FALLING INTO SIN

“For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me” (Rom 7:11 ESV).

“God’s commands, promise eternal life if one keeps them; and yet they lead to death, since everyone violates what God ordains. This happens when sin deceives a person and uses the law as its instrument” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2169).

“It is certainly wrong to feed a lust, even in the imagination. It is quite contrary to the holy rules of God’s words. ‘The thought of foolishness is sin’ (Pro 24:9)” Jonathan Edwards (ref#377, p23).

“As a man that walks in the sun is tanned before he is aware, so are the souls of men sullied and defiled by carnal company before they be aware. For the more accustomed to them, the less odious they seem; so, little by little, our spirits are shaped and fitted for such a sin” Thomas Manton (ref#375, p16).

“Temptation always talks about happiness, fulfillment, gratification, delight, comfort, pleasure, excitement, and the like. It can involve good things or foul perverse things: either way, temptation always lures the flesh to believe its promises instead of God’s Word” Jeff Pollard (ref#372).

“[T]he person who does anything with a high hand reviles the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him” (Num 15:30-31 ESV).

“If we would make peace with the world, the world would let us alone. If we could be content to walk in the ways of sin, Satan would give us no disturbance. But because grace has rescued us from his dominion, and the love of Jesus constrains us to live to Him alone, therefore the enemy, like a lion robbed of his prey, roars against us” John Newton (ref#376, p20).

“[T]emptation promises satisfaction. But when it leads to sin, only two responses exist: repentance and faith in Jesus Christ or damnation, no matter how ‘happy’ one is on the way to eternal hellfire” Jeff Pollard (ref#372).

TEMPTATIONS

“Temptation itself is not sin; but temptation is the invitation to sin, and the wages of sin is death” Jeff Pollard (ref#372).

“A temptation in general, is anything that for any reason exerts a force or influence to seduce and draw the mind and heart of man from the obedience that God requires of him to any kind of sin. In particular, it is a temptation if it causes a man to sin, gives him opportunity to do so, or causes him to neglect his duty” John Owen (ref#373, p4).

“Temptation plays to the evil desires and idolatrous cravings that still live in my heart. Temptation appeals to my selfishness and greed. Temptation targets my laziness and impatience. Temptation hooks my materialism and discontent. Temptation goes after my desire to have my own way and write my own rules” Paul David Tripp (ref# 190, Nov 29th).

Every man is haunted with special temptations—temper, sex, age, custom, calling, company, course of affairs” Thomas Manton (ref#375, p15).

“For all its pretty lies, all temptation is the original promise that cannot be kept. The devil’s temptations are always thoroughly man-centered and custom-crafted for the individual” Jeff Pollard (ref#372).

“The heart is corrupted by objects that we take in by the senses, as it corrupted Eve. [It] dealt with her first by the sense: the forbidden fruit was full in her way, then the devil sets upon her. He knows how to tempt by awakening the inclinations of our own body against us” Thomas Manton (ref#375, p14-15).

“[L]et the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa 55:7 ESV).

“When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple” (Ps 65:3-4 ESV)!

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

HYPOCRITES_3

“Many in these days of easy profession are likely to prove to be tares, and not wheat; hypocrites with fair masks on their faces, but not the true-born children of the living God” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 26th PM).

Initial or preparative grace may fail: “’…those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,’ may fall away; such as illumination, external reformation, temporary faith, some good beginnings. Some die in the pangs of the new birth and are stillborn.  Plenty of blossoms do not always foretell a store of fruit” Thomas Manton (ref#225, Sept 28th).

“…enter into the spiritual state…know that there is such a spiritual life to be lived…the first thing…to do is to study and to believe God’s Word until in faith our hearts are filled with the assurance that there is such a life possible….the second step: A man must see the shame and guilt of his not having lived such a life….A man does not get converted without having conviction of sin….a man…must be convicted of his particular sin….Until this conviction of the wrongness of our carnal state as believers comes to each one of us; until we are willing to get this conviction from God, to take time before God to be humbled and convicted, we never can become spiritual men” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p16-20).

We become a brand new person inside.  Our new life has begun (2 Cor 5:17)—a life fashioned after CHRIST, renewed from the inside and able to work itself into our conduct as He accurately reproduces His character in us (Eph 4:24).  This metamorphosis is called, “sanctification” and we will keep changing for the better until the day we die (Phil 2:12).

