Defeating Our Human Nature (Part 8. Hatred - A Deadly Poison)
Although this article is part of a series, it is a Complete study on its own. (8 of 18 in series)
* all [bracketed] words in Scripture quotes are mine *
"He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before your God?" (Micah 6:8)
"I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh...
...For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be of led the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such things there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another." (Galatians 5:16-26)
Welcome Back To Our Series On Defeating Our Human Nature..
This is the eighth in a series of eighteen articles based on the Galatians 5 excerpt above. In a previous series based on verses 22 and 23, we had progressed through the fruit of the Spirit (which you can see by clicking here). Now we are going through the previous verses (verses 16-21) in a series which elaborates on what is described as the works of the flesh, and is present in a life that is lived away from the Holy Spirit's guidance and direction.
In part 1 was an introduction explaining the difference between living a life following Jesus' footsteps and listening to His still, small voice and living a life that a person lives in the flesh, "doing the best he can." In part 2, the subject of adultery was covered and how it amounts to betrayal in ways most people can't even imagine. In part 3, fornication, and its many variations was covered and we spoke of the fact that we are all sexual creatures and how easily our mind slips into sexual sin with all the temptations offered by the world. Part 4 exposed the fact that in our flesh dwells no good thing and how our flesh constantly struggles against our spirit to keep us in a state of spiritual uncleanness. In part 5, the lesson was on lasciviousness, which is lewdness, a form of impurity with which we all are familiar. In part 6, idolatry was examined and we spoke of idols, and the fact that if we aren't worshiping God, we make our own god to worship, even if the idol we make is one that looks like our own self. In part 7, we spoke in length about witchcraft, its definition and how it is linked to rebellion against God.
We all use the word hate like Grouchy Smurf does, "I hate broccoli" or "I hate it when people hate." We say hate but we don't usually mean hate. We mean, "I prefer something else", or "I'd rather not deal with that thing." But when facing the word "hate" there are darker, more sinister meanings to the word and there is a meaning to the word hate that is positive and Godly. We need to clarify our own thoughts on the word and our attitudes toward it. We will try to cover both, so that it will be clear what the Bible says about hate.
A study of hatred cannot be undertaken without including a contrast between it and love. We also must be clear to draw the distinction between what is proper hatred, commanded of God and used in a Godly fashion, and what is the fleshly work of hatred that serves the sin nature of man. Hatred in the flesh has nothing to do with God, its purpose only to satisfy the lust of the one hating. Proper hate comes from Spiritual discernment and is to serve to strengthen a Christian in their resolve to remain pure in their own personal battles with sin and to help in counseling to restore a brother to a healthy relationship with God.
Hate Used In A Positive Sense
If you think about it, all love begins and ends with God. God's nature so reflects love that the Bible says, "God is love." (1 Jn. 4:16) He then infused that capability to love into His creation so that when they are energized by the Spirit of God, they love as He loves. The Scriptural admonition is: "be ye perfect [complete, whole] as I am perfect." (Mat. 5:48) We are to emulate our God to the extent we can in these bodies of flesh because we are created to be reflections of Him. God sees everywhere we can't see. He knows all we don't know. We therefore, cannot make the evaluations and judgments that God can, because He alone is omniscient and omnipresent. When God is pleased with something it is good (we should be pleased at the same things for then we will be correct in our assessment of that thing) and when God says He hates something we should accordingly adopt the same attitude. To do otherwise is dismissing an omniscient evaluation and declaring ourselves more knowledgeable than God. For example, if God says He hates a lying tongue and in your mind you reason that lying has its place, you do not have the proper loathing of lying as you should. You should hate it because God hates it.
When sin entered God's creation, a polarization of principle happened. Suddenly there were forces pulling away from and resisting an all-knowing God, who in His perfect wisdom, always knows what is best for His creatures. Instantly, there was a struggle ensuing where sinning creatures began to wrest the control that belongs to God away from God's righteous hand. Based on their own lusts and desires, they began to think "around God," putting a humanistic spin to Godly fact, making it lies. God's sovereignty was challenged, and God, who cannot lie, cannot sin, cannot be mistaken, cannot "put a spin" on things, stood firm on what His word had said. The more Satan struggled against God, the more sinning man struggled against God; the more animosity, hatred, and pain began to grow in the world. "God is [still] love," but men's struggles against Him, with sins that knew no boundaries to their evil, prompted God to state without any wavering that what He felt was hate toward those actions, toward that sin. The evil and hardship brought on by this sin, the death and destruction brought on by this evil, produces hate in a loving God. Time after time in Scripture, God tells us the things that sicken Him, that make Him angry. He tells us the practices that He hates.
