“ I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad.”
Ever wondered what that meant?
John Gill is helpful, ” [but] thy commandment [is] exceeding broad; the word of God is a large field to walk and meditate in; it is sufficient to instruct all men in all ages, both with respect to doctrine and duty, and to make every man of God perfect; it has such a height and depth of doctrine and mysteries in it as can never be fully reached and fathomed, and such a breadth as is not to be measured: the fullness of the Scripture can never be exhausted; the promises of it reach to this life, and that which is to come; and the precepts of it are so large, that no works of righteousness done by men are adequate and proportionate to them; no righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ, is as large and as broad as those commandments; wherefore no perfection of righteousness is to be found in men, only in Christ; who is the perfect fulfilling end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes, Romans 10:4.
How to deal with besetting sins: Get a clear sense of:
- The guilt of the sin perplexing
- The danger manifold – Hardening
- Temporal correction
- Loss of peace and strength
- ? Eternal destruction
- Rules for the management of this consideration .
- The evil of it (1.)In grieving the Spirit (2.) Wounding the new creature (3.)
Taking away a man’s usefulness.
Consider the dangerous symptoms of any lust:
- Inveterateness…if it is longstanding (Psalm 38:5)
- False peace obtained under it e.g. to apply mercy to a sin not vigorously mortified is to fulfill the end of the flesh upon the gospel, to cherish thoughts of it even when not acted upon, to only think of the consequences of the sin.
- Frequency of success in its seductions
- Its being attended with judiciary hardness
- Its withstanding particular dealings (discipline) from God (Isaiah 57:17).
- THE RIGHT ATTITUDE IS: Those who are Christ’s, and are acted in their obedience upon gospel principles, have the death of Christ, the love of God, the detestable nature of sin, the preciousness of communion with God, a deep-grounded abhorrency of sin as sin, to oppose to any seduction of sin, to all the workings, strivings, fightings of lust in their hearts. So did Joseph. “How shall I do this great evil,” saith he, “and sin against the Lord?” my good and gracious God. And Paul, “The love of Christ constrains us;” and, “Having received these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all pollution of the flesh and spirit,” 2 Cor. 7:1
Keep thy heart (mind)!
Whilst a man keeps a diligent watch over his heart, the root and fountain of lust, whilst above all keepings he keeps his heart, whence are the issues of life and death, lust withers and dies in it.
He, then, that would really, thoroughly, and acceptably mortify any disquieting lust, let him take care to be equally diligent in all parts of obedience, and know that every lust, every omission of duty, is burdensome to God..
Hear Paul, ” And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.” (Acts 24:16).
Adapted from John Owen.
” The Holy Spirit honours Paul’s method as love and employs it in his book on love: ‘As my beloved sons I warn you’ (I Cor.4:14). His motivation for all his warnings, sharpness, and rebuke was love. That is a testimony to the church that she may not buy into the thinking that a sharp rebuke and irony and sarcasm are out of harmony with love.”
Rev. Nathan Langerak in “Walking in the Way of Love” a Commentary on Corinthians available here:
Owen states that the true and acceptable principles of mortification are:
Hatred of sin as sin, not only as galling or disquieting, a sense of the love of Christ in the cross, lie at the bottom of all true spiritual mortification.
God’s work consists in universal obedience; Hence we have 2 Cor. 7:1, “Cleanse yourselves from all pollution of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” If we will do anything, we must do all things. Hence all sin of every sort is to be guarded against and mortified, not just one particular lust.
Sung Psalm 118:20-29 (a Psalm traditionally sung at the feast AND sung by the crowds who welcomed Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday).
Reading Ezekiel 45:17-25
Verse 25 refers to “the” feast i.e. the Feast of Tabernacles and dwells on the sacrifices which are different from those in Numbers 29:12-40. The burnt offerings have no lambs, no eighth day is mentioned, the meal offerings given with the sacrifices change and there is more oil (see Numbers 15, 1/10 deal=an ephah) and the prince/king offers them. So why is Ezekiel changing the ceremonial law as a prophet and priest in exile? The Jews had a problem accepting this book as being canonical but as we believe they are Spirit inspired i.e. God-breathed then they are authoritative and point to the fact that there will yet be a total, radical change in the ceremonial law in that it will be totally abrogated by Christ who is the fulfillment of it all. Note that Stephen was charged with this same “crime” in Acts 6:13-14. Note well Hebrews 7:12.
Read Zechariah 14:16. This is a difficult passage but to my mind, since Christ is THE FULFILLMENT OF TABERNACLES, all who do not worship him will be plagued and ultimately destroyed. Read John 1:14 where Christ, the Word incarnate pitches his tent (body) among us just as God dwelt in the wilderness tabernacle (Lev. 26:11-12). The ultimate fulfillment of the feast is the new heavens and new earth where God dwells with his people (Rev.21:3)
There must be universal sincerity for the mortifying of every lust, or no lust will be mortified.
So when subject to a powerful, strong, captivating, vexing, disquieting lust that takes away peace; it is not enough to set yourself against that alone but you must be in constant communion with God, in reading, prayer, and meditation, in all the means of grace and in the rest of your life and habits not be loose and negligent. In other words you must be totally consecrated to God (Romans 12;1,2)
Hear the Heidelberg Catechism LD 44:
- Q. 113. What doth the tenth commandment require of us?
A. That even the smallest inclination or thought contrary to any of God’s commandments never rise in our hearts; but that at all times we hate all sin with our whole heart, and delight in all righteousness.
- Q. 114. But can those who are converted to God perfectly keep these commandments?
A. No; but even the holiest men, while in this life, have only a small beginning of this obedience; yet so, that with a sincere resolution they begin to live not only according to some, but all the commandments of God.