In these bulletin articles, we’ve been going through a list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism, published in the 17th Century. We’ve been looking at God’s law as summarised in the ten commandments. We started by examining the first commandment: ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (Exodus 20:3). We saw the duties of the first commandment and then began to examine the sins forbidden by the commandment, such as atheism, ignoring and forgetting God, and having false opinions of God. But what other sins are forbidden?
If you hate God, you break the first commandment.
Now some people are obvious God haters. The apostle Paul condemns such sin when he speaks of those who suppress the truth about God: ‘Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them’ (Romans 1:28-32). Such people are not ashamed to say truly horrid things against the Lord.
Now, you may claim that you have never hated God. But Jesus says it is impossible to reject God for something else without despising him. Jesus shares this truth when he speaks about people who choose money over God: ‘No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money’ (Luke 16:13). So if you reject God for anything else, you have hated God in your heart. You cannot sit on the fence and think you’re neutral toward God.
In his teaching on the Lord’s Supper, Paul also warns of the foolishness of trying to worship both God and idols: ‘Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry…You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?’ (1 Corinthians 10:14, 21-22). If you worship demonic idols by taking part in their feasts, you cannot think that you also have a right to share in God’s table with his people. The demonic world lives in open hatred towards God. Thus, if you join in with them, you become a God-hater too.
So are you guilty of hating God because you have preferred something else to him? Unhappily, the answer is ‘Yes’ for all of us. We have all broken the first commandment by hating God. It sounds awful, but it’s true.
Yet if we trust in Christ, all our hatred of God over the years is wiped away in his blood. His death is sufficient to pay for it all.
So have you trusted in Christ and been forgiven of God-hating?