Friday, September 2, 2011

For You are Not a God who Delights in Wickedness


“For you are not a God who delights in wickedness” (Psalm 5:4)

In our day and age we have made it a practice to shy away from some biblical terms. People find them hard to understand or they lack relevance or people just do not want to say them. The danger of doing such things is diluting the Scripture. Wicked is one of the words we have taken out of our vocabulary but it is a part of God’s vocabulary. He is not a God who delights in wickedness.

Many modern day “evangelicals” have turned away from using words like sin or wickedness so that they don’t offend people and draw them away from the church. They’re alright speaking about mistakes or habits but sin is to offensive. Calling someone a sinner is just downright mean. We can potentially lower or damage a person’s self-esteem if we call them sinners. But the very term self-esteem carries with it the reality that we are sinners. Our pride is so off the charts that we esteem ourselves as something worth lowering. We think too much about us. This is the problem. We shouldn’t be calling people sinners in hopes of lowering their self-esteem but rather in hopes that God would crush their self-esteem. God does not take delight in elevating one’s self as the ultimate treasure.

Why all the negativity?

The short answer: “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness.” God is holy and he hates wickedness. The text goes on to say, “Evil may not dwell with you.” The power of positive thinking is not going to change the unchangeable “I AM”, so why are we trying to sugar coat sin? Sin tastes sweet enough to sinners without adding extra sugar. Since God does not delight in sin or wickedness Christians should not either. Our message to a dying world should not be training them to delight in the very things God hates. That doesn’t make sense. Pride is at the top of the list of wickedness. Pride is promoting one’s self to the status of God. Pride is the very thing that leads a person to destruction (Proverbs 16:18). When we teach people to build their self-esteem we are basically holding them over the edge of a cliff by a fishing line. They are dangling over the pit of destruction. We need to be encouraging them and challenging them to kill their self-esteem and find their worth in the all-satisfying treasure of Jesus Christ. Our value is not in self but in Christ alone.

We have too often talked about sin or “mistakes” in the way of our actions. Murder, rape, incest, adultery, stealing and so on. These are the offensive sins. This is the sort of wickedness in which God takes no delight. If you’re thinking pride is not that big of a deal maybe you should dig into the heart of every single sin mentioned above. You would dig up the root of pride. Pride is at the core of every sin. I'm not trying to sound like the “angry prophet” but this is a serious issue. Why are we teaching our people to build up the very thing God hates? It’s dangerous and foolish and ultimately never satisfying. The problem with building our self-esteem is the building is blocking out the treasure. The more we build, the greater the wall blocks out Christ. We need the gospel to break through like a wrecking ball to tear down our pride.

Rather than taking words away from the Bible may we be faithful to proclaim them, knowing God will work his purposes for his glory and our good. May we not sugar coat the truth. May we talk about sin and the fact that we are all sinners in need of God's grace. He is holy. He hates sin. Apart from Christ sinners will be destroyed. This is a tough pill to swallow but it is the truth found in God’s Word.

Grace upon grace,
JRL

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