The Sinfulness of Sin

 

Dear Brethren,

Commenting on the great evil of sin, Samuel Bolton (1606-1654) said, “How great an enemy was this that God must send out His Son to conquer it? He can arm flies, lice, frogs, the meanest of creatures, to overthrow the greatest power and force on the earth; but no less than His Son was strong enough to conquer sin.” I wonder how many of us grasp the weight of that statement and ardently believe it? How bad, how evil, how degenerate, how ruinous, how offensive, how utterly grotesque, filthy, and loathsome is your sin? Is the least of your sins worthy of an eternity in hell?
Be honest with your own soul and with God: when was the last time you wept, grieved, groaned over your sin? Not because its nastiness, ugliness, or perversity shamed you; not because its humiliation and disgrace made you feel dirty; not because its consequences filled you with panic and fear; not because your guilt-ridden conscience kept you awake, gave you no rest, and would not stay silent—sin can certainly produce such experiences in our soul. But have you sorrowed for your sin because you, a creature made in the image of God, have chosen the evil of evils against a holy and good God?
How do you answer these questions? Are your eyes dry? Your lips silent? Your heart quiet, undisturbed? Has your view of grace become an anaesthetic that numbs your spiritual sensitivities, so that you shrug off sin rather than despising and mortifying it? Has grace become your license to live like the world or, at least, to take sin lightly? Do you really know what you are doing when you sin? I believe it safe to say that apart from those suffering forever in the flames of the unquenchable fires of hell, we rarely perceive the depths nor biblically respond to the sinfulness of sin.
With that in mind, we offer you this new issue of the Free Grace Broadcaster—The Sinfulness of Sin. This issue does not unfold the doctrine of sin: that awaits a future issue. The purpose of this collection of articles is to press our hearts to honestly consider before heaven the dreadfulness of sin and the only hope for its pardon—Jesus Christ.

Therefore, Arthur W. Pink begins with a brief, biblical definition of sin, followed by William S. Plumer’s excellent exposition of sin as an infinite evil. Pink offers us a second article, explaining that there is nothing so vile as sin, as he describes its nature. Puritan Thomas Watson teaches us from vivid biblical descriptions that sin is a heinous thing, worthy of God’s just curse; while another Puritan, Ralph Venning, labors to show us that the heart of the sinfulness of sin is its relentless opposition to God; in fact, Venning says that if it could, sin would “ungod God.” A third Puritan, Samuel Bolton compares natural evils—natural disasters such as plagues, hurricanes, and earthquakes—with moral evil—sin—to teach us that sin is the greatest evil known to man! Watson then takes on the vital issue of degrees of sin, for many in his day and ours are deluded into thinking that God does not view one sin as greater than another. Furthermore, many of us have weak views of sin, so Edward Payson helps us to see that our sins are infinite, innumerable, and monstrous; thankfully, he points us to Jesus Christ and His redemptive work on the cross as the only remedy for the plague of our hearts. Again, pointing us to Christ, J. C. Ryle explains with great clarity our need for repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Charles Spurgeon displays the unknown depths of human sin and convincingly reveals that we really do not know what we are doing when we sin against God. The last word is from Octavius Winslow, who shows us that the one place where we may see our sins in all their depraved wickedness is the cross of Jesus Christ: from that extraordinary light, we will see our sins as they really are.

Pastors, do God’s blood-bought children under your care understand the sinfulness of sin? If not, how will they love Christ, how will they love holiness if they have low views of sin? Parents, do your children understand that God hates nothing in this universe but sin? That one sin is so infinitely evil that it will damn a sinner to an infinite hell? Dear people of God, do you really grasp the horror of sin by meditating on the Christ of God, hanging on Calvary’s cross? Oh, read this issue prayerfully and carefully; and, then, love Jesus Christ more intensely than ever before. Understanding the sinfulness of sin will drive you to a more profound love of the crucified and resurrected Savior.

In the love of Christ Jesus,

Jeff Pollard~Free Grace Broadcaster

Living the Antithesis in College

No love, friendship or acceptance? What about loving our neighbour? They are our neighbour and we love them by sharing Christ. Friendship? Perhaps not in the real, intimate sense, but sharing an interest can become some kind of friendship and Christ was a friend of sinners (many unconverted I am sure). Acceptance? We cannot change them and we hate what they do but surely we have to accept them as they are, after all Christ accepted us even when we were his enemies and took us into fellowship with himself. So you can see, while I agree with the antithesis, I disagree with the way it is often portrayed and purportedly live out. Your point about confronting sin agrees with Scripture, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather reprove them.” (Eph.5:11).

