Love and hatred are two opposite passions in the human soul. Love is for the beautiful and good, hatred for the deformed and evil. If we had never sinned, we would only love the excellent and holy; and we would only hate the loathsome and sinful. But in consequence of sin, the very opposite is the case, in a moral or spiritual point of view; for we call evil good, and good evil; we put darkness for light, and light for darkness. Men have become haters of God, lovers of sin; haters of light, and lovers of darkness. Hence the wisdom of God says, "All those who hate life, love death." Proverbs 8:35. They hate the good — and love the evil.
THE OBJECT OF HATRED. This is Jesus, the personal wisdom of God, who complains in the book of Psalms, "They hated me without a cause." John 15:25. And personally in the days of His flesh, "Now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father." John 15:24. It is a solemn thought, that many sinners who hear the gospel, hate Jesus. Hate Jesus! Yes, though He is infinitely wise, exquisitely beautiful, perfect in holiness, unparalleled in goodness, almighty in power, and the very personification of love. Jesus, who is represented by the gentle lamb, the fructifying dew, the safe refuge, the fragrant rose, the beautiful and useful light; who is the desire of all nations, and the altogether lovely one. Jesus who left Heaven and its glories, who came and labored on earth, who suffered unparalleled indignities and pains, who died on the accursed tree, and who now pleads in Heaven for all who seek salvation by Him. Jesus, who is both able and willing to pardon all their sins, to lift them up to Heaven, and who has power and authority to thrust them down to Hell. O what folly, what madness to hate Jesus — and yet multitudes do so!
THE CRIME. "All those who hate me." Many will say, "but we do not hate Jesus." Do you not? You act as if you did at any rate.
How do you treat His word? Do you read it, believe it, and practice it? Or, do you allow it to He unopened day after day? Or if you read it, do you read it with that deep seriousness, profound thought, and close attention which it deserves? How do you act in reference to His throne of grace? He has erected a throne of grace, he invites you to come boldly unto it, and to pour out your hearts before him. Are you often at his throne? Are you there . . .
as a criminal seeking for mercy,
as a servant seeking supplies, or
as a child asking for favors and indulgences?
How do you treat his house? It is opened that you may meet with Him, worship him, and hear from him. Are you often there? Are you there regularly and early? Do you go there as to your home, to meet with your Father and converse with him?
How do you treat his servants and their message? With respect and attention? With affection and regard? If not, how can you say you love him? Look at your thoughts — are they full of Christ, and do you think of him with pleasure? Look at your words — do you speak of Christ, and speak of him as of one you love, and in whom you confide? Look at your conduct — do you imitate Christ, making his example and His word your law? If not, how can you say that you love him? If you do not love him — you hate him, and therefore treat him with indifference and contempt.
This conduct is cruel, after all he has done to save sinners. It is foolish, for it excludes from salvation, and exposes to the wrath of God. It is inexcusable, for no reason can be assigned for it, or legitimate ground of excuse found. A more unreasonable, inexcusable sin, than hating the Lord Jesus, was never committed.
THE RESULT. "All they that hate me — love death." They love that which will be their death. The death of hope, the death of happiness, and that forever. The death which includes outer darkness, distance from God, and eternal damnation. O strange infatuation, to love death! If they do not love death itself, they choose the way that leads to it. They prefer risking it, to coming to the Lord Jesus for life. They pursue it in the error of their way. They seem determined to dare it.
Here is the epitome of folly. How can anyone be more foolish than this? Here is the almost universal sin. Almost all manifest dislike to Jesus, and refuse to seek salvation by him. Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads unto death, and many there are, who go in thereat.
Here is the chief complaint of the Son of God. Jesus deserves to be loved. He desires to be loved. He has done everything he could to win our love — and yet the great majority of mankind hate him! Well might he weep over Jerusalem, when treated so by its inhabitants. Well might his apostle say, "If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ — let him be eternally accursed." Well may he say at the last to all who have treated him thus, "Depart from me, you cursed ones, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Reader, will he say so to you? If you hate him, if you are indifferent to him, or if you treat him with cold neglect — he most assuredly will. Fearful will be your case then. Eternal will be your punishment then. The hater of Christ must perish!