The Love That God Hates -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 04:1 (Summer 1995)
Article: The Love That God Hates
Author: David J. MacLeod


The Love That God Hates

David J. MacLeod1

An Exposition of 1 John 2:15–17

Introduction

Dr. J. I. Packer, well-known author and teacher, was sitting with friends in a restaurant looking at the dessert menu. The item that caught his eye was the description of “Chocolate-chocolate cake: layers of fudge and decadence. A must for chocolate lovers.”2 How, Packer asks, does a word like decadence get on a dessert menu? Surely it belongs in “the world of sociology, morality, philosophy, theology, and history, rather than of cake and fudge.” Yet it is easy to see why the menu writer brought it in. He wants his patrons to know that the taste of this chocolate cake will set them “ecstatically indulging with no thought of long-term consequences (bulging bellies, clothes that no longer fit, shortness of breath, etc.)” “Irresponsibility about consequences,” Packer concluded, “is certainly a mark of decadence.”

Dr. Packer’s menu writer is encouraging those of us who are “chocoholics” to see our self-indulgence as right and proper, on the ground that sweetness, however sinful, should never be passed up. This, says Packer, is the Playboy philosophy applied to the taste buds. It is the philosophy of this world which says that pleasure-seeking is the only wise way. Self-indulgence is a must. All of our energy should be given to the worship of the three gods of pleasure, profit,

and power (or sensuality, success, and status, if you prefer; or, to put it yet another way, hedonism, materialism, and prestige).

The Apostle John warns his Christian readers about decadence or worldliness in his first epistle (1 John 2:15–17). It is the kind of life, he warns, that leads one morally and spiritually down hill. “Do not love the world,” he says (1 John 2:15). In the previous paragraphs of his letter the Apostle had outlined certain tests by which the presence of the life of God within a professing Christian may be discerned. He had spoken bluntly about those who falsely claim to be in fellowship with God (1:6; 2:4) and to be without sin (2:8–10). He had denounced such people as self-deceived liars who neither possess nor practice the truth. He also spoke of those professing Christians who hate their fellow Christians ...

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