I Cannot Think Little of Sin

Woman-kneelingj1600-cropped.jpg(J.C. Ryle)

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46

Would I know how exceedingly sinful and abominable sin is in the sight of God? Where shall I see sin most fully brought out?

Shall I turn to the history of the flood, and read how sin drowned the world?

Shall I go to the shore of the Dead Sea, and mark what sin brought on Sodom and Gomorrah?

No! I can find a clearer proof still! I look at the cross of Christ!

There I see that sin is so filthy and damnable, that nothing but the blood of God’s own Son can wash it away!

There I see that sin has so separated me from my holy Maker, that all the angels in Heaven could never have made peace between us. Nothing could reconcile us, short of the death of Christ.

If I listened to the wretched talk of proud people, I might sometimes imagine that sin was not so very sinful! But I cannot think little of sin, when I look at the cross of Christ!

“A bleeding Savior I have viewed–and now I hate my sin!” John Newton

Advertisements

The Sin of Hypocrisy

Pastor+Fake(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858)

Let us observe how abominable hypocrisy is in the eyes of Christ. We are told that in the presence of all the people, Jesus said unto His disciples, “Beware of the teachers of the law! They like to walk around in flowing robes–and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues, and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses–and pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public.” Luke 20:46-47

This was a bold and remarkable warning. It was a public denunciation, we must remember, of men who were the recognized teachers of the Jewish people.

No sin seems to be regarded by Christ as more wicked, than hypocrisy. None certainly drew forth from His lips such frequent, strong and withering condemnation, during the whole course of His ministry.

He was ever full of mercy and compassion for the chief of sinners. “Fury was not in Him” when He saw Zacchaeus; the penitent thief; Matthew the tax-collector; Saul the persecutor; and the sinful woman in Simon’s house.

But when He saw Scribes and Pharisees wearing a mere cloak of religion, and pretending to great outward sanctity, while their hearts were full of wickedness–His righteous soul seems to have been full of indignation. Eight times in one chapter (Matthew 23) we find Him saying, “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites!”

Whatever else we are in religion–let us be true. However feeble our faith, and hope, and love, and obedience may be–let us see to it that they are real, genuine, and sincere. Let us abhor the very idea of play-acting and mask-wearing in our Christianity. At any rate, let us be genuine.

The hypocrite will have the lowest place in Hell! “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape the damnation of Hell?” Matthew 23:33

An Unerring Chart For Life

CGC_Eagle_(7074680433)(Arthur W. Pink, “The Attributes of God”)

God has placed His Word in our hands for an intensely practical purpose–namely, to direct our walk and to regulate our deportment. The primary purpose for which God gave the Scriptures, is to make a practical use of them–ordering the details of our lives by its rules and regulations.

“Your Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105. The metaphor used here is taken from a man walking along a dangerous road on a dark night, in urgent need of a lantern to show him where to walk safely and comfortably, to avoid injury and destruction.

God, in His infinite condescension and transcendent grace, has given us His Word for this very purpose, so that we need not stumble along blindly, ignorant of what pleases or displeases Him–but that we might know His mind. That divine Word is not given to us simply for information, but . . .
to regulate our conduct,
to enlighten our minds,
and to mold our hearts.

The Word supplies us with an unerring chart by which to steer through the dangerous sea of life. If we sincerely and diligently follow, it will deliver us from disastrous rocks and submerged reefs–and direct us safely to the heavenly harbor. That Word has all the instructions we need for every problem, and every trouble we may be called upon to face. That Word has been given to us “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:17. How thankful we should be, that God has favored us with such a Word!

This world is a dark place, and it is only as we take heed to the Word, to the light God has given us, that we shall be able to perceive and avoid “the broad road which leads to destruction,” and discern the narrow way which alone “leads unto eternal life.”

Our first duty, and our first aim, must be to take up the Scriptures to ascertain what is God’s revealed will for us–what are the paths He forbids us to walk, what are the ways pleasing in His sight.

The Scriptures are not given us, primarily, for our intellectual gratification, nor for emotional admiration, but for life’s regulation. Nor are the precepts and commands, the warnings andencouragements contained therein, simply for our information. They are to be reduced to practice–they require unqualified obedience. He who treasures the divine precepts in his heart, and diligently seeks to walk by their rule, will escape those evils which destroy his fellows.

Thus the great business of the Christian is to regulate his life by, and conform his conduct to–the precepts of the written Word, and the example left us by the Incarnate Word. As he does so, and in proportion as he does so, he is
emancipated from the darkness of his natural mind,
freed from the follies of his corrupt heart,
delivered from the mad course of this world,
and escapes the snares of the devil.

Everything Is Against Me!

800px-Giovanni_Andrea_de_Ferrari_-_'Joseph's_Coat_Brought_to_Jacob',_oil_on_canvas,_c._1640,_El_Paso_Museum_of_Art

(Arthur Pink)

“Their father Jacob said to them: You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more–and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!” Genesis 42:36

Those circumstances, which to the dim eye of Jacob’s faith wore a hue so somber–were at that very moment developing and perfecting the events which were to shed around the evening of his life, the halo of a glorious and cloudless sunset! God was working all things together for his good!

Just so, troubled soul, the “much tribulation” will soon be over–and as you enter the “kingdom of God” you shall then see, no longer “through a glass darkly” but in the unshadowed sunlight of the Divine presence, that “all things” did  indeed “work together” for your personal and eternal good!

A Christian Brother Does…

Untitled.png(Arthur Pink)

“Be an example to all believers . . .
in what you teach,
in the way you live,
in your love, your faith and your purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12

I will name some of the criteria by which I measure the helpfulness of a preacher or writer to my own soul.