I know that some have wrongly been taught that there is no hate in God and that all hate is bad and of the devil. But in applying Scripture, it would not be inappropriate to say: "God so hated sin that He sent His only-begotten Son to this earth to die so that sin could be eradicated." Remember, God is complete love but He is also complete justice, complete mercy and complete holiness.
Satan in his rebellion, thought to ensnare God in His attributes. He, in fact still poses these questions to non-believers and weak Christians to tempt them away from God. Here is the line of thought posed by the devil: If God is merciful, then how can He punish sin? If God is complete holiness, how will He allow sinful man to be around Him? If He is complete justice, how can He not punish evil? If He is love, how can He hate? How Satan must have thought he had created an ethical situation that even God could not solve! But for God the solution was simple, He is, after all, omniscient. The answer is in Jesus Christ! God Himself came to earth, holy, complete God and unfairly received the punishment you and I rightfully deserved. He allowed Himself to be killed by sinful men but more than that, He came so that God the Father could pour down His anger and hate upon sin. According to Scripture,"He made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us" (2 Cor. 5:21) and while He was sin, hanging there on that cross, God turned His back on Him, for God cannot look upon sin. Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, la ma sa-bach-tha-ni." that is to say "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Mat. 27:46) God took the punishment for sin upon Himself. Becoming sin for us, satisfied His amazing mercy, for now anyone can be forgiven if they just turn to God, allowing Christ's blood to pay for their sin. Jesus also satisfied the problem of man being sinners and God being holy, because once the sinning man turns to Christ, he is declared righteous "in Christ." So sin will not come into the presence of the throne of God. In view of Jesus suffering as He did, no one can say God is unjust or unfair. Quite the opposite, man is unfair to expect God to look the other way as sinful man rejects the Son and tries to "climb up another way" to heaven. This makes God angry and He hates it when people seek to do that!
"Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him [He punished Him as if He were sin]; He has put Him to grief." (Isaiah 53:10a)
"I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." ... "Then Jesus said to them again, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.'" (John 10:1,7-9)
"Kiss the Son lest He be angry [receive Jesus- do not try to climb up another way], and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Psalm 2:12)
Standing against what is evil (hating it) does not cancel out God's love, it demonstrates it! So when the Scripture sums it up and says there are "six things, yea, seven things God hates," no one should consider that unfair or unloving. All things coming from God are filtered through His love. As you look at the list of things proper for a Christian to hate, you notice some things. The first thing you will notice in the following list is that no person is actually hated except Satan. The second thing you will see is each item He says He hates is an action, a sin, a commitment to sin, an attitude. Lastly, you will see that each corresponds with one of the Ten Commandments. Pondering upon them, you will notice that each is an antithesis of one or more of the ten commandments which the Lord set forth on the Mount with Moses after He brought Israel out of Egypt.
(The list is fairly complete - some Biblical references I did not include that reiterate about lying, rebellion, etc. In the case of Esau (who was a man), the word used for hate does not mean actual hate but is a comparative word that means God loved him less, and in this case, less than Jacob.)
Basic List Of Things God Says He Hates: (numbered in no order of importance)
1. Satan (the original serpent and the indwelling presence of Anti-christ, referred to as the "ABOMINATION of Desolation") (Mat. 24:15; 2 Thes. 2:3-4)
