Recently I attended a continuing education seminar for pharmacists. Sounds fun, huh? The seminar was chock full of excellent information, but unfortunately I was battling some type of viral illness, so by the end of 8 hours of seminar sitting, I was done. Just done. On the first day, I went back to my hotel room, changed into my pajamas and climbed into bed at 5pm. Then, I did something I almost never do. I turned on the television. Flipping channels to find the national news, I stumbled upon a channel offering a program about which I had heard, but never seen.
I’m a girl, and what girl doesn’t like weddings? Immediately I was sucked into “Say Yes to the Dress”. At first, it seemed harmless enough. Bride and family go to store to choose a wedding dress for the big day. Then, the wheels came off the wagon. Lesbian bride and family go to store to choose a wedding dress for the big day. Then, the ox goes into the ditch. Lesbian bride and her bride (is that how you phrase it?) go to store with families to choose wedding dress and one-piece wedding jumpsuit. Seriously?
I know you must be so glad you stopped in today!?! I promise I am going to tie this into Romans 12. Here goes. Do you know what plumb or a plumb line is? Have you ever made use of one?
Merriam-Webster.com defines plumb as ‘a lead weight attached to a line and used to indicate a vertical direction’.
As we study through Romans 12 we are reading all about the plumb line for authentic Christianity. The lead weight is our life, the line is the Word of God which is connected to God, the ultimate Vertical Direction. The entire chapter of Romans 12 is chock full of admonitions for how to live a Jesus-like life. Today we venture into the last half of verse 9 and shewww-eee, is it a doozy!!
Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. (ESV)
Evil is the opposite of holiness, therefore it should not be part of the Jesus follower’s heart. In fact, the word abhor is pretty strong here. Synonyms for it are hate, detest, loath, and despise. It has been said that the only protection against sin is to be shocked by it.
How often are we shocked by sin today? How often does evil stun us? Oh sure, the really bad stuff like Christians being beheaded or child abuse or sex trafficking shocks us, but even those things don’t cause us whiplash like they should. We live in an information saturated world and receive so many images and words that we have become a bit callous to it all. May I offer you a quote from John MacArthur? These words were published in 1994, so it was well before the internet became so popular.
The constant bombardment of our senses through TV, newspapers, magazines, movies, and books with the immoralities, violence, and perversions of modern society makes it difficult to be shocked by anything. Tragically, many Christians regularly entertain themselves with sheer ungodliness, perhaps rationalizing that, simply by being a Christian, they are somehow immune from the sinful infection.
MacArthur goes on to say, “we cannot flirt with sin and escape falling into it.”
No, we cannot. Sin affects us greatly….even when we think it doesn’t. Y’all, I’m not just talking about the ‘small sins’ (as if there were such things). No, I’m talking about things that, 50 years ago, would have been considered evil. Those things are not only accepted by Christians today, they are celebrated. Sex outside of marriage, homo- bi-, trans-sexuality, and abortion, just to name a few. Watching all the ‘love’ being celebrated on ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ reminded me of how accepted homosexuality and other sin has become.
Let’s also talk about pride, lying, stealing, jealousy, uncontrolled anger, and hurtful words? Those things are sin, too, and they break the heart of God. We are to abhor it and have nothing to do with it. Do you? Do I?
How is that working out for us? Have we become so de-sensitized to it all that we just accept it and go on?
The second part of this admonition is to hold onto, cling to, what is good. The Greek word used for cling/hold is from the word kolla, which means glue. Good things ought to stick to us. What are those good things? Philippians 4:8 tells us that they are whatever is:
Of good repute
Worthy of Praise
Don’t rush past that list! We need to use discernment and carefully, thoughtfully examine everything to see if it passes the good test.
We must love and show compassion to those who are not living by the plumb line of God’s Word, but we must never allow their sin to become our own…we must never soften the message of the gospel in order to appease feelings. Hell is at stake here, y’all, and it is our duty to call sin what it is, just as Jesus would have done…with love, compassion, but always with truth.
Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
This post contains affiliate links.
I have linked to this before, but I wanted to offer it again because I am such a fan of The Journible. It is an awesome way to really cement God’s Word in our heart. Writing out a complete book of the Bible is powerful, y’all. Here is the link to The Journible for Romans.