What God Hates (V)
MORE THINGS GOD HATES
(from a transcript of a sermon preached on 3/25/01 at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly)
Today is the last sermon in the series on what God hates. We have seen that God hates certain people, God hates false religion, and God hates a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots evil plans, feet hurrying to run to mischief, a false witness who breathes lies, and he who causes strife among brothers. There are several more passages in God's Holy Word that show what God hates that I have not yet mentioned. I'd like to combine the rest of them in this one sermon as I wrap up this series. This sermon may seem a little disjointed, but I didn't want to leave out any passages where God says He hates something.
Before I start on today's topics, I'd like to go back and say something more about the "false witness who breathes lies" that is part of the list of the seven things God hates that we went over a few weeks ago. I wanted to make sure that you know that there is a gospel significance to this, not just someone who witnesses falsely about another person. Anyone who ascribes to God qualities of character that do not belong to him is a false witness who breathes lies. They testify falsely about God. We can think of all kinds of examples of this, but the example I use most frequently applies here as well. Those who preach and witness that Christ did all he could do on the cross for everyone without exception and hopes that everyone without exception comes to Him, and now it's up to the sinner to do his part, is a false witness about Christ. This preacher is breathing out lies. Someone who tells people that God loves everyone without exception and wants everyone without exception to be saved is a false witness who breathes lies. And God says he hates such a person.
Let's first turn to Deuteronomy 24:1-4:
Deuteronomy 24: (1) When a man has taken a wife and married her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found a thing of uncleanness in her, and he writes her a bill of divorce and puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; (2) and if she goes out from his house and goes and becomes another man's [wife], (3) and the latter husband hates her, and writes her a bill of divorce, and puts [it] in her hand, and sends her out of his house or if the latter husband who took her to be his wife dies; (4) her former husband who sent her away [is] not to take her again to be his wife, after she is defiled. For it [is] a hateful thing before Jehovah, and you shall not cause the land to sin which Jehovah your God is giving to you as an inheritance.
Now this "former" and "latter" might be a bit confusing, so let me explain what this passage is saying. Let's call the man Mr. Smith and his wife Mrs. Smith. Verse 1 says that Mr. Smith marries Mrs. Smith and then Mr. Smith divorces Mrs. Smith. Okay? Verse 2 says that if Mrs. Smith leaves Mr. Smith's house to become the wife of Mr. Jones, and Mr. Jones either divorces her or dies, then Mr. Smith is not to take Mrs. Smith back to be his wife, because Mrs. Smith is defiled. God hates this. Notice THE REASON why the husband is not to take his former wife back. I just mentioned it. Do you see it? It's because the woman is defiled. And why is she defiled? Because she remarried another man. This remarriage defiled her, and she remains defiled. Before I go any further, I want to point out a very serious error in the King James Version's translation of this passage. In verse 2, the King James says, "And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife." This is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what God is saying here! This translation gives the divorced wife PERMISSION to marry another man! Yet in verse 4, both the LITV and the KJV say that this woman is defiled because of her second marriage! The KJV makes no sense in the context of the passage, and it erroneously puts forth the view that God condones remarriage after divorce. The truth is that remarriage DEFILES a person. This is borne out in the New Testament. Turn over to Matthew 5:31-32:
Matthew 5: (31) It was also said, Whoever puts away his wife, "let him give her a bill of divorce." (32) But I say to you, Whoever puts away his wife, apart from a matter of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever shall marry the one put away commits adultery.
So here Mr. Smith puts away Mrs. Smith, not because of fornication. What does it say about anyone who marries Mrs. Smith? It says that anyone who marries her commits adultery. But isn't it the fault of the husband, who sinned by putting her away? He certainly is at fault, because he is the one CAUSING her to commit adultery. But even the woman who was put out, even one who was put out through no fault of her own, is not to marry again. Now let's turn over to Matthew 19:9:
Matthew 19: (9) And I say to you, Whoever shall put away his wife, if not for fornication, and shall marry another, [that one] commits adultery. And the one who marries her who was put away commits adultery.
