‘For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.’ Romans 8:3
Suggested Further Reading: Luke 7:34–50
The Friend of sinners was emphatically beyond all other public teachers the Enemy of sin. His hatred towards sin was not a mere passion, it was a principle; it did not flash forth now and then, it was a constant flame. He hated sin, if I may so say, implacably, never making a moment’s truce with it; he pursued it by day in his ministry, and by night in his prayers; he lived to smite it, and he died to destroy it; and now in his risen glory it is upon sin as well as upon Satan that he sets his heel. He was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and he has erected a battering engine which will not leave of Satan’s strongholds so much as one stone upon another which shall not be thrown down. In the life of our Lord his tenderness for sinners was but the natural form in which his hatred for sin displayed itself; just as a physician, from the very fact that he is the antagonist of disease displays a deep interest in those afflicted thereby. Our Lord’s keeping company with sinners by no means proved that he was the friend of sin any more than the physician’s attendance at the hospital would at all lead to the suspicion that he was the friend of disease. The skilful physician is the friend of the diseased, but to the disease itself what enemy shall be found more determined and inveterate? Because the whole have no need of a physician, Jesus seeks them not; but since the sick need him he seeks them, not out of love to their sin, but out of love to them, that they may be delivered from the cruel bondage under which their sin has held them.
For meditation: God hates all sins (Proverbs 6:16–19; Zechariah 8:17; Malachi 2:16; Revelation 2:6). Amazingly he takes no pleasure in our destruction, but wants us to turn away from sin and back to him (Ezekiel 33:11). The Lord Jesus Christ is neither prepared to condone your sin nor eager and impatient to condemn you for it (John 8:11; 2 Peter 3:9). Are you making the most of your present opportunity to trust in him?
Sermon no. 699
8 July (1866)