Hatred for Sin …THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE. Part 8.

Written by, Thomas Watson.
Taken from, “THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE.”
Published in 1668.

zz_sin_041714In this series we are looking at all the ingredients necessary for true repentance. In today’s thoughts, we are looking at Hatred for sin. Today, observe how Thomas Watson paints sin in its “blackest black.”  Now, let us look again at the fifth of these respective ingredients. –MWP]

1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin

REMEMBER: If any one ingredient is left out, repentance loses its virtue.

Ingredient 5. HATRED of Sin

Firstly, there is a hatred or loathing of ABOMINATIONS:

“Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices!” (Ezek. 36:31). A true penitent is a sin-loather. If a man loathes that which makes his stomach sick, much more will he loathe that which makes his soul sick! It is greater to loathe sin—than to leave it. One may leave sin for fear, as in a storm the jewels are cast overboard—but the nauseating and loathing of sin argues a detestation of it. Christ is never loved—until sin is loathed. Heaven is never longed for—until sin is loathed. When the soul sees its filthiness, he cries out, “Lord, when shall I be freed from this body of death! When shall I put off these filthy garments of sin—and be arrayed in the robe of Your perfect righteousness! Let all my self-love be turned into self-loathing!” (Zech. 3:4-5). We are never more precious in God’s eyes—than when we are lepers in our own eyes!

Secondly, there is a hatred of ENMITY.

There is no better way to discover life—than by motion. The eye moves, the pulse beats. So to discover repentance there is no better sign than by a holy antipathy against sin. Sound repentance begins in love to God—and ends in the hatred of sin. How may true hatred of sin be known?

1. When a man’s HEART is set against sin.

Not only does the tongue protest against sin—but the heart abhors it. However lovely sin is painted—we find it odious—just as we abhor the picture of one whom we mortally hate, even though it may be well drawn. Suppose a dish be finely cooked and the sauce good—yet if a man has an antipathy against the meat—he will not eat it. So let the devil cook and dress sin with pleasure and profit—yet a true penitent has a secret abhorrence of it, is disgusted by it, and will not meddle with it.

2. True hatred of sin is UNIVERSAL.

True hatred of sin is universal in two ways: in respect of the faculties, and of the object.

(1) Hatred is universal in respect of the faculties. That is, there is a dislike of sin not only in the judgment—but in the will and affections. Many a one is convinced that sin is a vile thing, and in his judgment has an aversion to it—yet he tastes sweetness in it—and has a secret delight in it. Here is a disliking of sin in the judgment and an embracing of it in the affections! Whereas in true repentance, the hatred of sin is in all the faculties, not only in the intellectual part—but chiefly in the will: “I do the very thing I hate!” (Romans 7:15). Paul was not free from sin—yet his will was against it.

(2) Hatred is universal in respect of the object. He who truly hates one sin—hates all sins. He who hates a serpent—hates all serpents. “I hate every false way!” (Psalm 119:104). Hypocrites will hate some sins which mar their credit. But a true convert hates all sins—gainful sins, complexion sins, the very stirrings of corruption. Paul hated the motions of sin within him (Romans 7:23).

3. True hatred against sin is against sin in all forms.

A holy heart detests sin for its intrinsic pollution. Sin leaves a stain upon the soul. A regenerate person abhors sin not only for the curse—but for the contagion. He hates this serpent not only for its sting but for its poison. He hates sin not only for hell—but as hell.

4. True hatred is IMPLACABLE.

It will never be reconciled to sin any more. Anger may be reconciled—but hatred cannot. Sin is that Amalek which is never to be taken into favor again. The war between a child of God and sin is like the war between those two princes: “there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days” (1 Kings 14:30).

5. Where there is a real hatred, we not only oppose sin in ourselves but in OTHERS too.

The church at Ephesus could not bear with those who were evil (Rev. 2:2). Paul sharply censured Peter for his deception, although he was an apostle. Christ in a holy anger, whipped the money-changers out of the temple (John 2:15). He would not allow the temple to be made an exchange. Nehemiah rebuked the nobles for their usury (Neh. 5:7) and their Sabbath profanation (Neb. 13:17).

A sin-hater will not endure wickedness in his family: “He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house” (Psalm 101:7). What a shame it is when magistrates can show height of spirit in their passions—but no heroic spirit in suppressing vice.

Those who have no antipathy against sin, are strangers to repentance. Sin is in them—as poison in a serpent, which, being natural to it, affords delight. How far are they from repentance who, instead of hating sin, love sin! To the godly—sin is as a thorn in the eye; to the wicked sin is as a crown on the head! “They actually rejoice in doing evil!” (Jer. 11:15).

Loving of sin is worse than committing it. A good man may run into a sinful action unawares—but to love sin is desperate. What is it, which makes a swine love to tumble in the mire? Its love of filth. To love sin shows that the will is in sin, and the more of the will there is in a sin, the greater the sin. Willfulness makes it a sin not to be purged by sacrifice (Heb. 10:26). O how many there are—who love the forbidden fruit! They love their oaths and adulteries; they love the sin and hate the reproof. Solomon speaks of a generation of men: “madness is in their heart while they live” (Eccles. 9:3). So for men to love sin, to hug that which will be their death, to sport with damnation, “madness is in their heart”. It persuades us to show our repentance, by a bitter hatred of sin. There is a deadly antipathy between the scorpion and the crocodile; such should there be between the heart and sin.

Question: What is there in sin, which may make a penitent hate it?