2. A proud look (attitude of pride, self-exulting attitude) (Pro. 6:16-19)
3. A lying tongue (knowingly speaking untruth) (same ref.)
4. Hands that shed innocent blood (murder) (same ref.)
5. A mind that devises wicked plans (a way of thinking that devises anything against the will of God) (same ref.)
6. Feet that are swift to run to evil (impulsiveness that causes haste in pursuing ungodly things) (same ref.)
7. A false witness (lying to harm another's reputation, character, or person) (same ref.)
8. Sowing discord among brethren (works to divide or separate family unity) (same ref.)
9. Idolatry, carved images, anything that was used to make the idol (idolatry, the image itself, and the image's components. (Deut. 7:25-26)
10. Child sacrifice, witchcraft, soothsaying, interpreting omens, sorcery, conjuring spells, contacting and calling up the dead, spiritists (Deut. 18:9-12)
11. The prayers of a rebellious heart (Pro. 28:9)
12. Divorce (Mal. 2:16)
13. Homosexuality (sexual thoughts and acts between people of the same sex) (Lev. 18:22)
14. Bestiality (sex with an animal) (Lev. 18:23)
* * Esau (word used for hate here means "to love less") (Rom. 9:13)
"Therefore, when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whosoever reads let him understand)" ... "The man of sin revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exults himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." (Matthew 24:15), 2 Thessonlonians 2:3-4)
"There are six things the LORD hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him; a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
"You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it for it is an abomination to the LORD your God. Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing." (Deuteronomy 7:25-26)
"When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you." (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)
"One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination." (Proverbs 28:9)
"For the LORD God of Israel says that He hates divorce, for it covers one's garment with violence,' says the LORD of hosts. 'Therefore take heed to your spirit.'" (Malachi 2:16)
"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination." (Levitcus 18:22)
"You shall not mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion." (Levitcus 18:23)
* * "As it is written, 'Jacob I have loved, Esau I have *hated.'" [*hate miseo which means "to love less"] (Romans 9:13)
What we learn from this list is that attitudes of loathing, avoidance, and hateful disdain are appropriate toward actions that people do. As for attitudes toward the people that do these hideous acts, we are to do what Jesus did. He made a major part of His ministry to reach them. He stayed around sinners and when questioned about it, He said, "the sick need a physician." We are to have the same attitude. When you see people aiming their hatred at the people who sin and not at the sin itself, herein is the fleshly work of hatred. We will look at that side of hate in a moment but for now we are talking about godly hatred and how it never rests on the person, but always on the person's deeds. The person's deeds, according to Scripture, will eventually condemn them if they don't repent and have their sins blotted out, but God will decide how long He will tolerate their rebellion. We are not to judge or to condemn the person by naming his final fate in our heart, only God knows a person's final fate. We are to pray for that person, tell them the truth about their actions in love, tell them about Jesus, and avoid doing the same sin ourselves. (Now be careful here: we are not to judge the person- but the action (the sin) has already been judged, and condemned. To call their attention to the sin they commit is not unloving. The act of judging that person caught in this abominable behavior is not only unloving but is in itself sin.) The oft-said saying is true: "Love the sinner, hate the sin."
The Scripture reference most used and most misunderstood about this principle is in Matthew where Jesus tells His disciples not to judge others. This is not an advisement to accept all manner of sinful behaviors. It is a command to watch how you look at other sinners. In pointing the finger of judgment toward someone else and condemning them to an eternal reward that's linked to the behavior you see in them is dangerous. The behavior has been judged and the person has a whole lifetime (however long that is) to change, to repent and come to Jesus. If they don't, they will die in their sins, but who knows whether or not that sinner you are judging will repent? Only God knows. Jesus was saying for us not to do God's job. What we are to do is hate the deeds to which the person who needs repentance is enslaved and do our best to reach them for Christ.
"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. (Matthew 7:1)
"Do not judge [discern sin] according to appearance, but judge [discern sin] with righteous judgment [using the word of God]." (John 7:24)
Ideas Of Hatred
Fleshly Work Of Hatred
When you hear the statement, "He's a villain that you love to hate," there is truth here. Giving vent to hatred, pleases the flesh. It feels good to stand in judgment of someone and aim all manner of malice toward them. Committing this act of hate has a cathartic effect on all the frustrations in a person's life. All the person's troubles can be poured into one boiling pot and dumped on the head of the target of their hatred. As a person gives in to this kind of hate, their flesh seeks to keep it going, to keep living in that moment of feeling superior and expressing their disdain. Suddenly they realize that they have only one voice and so they gather to themselves others of like passion and mindset to feed off the rationalization of others. The mob mentality serves to bolster their hatred, to cover all exits in case a person wants out from from what has become a template and a lifestyle. They have built a work of the flesh.
A work of the flesh, if you remember, is when we give in to a particular sin and create a safe haven in your mind and life for the sin to exist as if it will never end. To have hatred as a work of the flesh means that one keeps a part of their mind in a mode of improper hatred and builds a scenario in his mind to rationalize keeping the hate forever. This is the improper side of hatred.