A characteristic of a Christian is: “He may have fears and doubts.  He may sometimes tell you that he feels as if he had no faith at all.  But ask him if he is willing to trust in anything instead of Christ, and see what he will say.  Ask him if he will rest his hope of eternal life on his own goodness, his own works, his prayers, his minister, or his church” J.C. Ryle (ref#222).

FATHER, all that I pray for I pray they are not refusing Your diagnosis of their need and Your offer of forgiveness (ref#56, p1828, [1 John 1:10]).  I pray they are not chronically disobedient to Your commands (ref#125, p2437, [1 John 5:16]). For continuing in such a state leads to permanent death.

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

BACKSLIDERS – ENDANGERED SOULS

“…so much as the flesh is gratified, so much is the soul endangered” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p111).

“Remember that, though your love has waxed cold, the love of your God and Father towards you never diminishes; it has never known even a shadow of change….God has never, not even for a moment, turned His back on you, though you have turned yours on Him times without number.  His face has always been toward you…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 22nd).

“If…children forsake my law and do not walk according to my rules,  if they violate my statutes and do not keep my commandments, then I will punish their transgression with the rod and their iniquity with stripes, but I will not remove from him my steadfast love or be false to my faithfulness” (Ps 89:30-33 ESV).

“All spiritual declension in the true believer necessarily implies the actual possession of grace….In the lowest condition of the believer, Christ never denies His own work in the soul….” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 10th).

“True grace may suffer a shrewd decay, but not an utter loss.  In temptations it may be sorely shaken; the heel may be bruised, as Christ’s was, but ‘his seed remaineth in him’” Thomas Manton (ref#225, Sept 28th).

“If God says, “Return,” that is sufficient for you.  You need nothing more; if He is willing to receive you back, to pardon your sins, to forget your ingratitude, to heal your backslidings, and to restore your soul, you have the broadest warrant to return…He is on the eager lookout for your first movement towards Him…He sends His own Spirit to work that return in your soul, to break your heart, to waken your slumbering spirit, and to draw you and win you to His arms” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 10th).

FATHER, in the Apostle Paul’s writing to the Corinthian church he calls them all “saints.”  They have much to learn in their walk of sanctification, and despite their unloving activities, Paul is sympathetic toward them.

Paul “…takes them by the hand and goes over all the old ground again, directing them in how to work all the glorious details of God’s saving love into their love for one another” MSG Bible (ref#262, p398, “Introduction to 1 Corinthians”).

TRUE CHRISTIAN OR FAUX?

ENTHUSIASTIC SPECTATORS

“A man may go to hell with baptismal water upon his face” John Trapp (ref#225, Aug 21st).

“Because the story of Jesus is so impressive—God among us!  God speaking a language we can understand!  God acting in ways that heal and help and save us!—there is a danger that we will be impressed, but only be impressed.  As the spectacular dimensions of this story slowly (or suddenly) dawn upon us, we could easily become enthusiastic spectators, and then let it go at that—become admires of Jesus, generous with our oh’s and ah’s…” The MESSAGE Bible, “Introduction to Acts” (ref#262, p278).

“Do not satisfy yourself with external ceremonies, with the observance of days and frequent communions, with tithing and charities.  Is Christ dwelling in your heart by His Spirit” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Feb 3rd)?

“It is not enough to make use of ordinances, but we must see if we can find God in them.  There are many that hover about the palace, and yet do not speak with the prince; so possibly we may hover about ordinances, and not meet with God there…come to the ordinances with the desire of finding the living God” Thomas Manton (ref#225, Aug 21st).

“There can be no true following of Christ as our example if we lose sight of Him as a suffering Christ and a cross-bearing Savior.  There must be fellowship with Him in His sufferings.  In order to enter fully and sympathetically into the afflictions of His people, He stooped to a body of suffering; in like manner, in order to have sympathy with Christ in His sorrows, we must tread the path He trod in some degree.…mutual sympathy…The afflicted child of God who is led to view his Father’s discipline in the light of a privilege will be happy….They…know the honor of suffering with Christ or being made conformable to His death” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 25th).

“Look honestly and fairly at your condition.  Discouraging and repelling as it may appear, look it fully in the face, and lay it open before God exactly as it is…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 10th).

“…if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach….” (Matt 7:26-27 MSG).