Answer: Sin is the accursed thing, the most deformed monster. The apostle Paul uses a very emphatic word to express it: “that sin might become exceedingly sinful” (Romans 7:13), or as it is in the Greek, “exaggeratedly sinful”. That sin is an exaggerated mischief, and deserves hatred will appear if we look upon sin as a fourfold conceit:

(1) Look upon the origin of sin, from whence it comes. It fetches its pedigree from hell: “He who commits sin is of the devil!” (1 John 3:8). Sin is the devil’s special work. God has a hand in ordering sin, it is true—but Satan has a hand in acting it out. How hateful is it to be doing that which is the special work of the devil, indeed, that which makes men into devils!

(2) Look upon sin in its nature, and it will appear very hateful. See how scripture has penciled sin out: it is a dishonoring of God (Romans 2:23 ); a despising of God (1 Sam. 2:30); a fretting of God (Ezek. 16:43); a wearying of God (Isaiah 7:13); a grieving the heart of God, as a loving husband is with the unchaste conduct of his wife: “I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols” (Ezek. 6:9). Sin, when acted to the height, is a crucifying Christ afresh and putting him to open shame (Heb. 6:6), that is, impudent sinners pierce Christ in his saints, and were he now upon earth they would crucify him again in his person. Behold the odious nature of sin.

(3) Look upon sin in its comparison, and it appears ghastly. Compare sin with AFFLICTION and hell, and it is worse than both. It is worse than affliction, sickness, poverty, or death. There is more malignity in a drop of sin than in a sea of affliction—for sin is the cause of affliction, and the cause is more than the effect. The sword of God’s justice lies quiet in the scabbard—until sin draws it out! Affliction is good for us: “It is good for me that I have been afflicted” (Psalm 119:71). Affliction causes repentance (2 Chron. 33:12). The viper, being stricken, casts up its poison. Just so, when God’s rod strikes us with affliction, we spit away the poison of sin! Affliction betters our grace. Gold is purest, and juniper sweetest—when in the fire. Affliction prevents damnation. “We are being disciplined—so that we will not be condemned with the world.” (1 Cor. 11:32). Therefore, Maurice the emperor prayed to God to punish him in this life—that he might not be punished hereafter.

Thus, affliction is in many ways for our good—but there is no good in sin. Manasseh’s affliction brought him to humiliation and repentance—but Judas’ sin brought him to desperation and damnation. Affliction only reaches the body—but sin goes further: it poisons the mind, disorders the affections. Affliction is but corrective; sin is destructive. Affliction can but take away the life; sin takes away the soul (Luke 12:20).

A man who is afflicted may have his conscience quiet. When the ark was tossed on the flood waves, Noah could sing in the ark. When the body is afflicted and tossed, a Christian can “make melody in his heart to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). But when a man commits sin, conscience is terrified. Witness Spira, who upon his abjuring the faith, said that he thought the damned spirits did not feel those torments which he inwardly endured. In affliction, one may have the love of God (Rev. 3:19). If a man should throw a bag of money at another, and in throwing it should hurt him a little—he will not take it unkindly—but will look upon it as a fruit of love. Just so, when God bruises us with affliction—it is to enrich us with the golden graces and comforts of his Spirit. All is in love. But when we commit sin, God withdraws his love. When David sinned, he felt nothing but displeasure from God: “Clouds and thick darkness surround him” (Psalm 97:2). David found it so. He could see no rainbow, no sunbeam, nothing but clouds and darkness about God’s face.

That sin is worse than affliction is evident, because the greatest judgment God lays upon a man in this life is to let him sin without control. When the Lord’s displeasure is most severely kindled against a person, he does not say, I will bring the sword and the plague on this man—but, I will let him sin on: “I gave them up unto their own hearts lust, living according to their own desires” (Psalm 81:12). Now, if the giving up of a man to his sins (in the account of God himself) is the most dreadful evil, then sin is far worse than affliction. And if it is so, then how should it be hated by us!

Compare sin with HELL, and you shall see that sin is worse. Torment has its epitome in hell—yet nothing in hell is as bad as sin. Hell is of God’s making—but sin is not of God’s making. Sin is the devil’s creature. The torments of hell are a burden only to the sinner—but sin is a burden to God. In the torments of hell, there is something that is good, namely, the execution of divine justice. There is justice to be found in hell—but sin is a piece of the highest injustice. It would rob God of his glory, Christ of his purchase, the soul of its happiness. Judge then if sin is not a most hateful thing—which is worse than affliction, or the torments of hell.

(4) Look upon sin in the CONSEQUENCE, and it will appear hateful. Sin reaches the BODY. It has exposed it to a variety of miseries. We come into the world with a cry—and go out with a groan! It made the Thracians weep on their children’s birthday—to consider the calamities they were to undergo in the world. Sin is the Trojan horse out of which comes a whole army of troubles. I need not name them because almost everyone feels them. While we suck the honey—we are pricked with the briar. Sin puts a dreg in the wine of all our comforts. Sin digs our grave (Romans 5:12).

Sin reaches the SOUL. By sin we have lost the image of God, wherein did consist both our sanctity and our majesty. Adam in his pristine glory, was like a herald who has his king’s coat of arms upon him. All reverence him because he carries the king’s coat of arms—but pull this coat off, and no man regards him. Sin has done this disgrace to us. It has plucked off our coat of innocency. But that is not all. This virulent arrow of sin would strike yet deeper. It would forever separate us from the beautiful vision of God, in whose presence is fullness of joy. If sin be so foully sinful, it should stir up our implacable indignation against it. As Ammon’s hatred of Tamar was greater than the love with which he had loved her (2 Sam. 13:15), so we should hate sin infinitely more, than ever we loved it.

