Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sin; not superficial, partial, or self-remedial

In preparing for a few sermons I am to preach on the trinity, I began reading The Trinity by Edward Bickersteth. It is a thoroughly biblical investigation into the trinity and I am finding it immensely helpful. To set some groundwork before proceeding into his investigation of the triunity of God, Bickersteth writes about sin. Here is a notable excerpt:

This evil of sin is not superficial, but radical. It pervades human life from the cradle to the grave: [Psalm 51:5] “Behold I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my [Proverbs 24:9] Mother conceive me. The thought of foolishness is sin. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. [Proverbs 22:15] The imagination of Man’s heart is evil from his youth. [Genesis 8: 21]. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately [Jeremiah 27:9] wicked. From within, out of the heart of men, proceed [Mark 7:21,23] evil thoughts . . . . all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” 
This evil is not partial, but universal. None have escaped from it. “There is not a just man upon [Ecclesiastes 7:20] earth, that does good and sins not. There is [Romans 3:10] none righteous, no, not one. All the world becomes [Verse 19] guilty before God. All have sinned, and come short [Verse 23] of the glory of God.” 
This evil is not self-remedial; but so far as lies in man, incurable. “Who can bring a clean thing out of [Jeremiah 30:15.] an unclean? Not one. How then can man be just [Job 14:4] with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a [Job 25:4] woman? Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may you also do good that are [Jeremiah 8: 23] accustomed to do evil.” 
This evil is fatal. “In the day that thou eats thereof [Genesis 2:17] of dying thou shall die, “ was the warning of faithful love to Adam. And upon the fall moral and spiritual death marched like a pestilence through man’s noble soul. The land was as the Garden of Eden before it, and behind it a desolate wilderness. Hence disease and decay, those symbols of a deeper malady. “And sin, when it is finished, brings forth death. Death [James 1:15] passes upon all men. for that all have sinned.” And to [Romans 5:12] those who die in their sins, this death of the body is the awful introduction of that second death, of which the apostle writes, “Whosoever was not found written [Revelation 20:14,15] in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (14-5)

Nearing the end of his chapter discussing sin, he summarily writes, "All other facts are trivial compared with this--we are sinners--for sin uncleansed and unchecked is present defilement and final death" (16). It seems to me I profit most when reading writers whose perspective on sin is deadly serious; for, that is clearly the condition we find ourselves in.

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