Who are the ones committing adultery in this verse? Both the man AND the woman. If Mr. Smith puts away Mrs. Smith, not because of fornication, and Mr. Smith marries someone else, HE is committing adultery. And if Mrs. Smith remarries, SHE is committing adultery. Mark 10, verses 11 and 12, and Luke 16:18 say the same thing, only the phrase "if not for fornication" is left out. God makes it very clear: remarriage after divorce results in adultery. And adultery defiles a person. And marrying a defiled person is something God hates. The reason God places so much emphasis on the marriage relationship in the Bible is because it is a picture of Christ and the church. I hope to do a series on this subject sometime, but for now, let me just say that since the relationship between Christ and His church is so precious, and Christ is jealous over His church, then anything that would defile the instituted picture of Christ and His church is calling Christ an adulterer and His church an adulteress. We can see why God hates this, can't we?
Let's now switch gears and go into something else God says He hates. In fact, God says He hates this four times in the Bible. Let's turn to Proverbs 20:10:
Proverbs 20: (10) A stone and a stone, an ephah and an ephah, both [are] hateful to Jehovah.
Now what does that mean? Why does God hate a stone and a stone? Does that mean he hates all stones? Or that he hates two stones? Well, to understand what God is talking about, let's turn to Deuteronomy 25:13-16:
Deuteronomy 25: (13) You shall not have in your bag a stone and a stone [weight], a great and a small. (14) You shall not have in your house an ephah and an ephah, a great and a small. (15) You shall have a perfect and just weight; you shall have a perfect and just ephah; so that they prolong your days in the land which Jehovah your God is giving to you. (16) For anyone doing these things [is] hateful to Jehovah your God, everyone doing unrighteously.
Okay, now we're starting to get the meaning here. "A stone and a stone" means "a big stone and a small stone." "An ephah and an ephah" means "a big ephah and a small ephah." Now what's so bad about having a big stone and a small stone, and a big ephah and a small ephah? Well, stones and ephahs were weights and measures. Let's take stones first. Stones were used as weights. Now have you ever seen a scale in which there is a weight or weights on one side, and something to be measured on the other? For example, let's take kilogram as a weight. A gram was defined as the mass of one cubic centimeter of water, and a kilogram is a thousand grams. The kilogram is now defined by a specific platinum-iridium cylinder in France. Have you ever seen a kilogram weight? Well, it's usually a cylinder made out of metal that weighs one kilogram. Now if a kilogram weight is on one side of the scale, and some rice was on the other side of the scale, and the scale balanced, that would mean that the rice weighed one kilogram. And if someone were selling rice for one dollar per kilogram, then he would charge one dollar to the person who wanted to buy this amount of rice. Got it so far? You'll see why this is so important soon. Now what if someone had a weight that was half as big as a kilogram weight, and he still called it a kilogram? What if he wrote "one kilogram" across the weight? Okay, now suppose someone comes into his store and wants to buy one kilogram of rice. Now what would happen if the one selling the rice used the false kilogram? Well, the rice on one side would balance with the half-kilogram on the other side, and the customer would think he's getting a full kilogram of rice. The customer would end up paying one dollar for only a half of a kilogram. The seller would be cheating the buyer; the seller would be LYING to the buyer. Now what if there were a country in which every store owner could choose what he called a kilogram? One store owner would have a big weight that he called a kilogram, and another store owner would have a small weight that he called a kilogram, and no one would really know how much they were getting! That's why it is important to have a STANDARD. A standard is something unchangeable by which everything is measured. There need to be standard measures of weight, standard measures of length, standard measures of volume, and so on. Everything that is measured needs to be measured according to a STANDARD. Suppose I had a one-meter ruler, and you had a one meter ruler, and they were different lengths? When I measure the height of the ceiling with my ruler, I come up with 10 meters, and when you measure the height of the ceiling with your ruler, you come up with 14 meters. Who is right? The only way to know is if we have a STANDARD measure of length that is a TRUE meter, so we can tell if either one of our rulers is correct, and so we can measure correctly. I don't know if you knew this or not, but there are exact standards of the different weights and measures that are under lock and key, such as the kilogram cylinder in France, so there can always be something by which everything else can be measured.
Now an ephah was a dry measure that was equal to a little more than a bushel. Again, if there were no standard ephah, or if a person had something he called an ephah that really wasn't an ephah, the customers would be cheated.
Let's look back at verse 15 of Deuteronomy 25:
Deuteronomy 25: (15) You shall have a perfect and just weight; you shall have a perfect and just ephah; so that they prolong your days in the land which Jehovah your God is giving to you.
