Holiness Means Antagonism To Sin
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil — Prove. 8:13.
Holiness is not only freedom from sin, but also means antagonism to sin. It is not a mere passive, goody goody, sentimental affair, that does not rebuke sin lest it give offense, but at once enlists its possessor in the war against sin. A holy heart can no more excuse and tolerate sin than can a holy God. The measure of our love and loyalty to God is determined by our aversion for and attitude toward sin. No man can be neutral regarding sin and at the same time maintain and retain the Bible standard and experience of Holiness.
Because the sons of Eli “made themselves vile, and he restrained them not” (he frowned not upon them, marg), the judgments of God came upon him and all his house. (I. Sam. 3:13) When Jehu was sent of the Lord to reprove King Jehosaphat, he said, “There are good things found in thee,” but because he had “joined affinity with Ahab,” Jehu said, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord.” (II. Chron. 19:2, 3.) To compromise with sin is tacitly a consent to sin, and makes one a partaker of the same. Hence it becomes the duty of God’s holy people, not only to abstain from sin, but to do as was said to the prophet Isaiah, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isa. 58:1). As Paul charged his son Timothy: “Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (11. Tim. 4:2.)
It is this uncovering and rebuking of sin that brings opposition and persecution. “They hate him that rebuketh in the gate.” (Amos 5:10.) It would seem that even Satan himself is not much disturbed at the preaching of holiness, if only you do not expose and rebuke sin; his cry is today, as it was when Christ was upon earth, “Let us alone.” (Mark 1:24), but Christ would not let them alone, and neither should we let them alone. It was this rebuking of sin — this antagonism to sin — that cost John the Baptist his head. Had he not said to Herod, “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife,” it is likely that Herod would have contributed to the expense of Brother John’s meeting, for we read, “he did many things, and heard him gladly.” It was when Stephen said, “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost,” that “they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth,” “and cast him out of the city, and stoned him” to death. Doubtless if he had heeded the advice of modern theologians, and been more “tactful” and “discreet,” and more “liberal” and “broad-minded” in his attitude toward the enemies of God, he could easily have escaped that shower of stones. It was this antagonism to sin that cost Stephen his life, as well as tens of thousands of others down through the ages.
We have no sympathy whatever with this modern view of so popularizing the Gospel that every one will become charmed and fascinated, and so be captured for Christ. It is a falsehood and a delusion. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they arc foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (I. Cor. 2:14.) The facts are, the nearer a man gets to heaven the farther he is removed from earth; the more deeply spiritual and the more Christlike the less this world will understand and appreciate him. The devil is not dead; nor has he been converted; and he who dares to uncover sin and cry out against sin in high places as well as in low places without fear or favor — will soon discover that this world and hell are just as diabolically opposed to God and holiness today as at any time in the history of the world. Satan is not disturbed by a profession and preaching of holiness that does not expose and rebuke sin; nor does the “old man” object to any teaching on holiness that will give him quarter, and permit him to stay; it is the eradication and extermination business he objects to.
A holy heart will hate everything that God hates and love everything that God loves. “How can ye believe which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination is the sight of God.” “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”