Golan, the Sixth Wonderful Portrait of Christ, CITIES OF REFUGE, Part 7.

refugeThe cities chosen as Cities of Refuge were Kedesh of Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali; Shechem, in the hill country of Ephraim; and Kiriath-arba (also known as Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. The Lord also instructed that three cities be set aside for this purpose on the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho. They were Bezer, in the wilderness of the land of the tribe of Reuben; Ramoth of Gilead, in the territory of the tribe of Gad; and Golan of Bashan, in the land of the tribe of Manasseh. These Cities of Refuge were for foreigners living in Israel as well as for the Israelis themselves, so that anyone who accidentally killed another man could run to that place for a trial and not be killed in revenge. –Joshua 20:7-9 Living Bible (TLB)

Golan: The Sixth City and Last City of Refuge.

Golan was situated in Bashan, in the tribe of Manasseh, among the pastoral hills north of the lake of Gennesaret, which is also called the Sea of Galilee.

It formed the most northerly Refuge-Sanctuary on the east side of Jordan, as Kedesh did on the west; but there are no particular events connected with it in Bible story.

What does the name of this last City of Refuge tell us regarding Jesus?

We-Who-Have-Fled-For-RefugeGolan literally signifies Joy. Jesus is truly the Golan of His people; they may have many others, but He is their “chief joy!” “Well may they call Him Golan; for not one joy could have ever visited them had it not been for Him. The world would have been to them, from first to last, a “valley of Baca,” (weeping,) had not Jesus died for their sins, and saved their souls. Well might the angel say, when he came to the plains of Bethlehem to announce the Savior’s birth, “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy!”

There is not one step the Christian takes but Jesus is Golan to him –“joy.” The sinner is straying, –a lost sheep on the dark mountains, in search of peace; Jesus meets him, and says, “Your sins are all forgiven you;” he is joyful at that. He is a wandering prodigal from his Father’s house: Jesus brings him to his lost home, and calls him His own child; and he is joyful that the lost sinner is saved.  God’s child has to travel a long and dreary journey before he reaches his true home in heaven: but Jesus gives him His arm to lean upon; and he “goes on his way rejoicing.”  God’s child has many fiery trials to try him: but Jesus tells him not to think these “strange,” but rather to “rejoice,” inasmuch as He is “partaker with him in his sufferings.” He has, at last, to walk through the dark Valley; but Jesus Meets him there, and supports him there. He sees “the King in His beauty,” and the land that is yet “afar off;” and, believing, “He

When Jesus beholds him from His throne in judgment, what are to be his blessed words of welcome?”

Enter ye into the joy of your Lord.”  And when, as a ransomed one, he enters the streets of the New Jerusalem, at whose feet is it that he is to cast, through all eternity,-his crown? “In thy presence,” O Savior God, is “fullness of joy!”

Let us love to often gaze on the walls of this City of Refuge. The sacred writer, in giving the list of these six cities, seems to have kept it to the last because it is a happy word, and speaks of the happy prospects of all those that love the Lord Jesus. Believe me, there is no true joy but in God.

The joy of the wicked is like that of a noisy stream –noisy because it is shallow. On the other hand, the joy, which Jesus gives, is like a great river, –deep, calm, ever-flowing, overflowing; –not full in winter and dry in summer, but full, and clear, and refreshing all the year-long. It may always be truly said of Jesus, the great Gospel Refuge, and of those who have fled to Him, what was said of old about Samaria, “There was great joy in that city.”  It was the object of all that Christ did and said on earth to give you this joy.  “These things have I spoken unto you, says He, “that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might he full.”

Love Him now, and serve Him now and follow Him now, that you may come at last to the true Golan, in His glorious presence above, and “rejoice evermore!”

——————————————-
Written by John Ross Macduff.
Published in 1865.
Edited for thought and sense.
———————————————–
Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: John Ross Macduff (23 May 1818 – 30 April 1895) was a Scottish divine and a prolific author of religious essays. Born in Bonhard, Scone, Perthshire, Macduff was educated at the University of Edinburgh, and was ordained as minister of Kettins, a parish in Forfarshire in 1843. He returned to St Madoes, a parish in Perthshire in 1849, which he left to take charge of Sandyford, a new church in Glasgow. He preached there for fifteen years (until 1870), and then went to live in Chislehurst, Kent, in order to focus entirely on writing. His best known books were: “The Prophet of Fire”; “Memories of Bethany”: “Memories of Gennesaret”; “The Shepherd and His Flock “: “Sunset on the Hebrew Mountains “; “Comfort Ye”; “The Golden Gospel”; “Morning and Night Watches”; “The Bow in the Cloud”; “The Story of a Dewdrop”; and “The Story of a Shell.” Macduff died in Chislehurst.

