Verse 5. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight. Sinners are fools written large. A little sin is a great folly, and the greatest of all folly is great sin. Such sinful fools as these must be banished from the court of heaven. Earthly kings were wont to have fools in their trains, but the only wise God will have no fools in his palace above.
Thou hatest all workers of iniquity. It is not a little dislike, but a thorough hatred which God bears to workers of iniquity. To be hated of God is an awful thing. O let us be very faithful in warning the wicked around us, for it will be a terrible thing for them to fall into the hands of an angry God!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 4-6. Here the Lord's alienation from the wicked is set forth gradually, and seems to rise by six steps. First, he hath no pleasure in them; secondly, they shall not dwell with him; thirdly, he casteth them forth, they shall not stand in his sight; fourthly, his heart turns from them, thou hatest all the workers of iniquity; fifthly, his hand is turned upon them, thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing; sixthly, his spirit rises against them, and is alienated from them, the Lord will abhor the bloody man. This estrangement is indeed a strange (yet a certain) punishment to the workers of iniquity. These words, "the workers of iniquity," may be considered two ways. First, as intending (not all degrees of sinners, or sinners of every degree, but) the highest degree of sinners, great, and gross sinners, resolved and wilful sinners. Such as sin industriously, and, as it were, artificially, with skill and care to get themselves a name, as if they had an ambition to be accounted workmen that need not to be ashamed of doing that whereof all ought to be ashamed; these, in strictness of Scripture sense, are "workers of iniquity." Hence note, notorious sinners make sin their business, or trade. Though every sin be a work of iniquity, yet only some sinners are "workers of iniquity;" and they who are called so, make their calling to sin. We read of some who love and make a lie. Revelation 22:15 . A lie may be told by those who neither love nor make it; but there are lie makers, and they, sure enough, are lovers of a lie. Such craftsmen in sinning are also described in Psalms 58:2 -- "Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth." The psalmist doth not say, they had wickedness in their heart, but they did work it there; the heart is a shop within, an underground shop; there they did closely contrive, forge, and hammer out their wicked purposes, and fit them into actions. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 5. What an astonishing thing is sin, which maketh the God of love and Father of mercies an enemy to his creatures, and which could only be purged by the blood of the Son of God! Though all must believe this who believe the Bible, yet the exceeding sinfulness of sin is but weakly apprehended by those who have the deepest sense of it, and will never be fully known in this world. Thomas Adam's Private Thoughts, 1701-1784.
Verse 5. (last clause). Thou hatest all workers of iniquity. For what God thinks of sin, see Deuteronomy 7:22 Proverbs 6:16 Revelation 2:6 Revelation 2:15 ; where he expresses his detestation and hatred of it, from which hatred proceeds all those direful plagues and judgments thundered from the fiery mouth of his most holy law against it; nay, not only the work, but worker also of iniquity becomes the object of his hatred. William Gurnall.
Verse 5. (last clause). Thou hatest all workers of iniquity. If God's hatred be against the workers of iniquity, how great is it against iniquity itself! If a man hates a poisonous creature, he hates poison much more. The strength of God's hatred is against sin, and so should we hate sin, and hate it with strength; it is an abomination unto God, let it be so unto us. Proverbs 6:16-19 , "These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him; a proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren." William Greenhill.
Verse 5. (last clause). Those whom the Lord hates must perish. But he hates impenitent sinners, Thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Now, who are so properly workers of iniquity as those who are so eager at it that they will not leave this work, though they be in danger to perish for it? Christ puts it out of doubt. The workers of iniquity must perish. Luke 13:27 . Those whom the Lord will tear in his wrath must perish with a witness; but those whom he hates, he tears, &c. Job 16:8 . What more due to such impenitent sinners than hatred? What more proper than wrath, since they treasure up wrath? Romans 2:5 . Will he entertain those in the bosom of love whom his soul hates? No; destruction is their portion. Proverbs 21:15 . If all the curses of the law, all the threatenings of the gospel, all judgments in earth or in hell, will be the ruin of him, he must perish. If the Lord's arm be strong enough to wound him dead, he must die. Psalms 68:21 ... Avoid all that Christ hates. If you love, approve, entertain that which is hateful to Christ, how can he love you? What is that which Christ hates? The psalmist ( Psalms 45:7 ) tells us, making it one of Christ's attributes, to hate wickedness ... As Christ hates iniquity, so the "workers of iniquity." You must not love them, so as to be intimate with them, delight in the company of evil doers, openly profane, scorners of godliness, obstructors of the power of it. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 . If you love so near relations to wicked men, Christ will have no relation to you. If you would have communion with Christ in sweet acts of love, you must have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, nor those that act them. David Clarkson, B.D., 1621-1686.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. "The foolish." Show why sinners are justly called fools.