What is unique about the Bible is that it deals accurately with root sins because God alone knows such things. In the final analysis, men and human governments are limited to dealing with externalities, attempting to correct or punish behaviors. Yes, the United States now can prosecute so-called hate crimes. But it is only the visible manifestation of that attitude, such as when a murder is committed under the legal designation of hate, that the issue is addressed. For God alone knows hearts and minds. When God declares that He hates “a heart that devises wicked plans” (Pro. 6:18a) it serves as a reminder that His assessment of the human heart is accurate and serves as a warning that He will deal with sin at its root—the heart—not necessarily waiting until it manifests itself in some visible form.
We need only recall the universal flood to recognize the full extent of God’s hatred for sins of the heart. The sins of mankind during Noah’s lifetime must have been almost unimaginable. God might well have given us a lengthy list of notorious crimes and heinous sins for which worldwide death by drowning was the only remedy. We could well imagine the horrors that must have been committed in order to provoke such a response from God. But God offers no such list. Instead, He goes to the “heart” of the issue: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of the heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). What, according to God’s account, was the provocation for worldwide destruction of mankind? “A heart that devises wicked plans.” And what is the extent of God’s hatred for such hearts? Death for all who manifest them.
The best that human society can do is to address and treat symptoms. It is right that laws exist to curb murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery, etc. And it is right that penalties exist for such deviant behavior. In fact, as early as the ninth chapter of Genesis (vv. 5, 6), God authorizes human government to use capital punishment to deter criminal behavior. But of course, nothing on the human level can eradicate sin because nothing man can do is able to reach the root of the problem: the depraved human heart.
Modern society has been deluded into believing that aberrant behavior results from a bad environment—social injustice, economic inequities, and broken homes. God knows otherwise; sin, by whatever name society wishes to call it, results from a corrupt heart. And God hates hearts that devise wicked plans because they are antagonistic to His holy nature and destructive to human society.
The Lord Jesus understood this truth as well, of course. He observed that “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matt. 15;19). You will notice that His list began with “evil thoughts” because He had authored, so to speak, the truth Solomon had recorded in the book of Proverbs: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Ironically, the world has a maxim that they choose to ignore at its most basic and essential level, namely, that “The thought is mother to the deed.” But the saying is true, and so, man’s deeds are sinful and rebellious because they are prompted by a corrupt heart residing in a depraved nature.
The one who is indifferent to the thoughts of the human heart and mind finds himself completely at odds with God’s view (the only one that counts) as revealed in His Word. To cite yet another example: “He plans wickedness upon his bed; he sets himself on a path that is not good; he does not despise evil” (Psa. 36:4). The reality of existence is this: God so hates the heart that devises wicked plans” that He leaves men with only two options: kill or be killed. We must kill the old nature. That is, it must be crucified with Christ on His cross through His vicarious suffering and death, or God will kill us. The punishment of eternal hell awaits those who steadfastly rebel against God. And even believers who persist in willfulness may find themselves removed prematurely from this life because of their sin. Because: God “hates a heart that devises wicked plans.”
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