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

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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

When Christians Suffer

Phantombild Paulus von Tarsus
Facial composite of the Apostle Paul by experts of LKA NRW, Germany

(Francis Bourdillon, “Affliction, Light and Short!” 1864)

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment–is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we do not look at the things which are seen–but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary–but the things which are not seen are eternal!” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Few people will call their present affliction light–and few are disposed to call it short. For while it lasts, it seems hard to bear–and a time of suffering generally appears long. Yet the apostle Paul writes thus about his affliction: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment.”

Paul’s afflictions were not, in themselves, light–few men have gone through more hardships and trials than he did. Nor were they, in themselves, short–for wherever he went he found them; they continued, more or less, to the end of his life.

It was only when he compared his present affliction with the glory that was so soon to follow–that it seemed to him light and short. Then he could say, “Our light affliction, which is but for amoment.”

We must always try to look at our afflictions in this way. If we look at them alone–they will be enough to overwhelm us! But if we think also, and even more, of the eternal rest and happinessand glory which lie ahead of us–then our view of our present afflictions will be greatly changed.

“True,” we shall feel, “true, my sorrows are many; my sickness is sore; my pain is great; long have I lain upon a bed of suffering. Yet before me lies a home of perfect rest, where pain and sickness and sorrow cannot come. My Savior has promised it to me and has gone before to prepare it for me. In a little while, I shall be there!”

With thoughts such as these, the suffering Christian should comfort himself–and thus weighpresent affliction against future glory. For what are all things here below, but short? Joys and sorrows, health and sickness, affliction and prosperity–all the things that pain and that please, “the things which are seen”–all these things are but for a time.

Whereas “the things which are not seen are eternal.” What we hope for, what Christ has purchasedfor us and gone before to prepare for us–that is forever! Our pains and sorrows will soon end–but our pleasures will never end! Our affliction is but for a little while–but our comforts, our Savior’s presence, our Heavenly home, will be ours always!

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away–yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day!” 2 Corinthians 4:16

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You may want to read the whole of Bourdillon’s uplifting 2 page article, “Affliction, Light and Short!

“My God, My God–Why Have You Forsaken Me?”

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(David Harsha, “The Crucifixion”)

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

He drinks the bitter cup of God’s wrath due to sin.

The powers of darkness fiercely assail Him.

He enjoys no sensible communion with Heaven. It is the gloomiest period in His whole life.

But at length His agony is so piercing that He is constrained to utter the most touching words of grief, “My God, my God–why have You forsaken Me?”

His Father–His own Father, in whose bosom He had lain from eternity! His Father, by whom He was always beloved–has withdrawn the light of His countenance from Him! And from His cross arises a most piercing and agonizing cry, “My God, my God–why have You forsaken Me?”

Oh, how mysterious, how solemn, how affecting is this cry! It is the most doleful that ever came from the lips of Christ during His sorrowful sojourn from the manger to the cross.

Ah! Why does He hang on yonder cross, uttering these doleful words ‘with strong crying and tears’?

It was not the nails which pierced His hands and feet, nor the agony of a crucifixion, which caused this mournful cry. He was now offering Himself a sacrifice for sins. As our Surety, He suffered all that divine justice required to bring the sinner back to God and to glory.

Here is the great mystery of Godliness: the Father bruises the Son, and puts Him to grief for our sakes! All those cries, and tears, and groans of Him whom the Father appointed to accomplish our salvation–were for us.

On His shoulders was laid the enormous load of our guilt.

Oh, what can we render to our Divine Savior, for His amazing and unparalleled love to us?

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We have published Charles Naylor’s helpful two page article, “Do You Need Patience?

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!

The Best Way to Overcome the World!

800px-Lower_Manhattan_Aerial(Thomas Chalmers)

There are two ways in which a person may attempt to displace the love of the world from the heart:

1. By a demonstration of the world’s vanity, so that the heart shall be prevailed upon simply to withdraw its regards from an object that is not worthy of it.