Young Calvinists

Antithesis. Anti-thesis. Against a viewpoint. Merriam-Webster defines it as “the direct opposite.” God tells us what the antithesis is in Genesis 3:15. He says to Satan: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Enmity between the children of the Devil and children of God. That is, hatred, war, and conflict between the elect and the reprobate—no love, friendship, or acceptance. There must be a clear separation between the two.

Now that we know the antithesis is, let’s see how we can apply it to life in college. A place where many of us Young Calvinists (including me) currently reside or frequent.

You’re in one of your Gen Ed classes that you have to take—Introduction to Physics. The class is set up so that you have to work with…

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Hating your own life

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26.

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Ever wondered what this means?

Read this article by Rev. Angus Stewart

https://media.wix.com/ugd/49b4d1_b3514bfd3f184e72a9062c56a0725f5b.pdf

 

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:13

Truth

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“To err doctrinally from the truth is serious. God is himself the truth. He has revealed his truth in Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. The confession of the truth by the church and its members is the measuring stick by which the saints’ love for God can be measured. If we are careless about the truth and indifferent toward it, if we overlook aberrations and tolerate untruths about God and Christ, and if we consider the truth to be of so little importance that we never condemn heresy, we do not love God.”

Herman Hanko in “Faith Made Perfect” RFPA  2015

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Available here:

Teamwork

This applies in many spheres of life e.g. medicine, aviation, sport and church. I am sure you could find Scripture references and examples to back it up..

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What does good teamwork depend upon?

  • Good leadership which demonstrates..
  • Good communication
  • Assertiveness
  • Good example
  • Delegation
  • Supports and values
  • Challenges

What about good followers?

  • Manage self
  • Competent but seeks help
  • Follows orders after evaluation
  • May challenge with alternatives

Different types:

  • Sheep
  • “yes” men
  • Pragmatist
  • Alienated (pride)
  • Star follower

Failed communication: why did the airliner running out of fuel crash? Black box recorder (air traffic control/cockpit) revealed:

  • Lack of clarity
  • Lack of urgency
  • Lack of critical language
  • Lack of respect

5 Proven Weapons in the Fight for Holiness (actually one but with five strokes!)

 

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When Paul says to put to death the deeds of the body “by the Spirit” (Romans 8:13), I take him to mean that we should use the one weapon in the Spirit’s armor that is used to kill. Namely, the sword. Which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

So when the body is about to be led into a sinful action by some fear or craving, we are to take the sword of the Spirit and kill that fear and that craving. In my experience that means mainly severing the root of sin’s promise by the power of a superior promise.

So, for example, when I begin to crave some illicit sexual pleasure, the sword-swing that has often severed the root of this promised pleasure is: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). I recall the pleasures I have tasted of seeing God more clearly from an undefiled conscience; and I recall the brevity and superficiality and oppressive aftertaste of sin’s pleasures, and with that, God has killed the conquering power of sin.

It is a beautiful thing to be the instrument of God’s word-wielding power to kill sin.

Having promises at hand that suit the temptation of the hour is one key to successful warfare against sin. But there are times when we don’t have a perfectly suited word from God in our minds. And there is no time to look through the Bible for a tailor-made promise.

So we all need to have a small arsenal of general promises ready to use whenever fear or craving threaten to lead us astray.

Here are a few of my most proven weapons:

1. “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10)

I have slain more dragons in my soul with that sword than any other I think. It is a precious weapon to me.

2. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

How many times I have been persuaded in the hour of trial by this verse that the reward of disobedience could never be greater than “all things.”

3. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me . . . And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18).

How many times have I strengthened my sagging spirit with the assurance that the Lord of heaven and earth is just as much with me today as he was with the disciples on earth!

4. “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you shall glorify me” (Psalms 50:15).

What makes this weapon so compelling is that God’s helping me is made the occasion of my glorifying him. Amazing arrangement. I get the help, he gets the glory!

5. “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 4:19).