Ramoth, the Fifth Wonderful Portrait of Christ, CITIES OF REFUGE, Part 6.

foster_bible_pictures_0083-1_the_city_of_refugeThe cities chosen as Cities of Refuge were Kedesh of Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali; Shechem, in the hill country of Ephraim; and Kiriath-arba (also known as Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. The Lord also instructed that three cities be set aside for this purpose on the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho. They were Bezer, in the wilderness of the land of the tribe of Reuben; Ramoth of Gilead, in the territory of the tribe of Gad; and Golan of Bashan, in the land of the tribe of Manasseh. These Cities of Refuge were for foreigners living in Israel as well as for the Israelis themselves, so that anyone who accidentally killed another man could run to that place for a trial and not be killed in revenge–Joshua 20:7-9 Living Bible (TLB)

Ramoth: The Fifth City of Refuge.

we-who-have-fled-for-refugeRamoth was situated in Gilead, within the tribe of Gad, and somewhere near the banks of the brook Jabbok, where, as you know, Jacob wrestled in prayer with the angel. It must have occupied a commanding position among the beautifully wooded glens of Gilead, and, like Bezer, been strongly fortified. We infer this latter from the many sieges it had undergone. Being not only, like the other, a border town of Palestine, but situated in the direct route taken by the invading Syrian armies, it must have been constantly exposed to hostile attacks.

You can think of Ramoth, then, among the hills and slopes on the other side of the Jordan, with their forests of native oak, which the famous “bulls of Bashan” (herds of wild cattle) roamed at large; while more peaceful flocks browsed on the meadows which fringed the mountain streams.

What does the name Ramoth tell us regarding Christ?

 Ramoth literally means Exaltation. Jesus is the true Ramoth: He is exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour! “He was once lowly, despised, rejected, crucified, slain. He compares Himself to a poor outcast and exile amid these forests of Gilead: “Many bulls have compassed me: strong hulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.” But having been exalted on the cross as a suffering Saviour, He is now exalted on the throne as a glorious King, “God hath highly exalted Him –angels exalt Him –seraphs adore Him –saints praise Him –the Church on earth magnifies Him –the Church redeemed in heaven will magnify and exalt Him for ever and ever!

 My friend, may I recommend that you delight often to mentally walk around the walls of Ramoth, and think of Jesus “exalted at God’s right hand.” He is there pleading your cause. Though exalted, He has not forgotten the lowest or humblest of His people. He is the Greatest of all Beings, but He is the kindest of all too.

The first time after His exaltation when He came down to earth to speak: to the aged apostle John, John wondered if the glories of heaven had altered His love and tenderness. He remembered how often before he used to lean on His bosom. When he looked, however, now, upon the glorious Being that stood before him in His lustrous garment, with ” His eyes like a flame of fire,” he fell down at His feet like one dead.” But the same gentle hand touched him, the same gentle voice he was wont to hear so often in past years, said to him, “Fear not!” How sweet for us to think that we have exalted on the highest throne of the universe an unchanged and unchanging Savior, an ever-living,never-dying Friend.

“Though now ascended up on high,
He bends on earth a brother’s eye.”

Jesus is exalted in heaven, and exalted by all the glorious family of heaven. But alas, there is one place where He is often not exalted, but rather cast down, and that is the human heart. That heart has been too truly compared to the inn of Bethlehem, where there was room for every guest but the Lord of glory! Ye, whom Christ loved so much on earth –whom He fondled in His arms of mercy; see that it is not so with you. “My son,” He says, “give me thine heart.” See that He is enthroned, there as Lord of all. Exalt Him in everything: in your thoughts, in your words, in your deeds. Welcome Him, as the children of the temple welcomed Him to Jerusalem of old. Take up their song, and sing, “Hosannah to the Son of David! Hosannah in the highest!”

——————————————-
Written by John Ross Macduff.
Published in 1865.
Edited for thought and sense.
———————————————–
Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: John Ross Macduff (23 May 1818 – 30 April 1895) was a Scottish divine and a prolific author of religious essays. Born in Bonhard, Scone, Perthshire, Macduff was educated at the University of Edinburgh, and was ordained as minister of Kettins, a parish in Forfarshire in 1843. He returned to St Madoes, a parish in Perthshire in 1849, which he left to take charge of Sandyford, a new church in Glasgow. He preached there for fifteen years (until 1870), and then went to live in Chislehurst, Kent, in order to focus entirely on writing. His best known books were: “The Prophet of Fire”; “Memories of Bethany”: “Memories of Gennesaret”; “The Shepherd and His Flock “: “Sunset on the Hebrew Mountains “; “Comfort Ye”; “The Golden Gospel”; “Morning and Night Watches”; “The Bow in the Cloud”; “The Story of a Dewdrop”; and “The Story of a Shell.” Macduff died in Chislehurst.

 

 

The Necessary Importance of Shame in… THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE. Part 9.

Written by, Thomas Watson.
Taken from, “THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE.”
Published in 1668.

Ingredient 4. SHAME for Sin

120406-tdy-relationships.grid-6x2The fourth ingredient in repentance is shame: “that they may be ashamed of their iniquities” (Ezek. 43:10). Blushing is the color of virtue. When the heart has been made black with sin, grace makes the face red with blushing: “I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face” (Ezra 9:6). The repenting prodigal was so ashamed of his sinfulness, that he thought himself not worthy to be called a son any more (Luke 15:21). Repentance causes a holy bashfulness. If Christ’s blood were not at the sinner’s heart, there would not so much blood come in the face. There are nine considerations about sin which may cause shame:

Every sin makes us guilty…

…and guilt usually breeds shame. Adam never blushed in the time of innocency. While he kept the whiteness of the lily, he had not the blushing of the rose. But when he had deflowered his soul by sin—then he was ashamed. Sin has tainted our blood. We are guilty of high treason against the Crown of heaven. This may cause a holy modesty and blushing.