“When I surveyed all that I had accomplished and what I had toiled to achieve–everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun!” Ecclesiastes 2:11

“This world is passing away along with its desires!” 1 John 2:17

2. By setting forth another object, even Christ, as more worthy of its attachment, so that the heart shall be prevailed upon to exchange an old affection for a new one.

The best way to overcome the world, is not with morality or self-discipline. Christians overcome the world by seeing the beauty and excellence of Christ. They overcome the world by seeing something more attractive than the world–the Lord Jesus Christ!

“Yes, He is altogether lovely! This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend!” Song of Songs 5:16

Does God Hate the Sin Yet love the Sinner?

300px-Temptation_Adam_EvaIt has been said that God hates sin, but He loves the sinner. Is this true? 

(Charles Naylor)

What is God’s attitude toward unregenerate man?

It has been said that God hates sin, but He loves the sinner. Is this true? 

Let us hear the voice of inspiration:

“You hate all workers of iniquity . . . The Lord abhors murderers and deceitful men” (Psalm 5:5, 6).
Does that express an attitude of affection on God’s part?

Again, we read, “The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence, His soulhates. On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot!” (Psalm 11:5-6).

“Because they did all these things, I abhorred them!” (Leviticus 20:23).

“I will destroy your high places, cut down your incense altars and pile your dead bodies on the lifeless forms of your idols, and I will abhor you.” (Leviticus 26:30).

“And when the LORD saw it, He abhorred them!” (Deuteronomy 32:19).

We read further, “God is angry with the wicked every day!” (Psalm 7:11).

“The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished!” Proverbs 16:5

God is not so meek and indulgent that nothing will arouse His indignation. He hates all that is sinful. He could not love righteousness, without hating iniquity. He could not love the righteous, without hating the wicked. To love both, would be to abolish all moral distinctions. Of the impenitent sinner it is said, “The wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). It is only sin that renders him hateful, but man is responsible for his state of sinfulness and chooses evil; therefore to deal with the sin, God must deal with the man.

Not only does God hate man’s sin, every sinful word, thought, and deed–but He also hates every evildesire.

The natural man loves evil. That love of evil, which is a part of his nature–God abhors. All desire that runs out after impurity or for that which is unholy–merits and excites God’s indignation and abhorrence. Every evil ambition that arises in his soul, repels God. Every evil disposition, every evil feeling, hatred, envy, malice, revenge, selfishness, pride, jealousy, deceit, hypocrisy, and all the long catalog of evil things, of which man’s heart is the source–are obnoxious to God. All tendency to oppose the will of God, all rebellion at His providences–can only excite hatred in God.

God can love only what is what is pure and holy. All else He hates, and must hate with all the strength of His righteous character!

For the record, it was Mahatma Gandhi who coined the quote: “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner”. Obviously if Ghandi read the Bible he would have understood the plight of the sinner and how he angered a holy God on a daily basis.

My Grief and My Joy

CalvaryCemeteryQueens_edit

(William Grimshaw)

When I come to die, I shall have my greatest grief and my greatest joy.

My greatest grief–that I have done so little for Jesus.

My greatest joy–that Jesus has done so much for me!

My last words shall be: “Here goes an unprofitable servant!”

Empty Bubbles

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(J.C. Ryle)

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world!” 1 John 2:15-16 

The possession of the whole world and all that it contains, will never make a person happy. Itspleasures are false and deceptive! Its richesrank, and honors, have no power to satisfy the heart! So long as we have not got them–they glitter, sparkle, and seem desirable. The moment we have them–we find that they are empty bubbles, and cannot make us feel content!

And, worst of all, when we possess this world’s good things to the utmost bound of our desire–we cannot keep them! Death comes in and separates us from all our property forever! Naked we came upon earth, and naked we go forth–and of all our possessions, we can carry nothing with us.

Such is the world, which occupies the whole attention of thousands!

Such is the world, for the sake of which millions are every year destroying their souls!

“This world is fading away, along with everything that people crave!” 1 John 2:17