The context is financial and material. But the principle is total. What we really need (not just want) will be granted. And what is need? Need is what we must have to do God’s will. What we must have to magnify our Savior. That is what we will be given as we trust him.

Be constantly adding to your arsenal of promises. But never lose sight of the chosen few that God has blessed in your life. Do both. Be ever-ready with the old. And every morning look for a new one to take with you through the day.

Check out also I Cor.10:13-JK

Pastor John

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Purity of mind

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Job even in the midst of suffering covenants to avoid the sin of lust or fornication/adultery in the mind. Hear John Gill,” (Job) bound himself by a covenant, made a resolution in the strength of divine grace, not to employ his eyes in looking on objects that might ensnare his heart, and lead him to the commission of sin;  to shut or turn his eyes from beholding what might be alluring and enticing to him: it is said of Democritus, that he put out his eyes because he could not look upon a woman without lusting after her: (is this not universally true of all men?)
“why then should I think upon a maid;” of corrupting and defiling her, since he had made a covenant with his eyes, and this would be a breach of that covenant: and therefore, besides the sin of lusting after her, or of corrupting her, he would be a covenant breaker, and so his sin would be an aggravated one: or he made a covenant with his eyes, to prevent any impure thoughts, desires, and inclinations in him; for the eye affects the heart, and stirs up lust in it, and excites unclean thoughts and unchaste desires: this shows that the thought of sin is sin; that fornication was reckoned a sin before the law of Moses; and that Job better understood the spirituality of the law than the Pharisees did in the time of Christ, and had the same notion of lust in the heart being fornication and adultery as he had; and that good men are not without temptation to sin, both from within and from without; and therefore should carefully shun all appearances of evil, and whatsoever leads unto it, and take every necessary precaution to guard against it.

The Holy War (1b)

Introduction.

The antithesis is especially a Reformed doctrine teaching the Biblical truth that all of history is the history of a war. That war, the antithesis, is God’s work and was taught Adam and Eve in the beginning after the fall in the mother promise of the Gospel that God would put enmity between the seed of the woman Jesus Christ and the elect, and the seed of the serpent, Satan and the reprobate wicked. That truth underlies every instance of temptation, sin and persecution against God’s people in history, the cross, which was the central overarching victory and the lifelong internal battle in every believer between his flesh (old depraved man) and the Spirit of God in the renewed man. Here is how Rev. Brian Huizinga* puts it, ” The evidence of regeneration is not the glory of sinless perfection.  Regeneration makes us perfect in principle, but not in full.  Our incredibly powerful and relentlessly militant sinful flesh cleaves to us until it is abolished on the day we die and go to heaven.  Regeneration decisively breaks the dominion of sin within us, yet sin remains.  Do not doubt your regeneration and salvation because you sin, and sin, and sin, and sin, and sin.  This side of Eden only one man will ever walk this earth perfectly consecrated to God.  You are not that man, nor am I.  Jesus is.   The evidence of regeneration is that you fight.  You know you are regenerated—born again from above with the life of the Lord by the Spirit of the Lord—if you fight.  You know with unshakable confidence that you belong to Christ now and forever if you fight.  The dead do not fight; the living fight.  You fight against sin in and for the kingdom of God.  You can see the kingdom by faith.  You love the kingdom—the church, its gospel preaching, its holy people, and its living truth.  You love God’s King, your Saviour, Jesus Christ.  You love and set your heart upon the treasures of the kingdom—righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit.  Because you love God, you hate and want destroyed the lie of false doctrine, wicked attitudes, alluring temptations, and all that is full of the vanity of wicked man.  You fight for the Bible and the truth of the Bible contained in the Reformed creeds.  The evidence of regeneration is not that you no longer sin, but that your sin bothers you before God.  You fight against your own sins by sorrowing over them, hating them, and fleeing from them as Joseph fled Potiphar’s house.”

*Standard Bearer Dec.15th 2016images

Identity

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It is noteworthy that the first two temptations of Christ were centred on his identity. “I thou be the Son of God….”. Christ’s firm conviction of who he was (John 13:3) saw him overcome. Similarly we as God’s children need to be utterly convinced that we are adopted, loved, helped and kept by our heavenly Father despite the fact that of ourselves we are guilty totally depraved sinners.

“Content with who I am in Christ”

Lecture at C.P.R.C. Ballymena

Rev. Ron VanOverloop (Michigan, USA)

Weds. 18th January 2017 at 7.30pm

Watch and pray

Watch and pray

Why?

