Sunday, June 04, 2006

God Still Hates Sin

God’s Word reveals to us the history of God’s dealing with man’s sin. From the beginning when God told Adam, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Gen.2:16-17), we see in chapter 3, verses 14-19, God’s judgment on them for violating His command. And not only with the first man but with every man and woman God has set in motion in His Word principles and commands, that if violated, would bring about swift consequences. The children of Israel challenged that repeatedly. Whether it was during the plagues that God was pouring out on Egypt or during their journey to the promised land. Israel sinned and suffered the judgment of God.

In Joshua 24:14-28, Joshua challenges the Israelites to serve the Lord. He also tells them what the consequences are if they don’t.

He says, "Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." 16 So the people answered and said: "Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. 18 And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God." 19 But Joshua said to the people, "You cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good." 21 And the people said to Joshua, "No, but we will serve the Lord!" 22 So Joshua said to the people, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord for yourselves, to serve Him." And they said, "We are witnesses!" 23 "Now therefore," he said, "put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord God of Israel." 24 And the people said to Joshua, "The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!" 25 So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem. 26 Then Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone, and set it up there under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord. 27 And Joshua said to all the people, "Behold, this stone shall be a witness to us, for it has heard all the words of the Lord which He spoke to us. It shall therefore be a witness to you, lest you deny your God." 28 So Joshua let the people depart, each to his own inheritance.

God feels the same today as He did then about sin and about sinners. The Bible tells us that if a man does not repent he will spend eternity in a place where there will be "weeping and the gnashing of teeth." As Jude unfolds his subject of apostates in the church — it’s no different. Jude reveals to us from history examples of how God responded to apostates. And if there is one principle that we can learn — it is simply that "God judged apostates in the past; He will judge them in the future." There is no escape for our sin outside of Jesus Christ.

Whether you are an apostate, that is, one who has defected from the true biblical faith or an unbeliever who have never heard the gospel, God will judge sinners in that Day. As in the words of Joshua, "Choose for yourself this day whom you will serve" (Jos.24:15), the same is true now. Read Jude's letter and be reminded that God still hates sin.

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