In every sin there is much unthankfulness…

…and that is a matter of shame. He who is upbraided with ingratitude will blush. We have sinned against God when he has given us no cause: “What iniquity have your fathers found in me?” (Jer. 2:5). Wherein has God wearied us, unless his mercies have wearied us? Oh the silver drops which have fallen on us! We have had the finest of the wheat; we have been fed with angels’ food. The golden oil of divine blessing has run down on us from the head of our heavenly Aaron. And to abuse the kindness of so good a God—how may this make us ashamed!

Julius Caesar took it unkindly at the hands of Brutus, on whom he had bestowed so many favors, when he came to stab him: “What, you, my son Brutus?” O ungrateful—to be the worse for mercy! One reports of the vulture, that it draws sickness from perfumes. To contract the disease of pride and luxury, from the perfume of God’s mercy—how unworthy is that! It is to requite evil for good, to kick against our feeder, “He nourished him with honey from the rock, and with oil from the flinty crag, with curds and milk from herd and flock and with fattened lambs and goats, with choice rams of Bashan and the finest kernels of wheat. You drank the foaming blood of the grape. Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked. He abandoned the God who made him and scorned the Rock of his salvation” (Deut. 32:13-15). This is to make an arrow of God’s mercies—and shoot at him! This is to wound him with his own blessing! O horrid ingratitude! Will not this dye our faces a deep scarlet? Unthankfulness is a sin so great, that God himself stands amazed at it: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: I have nourished and brought up children—and they have rebelled against me!” (Isaiah 1:2).

Sin has made us naked…

mixburdons3…and that may breed shame. Sin has stripped us of our white linen of holiness. It has made us naked and deformed in God’s eye—which may cause blushing. When Hanun had abused David’s servants and cut off their garments so that their nakedness appeared, the text says, “the men were greatly ashamed” (2 Sam. 10:5).

Our sins have put Christ to shame…

…and should not we be ashamed? The Jews arrayed him in purple; they put a reed in his hand, spit in his face, and in his greatest agonies reviled him. Here was “the shame of the cross”. And that which aggravated the shame, was to consider the eminency of his person—as he was the Lamb of God. Did our sins put Christ to shame—and shall they not put us to shame? Did he wear the purple—and shall not our cheeks wear crimson? Who can behold the sun as it were blushing at Christ’s passion, and hiding itself in an eclipse—and his face not blush?

Many sins which we commit are by the special instigation of the devil

…and should not this cause shame? The devil put it into the heart of Judas to betray Christ (John 13:2). He filled Ananias’ heart to lie (Acts 5:3). He often stirs up our passions (James 3:6). Now, as it is a shame to bring forth a child illegitimately, so too is it to bring forth such sins as may call the devil father. It is said that the virgin Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35)—but we often conceive by the power of Satan. When the heart conceives pride, lust, and malice—it is very often by the power of the devil. May not this make us ashamed to think that many of our sins are committed in copulation with the old serpent?

Sin turns men into beasts (2 Peter 2:12)

CWGMovie061020…and is not that matter for shame? Sinners are compared to foxes (Luke 13:32), to wolves (Matt. 7:15), to donkeys (Job 28 11:12), to swine (2 Pet. 2:22). A sinner is a swine with a man’s head. He who was once little less than the angels in dignity—has now become like the beasts. Grace in this life does not wholly obliterate this brutish temper. Agur, that good man, cried out, “Surely I am more brutish than any!” (Proverbs 30:2). But common sinners are in a manner wholly brutified; they do not act rationally, but are carried away by the violence of their lusts and passions. How may this make us ashamed, who are thus degenerated below our own species? Our sins have taken away that noble, holy spirit which once we had. The crown has fallen from our head. God’s image is defaced, reason is eclipsed, conscience stupified! We have more in us of the brute, than of the angel.

In every sin there is folly (Jer. 4:22).

A man will be ashamed of his folly. Is not he a fool who labors more for the bread which perishes—than for the bread of life! Is not he a fool who for a lust or a trifle—will lose heaven! They are like Tiberius, who for a drink of water forfeited his kingdom? Is not he a fool who, to safeguard his body, will injure his soul? As if one should let his head be cut, to save his shirt! Is not he a fool who will believe a temptation of Satan—before a promise of God? Is not he a fool who minds his recreation more than his salvation? How may this make men ashamed—to think that they inherit not land—but folly (Proverbs 14:18).

That which may make us blush

…is that the sins we commit are far worse than the sins of the heathen. We act against more light. To us have been committed the oracles of God. The sin committed by a Christian is worse than the same sin committed by a heathen, because the Christian sins against clearer conviction, which is like weight put into the scale, which makes it weigh heavier.

luciferOur sins are worse than the sins of the devils.

The fallen angels never sinned against Christ’s blood. Christ did not die for them. The medicine of his merit was never intended to heal them. But we have affronted his blood by unbelief. The devils never sinned against God’s patience. As soon as they apostatized, they were damned. God never waited for the angels—but we have spent upon the stock of God’s patience. He has pitied our weakness, borne with our rebelliousness. His Spirit has been repulsed—yet has still importuned us and will take no denial. Our conduct has been so provoking as to have tired not only the patience of a Job, but of all the angels. The devils never sinned against example. They were the first that sinned and were made the first example. We have seen the angels, those morning stars, fall from their glorious orb; we have seen the old world drowned, Sodom burned—yet have ventured upon sin. How desperate is that thief who robs in the very place where his fellow hangs in chains. And surely, if we have out-sinned the devils, it may well put us to the blush.

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Watson (1620 – 1686) was an English, Nonconformist, Puritan preacher and author.

