It has been my experience that we are less than familiar with many important Bible words. The reason this is significant is obvious. If we do not know what certain Bible words mean, we can hardly do what the Bible demands in that situation. My University students were not stupid, nor were they incapable of reason. But if they read Acts 2:38, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” and did not know the meaning of “repent,” “baptized,” or “remission,” they could not read with comprehension. These are not everyday words in our society, so they require clear and accurate definitions.
While most of us use this word only infrequently, it is found in the Bible over 100 times. When it is used, it describes the most vile form of behavior man can commit; something “disgusting” to Jehovah. It is used to describe someone or something that “stinks.” It is said by scholars that abomination is used to describe the most evil acts man can perform, “foul, detestable things.” I can’t speak for you, but I want to know what is an abomination to God.
1. Dishonest Business Practices. You may not think abomination would be the word for a crooked businessman, but God’s abhorrence of dishonesty in business or trade is shown in Deuteronomy 25:13-16: “Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small; ….thou shalt have a perfect and just weight; ….For all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.” God says a man who cheats his customers is an “abomination,” and had better cut it out!
2. Perverted Sexual Practices. Man has “changed the truth of God into a lie,” Romans 1:25, and especially so in this category. That which man calls an “alternate life-style,” God calls “abomination…vile affections …..against nature,” Romans 1:26. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness,” Isaiah 5:20. It is regrettable that so many have chosen such a life-style, to live against the ordinances of God, for their misery is seen even in the words by which they describe their daily activities. Jesus knew this truth: “That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God,” Luke 16:15. Some among the Corinthians had formerly been “fornicators… idolaters … adulterers… effeminate …. abusers of themselves with mankind“, but had been “…washed …sanctified…..justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God,” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. They had practiced abominable acts, but had forsaken those perverted activities and had been cleansed by the blood of Christ. That is how forgiveness is granted today; by way of true repentance and obedience to God’s law, Hebrews 5:8-9. Read also Leviticus 20:13.
3. Idolatrous, False Worship. In the books of Genesis-Deuteronomy, we find about one-third of the uses of the word abomination. Much of the time it describes the false worship of the Canaanites and other heathen peoples. Sincere or not, God called their pagan, idolatrous “worship” an abomination. It does make a difference who and how man seeks to worship. When man decides to deviate from that which God has authorized, that word abomination appears again. Even a Jew, a believer in Jehovah, was censured when he refused to follow God’s instructions, Leviticus 10:1-2, or was not genuine in his worship. Israel was informed, “I hate, I despise your feast days,” Amos 5:21. Colossians 3:17 reveals our mandate for God’s authority.
This may be the most hated word in our modern vocabulary. Even in the lives of “religious folk” it is common to speak of temperance in glowing terms, but to despise the very thought of abstinence. How can we solve the teen pregnancy problem? Abstinence. The drunk driving problem? Abstinence. Sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS? Abstinence. But how many in positions of authority will propose abstinence? Not many, and those who do are looked upon as fools, out of touch with reality.
God never said wickedness was to be practiced in moderation. He never said “be temperate in sin.” Man has not been told “don’t murder too much,” or “don’t get carried away with idolatry.” But He did say, “Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul,” 1 Peter 2:11. Sacred Scripture does say, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints,” Ephesians 5:3. Powerful forces are now trying to sell the idea that if we will just drink moderately and fornicate safely, all our society’s social problems will be over. I don’t have to tell you that many are buying this view. The word sober is used in the Bible to admonish us to “curb one’s passions;” to “abstain from alcoholic beverages,” (Thayer), but modern man prefers moderation. “Exercise some self-control” in your passions, and “sin just a little” are popular today. But God says, “Abstain from all appearance of evil,” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22. Abomination. Abstain. Study these two words, and what you learn will change your attitude toward life and eternity. They demand and deserve our careful consideration.