Paul used the word echthra (ek'-thrah) in the Galatians 5 excerpt above for the word hatred. It means, "a reason for opposition, enmity, hostility." It is derived from the word ecthros (ekh-thros') which means to hate (as in an adversary, usually Satan). The literal meaning of these words is "to stand in opposition to God on the side of the adversary Satan." Using an analogy of a battle there are two sides, on one side is God, holy and true, and on the other side is Satan, evil and twisted. Each side stands in opposition to the other. A decision must be made: on which side does one stand. Once that decision is made, a struggle ensues and it is a battle. Don't think that you can simply not choose sides, because to not choose God is choosing Satan. The devil hates and despises God. He works to pull sinners to stand with him against the God of the universe and what He has declared to be truth. When Paul was saying to make sure you did not keep the fleshly work of hatred in your life, he was saying to be sure to keep foremost in your mind on which side you stand. Approving of the sins of others or committing them is standing with the enemy. Also having an attitude of judgment against the people that commit sins, judging them worthy of hell before God has judged them, is something that God has not sanctioned, therefore it is a work in opposition to God, on the adversary's side. You must check yourself continually. Are you speaking God's words and views or your own fleshly lusts and human reasonings? Are you basing what you believe on Scripture or on the propaganda Satan's hordes are disseminating?
Christians are in this world to reach it for Christ. We can't build reasons within our minds to hate individuals who do not know Him and are behaving unlike Christians. Our commission is to win them over, to love them over to Jesus' side. Herein lies the trap into which so many Christians fall. We are not to judge the person sinning, but neither are we to "live and let live." We cannot just excuse the behavior, condoning it in our heart. This stance will eventually cause one to weaken against the sin itself, which we are commanded to hate. The situation calls for a constant readjustment of our thinking to realign with Scripture. This is the battle. We are to find ways to reach into the minds of sinners, to reach them where they are and to reason with them. "Turn or Burn" signs, threats, evil insults, "God Hates You," innuendo will not work. God must do the leading. These are precious souls that need Him. Each was created with the same chance to receive Him. If your loathing includes the individual, you cannot win them for Christ.
You may be feeling that certain sins are beyond your ability to love the individual sinning. For some people homosexuality is such a sin. For others child sex offenders is so abhorrent so as to inspire thoughts of "let them burn in hell." This kind of thought is a work of hatred and it is sin. There will be people that you will never be called to speak to about Jesus because of your prejudices, but God will deal with those prejudices in you sooner or later. Consider the story of Jonah who was sent to Nineveh, the great city (a place where the palace of the king had decorated walls, filled with the torn-off lips of Jews). Jonah was a Jew sent to them to tell them to repent. He chose to be swallowed by a whale, rather than to talk to "those" people. However, after God dealt with him (with the whale) he finally did go, and the result was an entire city filled with thousands of people who repented and turned to God. Why do you think Jonah had to go? Do you suppose it was to get him to look at sinners as people rather than just animals committing atrocities? I do.
"And should I not pity Nineveh, that great [large] city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left - and much livestock?" (Jonah 4:11)
Fleshly hate is controlled by the flesh. But giving in to this condition of destructive emotion can be inflamed by demonic forces. Very often people who are part of some event that becomes wrapped in hate will report how quickly things get out of hand and wild. This is because of the spirit forces that will push things along. Testimonies from people who have had therapy to help them through chronic hate say that the hate started small and in little ways, and then it grew to a point where it took over the mental faculties becoming psychotic in nature. It is like poison of the mind and begins to take over all rational thought.
Fleshly hate has hurt so many people in so many ways. People carrying God banners have murdered, raped, wiped out whole civilizations. People have adopted hate-filled supremacist philosophies and enslaved people of color or whole ethnic populations. Religion has done its part as well in using hate to hurt, maim, and destroy. All the while the godless demand, "Where is God? the devil having them believe that God does not care. God does care and tells us that there will be a day soon in which none of this hate will exist.
"They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:9)
One of the questions that all teachers of the Bible get all the time is, "If God is so loving why is there so much pain and hatred in the world? The short answer is that it is because of sin and the devil trying to hurt all the people he can. He leads the way for people to keep their minds on hate. He infuses thoughts "fiery darts" that contain demented thinking hoping for a weak-minded person that is alone, away from God, to run with it and do unspeakable acts of horror. Hatred runs deep given fuel from the spirit realm.