He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen-year pastorate at St. Stephen’s, Walbrook. He showed strong Presbyterian views during the civil war, with, however, an attachment to the king, and in 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love’s plot to recall Charles II of England. He was released on 30 June 1652, and was formally reinstated as vicar of St. Stephen’s Walbrook. He obtained great fame and popularity as a preacher until the Restoration, when he was ejected for Nonconformity. Notwithstanding the rigor of the acts against dissenters, Watson continued to exercise his ministry privately as he found opportunity. Upon the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 he obtained a license to preach at the great hall in Crosby House. After preaching there for several years, his health gave way, and he retired to Barnston, Essex, where he died suddenly while praying in secret. He was buried on 28 July 1686.

Bezer, the Fourth Wonderful Portrait of Christ, CITIES OF REFUGE, Part 5.

111The cities chosen as Cities of Refuge were Kedesh of Galilee in the hill country of Naphtali; Shechem, in the hill country of Ephraim; and Kiriath-arba (also known as Hebron) in the hill country of Judah. The Lord also instructed that three cities be set aside for this purpose on the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho. They were Bezer, in the wilderness of the land of the tribe of Reuben; Ramoth of Gilead, in the territory of the tribe of Gad; and Golan of Bashan, in the land of the tribe of Manasseh. These Cities of Refuge were for foreigners living in Israel as well as for the Israelis themselves, so that anyone who accidentally killed another man could run to that place for a trial and not be killed in revenge. –Joshua 20:7-9 Living Bible (TLB)

BEZER: The Fourth “City of Refuge”

Bezer -was situated beyond the Jordan, in the tribe of Reuben. Although its precise site has not been discovered, we may infer that it was perched on one of the many rocky heights among the mountains of Abarim, –perhaps a spur of the great mount Nebo, from whose summit Moses was permitted, before death, to get a view of the Land of Promise.

we-who-have-fled-for-refugeThe northern portion of the waters of the Dead Sea would be seen from it, and the pastoral mountains of Judah in the distance. From its name, as well as from its being a border town, and subject to attack from the warlike tribe of Moab. Bezer would probably be strongly fortified –similar, perhaps, in this respect to the towns in the neighbourhood, with which the Israelites were so struck on their first approach to Canaan, with “their walls great and high, reaching to heaven.”

What does the name Bezer tell of Christ?

It literally means, “Stronghold” or Rock. The sinner is in danger everywhere else, but in Jesus he is safe. He is invited to “turn to the stronghold” as a “prisoner of hope,” and once within its gates, “though a host encamp against him,” he need “fear no evil.”

What a mighty force does encamp against him! There is God’s Holy Law, with all its terrible threatenings and curses. But sheltered in the true Bezer he can triumphantly say, “It is God that justifieth: who is he that condemneth?”

There is Satan, with his artful wiles and countless temptations. He was once a bright angel himself. He knows what holiness and happiness is. But being now a wicked spirit, he would make others as wicked and unhappy as himself. He is spoken of in the Bible as “a strong man armed.”  But Jesus is “stronger” than this strong man.

Jesus is the believer’s Bezer.

If you have fled for refuge to this great gospel Bezer seated within its secure bulwarks you can joyfully exclaim, “I will say of the Lord, He is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength in whom I will put my trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”

There is your own Wicked Heart, -with its sinful thoughts, and vain imaginations, and deep corruptions” for a man’s “worst foes are often those of his own household. One of those heart-foes will tempt you to tell a lie; another to swear; another to be dishonest; another to be selfish; another to be passionate; another to be unkind. But He that is for you, is greater than they that are against you.

Safer than in any earthly castle, you can take up your warrior-song, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteousness runneth into it, and is safe.”

There are the Trials and Sorrows and Distresses of this world, “those things that cause sad hearts and tearful eyes. But that blessed Saviour is your Rock and Stronghold –“knows your sorrows,” for He felt them. He marks your tears, for He shed the same himself. Fleeing to this true Bezer in the time of affliction, you can dry your tears and sing, “God also will be a refuge for the distressed, a refuge in the time of trouble; and they that know thy name shall put their trust in thee.”

And there is Death, the last enemy of all. But even over this King of terrors and Terror of kings, you can shout in triumph from your Divine shelter, “0 death, where is thy sting, . . . Thanks be to God, who giveth me the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ.” And Jesus is a Stronghold for all.  I have already spoken of the little children of old rushing to its gates,” infants smiling fearless in the Saviour’s arms.  He combines the majesty of Deity with the tenderness of man. If He had been the great God alone, you might have been awed at the thought of going to Him.

We-Who-Have-Fled-For-RefugeBut what says the prophet Isaiah of this true Bezer?  

…”A MAN shall be as a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest.” He Himself says in another scripture, “I will turn mine hand upon [for] the little ones.” In one of the great strongholds that were besieged in our last Indian Rebellion, Christian mothers were wont to hush their infants asleep by singing, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” 

My friends, “as one whom his mother comforts” so is God willing to “comfort you;” and here is a word of comfort: “The Lord is good, a STRONGHOLD in the day of trouble ” and he knows them that trust in him.”

In the old Cities of Refuge no weapons of any kind were allowed to be made.

Those who possessed them had to surrender them. This is true in a nobler and better sense regarding the Gospel Stronghold. There can be no deadly weapons forged there. Their edge is blunted: “There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.” Satan’s armoury has been plundered; the “Stronger than he” has “taken from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divided the spoil.”

