Thursday, October 29, 2009

THE BARRIER TO REFORMATION
...cherishing iniquity in our heart

"If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened to my prayer." -Psalm 66:18

To begin with... a silent prayer

"O Lord, what evil have we not done? Or if there is evil that we have not done, what evil is there that we have not spoken? If there is any that we have not spoken, what evil is there that we have not thought to do? But you, O Lord, are good. You are merciful. You saw how deep we were sunk in death, and it was your power that drained dry the well of corruption in the depths of our hearts. All that You have asked of us was to deny our own wills and accept yours. Forgive us for every failure to do so and help us to follow You in every way and always, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen." [Adapted from Augustine's Confessions, IX, x]

To cherish sin means to hold it dearly in our hearts; to love it; to embrace it; to treasure it.

We all have PhD's in rationalizing our sin don't we? We have all graduated with high honors in its schooling and it comes naturally to us all. But like David, until we can say, "against You and You alone have I sinned" we will not be broken of it. Sin may hurt others and ourselves, but all sin ultimately is an afront to and against God Himself.

The hypocrite when caught in a sin may say, "wash my garments and make them clean" - make me presentable again; just clean up my outward appearance, etc. But the one who is truly broken, contrite and repentant over their sin will humbly say before a holy God, "Lord wash me, make me clean, forgive me and restore me to the joy of my salvation." No excuses; no self-justification; no spin; no blaming Mom and Dad or others; no therapeutic diversions. Just alone before God owning our sin, confessing it to Him holding nothing back; then turning from it in repentance, and by His sanctifying grace continue to live in obedience to His Word.

The Sinfulness of Sin
Sin strikes at God and says,
“I don’t care what You said, I’ll do what I want.” It is God’s would be murderer. Sin would un-God God if it could. Sin defiles the conscience. Sin is irrational and forfeits blessing. Sin is painful—it hurts. Sin is damning. Sin is degrading it mares the image of God and man. Like Samson, it cuts the locks of purity and leaves men morally weak. Sin poisons the springs of love and turns beauty in leprosy. Sin defeats the mind, the heart, the will, the affections and it has made a whole world of people—all of mankind—children wrath by nature; objects of God’s wrath. Sin brings man under the domination of Satan and his sick sin system, which he controls. Man and the world is a slave to sin, open rebellion and defiance to God and a slave to Satan."

Jonathan Edwards reflecting on this says these powerful words:
"Sin is naturally exceeding dear to us; to part with it is compared to plucking out our right eyes. Men may refrain from wonted ways of sin for a little while, and may deny their lusts in a partial degree, with less difficulty; but it is heart-rending work, finally to part with all sin, and to give our dearest lusts a bill of divorce, utterly to send them away. But this we must do, if we would follow those that are truly turning to God: yea, we must not only forsake sin, but must, in a sense, forsake all the world, Luke 14:33 'Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.'"
Pastor Ralph Venning (1662, St. Olave's Church in Southwark, England)
says,
"Sin is a cheat, a lie, and therefore lurks privily and puts on false names and colors; for if it were to appear like itself--as sooner or later will do to all, either for conversion or confusion--it would frighten men into dying fits, as it did the Apostle, and when they come to themselves they would abhor and hate it, as Paul and the Prodigal did. Men would never be so hardy in sinning but that sin hardens them by deceiving them; so the writer of Hebrews says, 'Take heed lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin' (Hebrews 3:13). Sin uses all manner of arts, methods and devices to attract us and inveigle us. It uses many tricks on us and has all the knacks of deceiving and cheating us. So I may with truth say that sin has not learnt but taught all the deceits dissimulations, flatteries and false diplomacies that are found in courts; the stratagems of war; the sophisms and fallacies of the schools; the frauds of tradesmen, whether in city or county; the tricks of cheaters and jugglers, the ambushes of thieves, the pretensions of false friends, the various methods of false teachers--these and every other kind of cheat and deception in the world, sin teaches and practices upon us all to make us sin."
That is why beloved, Proverbs 28:13 so convictingly says, "He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion." What man uncovers (or confesses), God will by His grace covers (forgiveness); but what man covers up, God will uncover.

My favorite Puritan divine, Thomas Watson, says, "Knowledge without repentance will be but a torch to light men to hell."