This has been an in-depth study of hatred. It had to cover areas thoroughly because the word hatred brings to mind every pain a person has endured in their lifetime or even in their family's lifetime. The word comes with preconceived ideas.
What have we learned? We learned that God loves and in His love He makes us aware of what behavior is acceptable. We learned that disobeying God puts us on the side of His enemy who has incurred the wrath of the Almighty. God hates the sin that we get into because He knows it will work to our hurt. He tells us that to remain safe from these evil behaviors, we too must hate them. All the while we keep ourselves pure from sin we do all we can to reach people that are entrenched in sin. We do all we can to stay close to God, for when we do that we will be able to love instead of being pushed to hate with a lost and dying world.
"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God' : for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed . Then when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:12-15)
"Do you not know that unrighteousness [people who die in their sins] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived, Neither fornicators, nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." [which is why we cannot judge, we cannot hate](1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
"Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. [calling attention to the sin in the sinner, giving of advice is loving] Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver who is able to save and destroy. Who are you to judge another?" (James 4:7-12)
If you're one of those people that was not raised with much Bible background you may not know who to believe when it comes to watching the world and making sense of the growing chaos everywhere. You probably see things that make no sense to you. You see anger and hatred that seems to self-perpetuate without any cause. You see people carrying signs and shouting with hate in their voices. You hear people being blamed and arguments that you may be able to follow, but then you listen to the other side, they too seem to have a point. You wonder why people can't just get along with each other. Even people that are supposed to be above this petty fighting are carrying signs with "Turn or Burn" or "God Hates..." slogans. You may have come to the conclusion that all this stuff about God is crazy. The devil wants you to think that. He wants all to think of God as the source of all the hate. He wants everyone to think just because someone loves God, it is only a matter of time before he loses his marbles and begins to hurt, offend, or destroy. That simply is not true.
First, let me say that God does not speak with a voice that is loud, viscous, or unloving. He speaks with a voice that is calm (still) and small (personal), one that people recognize when they aren't angry and driven by selfish emotion. He does not use demeaning threats, but warns in a way that includes an answer for the problem. He will not push, but wants to call to everyone's attention that no one knows what is going to happen tomorrow and that the end is soon. He meets with each person where they are right now, not condemning them before they have time to see reason.
Here is the state of man: We are all sinners. We all have flaws, we make mistakes, we goof up. It is a trait passed to us in our blood and in our flesh.
"We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness and the iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against You." (Jeremiah 14:20)
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
We sin because our fathers sinned and their fathers back to the very first father Adam who was first man to sin. When Adam sinned, all the children in his loins yet unborn were also flawed, doomed to make mistakes, to goof up, to sin because nothing holy can come from a man that is unholy. Sin passed upon all men because they were the unborn generations inside Adam.
"Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned." (Romans 5:12)
Then Jesus came, born of a virgin. God planned it that way. Jesus having no human father is important. Today we know more about why that was so important. Science has discovered that the gene for blood is determined by the DNA of the father. Jesus had no human father. What flowed in His veins was God's blood because He was born of the Spirit, God in human flesh.
"But while he [Joseph] thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.' So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet [Isaiah], saying: 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, 'God With Us.'" (Matthew 1:20-23)
But why would God come to earth in this fashion? It was because He would offer Himself to sinning man and allow Himself to be killed for sins that He never committed. He would take the punishment of all people that would ever be born so that they do not have to die in their sin and go to a place away from God forever.
"He was despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs [problems, hurts] and carried our sorrows [sad memories, regretful mistakes]; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions [for our mistakes], He was bruised for our iniquities [for our sin]; the chastisement of our peace [price for our peace] was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:3-5)
This gift of life is granted by grace (given though undeserved) through faith. All a person has to do is to turn from their sin and turn to God to save them and He will.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
"For whoever calls [in prayer] on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)
If you believe that Jesus came to earth to die for your sins and you hear His small, still voice speaking to you, asking you to call out to Him, pray this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I am so tired of all the hatred and hurt in this world. It scares me Lord that perhaps the hate will hurt me or my family or others I care about. I call out to You Jesus to save me. I believe You are God in human flesh that came to earth to die for me. I believe You were buried and rose on the third day for me. I turn now from my sin and from the way I was living to follow You, Jesus. Lord, I need Your salvation. I thank You for saving me. For I pray this in Your holy name, Jesus. Amen.
Others in this series of independent articles:
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