Hating the Haters of God (2)

Rev. denHartog is pastor of Hope Protestant Reformed Church in Redlands, California.

We are living in the new dispensation. There is a difference between the old and the new dispensation. By this we do not mean that God has changed in His holy attitude toward the wicked. Neither do we mean that our attitude must be essentially different from David's attitude in the old dispensation. There is, however, a difference. By the command of God in the old dispensation the cause of the Lord's kingdom was advanced by the sword. God commanded David to fight the many wars and battles he was engaged in. He was commanded to exterminate with the sword those who were under the curse of God. This was the nature of the old dispensation, for reasons we cannot detail in this short article.

The kingdom of Christ is spiritual. The cause of the kingdom of Christ in the New Testament age is not advanced by carnal means but by spiritual means, the means of the preaching of the Word. The cause of the church of Jesus Christ is not advanced by the sword power in the new dispensation. Those in the history of the church who tried to do this were wrong. The crusades of the Middle Ages were terribly wrong for that reason. The rebellion of the Anabaptists at the time of the Reformation was rightly severely condemned by the leaders of the Reformation. Such misguided efforts wreaked havoc in the church and did great harm to the cause of Christ. Today, when there are those who stir up rebellion against the state and promote physical violence in the name of Christ they must be severely condemned. This is true even for those who stand for a cause as serious as anti-abortion. In other words, our hatred for the enemies of God does not justify our destroying the houses of the wicked, ruining their property and business, or, even worse, taking their life in the name of God. All those who do this are condemned by God's Word.

In the New Testament age we show that we hate the haters of God by condemning their evil walk and evil confession and their blasphemy against God. We call them to repentance and if, after being often admonished, they continue in their sin and rebellion, we separate ourselves from them, and, as David did, we count them our enemies. We count them our enemies because they have shown themselves to be enemies of God. With the grace of God in our heart, with love for God in our hearts, we count impenitent wicked men as our enemies.

We must identify the enemies of God by their wicked deeds, by their opposition against the Word of God, by their blasphemy against the name of God. This is the same way in which David identified them, as is clear from the passage quoted from Psalm 139. This is not being wrongly judgmental. The Bible says, by their fruits ye shall know them. The enemies of God are those who openly show that they hate God. They hate the good and holy commandments of God. They laugh at the law of God and make sin their entertainment. They deny that there is a God in heaven and mock His judgments. They hate the name of God, for they blaspheme His name. They hate the truth of God. They contradict it. They seek to displace the truth of God with the proud opinions of men. They promote doctrines that are contrary to the testimony of the infallible Scriptures. Adulterers, whoremongers, murderers, liars, and thieves, as long as they continue in these sins, are enemies of God. False prophets, heretics in the church, are enemies of God. Those who today in the church are working to overthrow the fundamental doctrines of God's Word and to replace them with false doctrines of men, these are the enemies of God.

There is a difference between one man and another, however. God's people are sometimes led astray for a time by false teachers in the church. They are deceived. They certainly have some responsibility for this. They are often led astray because of their own ignorance. They have not armed themselves with the Word of God. They have stayed in apostate churches that they should have left long ago. They have become ignorant of the truth, and in their ignorance they are as children tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine and by the sleight and cunning craftiness of men who lie in wait to deceive. Not all of these are enemies of God. Some of these must be pitied. They must be instructed in the truth. We must exercise great patience and love toward them to restore them to the truth of God. We must pray for them that God will bring them back to the truth of His Word.

Different from these, however, are avowed heretics and those who continue to live in brazen and proud wickedness before God even after their errors have been clearly shown to them from the Word of God and they have been warned and admonished many times.

You want a few examples of this? We certainly count the wicked movie stars of Hollywood and Broadway who promote their evil philosophy of life of fornication and adultery, and blasphemy against God through the media in our day, to be enemies of God. We do not say that these promote good art and American culture which we need to learn to appreciate, just cringing a little when they speak blasphemy and when the adultery they portray goes beyond our sense of decency. We do not entertain ourselves by watching their evil productions. We hate them. Because of our love for God we want nothing to do with the flood of evil that they bring into our society. We do everything in our power to guard our children and youth from the drug and violent culture of murder and hatred they promote. We count them our enemies because they are God's enemies.

The church today is overrun by heretics. Men are tolerated in the church at large who are working to overthrow the truths of the infallibility of the Word of God, teaching evolutionism and feminism and all sorts of other evil doctrines. The glorious truths of God's sovereign grace are being contradicted and replaced with humanistic doctrines that deny the glory of God. The foundations of many churches are being destroyed by these false preachers. God's people are left languishing, groping in darkness because the Word of God is not being preached and hirelings are in control of the church of God in many places. It is falsely imagined to be a mark of love to tolerate such evil men in the church year after year. Meanwhile they are allowed to spread their evil teachings and lead many astray and wreck the church. Churches refuse to discipline such evil men because it is claimed that this is not the loving thing to do. The holy apostle of the Lord dared to call anyone who did not bring the true gospel of Jesus Christ accursed, even if he were an angel from heaven. Let him be anathema. Who dares to say that in the name of Christ anymore today?

The church today needs the true love for God that David had, a love that made him hate the haters of God and count them his enemies. The corollary of such love is genuine concern for the welfare of God's people, zeal for the truth of God's Word, and love for the honor and glory of the name of God. May God give us such men of God, men after God's own heart like David and, most importantly, like Him that is greater than David, our Lord Jesus Christ.

We join David in another Psalm. "Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice" (Ps. 68:1-3).