Posts Tagged ‘sin’
From J. C. Ryle:
The Christianity which I call fruit-bearing, that which shows its Divine origin by its blessed effects on mankind – the Christianity which you may safely defy unbelievers to explain away – that Christianity is a very different thing. Let me show you some of its leading marks and features.
(1) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always taught the inspiration, sufficiency, and supremacy of Holy Scripture. It has told people that God’s Word written is the only trustworthy rule of faith and practice in religion, that God requires nothing to be believed that is not in this Word, and that nothing is right which contradicts it. It has never allowed reason, a person’s mind, or the voice of the Church, to be placed above, or on a level with Scripture. It has steadily maintained that, however imperfectly we may understand it, the Old Book is meant to be the only standard of life and doctrine.
(2) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always taught fully the sinfulness, guilt and corruption of human nature. It has told people that they are born in sin, deserve God’s wrath and condemnation, and are naturally inclined to do evil. It has never allowed that men and women are only weak and pitiable creatures, who can become good when they please, and make their own peace with God. On the contrary, it has steadily declared a person’s danger and vileness, and their pressing need of a Divine forgiveness and satisfaction for their sins, a new birth or conversion, and an entire change of heart.
(3) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always set before people the Lord Jesus Christ as the chief object of faith and hope in religion, as the Divine Mediator between God and humanity, the only source of peace of conscience, and the root of all spiritual life. It has never been content to teach that He is merely our Prophet, our Example, and our Judge. The main things it has ever insisted on about Christ are the atonement for sin He made by His death, His sacrifice on the cross, the complete redemption from guilt and condemnation by His blood, His victory over the grave by His resurrection, His active life of intercession at God’s right hand, and the absolute necessity of simple faith in Him. In short, it has made Christ the Alpha and the Omega in Christian theology.
(4) Fruit-bearing Christianity has always honored the Person of God the Holy Spirit, and magnified His work. It has never taught that all professing Christians have the grace of the Spirit in their hearts, as a matter of course, because they are baptized, or because they belong to the Church, or because they partake of Holy communion. It has steadily maintained that the fruits of the Spirit are the only evidence of having the Spirit, and that those fruits must be seen, – that we must be born of the Spirit, led by the Spirit, sanctified by the Spirit, and feel the operations of the Spirit, – and that a close walk with God in the path of His commandments, a life of holiness, charity, self-denial, purity, and zeal to do good, are the only satisfactory marks of the Holy Spirit.
Summary ► Such is true fruit-bearing Christianity. Well would it have been for the world if there had been more of it during the last nineteen centuries! Too often, and in too many parts of Christendom, there has been so little of it, that Christ’s religion has seemed extinct, and has fallen into utter contempt. But just in proportion as such Christianity as I have described has prevailed, the world has benefited, the unbeliever has been silenced, and the truth of Divine revelation been acknowledged. The tree has been known by its fruit.
via J.C. Ryle Quotes.
Sin is inherently anti-God, inherently pro-self. Each time I sin I make a statement about myself and a statement about (and against) God. Each time I sin, I declare my own independence, my own desire to be rid of God; I declare that I can do better than God, that I can be a better god than God.
Tim Challies does an outstanding job of unpacking this declaration. Please check it out.
According to Al Mohler (as summarised here), there are at least fourteen noetic effects of sin (i.e. the effects of sin on the intellect):
- Faulty perspective
- Intellectual fatigue
- Failure to draw right conclusions
- Intellectual apathy
- Dogmatism and closed-mindedness
- Intellectual pride
- Vain imagination
- Partial knowledge
Check . . . check . . . check . . .
. . . one of the consequences of the internet-trained brain seems to be an inability to hide very much – not much of the Word of God, to be sure – in our hearts. That results in a crippling weakness in the battle for godliness.
Yours truly offers some thoughts on hiding God’s word in our hearts at Reformation21.
Conrad Mbewe tells us the sad story of a pastor who fell into sin and – overwhelmed by shame – took his own life. He draws out a single, primary lesson:
I have only one appeal: Pray for your pastors. The devil is real and there is only one that is stronger than him—not your pastor but God. Satan knows that if he can strike the shepherd, the sheep will scatter. Hence, he targets pastors with his most potent missiles. Many Christians are oblivious to this fact. They tend to simply admire their pastors as if they were super humans. They project their childhood invincible comic heroes (Spider Man, Mr America, etc.) upon their pastors and simply watch them as they fight sin with heroic energy in the community and in the church. They forget that pastors are also fallen creatures.
