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30 March, 2013

The Doctrine of Repentance - Part 9


By Thomas Watson, 1668
 The Nature of true repentance

Ingredient 5. HATRED of Sin
The fifth ingredient in repentance is hatred of sin. The Schoolmen distinguished a two-fold hatred: hatred of abominations, and hatred of enmity.

Firstly, there is a hatred or loathing of ABOMINATIONS: "Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices!" (Ezek. 36:31). A true penitent is a sin-loather. If a man loathes that which makes his stomach sick, much more will he loathe that which makes his soul sick! It is greater to loathe sin—than to leave it. One may leave sin for fear, as in a storm the jewels are cast overboard—but the nauseating and loathing of sin argues a detestation of it. Christ is never loved—until sin is loathed. Heaven is never longed for—until sin is loathed. When the soul sees its filthiness, he cries out, "Lord, when shall I be freed from this body of death! 

When shall I put off these filthy garments of sin—and be arrayed in the robe of Your perfect righteousness! Let all my self-love be turned into self-loathing!" (Zech. 3:4-5). We are never more precious in God's eyes—than when we are lepers in our own eyes!

Secondly, there is a hatred of ENMITY. There is no better way to discover life—than by motion. The eye moves, the pulse beats. So to discover repentance there is no better sign than by a holy antipathy against sin. Sound repentance begins in love to God—and ends in the hatred of sin. How may true hatred of sin be known?

1. When a man's HEART is set against sin.

Not only does the tongue protest against sin—but the heart abhors it. However lovely sin is painted—we find it odious—just as we abhor the picture of one whom we mortally hate, even though it may be well drawn. Suppose a dish be finely cooked and the sauce good—yet if a man has an antipathy against the meat—he will not eat it. So let the devil cook and dress sin with pleasure and profit—yet a true penitent has a secret abhorrence of it, is disgusted by it, and will not meddle with it.

2. True hatred of sin is UNIVERSAL.

True hatred of sin is universal in two ways: in respect of the faculties, and of the object.

(1) Hatred is universal in respect of the faculties. That is, there is a dislike of sin not only in the judgment—but in the will and affections. Many a one is convinced that sin is a vile thing, and in his judgment has an aversion to it—yet he tastes sweetness in it—and has a secret delight in it. Here is a disliking of sin in the judgment and an embracing of it in the affections! Whereas in true repentance, the hatred of sin is in all the faculties, not only in the intellectual part—but chiefly in the will: "I do the very thing I hate!" (Romans 7:15). Paul was not free from sin—yet his will was against it.

(2) Hatred is universal in respect of the object. He who truly hates one sin—hates all sins. He who hates a serpent—hates all serpents. "I hate every false way!" (Psalm 119:104). Hypocrites will hate some sins which mar their credit. But a true convert hates all sins—gainful sins, complexion sins, the very stirrings of corruption. Paul hated the motions of sin within him (Romans 7:23).

3. True hatred against sin is against sin in all forms.
A holy heart detests sin for its intrinsic pollution. Sin leaves a stain upon the soul. A regenerate person abhors sin not only for the curse—but for the contagion. He hates this serpent not only for its sting but for its poison. He hates sin not only for hell—but as hell.

4. True hatred is IMPLACABLE.
It will never be reconciled to sin any more. Anger may be reconciled—but hatred cannot. Sin is that Amalek which is never to be taken into favor again. The war between a child of God and sin is like the war between those two princes: "there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days" (1 Kings 14:30).

5. Where there is a real hatred, we not only oppose sin in ourselves but in OTHERS too. The church at Ephesus could not bear with those who were evil (Rev. 2:2). Paul sharply censured Peter for his deception, although he was an apostle. Christ in a holy anger, whipped the money-changers out of the temple (John 2:15). He would not allow the temple to be made an exchange. Nehemiah rebuked the nobles for their usury (Neh. 5:7) and their Sabbath profanation (Neb. 13:17).

A sin-hater will not endure wickedness in his family: "He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house" (Psalm 101:7). What a shame it is when magistrates can show height of spirit in their passions—but no heroic spirit in suppressing vice.

Those who have no antipathy against sin, are strangers to repentance. Sin is in them—as poison in a serpent, which, being natural to it, affords delight. How far are they from repentance who, instead of hating sin, love sin! To the godly—sin is as a thorn in the eye; to the wicked sin is as a crown on the head! "They actually rejoice in doing evil!" (Jer. 11:15).

Loving of sin is worse than committing it. A good man may run into a sinful action unawares—but to love sin is desperate. What is it, which makes a swine love to tumble in the mire? Its love of filth. To love sin shows that the will is in sin, and the more of the will there is in a sin, the greater the sin. Wilfulness makes it a sin not to be purged by sacrifice (Heb. 10:26). O how many there are—who love the forbidden fruit! They love their oaths and adulteries; they love the sin and hate the reproof. Solomon speaks of a generation of men: "madness is in their heart while they live" (Eccles. 9:3). So for men to love sin, to hug that which will be their death, to sport with damnation, "madness is in their heart". It persuades us to show our repentance, by a bitter hatred of sin. There is a deadly antipathy between the scorpion and the crocodile; such should there be between the heart and sin.