The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Posts Tagged ‘sin

Review: “Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn”

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Sexual Detox: A Guide for Guys Who Are Sick of Porn

Tim Challies

Cruciform Press, 2010, 108pp., paperback/download, $5-10 (depending on format)

ISBN 978-1453807286

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.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 21 March 2011 at 08:10

“I would not put my Christ to shame”

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Hampstead L.M.

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.

©JRW

See all hymns and psalms.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 28 August 2010 at 21:13

Ceaseless warfare

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The imperative necessity for this work of mortification arises from the continued presence of the evil nature in the Christian. Upon his believing in Christ unto salvation, he was at once delivered from the condemnation of the Divine law, and freed from the reigning power of sin; but “the flesh” was not eradicated from his being, nor were its vile propensities purged or even modified. That fount of filthiness remains unchanged unto the end of his earthly career. Not only so, but is ever active in its hostility to God and holiness: “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh” (Gal. 5:17). Thus, there is a ceaseless conflict in the saint between indwelling sin and inherent grace. Consequently there is a perpetual need for him to mortify or put to death not only the actings of indwelling corruption but also the principle itself. He is called upon to engage in ceaseless warfare and not suffer temptation to bring him into captivity to his lusts. The Divine prohibition is “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness [enter into no truce, form no alliance with] but rather reprove them” (Eph. 5:11). Say with Ephraim of old, “What have I to do with idols?” (Hosea 14:8).

No real communion with God is possible while sinful lusts remain unmortified. Allowed evil draws the heart away from God, and tangles the affections, discomposes the soul, and provokes the Holy One to close His ears against our prayers: “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?” (Ezek. 14:3). God cannot in any wise delight in an unmortified soul: for Him to do so would be denying Himself or acting contrary to His own nature. He has no pleasure in wickedness and cannot look with the slightest approval on evil. Sin is a mire, and the more miry we are the less fit for His eyes (Psalm 40:2). Sin is leprosy (Isaiah 1:6), and the more it spreads the less converse will the Lord have with us. Deliberately to keep sin alive is to defend it against the will of God and to challenge combat with the Most High. Unmortified sin is against the whole design of the Gospel – as though Christ’s sacrifice was intended to indulge us in sin, rather than redeem us from it. The very end of Christ’s dying was the death of sin: rather than sin should not die, He laid down His life.

Arthur W. Pink, Practical Christianity (Baker, 141)

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 6 August 2010 at 16:20

Rebuking sin

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I am not sure for whom this advice from J. C. Ryle is more terrifying – the gospel minister himself, or those whom he serves:

We see, in the third place, how boldly a faithful minister of God ought to rebuke sin. John the Baptist spoke plainly to Herod about the wickedness of his life. He did not excuse himself under the plea that it was imprudent, or impolitic, or untimely, or useless to speak out. He did not say smooth things, and palliate the king’s ungodliness by using soft words to describe his offence. He told his royal hearer the plain truth, regardless of all consequences, – “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

Here is a pattern that all ministers ought to follow. Publicly and privately, from the pulpit and in private visits, they ought to rebuke all open sin, and deliver a faithful warning to all who are living in it. It may give offence. It may entail immense unpopularity. With all this they have nothing to do. Duties are theirs. Results are God’s.

No doubt it requires great grace and courage to do this. No doubt a reprover, like John the Baptist, must go to work wisely and lovingly in carrying out his master’s commission, and rebuking the wicked. But it is a matter in which his character for faithfulness and charity are manifestly at stake. If he believes a man is injuring his soul, he ought surely to tell him so. If he loves him truly and tenderly, he ought not to let him ruin himself unwarned. Great as the present offence may be, in the long run the faithful reprover will generally be respected. “He that rebukes a man, afterwards shall find more favor than he that flatters him with his tongue.” (Prov. 28:23.)

Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Mark, 119-120

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 1 July 2010 at 15:00

Newton to Ryland: a humble confession

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Here is a further snippet from Wise Counsel (Banner of Truth, 2010, p380-381: do buy it).  This is one of Newton’s last letters to his long-time friend.  His eyes failing but his faith growing, Newton writes with humble honesty about his failings and his faith in Jesus Christ. We may not be able to speak of crowded and attentive congregations, but who can deny the continued blackness of a heart struggling against sin, and the comfort of a Christ who will by no means cast out those who come to him?

I am still favoured with a crowded, attentive, affectionate and peaceful auditory and we are not without tokens of the Lord’s gracious presence in the midst of us. And though I am a poor creature still, though my best is defective and defiled, and my imagination, which I call my thorn in the flesh, is sadly wild and ungovernable, though I live upon daily and hourly forgiveness, yet perhaps it was never better with me upon the whole, than at present. My trials are few. My temporal mercies are many; I hope my sense of them is heightened by contrast, when I look around me, or when I look back to my state of wickedness and misery in Africa, which has seldom been two hours together out of my waking thoughts, since I last left that dreary coast in the year 54. Indeed, I need not look so far back as Africa, for alas! the proofs I have had of the depravity and deceitfulness of my heart, have been much stronger since I knew the Lord, than before! How often have I sinned against light and love, and a sense of multiplied obligations! I have been remarkably a child of Providence, but my experiences have not been so much diversified. I have not suffered much from the fiery darts, and black temptations of Satan. On the other hand, I have no raptures or high consolations to speak of. I never was for an hour like the apostle at a loss to know whether I was in or out of the body. The sin of my nature cleaves close to me as my skin, and infects all I say or do. But it is given to me to believe that the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin, and that when He said, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out’, he meant as He spoke, and will make his word good. Upon this rock I build. Other refuge have I none. If He was strict to mark what is amiss, He might justly cast me off now in my old age, and forsake me, when my strength faileth; be He has said, ‘In no wise.’ Thus Noah when in the ark had the comfort of knowing that he was safe, but I suppose he did not derive much comfort from the circumstances of his voyage.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 25 June 2010 at 10:52

Preaching against sin

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According to the thought police, we are no longer able to say that certain things are sin in a voice that can be heard.  The Telegraph reports.  Al Mohler comments.

While I appreciate our civil freedoms, and hope that we will retain and enjoy them for many years to come, I do sometimes suspect that this is simply another indication of our increasingly-speedy return to the norm of Christian persecution that we see in the Scriptures and throughout church history.  It will do Christians – and perhaps especially preachers and pastors – to count the cost, and then seek, in dependence on the crucified Christ, to take up the cross and get on with the task of following him.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 4 May 2010 at 10:44

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Jerome’s struggle, Christ’s victory

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A little more from Marcus Loane’s The Hope of Glory: An Exposition of the Eighth Chapter in the Epistle to the Romans (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1968):

The great Latin Father, Jerome, has left a clear record of the way in which he tried to obey the law and to subdue the flesh in his own strength.  He lived as a hermit alone in the desert and gave himself up to weeks of fasting; but he had to confess at last that he could not banish the dark passions which were always ready to haunt his mind.  “How often,” so he wrote to Eustochium, “when I was living in the desert, parched by a burning sun, did I fancy myself among the pleasures of Rome!  Sackcloth disfigured my unshapely limbs, and my skin from long neglect had become as black as an Ethiopian’s . . . And although in my fear of hell I had consigned myself to this prison, where I had no companions but scorpions and wild beasts, I often thought myself amid bevies of girls.  My face was pale, and my frame chilled with fasting; yet my mind was burning with desire, and the fires of lust kept bubbling up before me when my flesh was as good as dead.  Helpless, I cast myself at the feet of Jesus.”  Jerome found that only one thing could meet his need; nothing could take its place.  God was willing to do for him what he could not do for himself: he had to cast himself, helpless, at the feet of Jesus. (28-29)

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 15 April 2010 at 07:26

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