“Trust in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength” (literally, “the Rock of Ages”).

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Written by John Ross Macduff.
Published in 1865.
Edited for thought and sense.
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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: John Ross Macduff (23 May 1818 – 30 April 1895) was a Scottish divine and a prolific author of religious essays. Born in Bonhard, Scone, Perthshire, Macduff was educated at the University of Edinburgh, and was ordained as minister of Kettins, a parish in Forfarshire in 1843. He returned to St Madoes, a parish in Perthshire in 1849, which he left to take charge of Sandyford, a new church in Glasgow. He preached there for fifteen years (until 1870), and then went to live in Chislehurst, Kent, in order to focus entirely on writing. His best known books were: “The Prophet of Fire”; “Memories of Bethany”: “Memories of Gennesaret”; “The Shepherd and His Flock “: “Sunset on the Hebrew Mountains “; “Comfort Ye”; “The Golden Gospel”; “Morning and Night Watches”; “The Bow in the Cloud”; “The Story of a Dewdrop”; and “The Story of a Shell.” Macduff died in Chislehurst.

Confession; “a Bill of Indictment Against Four Sorts of Persons” …THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE. Part 8.

Written by, Thomas Watson.
Taken from, “THE DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE.”
Published in 1668.

comeback9[In this series we are looking at all the ingredients for true repentance. In today’s thoughts, we are looking at the ways we can pervert “True Confession.” Once again, observe how Thomas Watson uses scripture with both faith and imagination to bring home his points on Confession. Now, let us look again, at the rest of  the third of these respective ingredients. –MWP]

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1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin

REMEMBER: If any one ingredient is left out, repentance loses its virtue.

Ingredient 3. CONFESSION of Sin

When considering whether confession a necessary ingredient in repentance, consider this bill of indictment against four sorts of persons:

It reproves those that hide their sins…

…as Rachel hid her father’s images under her (Gen. 31.34). Many had rather have their sins covered than cured. They do with their sins as with their pictures: they draw a curtain over them; or as some do with their bastards, smother them.

But though men will have no tongue to confess, God has an eye to see; he will unmask their treason: He will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes’ (Ps. 50.21). Those iniquities which men hide in their hearts shall be written one day on their foreheads as with the point of a diamond. They who will not confess their sin as David did, that they may be pardoned, shall confess their sin as Achan did, that they may be stoned. It is dangerous to keep the devil’s counsel: ‘He that covereth his Sins shall not prosper’ (Prov. 28.13).

It reproves those who do indeed confess sin but only by halves.

They do not confess all; they confess the pence but not the pounds. They confess vain thoughts or badness of memory but not the sins they are most guilty of, such as rash anger, extortion, uncleanness, like he in Plutarch who complained his stomach was not very good when his lungs were bad and his liver rotten.

But if we do not confess all, how should we expect that God will pardon all? It is true that we cannot know the exact catalog of our sins, but the sins which come within our view and cognizance, and which our hearts accuse us of, must be confessed as ever we hope for mercy.

It reproves those who in their confessions mince and extenuate their sins.

A gracious soul labors to make the worst of his sins, but hypocrites make the best of them. They do not deny they are sinners, but they do what they can to lessen their sins: they indeed offend sometimes, but it is their nature, and it is long of such occasions. These are excuses rather than confessions. I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord: because I feared the people’ (i Sam. 15.24). Saul lays his sin upon the people: they would have him spare the sheep and oxen. It was an apology, not a self-indictment. This runs in the blood.

Adam acknowledged that he had tasted the forbidden fruit, but instead of aggravating his sin he translated it from himself to God: The woman thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I did eat’ (Gen. 3.12), that is, if I had not had this woman to be a tempter, I would not have transgressed. That is a bad sin indeed that has no excuse, as it must be a very coarse wool which will take no dye. How apt we are to pare and curtail sin, and look upon it through the small end of the perspective,’ that it appears but as ‘a little cloud, like a man’s hand’ (i Kings 18.44).

It reproves those who are so far from confessing sin that they boldly plead for it.

Instead of having tears to lament it, they use arguments to defend it. If their sin be passion they will justify it: I do well to be angry’ (Jon.4.9). If it be covetousness they will vindicate it. When men commit sin they are the devil’s servants; when they plead for it they are the devil’s attorneys, and he will give them a fee.

Let us show ourselves penitents by sincere confession of sin.

The thief on the cross made a confession of his sin: ‘we indeed are condemned justly’ (Luke 23.41). And Christ said to him, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise’ (Luke 23.43), which might have occasioned that speech of Augustine’s, that confession of sin shuts the mouth of hell and opens the gate of paradise. That we may make a free and ingenuous confession of sin, let us consider:

Holy confession gives glory to God:

‘My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him’ (Josh. 7.19). A humble confession exalts God. What a glory is it to him that out of our own mouths he does not condemn us? While we confess sin, God’s patience is magnified in sparing, and his free grace in saving such sinners.

Confession is a means to humble the soul.

He who subscribes himself a hell-deserving sinner will have little heart to be proud. Like the violet, he will hang down his head in humility. A true penitent confesses that he mingles sin with all he does, and therefore has nothing to boast of. Uzziah, though a king, yet had a leprosy in his forehead; he had enough to abase him (2 Chron. 26.19). So a child of God, even when he does good, yet acknowledges much evil to be in that good. This lays all his feathers of pride in the dust.

Confession gives vent to a troubled heart.

When guilt lies boiling in the conscience, confession gives ease. It is like the lancing of an abscess which gives ease to the patient.

