no fluff

March 12, 2015

marshmallow                

The Root of Holiness

First by understanding Sin.

  “Sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4) The person that wishes to attain right views about Christian holiness must begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin. That same person must dig down very low if he would build high. A mistake made here is most mischievous. Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption.

I make no apology for beginning this series of messages about holiness by making some plain statements about sin. The plain truth is that a right understanding of sin lies at the root of all saving Christianity. Without it such doctrines as justification, conversion, sanctification, are “words and names” which convey no meaning to the mind. The first thing, therefore, that God does when He makes anyone a new creature in Christ is to send light into his heart and show him that he is a guilty sinner. The material creation in Genesis began with “light,” and so also does the spiritual creation. God “shines into our hearts” by the work of the Holy Spirit and then spiritual life begins (2 Cor. 4:6). Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the errors, heresies and false doctrines of the present day. If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s disease, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies.

I believe that one of the chief failings of the contemporary church has been, and is, the clearer, fuller teaching about sin. Let’s begin the subject by supplying some definition of sin. We are all, of course, familiar with the terms “sin” and “sinners.” We talk frequently of “sin” being in the world and of men committing “sins.” But what do we mean by these terms and phrases? Do we really know? In today’s world we don’t like to talk about sin, today it’s all about tolerance. Religion is being declared something you do in the privacy of your own home and can practice in the church of your own choosing, but don’t talk about “going to Hell” in public, why that’s just rude.

“Sin,” speaking generally, is, “the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that is naturally engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusts always against the spirit; and, therefore, in every person born into the world, each and every person deserves God’s wrath and damnation.” Sin is that vast moral disease which affects the whole human race, of every rank and class and name and nation and people and tongue, a disease from which there never was but one born of woman that was free. Need I say that One was Christ Jesus the Lord?

“A sin,” to speak more particularly, consists in doing, saying, thinking or imagining anything that is not in perfect conformity with the mind and law of God. “Sin,” in short as the Scripture says, is “the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). The slightest outward or inward departure from absolute mathematical parallelism with God’s revealed will and character constitutes a sin, and at once makes us guilty in God’s sight. Of course, I need not tell anyone who reads his Bible with attention that a man may break God’s law in heart and thought when there is no overt and visible act of wickedness.

Our Lord has settled that point beyond dispute in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:21-28). I do think it necessary in these times to remind us that a man may commit sin and yet be ignorant of it and fancy himself innocent when he is guilty. I fail to see any scriptural warrant for the modern assertion that: “Sin is not sin to us until we discern it and are conscious of it.” On the contrary, in the fourth and fifth chapters of that unduly neglected book, Leviticus, and in the fifteenth of Numbers, I find Israel distinctly taught that there were sins of ignorance which rendered people unclean and needed atonement (Lev. 4:1–35; 5:14–19; Num. 15:25–29). And we find our Lord expressly teaching that “the servant who knew not his master’s will and did it not,” was not excused on account of his ignorance but was “beaten” or punished (Luke 12:48).

We will do well to remember that, when we make our own miserably imperfect knowledge and consciousness the measure of our sinfulness, we are on very dangerous ground. A deeper study of Leviticus might do us much good.

We often ignore “the hard books” of the bible and attempt to feed ourselves the “sweeter” meats of God’s Word. Today’s devotional books are mainly marshmallows of sweetness, more air than substance.

The greatest topic of our modern religious leaders is “us”, like we are really that deserving of riches and blessings, not when you understand the sin and stain that perverts our walk in Holiness.

Serious stuff not fluff, I hope you’ll be have patience has we wade through this.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

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