I will be the first one to confess that there are times when my struggle with my own fallen nature is so vicious that I wish I were still a private unknown Christian plying out my trade as a mining engineer in the Zambian copper mines. I would be less overwhelmed by my failures and would not carry so many people down with me. So, I end this blog post with an impassioned plea that all those who know me (and especially the Christians in my own church) should pray for me to run my race well to the very end. As Paul pleaded with the Thessalonians (1 Thess. 5:25), I say, “Brethren, pray for us!”
Pastors are not super creatures but fallen creatures, not uber-Christians but frail and dependent saints. I heard of the story told by a man not given to fancy and exaggeration of how he knew of Satan-worshippers pleading with their dark lord for the downfall of pastors, to the destruction of their families and the devastation of their churches. It was for this reason that I wrote in A Portrait of Paul that if
you find faithful men full of the Spirit of Christ, diligent in the discharge of their stewardship from God, then esteem them, love them, help them, encourage them, be open to them, and never stop praying for them. There is a real sense in which the shepherds of Christ’s flock wear an insignia that marks them out as overseers. In the same way that snipers in combat identify officers by their badges and pick them off first to create disorder and confusion in the ranks, so Satan’s snipers will seek to pick off those who wear the insignia of the shepherd, knowing that it is still a functioning principle that if you can strike the shepherd, the sheep will be scattered. Bless God that the Great Shepherd is beyond their reach, but be warned that the undershepherds are exposed still and daily expose themselves by the very nature of the work that they do on the front lines in Christ’s great battle with sin in the flesh, in the world, and from the devil.
The devil passionately hates Christ’s pastors. If he can make them stumble, he knows that more often than not others will stumble with them. Your faithful pastors are marked men. For their sake and for Christ’s, daily stand in the gap for them; pray that their faith may not fail them.
Every tale told of a man, a brother in arms, fallen in this way, ought to bring to the hearts of God’s under-shepherds the cry, “Lord, keep me!” and an answering prayer in the hearts of all those who are led by those men.
Cruciform Press, 2010, 108pp., paperback/download, $5-10 (depending on format)
Beginning life as a series of blog posts, this book is a very brief and direct treatment of an issue that, like it or not, almost every man must face, with sexual imagery either aggressively invading our hearts or a mere moment away, should our hearts desire it. The closest we get here to a definition of pornography is “a representation of sexuality that promotes either isolating acts of masturbation or abhorrently selfish acts of sexual abuse.” With that broad starting point, the author delivers a short, sharp shock to the spiritual system. Challies succeeds where several authors on a similar topic fails: he manages to be transparent without titillating, being frank but not crude, blunt without becoming vulgar. He urges upon his readers the profound dangers and far-reaching damage of pornography, speaking plainly of sin and grace, with some hard-hitting questions at the end of each short chapter. The whole is well-balanced, as he addresses not only the putting to death of sexual sin, but also the cultivation of genuine holiness in this area of life. In short, he earnestly demands that the porn-sick man get on his knees and – in dependence upon God’s grace in Christ – recalibrate his mind, heart and soul with regard to pornography. Those who are fed up hiding from this issue in their own lives or the lives of others will find this an excellent resource, being less about the spark of sin and more about the tinder of the heart. It drives at the right target, speaks with compassionate yet clear language, and offers a genuine and grace-soaked solution.
I would not put my Christ to shame,
By living with an empty name;
Not lightly with the righteous sit
But prove at last a hypocrite.
[ It’s not the battle that I fear
But secret ties to sins too dear;
Some lust that will not bow the knee
But takes the throne where Christ should be. ]
A rebel heart for sin a womb:
A polished bowl, a whitewashed tomb,
That wears its righteousness outside –
Within the horrors still abide:
A sinful habit not confessed;
A cherished passion much caressed;
A wanton glance of gross desire
That gathers fuel for the fire.
A mind in filthiness immersed;
The path of folly much traversed;
Sin’s passing pleasures not released;
Deep-hid iniquities increased.
[ Here in the secret place you look,
Each human heart an open book,
Each thought and intent of the mind
Is plain to you, though men are blind. ]
So search me, Lord, my actions try,
If sin will not then I must die –
The whole of life a battlefield,
And everything to Jesus yield.
So as I go – within, without –
Let all things show there is no doubt:
No lie, no show, no veil, no sham,
What I profess be what I am:
The true wheat from the holy seed,
And not a damned but gilded weed,
Christ’s striving servant through and through,
And prove at last a Christian true.
See all hymns and psalms.