What can I do to come to hate my own sin?

Romans 12:9 says, "Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good." The Christian life is both about holding fast to the good and hating the evil. Often we find it relatively easy to hate others' sins, but learning to hate our own sins can be difficult (Luke 6:42). Paul wrote in Galatians 5:17: "For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do." It is only by God’s power that we can truly come to hate our own sin.

To hate our own sin, we must first admit that we have sinned (1 John 1:8); then we can go to God honestly. When we don't know where to look or what to focus on, we can ask God to show us. David wrote in Psalm 139:23–24, "Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" Our righteous fear of God (Proverbs 8:13) and our ability to acknowledge our sin puts us in a good place to receive God's comfort (Isaiah 57:15). In hating our sins, we aren't left to bear the burden alone, nor do we become self-loathing. Rather, we admit our faults before a holy God who is willing and able to forgive, and we ask Him to help us overcome sin (1 John 1:9).

Key to hating our own sin is coming to know God. The more we know Him and draw near to Him, the more we will hate whatever gets in the way of our relationship with Him. Psalm 29:2 says to, "Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness." The more we realize just how splendorous God's holiness is, the more we will hate sin. To get to know God we need to spend time in the Bible and in prayer (Psalm 29:2; 119:11, 163; Isaiah 6:5). We cannot spend time with Him in the Word and in prayer and not begin to despise sin, especially our own.

We also come to hate our own sin by realizing what sin does to us—enslaves us (John 8:34) and ushers in shame and death (Genesis 2:17; 3:7; Romans 6:23). Sin is at the root of war, fighting, pain, and injustice. When we see what sin does in the world, we will find ourselves wanting to avoid being a part of it in any way.

Though we all sin, we should acknowledge that sin is the realm of our enemy, Satan (Ezekiel 28:15). He continues to offer temptations and to cultivate opportunities to draw us away from God and His ways (Ephesians 4:22; 1 Peter 5:8; James 1:13–15). When we succumb, we align with the enemy. Instead, we are told to, "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Romans 13:14).

See, we belong to God, not ourselves, and not the enemy (1 Corinthians 6:19–20), and when we sin it grieves God (Ephesians 4:30). As we love Him more, we will want to please Him and honor Him, and anything that does not should be hated.

In addition to caring more and more about God, our care about those people we love who do not know Him should also encourage us to honor God. When we do so, they will glorify God (Matthew 5:16). Sometimes in Scripture our witness is referred to as light. When we do not show others God's goodness and instead we sin, it's like we are putting our light under a basket (Matthew 5:15).

It may also be helpful to focus on the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross to save us from the penalty of our sin. Our sin caused His suffering and death! How terrible is our sin!

It is also helpful to consider our time with Jesus after our death. At that time, the only role sin will have is in judgment (Hebrews 9:27). We can begin now to put sin in its proper place, not as some sort of pleasure to avoid, but as the source of judgment, something that is against God's nature and only brings death. Sin is, indeed, something to be hated.

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