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" -Titus 2:11-12

35 Reasons Not To Sin
by Jim Elliff
  1. Because a little sin leads to more sin.
  2. Because my sin invites the discipline of God.
  3. Because the time spent in sin is forever wasted.
  4. Because my sin never pleases but always grieves God who loves me.
  5. Because my sin places a greater burden on my spiritual leaders.
  6. Because in time my sin always brings heaviness to my heart.
  7. Because I am doing what I do not have to do.
  8. Because my sin always makes me less than what I could be.
  9. Because others, including my family, suffer consequences due to my sin.
  10. Because my sin saddens the godly.
  11. Because my sin makes the enemies of God rejoice.
  12. Because sin deceives me into believing I have gained when in reality I have lost.
  13. Because sin may keep me from qualifying for spiritual leadership.
  14. Because the supposed benefits of my sin will never outweigh the consequences of disobedience.
  15. Because repenting of my sin is such a painful process, yet I must repent.
  16. Because sin is a very brief pleasure for an eternal loss.
  17. Because my sin may influence others to sin.
  18. Because my sin may keep others from knowing Christ.
  19. Because sin makes light of the cross, upon which Christ died for the very purpose of taking away my sin.
  20. Because it is impossible to sin and follow the Spirit at the same time.
  21. Because God chooses not to respect the prayers of those who cherish their sin.
  22. Because sin steals my reputation and robs me of my testimony.
  23. Because others once more earnest than I have been destroyed by just such sins.
  24. Because the inhabitants of heaven and hell would all testify to the foolishness of this sin.
  25. Because sin and guilt may harm both mind and body.
  26. Because sins mixed with service make the things of God tasteless.
  27. Because suffering for sin has no joy or reward, though suffering for righteousness has both.
  28. Because my sin is adultery with the world.
  29. Because, though forgiven, I will review this very sin at the Judgment Seat where loss and gain of eternal rewards are applied.
  30. Because I can never really know ahead of time just how severe the discipline for my sin might be.
  31. Because my sin may be an indication of a lost condition.
  32. Because to sin is not to love Christ.
  33. Because my unwillingness to reject this sin now grants it an authority over me greater than I wish to believe.
  34. Because sin glorifies God only in His judgment of it and His turning of it to good use, never because it is worth anything on it's own.
  35. Because I promised God he would be Lord of my life.

Love the Lord Jesus Christ with an unfeigned, undivided superlative love...
"There is no love but a superlative love that is any ways suitable to the transcendent sufferings of dear Jesus. Oh, love him above your lusts, love him above your relations, love him above the world, love him above all your outward contentment’s and enjoyments; yea, love him above your very lives; for thus the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, saints, primitive Christians, and the martyrs of old, have loved our Lord Jesus Christ with an overtopping love." -Thomas Brooks
1 John 2:1-2 says, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

"When your repentance is more notorious than your sin--then it is genuine." -C.H. Spurgeon

How to Live in Victory Over Sin
In a spirit of prayerful submission to the Lord and by His sustaining grace, may each of us long to honor the Lord with a holy life each day.
  • Recognize your Transgression
  • Repent of your Sin
  • Rely on God
  • Reverence Christ as Lord
  • Read His Word
  • Renew your Mind
  • Remain in godly Relationships, and
  • Rejoice and walk in the Holy Spirit

5 comments:

Jeremy Weaver said...

Amen!

littlegal_66 said...

Brother.....:-),
The tenor of this post is one that I've been hoping you'd express during your recent series of posts (leading up to Reformation Day). This is a much-needed post; it will prove very instrumental in helping me with the process of examining & preparing my heart for next Tuesday's time of prayer and fasting. So, thank you.

Speaking of the call to prayer and fasting on Oct. 31, I'm providing a link to a Reformation Day/"Band of Bereans" graphic that I'm using to promote that call within my correspondences (and will be using on my blog for that purpose as well). For all of you blogging brothers and sisters, please feel free to use this as much (or as little) as you desire.

ann_in_grace said...

Great post.
This message is mostly needed and mostly hated by the world...
Keep on administering Your medicine, dr Camp.

littlegal_66:
I am "borrowing" this graphics. It is beautiful. Thank You.

Carla said...

Steve - and a hearty amen to all you've said and quoted here. Where were people like you back in 1994 when I was first saved? Oh how I needed to hear that then, but still benefit greatly from hearing it now.

littlegal! I've missed seeing you post here (okay maybe I don't read the comments enough) but your thoughts echo my own, so I'll just say amen to what you wrote. I will indeed use your graphic for Reformation day, and thank you for creating it.

SDG...

Denny said...

This is the kind of reading where my soul must remain still as I receive the exhortation of truth regarding the only thing that has ever kept me from personally knowing and enjoying my Wonderful God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He becomes so much more beautiful to me as I see how He has loved me through it all.

Thanks Steve!