Confession purges out sin.

Augustine called it ‘the expeller of vice’. Sin is a bad blood; confession is like the opening of a vein to let it out. Confession is like the dung-gate, through which all the filth of the city was carried forth (Neh. 3.13). Confession is like pumping at the leak; it lets out that sin which would otherwise drown. Confession is the sponge that wipes the spots from off the soul.

Confession of sin endears Christ to the soul.

If I say I am a sinner, how precious will Christ’s blood be to me! After Paul has confessed a body of sin, he breaks forth into a congratulatory triumph for Christ: I thank God through Jesus Christ (Rom. 7.25).

If a debtor confesses a judgment but the creditor will not exact the debt, instead appointing his own son to pay it, will not the debtor be very thankful? So when we confess the debt, and that even though we should for ever lie in hell we cannot pay it, but that God should appoint his own Son to lay down his blood for the payment of our debt, how is free grace magnified and Jesus Christ eternally loved and admired!

Confession of sin makes way for pardon.

No sooner did the prodigal come with a confession in his mouth, I have sinned against heaven’, than his father’s heart did melt towards him, and he kissed him (Luke 15.20). When David said, I have sinned’, the prophet brought him a box with a pardon, The Lord hath put away thy sin’ (2 Sam. 12.13). He who sincerely confesses sin has God’s bond for a pardon: ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins’ (1 John 1.9). Why does not the apostle say that if we confess he is merciful to forgive our sins? No; he is just, because he has bound himself by promise to forgive such. God’s truth and justice are engaged for the pardoning of that man who confesses sin and comes with a penitent heart by faith in Christ, )· “

How reasonable and easy is this command that we should confess sin!

  1. It is a reasonable command, for if one has wronged another, what is more rational than to confess he has wronged him? We, having wronged God by sin, how equal and consonant to reason is it that we should confess the offense.
  2. It is an easy command. What a vast difference is there between the first covenant and the second! In the first covenant it was, if you commit sin you die; in the second covenant it is, if you confess sin you shall have mercy. In the first covenant no surety was allowed; under the covenant of grace, if we do but confess the debt, Christ will be our surety. What way could be thought of as more ready and facile for the salvation of man than a humble confession? Only acknowledge thine iniquity’ (]er. 3.13). God says to us, I do not ask for sacrifices of rams to expiate your guilt; I do not bid you part with the fruit of your body for the sin of your soul, Only acknowledge thine iniquity’; do but draw up an indictment against yourself and plead guilty, and you shall be sure of mercy.

All this should render this duty amiable. Throw out the poison of sin by confession, and ‘this day is salvation come to thy house’.

There remains one case of conscience: are we bound to confess our sins to men?

The papists insist much upon auricular confession; one must confess his sins in the ear of the priest or he cannot be absolved. They urge, ‘Confess your sins one to another’ (James 5.16), but this scripture is little to their purpose. It may as well mean that the priest should confess to the people as well as the people to the priest. Auricular confession is one of the Pope’s golden doctrines. Like the fish in the Gospel, it has money in its mouth: ‘when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money (Matt. 17.27). But though I am not for confession to men in a popish sense, yet I think in three cases there ought to be confession to men:

  1. Firstly, where a person has fallen into scandalous sin and by it has been an occasion of offense to some and of falling to others, he ought to make a solemn and open acknowledgment of his sin, that his repentance may be as visible as his scandal (2 Cor. 2:6-7).
  2. Secondly, where a man has confessed his sin to God, yet still his conscience is burdened, and he can have no ease in his mind, it is very requisite that he should confess his sins to some prudent, pious friend, who may advise him and speak a word in due season (James 5.16}. It is a sinful modesty in Christians that they are not more free with their ministers and other spiritual friends in unburdening themselves and opening the sores and troubles of their souls to them. If there is a thorn sticking in the conscience, it is good to make use of those who may help to pluck it out.
  3. Thirdly, where any man has slandered another and by clipping his good name has made it weigh lighter, he is bound to make confession. The scorpion carries its poison in its tail, the slanderer in his tongue. His words pierce deep like the quills of the porcupine. That person who has murdered another in his good name or, by bearing false witness, has damaged him in his estate, ought to confess his sin and ask forgiveness: ‘if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift’ (Matt. 5.23-4). How can this reconciliation be effected but by confessing the injury?

Till this is done, God will accept none of your services. Do not think the holiness of the altar will privilege you; your praying and hearing are in vain till you have appeased your brother’s anger by confessing your fault to him.

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Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Thomas Watson (1620 – 1686) was an English, Nonconformist, Puritan preacher and author.

He was educated at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he was noted for remarkably intense study. In 1646 he commenced a sixteen-year pastorate at St. Stephen’s, Walbrook. He showed strong Presbyterian views during the civil war, with, however, an attachment to the king, and in 1651 he was imprisoned briefly with some other ministers for his share in Christopher Love’s plot to recall Charles II of England. He was released on 30 June 1652, and was formally reinstated as vicar of St. Stephen’s Walbrook. He obtained great fame and popularity as a preacher until the Restoration, when he was ejected for Nonconformity. Notwithstanding the rigor of the acts against dissenters, Watson continued to exercise his ministry privately as he found opportunity. Upon the Declaration of Indulgence in 1672 he obtained a license to preach at the great hall in Crosby House. After preaching there for several years, his health gave way, and he retired to Barnston, Essex, where he died suddenly while praying in secret. He was buried on 28 July 1686.