April 5, 2011
“Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.”
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After commanding us to love without hypocrisy in Romans 12:9, God now presents two commands that mirror each other. On the one hand, we must abhor evil and cling to good.
Abhor What Is Evil. God uses the word “abhor” (“ἀποστυγοῦντες“) to describe our relationship to evil. The believer’s attitude toward all forms of evil should consist of an intensive dislike. In our world today, and in my life in particular, I find myself bombarded with evil, particularly from the internet and television. So many news and information programs present evil as it were accepted and ordinary. The push to accept all forms of fornication and homosexuality, as if they were perfectly acceptable behavior, pours through the media. The move to accept all religions as valid, and embrace them all equally, completely contradicts the words of Jesus Christ: “I am the way, and the truth and and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). I have a lot of problems with evil in my life, but I am certain that my attitude toward evil must change my actions all the time. I must be constantly and vigilantly on the look out to identify evil and then abhor it. I cannot count on my friends, the news media, Christian “leaders,” or anyone else to identify evil. Through the Bible and Holy Spirit leading me, I will see the evil, identify it, forsake it, and abhor it. The attitude you maintain towards evil will deeply affect how you act. If you start secretly longing for evil things (though they may be for a time pleasurable, enticing, attractive, or soothing), you will be moving away from God’s loving kindness and adding to your hypocrisy.
Cling to What Is Good. This term for “cling” (“κολλώμενοι“) means to join and remain together. In 1 Corinthians 6:16-17, Paul illustrates this term with a sexual union. He states that whoever “clings to” (“κολλώμενος“) a prostitute becomes one flesh with the prostitute (1 Corinthians 6:16). This type of union, of becoming one flesh, remains a terrible problem with having sex with prostitutes. In contrast, however, believers must “cling to” (“κολλώμενος“) God (1 Corinthians 6:17). Paul places this determination to cling to the good (“ἀγαθῷ“) in your mind. With your thoughts and attitudes you will determine your behavior. Sexual lust starts within you and then defiles you if you cling to it. Likewise, God will sanctify you when you abhor the evil, and cling to the good, starting inside of your thinking, in your desires, in your attitudes.
So we learn that we must abhor evil and cling to the good.
● We abhor evil when we focus our attention upon hating evil in all its forms. We allow no fog of indifference to evil to creep into our lives.
● We cling to the good when we love the things that Jesus loves and embrace them with all of our hearts, minds and strength.
● We remain vigilant in our minds to evaluate carefully what we abhor and what we cling to. Everyday, we constantly assess our motives, desires, loves and hates, all with a view toward God sanctifying our behavior in His truth and love.
Application for Today
Today, I want to abhor evil and cling to the good. I will be watching out to hate evil, to cling tightly to the good, and to understand the difference. Will you be distinguishing good and evil today? What will you abhor and cling to today?