There is no better sign of true repentance, than a holy antipathy against sin. Sound repentance begins in love to God — and ends in the hatred of sin.
How may true hatred of sin be known?
1. When a man’s HEART is set against sin. Not only does the tongue protest against sin — but the heart abhors it. However lovely sin is painted, we find it odious — just as we abhor the picture of one whom we mortally hate, even though it may be well drawn.
Suppose a dish is finely cooked and the sauce good — yet if a man has an antipathy against the meat, he will not eat it. So let the devil cook and dress sin with pleasure and profit — yet a true penitent has a secret abhorrence of it, is disgusted by it, and will not meddle with it.
2. True hatred of sin is UNIVERSAL. There is a dislike of sin not only in the judgment — but in the will and affections. Many a one is convinced that sin is a vile thing, and in his judgment has an aversion to it — yet he tastes sweetness in it, and has a secret delight in it. Here is a disliking of sin in the judgment — and an embracing of it in the affections! Whereas in true repentance, the hatred of sin is in all the faculties, not only in the mind — but chiefly in the will: “I do the very thing I hate!” (Romans 7:15). Paul was not free from sin — yet his will was against it.
3. He who truly hates one sin — hates all sins. He who hates a serpent — hates all serpents. “I hate every false way!” (Psalm 119:104). Hypocrites will hate some sins which mar their credit. But a true convert hates all sins — gainful sins, complexion sins, the very stirrings of corruption.
4. A holy heart detests sin for its intrinsic pollution. Sin leaves a stain upon the soul. A regenerate person abhors sin not only for the curse — but for the contagion. He hates this serpent not only for its sting — but for its poison. He hates sin not only for Hell — but as Hell.
Those who have no antipathy against sin, are strangers to true repentance. Sin is in them — as poison in a serpent, which, being natural to it, affords delight. How far are they from repentance who, instead of hating sin — love sin! To the godly — sin is as a thorn in the eye; to the wicked — sin is as a crown on the head! “They actually rejoice in doing evil!” (Jeremiah 11:15). Loving of sin is worse than committing it. What is it, which makes a swine love to tumble in the mire? Its love of filth. O how many there are — who love the forbidden fruit! They love their sin — and hate holiness. There should be a deadly antipathy between the heart and sin. What is there in sin, which may make a penitent hate it? Sin is the accursed thing, the most deformed monster! Look upon the origin of sin, from whence it comes. It fetches its pedigree from Hell: “He who commits sin is of the devil!” (1 John 3:8). Sin is the devil’s special work. How hateful is it to be doing that which is the special work of the devil — indeed, that which makes men into devils!