God demands a perfect standard. Any ephah or weight that does not equal the perfect standard is an abomination to God. Let's look at Proverbs 11:1:
Proverbs 11: (1) False balances [are] hateful to Jehovah, but a perfect stone is His delight.
God contrasts false balances with a perfect stone. A false balance is one that uses weights that do not really equal what the seller says they equal. Remember the example of the seller who was passing off a half-kilogram as one kilogram. God says that He hates false balances. A perfect stone is one that conforms exactly to the standard. God loves a perfect stone. Now over to Proverbs 20:23:
Proverbs 20: (23) A stone and a stone [are] hateful to Jehovah; and a false balance [is] not good.
This is similar to verse 10. We see that a stone and a stone is the same thing as a false balance. If there are two stones of different sizes with which someone weighs something, then we know that at least one of them is a false weight, and this is what God hates.
Now we've seen in previous messages that God hates liars. So he hates those who lie by using false weights and measures. But this whole issue of weights, measures, and standards is not just an issue unto itself. It points to an even more important spiritual issue. I hope you'll see why I took some time to really spell out what false weights and measures are and the need for a standard. Can you see the spiritual issue? It has to do with judging. The only way we can judge right from wrong, good from evil, saved from lost, is if we have a STANDARD. If there were no standard meter, then anyone could use any measure of length that seems right to him, and he could judge something to be one meter or two meters long, and no one could say that he's wrong. The only thing that another person could say is something like, "Well, in my opinion, it's not one meter long; it's fifteen meters long." And there would be nothing but chaos, because no one could judge a true meter from a false meter. The same things goes for judging spiritual things. If there were no standard, no one could say that something is right or wrong; no one could say something is good or evil; and no one could say that one person is saved and one person is lost. Everyone would be judging according to his own opinion and measuring others according to his arbitrary whim. This is what's happening today amongst both the irreligious and the religious, isn't it. They do not believe there is any standard, so they're making up their own. It has just come down to equally valid opinions. But when GOD says that He hates false weights and measures, He is saying that He hates ANY judgment that is not according to the one PERFECT standard of judgment. Where is that perfect standard of judgment to be found? In God's Word.
Let's turn to 2 Corinthians 6:14-15:
2 Corinthians 6: (14) Do not be unequally yoked [with] unbelievers. For what partnership does righteousness [have] with lawlessness? And what fellowship does light [have] with darkness?
God tells us not to have spiritual partnership with unbelievers. Now what would this verse mean if there were not some STANDARD by which to judge, or to MEASURE, who is an unbeliever? It would be like saying, "Do not be unequally yoked with gindersikes." If we have no idea who or what gindersikes are, then how can we not be unequally yoked with them? When God tells us not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, this means that we KNOW who the unbelievers are, does it not? And God tells us in His Word who the unbelievers are. He tells us what the standard of judgment is. Turn to Mark 16:15-16:
Mark 16: (15) And He said to them, Going into all the world, preach the gospel to all the creation. (16) The [one] believing and being baptized will be saved. And the [one] not believing will be condemned.
What is the standard of judgment here? What is the measure by which we are to measure whether or not someone is saved? THE GOSPEL. If someone does not believe THE GOSPEL, then he is lost. Romans 1:17 says that THE GOSPEL reveals the righteousness of God. Romans 3:26 says that God shows His righteousness in being just and justifier. And Romans 10:3 says this:
Romans 10: (3) For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God.
God shows us the standard, doesn't he? Anyone who is ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel is lost. And the way they show us that they are lost is by their confession. So then we can apply this standard to 2 Corinthians 6. God commands us that we are not to be unequally yoked with those who confess a false gospel. Now the TRUE gospel shows God to be just and justifier. And the only way God can be just and justifier is through imputation. God justly punished His perfect Son on the cross because the sins of His people were imputed to Christ. God justifies these people because the righteousness of Christ is imputed to His people. The atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ MUST demand the salvation of all whom He represented, or else God is not just and justifier. All of salvation must be conditioned on the work of Christ alone, or else God is not just and justifier. The difference between salvation and damnation must be the work of Christ alone, or else God is not just and justifier. And any who are ignorant of this are automatically seeking to establish a righteousness of their own and are not submitted to the righteousness of God. When we use GOD'S STANDARD in our judgment, we see that all who believe that Christ died for everyone without exception are lost, because they believe that it is the work of the SINNER that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. And what of those who DO NOT use God's standard in their judgment? GOD HATES those who use false weights and measures.