The one who profits me most, is the man . . .
whose ministry brings the most awe of a holy and sovereign God into my heart,
who reveals my sinfulness and failures to me,
who conveys the most light on my path of duty,
who makes Christ most precious to me,
who encourages me to press forward along the narrow way.

“Watch your life and doctrine closely.” 1 Timothy 4:16

   ~  ~  ~  ~

We have just published John Newton’s Autobiography, “Through Many Dangers!” in a series of 14 letters (some 60 pages).

God Is Not Tied

1024px-SlipperyHitch

“…the Lord is not confined to any one method, but has a variety of ways in bringing the same end to pass. God sometimes works one way and sometimes another, employing this means today and that tomorrow, in accomplishing His counsels. God is sovereign and acts not according to rule and rote. He ever acts according to His own good pleasure, and this He does in order to display His all-sufficiency, to exhibit His manifold wisdom, and to demonstrate the greatness of His power. God is not tied and if He closes one door He can easily open another.” –A.W. Pink “The Life of Elijah” p. 49

https://stilltheyspeak.wordpress.com/2018/04/20/god-is-not-tied/

The Church Is To Be Salt

Jodsalz_mit_Fluor_und_Folsaeure“…it is the churches which regulate the pulse of the nation. They act as the ‘salt’ upon the corporate body, and when their ways please the Lord, He gives them favour in the eyes of those round about them. When the Holy Spirit is unhindered, His power is manifested, not only in calling out the elect, but in subduing sin in the non-elect and by causing the machine of state to support godliness, as was more or less noticeably the case a hundred years ago. But when error comes into the churches and discipline is relaxed, the Spirit is grieved and His power is withheld, and the evil effects of this become more and more apparent in the country by a rising tide of lawlessness.  If the churches persist in a downward course, then the Spirit is quenched and ‘Ichabod’ is written over them, as is the case today. Then it is that the restraining hand of God is removed and an orgy of licentiousness comes in. Then it is the government becomes an empty title, for those in power have no power except what the people have delegated to them, and therefore they act in accord with the depraved desires of the masses.”  –A.W. Pink “The Life of Elijah” p. 281

https://stilltheyspeak.wordpress.com/2018/04/17/the-church-is-to-be-salt/

Trifling Away the Time God Gave Us

SkyTower_-_SalvDali3(Arthur Pink, “Last Things Last”)

“You shall remember how the Lord your God has led you on the entire journey, these forty years in the wilderness–so that He might humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep His commands.” Deuteronomy 8:2

This verse calls for a solemn review of our life–how far we have redeemed the time, or to what extent we have trifled it away.

We should be humbled at the recollection of how frequently we grumbled–because His way was not the one we desired. We should judge ourselves unsparingly–because we so often lagged behind, and sought to turn aside into forbidden bypaths. We should ponder the amazing grace of God in condescending to lead us across this trackless desert; and think, too, of His infinite forbearance in continuing to lead us–who are so ungrateful and contrary.

We should praise Him for having kept us in the Narrow Way–which we would have certainly forsaken, had we been left to follow the bent of our own evil lusts. And we also should return fervent thanks–that we are now a year’s march nearer to our Heavenly Home.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

He Wasn’t Wanted!

89000000000243526_1920x1080(Arthur Pink, “Why Four Gospels?” 1921)

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a feeding-trough, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7

Why was it that the Father allowed His blessed Son, now incarnate, to be born in a stable? Why were the cattle of the field, His first companions? What spiritual lesson are we intended to learn from His being placed in a feeding-trough? Weighty questions!

He was laid in a feeding-trough because there was no room in the inn. How solemnly this brings out the world’s estimate of the Savior! There was no appreciation of His amazing condescension. 

He was not wanted! 

It is so still. There is no room for Him in the schools, in society, in the business world, among the great throngs of pleasure seekers, in the political realm, in the newspapers, nor in many of the churches. It is only history repeating itself.

All that the world gave the Savior, was . . .
a feeding-trough for His cradle,
a cross on which to die, and
a borrowed grave to receive His murdered body.

Cutting Through the Lies

Tvåhandssvärd,_Italien,_ca_1623_-_Skoklosters_slott_-_67303.tif(Arthur Pink, “Faithfulness”)

“Their speech is filled with flattery.” Psalm 5:9

This is the identifying mark of the “hireling,” the false pastor. He aims at pleasing his hearers, making them feel satisfied with themselves, ever patting them on the back.

“But he who has My Word–let him speak My Word faithfully” (Jeremiah 23:28)–no matter how unpalatable it may be to the flesh, how much of a weariness to those who wish to have their ears tickled with novelties, or how loud the outcry against it is!

Ministerial faithfulness includes . . .
loyalty to his Master,
devotion to His interests,
steadfast adherence to the preaching of His Word,
dispensing the truth unto those whose souls are committed to Him,
not mixing it with his speculations, much less substituting false doctrine.

A far higher motive than the pleasing of his hearers must actuate and regulate ministerial service. 

Faithful preaching will render the minister unpopular, and will empty churches–not fill them!

“Then you will know the truth–and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32) Souls are caught fast in the meshes of Satan’s lies–and nothing but the sword of God’s truth can cut them free!
 
“A faithful man–who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6). Why is this? Because it is the part of fallen human nature to take the line of least resistance, and choose the path easiest to the flesh. But remember, my reader, whoever you are, that, “Lying lips are abomination to the Lord–but those who deal faithfully are His delight.” (Proverbs 12:22)

“Be faithful unto death–and I will give you a crown of life!” (Revelation 2:10)