These two sermons are a MUST for every believer-they set the impossible standard God sets for us-impossible but for the grace of God. Videos (U tube) here under Romans 12:9:
Gospel Living (8)
The Moral Absolutes of Good and Evil [download]
Scripture Reading: Romans 12
Text: Romans 12:9
I. The World’s Views
II. The Christian Position
Gospel Living (9)
Abhor! Cleave! [download]
Scripture Reading: II Corinthians 6
Text: Romans 12:9
I. Abhor Evil
II. Cleave to the Good
Herman Hoeksema on “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good”
(Righteous By Faith Alone, pp. 595-597)
If we are to love without hypocrisy, we must also abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good. Abhorring evil and cleaving to good is the indispensable condition for heeding the admonition to love without hypocrisy. When the apostle speaks of good and evil, he uses the terms in the most unlimited sense. Some explain that we must abhor evil and do good in relation to one another, but there is no need of this limitation. The apostle is thinking of evil in the most unlimited sense: evil in relation to God, evil in relation to the world, evil in relation to one another. To be concrete, evil includes such things as false doctrine, an unholy walk, and love of the world. Evil includes wickedness that we see every day in the world. We meet it on the street, in pictures, and in paint, powder, and dress. It is the wickedness of the world, that the Christian is tempted to copy. It is also the evil we commit in relation to one another. It is untruth, malice, envy, hatred, slander, and backbiting.
Abhor these things. The apostle does not simply say, “Don’t do the evil.” The exhortation addresses the state of our mind: “Abhor it.” Then it is repulsive to us. We hate it. We shun it. We run away or fight it. Abhor false doctrine! Abhor an unholy walk! Abhor evil books, literature, and pictures. Don’t even cast one eye on them in the lust of the flesh. Hate them. Condemn them.
Cleaving to that which is good is also a state of mind. Good refers to spiritual, ethical, and moral good in relation to God, in relation to the world, and in our relation to one another. We are to cleave to the fruits of sanctification, particularly honesty. As we abhor evil, so are we spontaneously to love what is good. When we see it, we love it, set our heart on it, and take hold of it.
The question is, how can this exhortation address our inner life? If the Word commands, “Do it!” I might try to do it. But if I must abhor and cleave, how can I do this? It must be remembered that the apostle is speaking here to the church. One cannot give this exhortation to a worldly crowd. The church has the inner, spiritual principle of the renewal of the mind. If there is not this renewal of the mind, the exhortation is impossible. But the renewal of the mind transforms us from within. To put it concretely, there is a new principle of life in us. And if there is a new principle of life in us, we abhor evil, and we cleave to that which is good.
Still, means are necessary. Scripture teaches that there are two means by which we learn, more and more, to do what the text commands. The first means is the Word of God. If we want to abhor evil, we must live close to the Word of God. The more that Scripture becomes a living principle in our life, the more we will develop the spiritual principle by which we abhor evil. The second means is prayer. And I mean prayer by which we cry unto God. If we really pray, we will become more and more unhypocritical in love.
We might be inclined to read the text this way: “Let love be without dissimulation, and then you will never do evil, but you will always do that which is good.” But this is not the meaning. Abhorring the evil and cleaving to the good is the condition for loving without hypocrisy. We cannot love without dissimulation if we do not abhor evil and cleave to that which is good. The reason is that love is the love of God. We cannot love God and one another if we walk in darkness. If we walk in darkness, we cannot be loved as a child of God.
Therefore, this admonition is serious, “Let love be without dissimulation.” If this is to be so in our life, we must abhor evil and cleave to that which is good. Then there is the action of love, and the blessing of Christ will be richly manifest in the church.