What is the opposite?

What does it involve?

Firstly we need to consider that watching is more than seeing. It is looking intently at something or someone with carefulness, whether it’s a football match, babysitting a grandchild or an animal in the wild. The first mention of “watching” in the Bible is Gen.31:49, when Laban says to Jacob,” The LORD watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.” In context he was calling on God to scrutinise any future incursions by either of the men against the other. Then as the Israelites crossed the Red Sea we read, “ And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians” (Ex.14:24). This is the first mention of the classical use of the term regarding watchmen and the time of their watch. The morning watch was the last part of the night before dawn. Watchmen would be guarding a city from the walls and towers, or shepherding their flocks or at sea steering a ship and watching for rocks and all during the night e.g. In Luke 2:8 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Watching here entailed staying awake and on guard for dangerous predators who would attack sheep. Watching in Matthew 26:38 and 40 also meant staying awake.

Among the Jews the night was divided into three four-hour “watches” , Gideon chose to attack at around 10pm. “So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands” (Judges 7:19), and this division continued on till Roman times. The Romans divided the night into four “watches;” this was recognized among the Jews (see Mark 13:35 and “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea” (Matt.14:25)i.e., sometime between 3 and 6am.

There could be day watches too as in the days of Nehemiah, “Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them” (Neh. 4:9). “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning” (Ps.130:6). This verse captures the idea of longing for time to pass which would be natural for any night-watchman.

Spiritual watchmen however, had a different task. They were leaders or prophets given the responsibility to watch over the souls of God’s people in Israel in the same way as ruling or pastoral elders do in the church today. “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17). “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:28-30). “I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence “(Is.62:6). The people on hearing their preaching and warnings would either listen and repent, or harden their hearts, “Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken” (Jer.6:17). In both Old and New Testament we read of lazy, careless, negligent and wicked watchmen who neglect their duties, “His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber” (Is.56:10). False shepherds, not called by God, are the modern equivalent. They neither know God, nor his gospel, and all they care about is their fleshly lusts and monetary gain (II Pet. 2:1-3). These are meant to bark or sound a trumpet (preach and prophesy) when they see danger approaching e.g. the people falling into idolatry, Sabbath-breaking, enslaving their brethren, or any obvious wickedness, and if they don’t, God holds them accountable; “ Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul” (Ezek.3:17-19). Warning, admonishing, exhorting are part and parcel of the office of Old Testament priest or prophet and the New Testament teaching and ruling elder.

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     “Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips” (Ps 141:3). This is the first time the verb is used in the context of self-control in speech but it could equally be used of any of our daily activities. We need to watch all our appetites, how we use our time, how we treat others etc. The meaning here is moral alertness, “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry” (II Tim.4:5).

However the key instance of watching we need to consider is one Christ oft repeated, “ Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt.26:41). Paul also says, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31). Paul also contrasts watching with sleeping, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (I Thess. 5:6). These instances Matt. 24:43, 26:41, Acts 20:31, 1 Cor. 16:13, Col. 4:2, 1 Thess. 5:6,10, all mean spiritual alertness, “be watchful” (1 Pet. 5:8) or “be vigilant”, also Rev. 3:2,3; 16:15. Those who sleep are spiritually unconscious or even dead and totally unaware of the danger they face and their being under God’s wrath. The Christian believer is the only class of human being who ought to be spiritually watchful!

Watching and praying are often linked and this is vital because by being in an attitude of constant prayer and communion with the Lord, temptation will be kept at bay, and will help us overcome (Eph. 6:18, I Thess.5:18). “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin” (1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.)images6286izgr

Being awake is equated with righteousness and not sinning. Paul was writing to the church at Corinth, which shows that even true Christians can be spiritually asleep to varying degrees. Diligence and carefulness in all the means of grace whether it’s daily Bible reading and prayer in our personal devotions (Prov. 8:34), family devotions, personal or church Bible study or Lord’s day attendance, cannot be overemphasised. Christian fellowship is also vital, as is witness when opportunity arises (Rev.12:11). Christ also meant us to watch world events in the light of Biblical teaching as we will see more and more the harbingers of his second coming as recorded in Matthew 24. When he comes will he find us watching? We really should never drop our guard!