Light Thoughts of Sin

“Sin… exceeding sinful.” — Romans 7:13

Beware of light thoughts of sin. At the time of conversion, the conscience is so tender, that we are afraid of the slightest sin. Young converts have a holy timidity, a godly fear lest they should offend against God. But alas! very soon the fine bloom upon these first ripe fruits is removed by the rough handling of the surrounding world: the sensitive plant of young piety turns into a willow in after life, too pliant, too easily yielding. It is sadly true, that even a Christian may grow by degrees so callous, that the sin which once startled him does not alarm him in the least. By degrees men get familiar with sin. The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds. At first a little sin startles us; but soon we say, “Is it not a little one?” Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard sin as but a little ill; and  then follows an unholy presumption: “We have not fallen into open sin. True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright in the main. We may have uttered one unholy word, but as for the most of our conversation, it has been consistent.” So we palliate sin; we throw a cloak over it; we call it by dainty names. Christian, beware how you think lightly of sin. Take heed lest thou fall by little and little. Sin, a little thing? Is it not a poison? Who knows its deadliness? Sin, a little thing? Do not the little foxes spoil the grapes? Doth not the tiny coral insect build a rock which wrecks a navy? Do not little strokes fell lofty oaks? Will not continual drippings wear away stones? Sin, a little thing? It girded the Redeemer’s head with thorns, and pierced His heart! It made Him suffer anguish, bitterness, and woe. Could you weigh the least sin in the scales of eternity, you would fly from it as from a serpent, and abhor the least appearance of evil. Look upon all sin as that which crucified the Savior, and you will see it to be “exceeding sinful.”

– Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892, Morning and Evening, March 11, (Morning)

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Salvation is all of God

The Bible simply tells us that salvation is altogether and entirely the work of God. It tells us that man in his sinful state is against God, he does not desire God and would never return to God. There would have been no church at all, nor would there have been salvation, if God had not begun to act. ‘He which hath begun a good work in you’ – it is all of God.

Of course it is not surprising that Paul, above everybody else, should teach this. He never forgot what he had been himself; he remembered himself a blasphemer, and a persecutor of the Christian Church, and he knew perfectly well that he would have continued in that state were it not that at midday, while he was traveling along the road to Damascus where he intended to persecute a body of Christian people, the Lord suddenly appeared to him. Paul never decided to become a Christian, he never thought about it, he did not initiate the work. It was God who did it in him, and Paul therefore always referred the work to Him.

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6

– D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Life of Joy and Peace

Knowing our spiritual disease is the first step towards the cure

Shall I say what seems to me to be the clearest proof that man is a fallen and corrupt creature?

It is not open vice, or unblushing profligacy.

It is not the crowded ale-house, or the murderer’s cell in a jail.

It is not avowed infidelity, or gross and despicable idolatry.

All these are proofs, and convincing proofs indeed, that man is fallen. But there is to my mind a stronger proof still–that proof is the wide-spread “spirit of slumber” about their souls, in which most men lie chained and bound. When I see that multitudes of sensible men, and intelligent men, and decent-living men–can travel quietly towards the grave, and feel no concern about their sins, I need no more convincing evidence that man is “born in sin,” and that his heart is alienated from God. There is no avoiding the conclusion.

Man is naturally asleep–and must be awakened.
He is blind–and must be made to see.
He is dead–and must be made alive.

No heart is in so bad a state, as the heart that does not feel sin!

Light was the first thing called into being. When God created the world, He said, “Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:3) In the same way, light is the first thing that the Holy Spirit creates in a man’s heart, when He awakens, converts, and makes him a true Christian. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

For lack of seeing sin–men do not value salvation. Once let a man get a sight of his own heart, and he will begin to cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner!”

To know our spiritual disease–is one step towards a cure. To feel bad and wicked and Hell-deserving–is the first beginning of being really holy.

What though we are humbled to the dust, and cry, “Lord, I am vile! Lord, I am the very chief of sinners!” It is better a thousand times to have these feelings and be miserable under them–than to have no feelings at all. Anything is better than a dead conscience, and a cold heart, and a prayer-less tongue!

Ignorance of self and sin are the root of all mischief to the soul!

J. C. Ryle, Knots Untied, 1896)