“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” – Psalm 97:10
Charles Spurgeon believed that “The Christian religion is a golden chain with which the hands of men are fettered from all hatred.” Since the “spirit of Christ is love,” Spurgeon declared that “Wherever he governs, love reigns as a necessary consequence.” Simply put, “The Christian man is not allowed to hate anyone.”
While the world preached “love thy neighbor and hate thy enemy,” Jesus Christ commanded “Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you and pray for them that despitefully use you.” For Spurgeon, the word “hate” must be “cut out of the language of a Christian,” with only one exception. That is, Christians are commanded to hate evil.
However, hating evil itself is difficult. Spurgeon warned his congregation that “When thou hatest the man’s sins, thou art not to hate him, but to love the sinner, even as Christ loved sinners.” Or to put it differently, “We are to love our enemies, but we are to hate God’s enemies. We are to love sinners, but we are to hate sin.”
Furthermore, the Christian must “hate all evil – not some evils.” Spurgeon lamented the vast number of those “who think others extremely guilty for committing iniquities which they do not care to commit, but they themselves commit other sins with which they deal very gently.” Accordingly, Spurgeon urged his hearers to confront sin with a “gauntlet” and not the “kid-glove of friendship.” Indeed, “Not one sin are we to spare, but against the whole are we to proclaim an utter and entire war of extermination.”
In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon declared “Christian man, hate all evil in thyself.” Here Spurgeon reflected upon the great ruin wrought by evil. He observed that “Sin stopped up your eyes, so that you could not see the beauty of the Saviour…sin poured poison into the very fountain of your being it tainted your heart and made it ‘deceitful above all things.’” Spurgeon warned that “[sin] has been your murderer,” and accordingly should not be given quarter.
Another reason for hating evil was “because it weakens you.” Here Spurgeon noted that “Prayer becomes a painful duty instead of a most gracious and excellent privilege” when the mind is conscious of guilt. To the point Spurgeon added that “An unholy minister must be an unsuccessful one, and an unholy Christian must be an unfruitful one.”
Furthermore, Spurgeon urged his congregation, saying “hate evil; hate it in yourself, because evil in you will do hurt to others.” He lamented that “The sharpest trials God’s church has ever had, has come from her own sons and daughters.” Indeed, he declared that “If the church were not a divine thing, protected by God, she must have ceased to exist, merely through the failure and iniquity of her own professed friends.”
Finally, Spurgeon plead with his hearers to hate evil “for the poor sinner’s sake.” Here he exclaimed in frustration, “How many sinners every year are driven away from all thought of religion by the inconsistency of professors!” And so, he admonished his listeners to “be careful.” He warned that “The world has a lynx eye: it will see your faults; it will be impossible to hide them; and it will magnify your faults. It will slander you if you have none; give it at least no ground to work upon.”
In the second, and final, section of his sermon, Spurgeon proclaimed “Hate sin in others.” Here, after repeating his admonition “do not hate others, but hate sin in others,” he urged Christians to “never in any way countenance [sin].” His reason for the remark was that “many a Christian…does more mischief than he knows of by a smile.”
Spurgeon did not want the members of his church to grant passive approval to sin by their silence, but rather to “let them know you hate [their sin].” Simply, the Christian must never “stamp another man’s sins with approval” and must avoid “sinful silence” which may “make you a partaker in their ways.”
Finally, Spurgeon charged his congregation to be circumspect. He said, “If you hate evil, do not get into it yourself, because it is of no use your talking to others about evil unless your own life be blameless.” Citing an old adage he said, “They that live in glass houses must not throw stones.” And so, Spurgeon charged “Get out of your own glass house, and then throw as many [stones] as you like.”
Why you should take up and read:
Charles Spurgeon believed that “The Christian religion is a golden chain with which the hands of men are fettered from all hatred.” The only exception to this command was the Christian duty to hate evil and sin. In this sermon, Spurgeon sought to cultivate a love of sinners and a hatred of sin. For those who would hate evil more please take up and read.
Here is a link to the Sermon of the Week:https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/righteous-hatred#flipbook/
Phillip Ort serves as the Director of The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City while studying in The Residency Ph.D. program.