To quote a favorite ska band, "No! No! No! You can't handle this!"
-Five Iron Frenzy

Anonymous said...

...oh and Adam and Eve...

neocovenanter said...

What are some biblical examples of God's punishment for false worship?

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thounsands of them that love me, and keep my my commandments.
Exodus 20:5,6.

There is the most serious consequence of worshiping God in ways he has not commanded. People who corrupt the worship of God only have until the third or fourth generation to figure it out. Their corrupt/false worship leads to the wholesale corruption of the Christian religion.

Take an honest look at Church history, and its obvious. Look at recent presbyterian church history in America.
The PCUSA once they rejected God's appointed worship became apostate in 4 generations. The OPC failed to repent of the corrupt worship practice of the PCUSA and is looking like they won't survive as a Christian church much longer.

neocovenanter said...


Once you leave the simplicity of the Word read and preached, the singing of the 150 Psalms, prayer and the proper administration of the sacraments of the New Covenant (Baptism and the Lord's Supper) all sorts of heresy find a fertile ground in the hearts of God's people.

This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me, but in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matt 15:8,9

As for the people who so insist that the Psalms are insufficient for New Testament worship, they seem to miss the point of Matt 15:8,9. They like to say their hearts are right. Really, Matt 15:8,9 says something different. Farbeit from God to know the hearts and minds of men.

Finally, consider what God says in Isaiah 1:13-15. Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new mooons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with: it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your apointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

God will bear with corrupt, false and vain worship, but only for a while and then no more. He is weary to bear it. People may say church is boring, but for most churches the terrible fact is, God hates it.

People are so busy writing and performing their own music and song, they cannot hear Christ's call to come into the marriage, so he sends out the the highways and byways for people to come in, and they will be his people, and He will be their God.

So all the troubled Reformed and Presbyterian Churches, might just try repenting of their will worship, and let go of their commandments of men in God's worshp, and really honor Christ.

Ellie said...

Nate, speaking of sin.Lets not forget the sin of bestiality. I have been made aware of three cases recently and I had no idea it was so prevalent.Where is this addressed in the Bible?

Johannes Weslianus said...

We all have the tendency to love man more than God. Beyond homosexuality and drunkenness, we're usually far more concerned about someone cutting us off in traffic, getting in our way, or not complimenting us when we do well than we are in the worship of God.