One example of a false weight would be judging someone to be saved based on that person's morality. He's putting his own weight on one side of the scale, and he's CALLING IT a true weight, but it does not equal God's standard. So when he measures a person based on his own corrupt weight, the scale balances. So he speaks peace to that person, because he believes that person is saved based on his false scale. And we could think of many other examples, couldn't we? We think of someone who claims to believe the doctrines of grace, yet when he weighs the Arminian in his false scale, using a false weight that is not based on the standard of God's Word, that Arminian and his false weight balances. That false weight could be the fact that the Arminian sounds like a Calvinist when he prays. That false weight could be the fact that the Arminian is so zealous in reading his Bible. That false weight could be the fact that the Arminian seems so open to the truth. Each lost Calvinist has his own pet false weights. And each of these false weights is an ABOMINATION to God. God HATES these false weights, because they are not based on the true standard. And God HATES those who use these false weights to make their judgments. But we who are God's people use the perfect stone.
This leads into one more thing that God says He hates. Let's turn to Revelation 2:6:
Revelation 2: (6) But you have this, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
God says that He hates the works of the Nicolaitans. In verse 15, God says that He hates the TEACHING - the DOCTRINE of the Nicolaitans. Hating their works comes from hating their doctrine, because those who hold to doctrine contrary to the doctrine of Christ can only bring forth wicked works. Notice how verse 6 is constructed. God says that the church at Ephesus hates the works of the Nicolaitans, and then He adds, "which I also hate." This is a perfect example of what I have been saying throughout this series - God's people are to hate what God hates. God hates the teaching of the Nicolaitans because it's a false gospel, and God's PEOPLE hate the teaching of the Nicolaitans because they judge the Nicolaitans by God's one true standard. From verse 14 and 15, we see that the Nicolaitans were ones whose doctrine was the same in essence as the doctrine of Balaam. What does it say that Balaam taught Balak? He taught Balak to teach Israel to eat idol sacrifices and to commit fornication. This has to do with false religion that we went over last week. The Nicolaitans were professing Christians who brought in false religion and its practices. And we saw last week that God hates false religion and any mixture of the true and the false. And if we judge by the right standard, we, too, will hate false religion and any mixture of the true and the false, and we, too, will judge those lost who engage in such things.
So we come to the end of the series on what God hates. I'd like to end the series with one final verse. Let's turn to Luke 16:15:
Luke 16: (15) And He said to them, You are those justifying yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts; for the thing highly prized among men is a hateful thing before God.
God hates the thing highly prized among men. What is the thing highly prized among men? The first part of the verse gives us a clue. The Pharisees were ones who justified themselves before men. Whatever the Pharisees used to justify themselves before men is the thing that men highly prize and is the thing that is an abomination to God. What did the lost Israelites admire in the Pharisees? What did the Pharisees do that made them think that they were the holiest men on earth? Their outward works of religion and morality. The lost Israelites considered the Pharisees to be the holiest of the holy because they were zealous in their religion and even went over and above the call of religious duty. And they were outwardly the most moral people around. They were highly esteemed. But Jesus Christ said that these things were hateful to God. Why? Well, Paul tells us in Philippians that he was a Pharisee - he was zealous in his religion, and he was blameless in his morals. Yet Paul counted it all but loss and trash. The reason he counted it as wicked was because of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus - that he was found in Christ, not having his own righteousness of Law, but through the faith of Christ, having the righteousness of God on faith. Paul hated what God hates. God hated the Pharisees because they believed that they made themselves righteous through their Law-keeping. And the lost Israelites highly esteemed the Pharisees because they believed the same thing. But what is highly prized among men is an abomination to God. Any sincere, moral, religious, zealous person who believes that he is made righteous by his obedience is an abomination to God. Any sincere, moral, religious, zealous person who believes that his own works form any part of the ground of his acceptance before God is a hateful thing to God. But we who have been saved count all this as just religious trash. We have been given that excellent knowledge of Christ Jesus, which means that we believe that we are not made righteous by our Law-keeping but by the imputed righteousness of Christ. We believe that it is the work of Christ alone that demands and secures our salvation. God hates every false way, and God's people hate every false way. We are given the standard by which to distinguish the true way from all other false ways. The true way is the way of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. Any way that conditions salvation on anything in the sinner is a false way. May we judge righteous judgment by the perfect standard. Amen.