“Sin Immeasurable” … Quotes from a Spurgeon Sermon

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Hello friends,

The sermon today had a quote from a Spurgeon sermon from February 12, 1860 – I took down the quote, looked up the sermon, and there’s a lot of good nuggets in here, so I thought I’d share a few of the highlights:

“Any notion that we are free from sin should at once discover to us that we abound in it. To vindicate my boast of perfection, I must deny the Word of God, forget the law, and exalt myself above the testimony of truth.”

Even what we call “evil” is usually misguided …

The shades of evil are perceptible to God, but not always perceptible to us. Our eye has been so blinded and its vision so ruined by the fall, the absolute black of sin we can detect, but the shades of its darkness we are unable to discern. And yet the slightest shadow of sin is perceptible to God, and that very shade divides us from the Perfect One, and causes us to be guilty of sin.

Every day … we sin an innumerable amount of times:

Who can understand the number of his errors? the mightiest mind could not count the sins of a single day. As the multitude of sparks from a furnace, so innumerable are the iniquities of one day. We might sooner tell the grains of sand on the sea-shore, than the iniquities of one man’s life. A life most purged and pure is still as full of sin as the sea is full of salt. And who is he that can weigh the salt of the sea, or can detect it as it mingles with every fluid particle?

“Small sins” that we downplay are not seen in the same way by God:

“[E]ven if we could tell the number of human sins, who, in the next place, could estimate their guilt? Before God’s mind the guilt of one sin, and such an one as we foolishly call a little one—the guilt of one sin merits his eternal displeasure. Until that one iniquity be washed out with blood, God cannot accept the soul and take it to his heart as his own offspring.”

The hell which is contained in a single evil thought is unutterable and unimaginable. God only knows the blackness, the horror of darkness, which is condensed into the thought of evil.

Open sins are often an external manifestation of what truly is underneath … (i.e. an iceberg):

Our open sins are like the farmer’s little sample which he brings to market. There are granaries full at home. The iniquities that we see are like the weeds upon the surface soil; but I have been told, and indeed have seen the truth of it, that if you dig six feet into the earth, and turn up fresh soil, there will be found in that soil six feet deep the seeds of the weeds indigenous to the land. And so we are not to think merely of the sins that grow on the surface, but if we could turn our heart up to its core and center, we should find it as fully permeated with sin as every piece of putridity is with worms and rottenness. The fact is, that man is a reeking mass of corruption. His whole soul is by nature so debased and so depraved, that no description which can be given of him even by inspired tongues can fully tell how base and vile a thing he is.

Spurgeon then discusses the law …

“[T]he law does not mean merely what it says, but that it has a spiritual meaning, a hidden depth of matter which at first sight we do not discover. For instance, the commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” means more than the mere act—refers to fornication and uncleanness of any shape, both in act, and word, and thought. Nay, to use our Savior’s own exposition of it, “He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her, committeth adultery already with her in his heart.” So with every commandment.”

Too often, it’s so easy to downplay our sin … to not realize it for what it truly is:

“The commandments, if I may so speak, are like the stars. When seen with the naked eye, they appear to be brilliant points; if we could draw near to them, we should see them to be infinite worlds, greater than even our sun, stupendous though it is. So is it with the law of God. It seems to be but a luminous point, because we see it at a distance, but when we come nearer where Christ stood, and estimate the lair as he saw it, then we find it is vast, immeasurable.”

Sins are limited to just external actions – things that can be seen:

“[T]he law deals with sins of thought,—the imagination of evil is sin. The transit of sin across the heart, leaves the stain of impurity behind it. This law, too, extends to every act,—tracks us to our bed-chamber, goes with us to our house of prayer, and if it discovers so much as the least sign of wavering from the strict path of integrity, it condemns us.”

Comparing ourselves to friends, to culture, and to past individuals to determine how “righteous” we are can be incredibly dangerous …

To get a full idea of how black sin is, you must know how bright God is. We see things by contrast. You will at one time have pointed out to you a color which appears perfectly white; yet it is possible for something to be whiter still; and when you think you have arrived at the very perfection of whiteness, you discover that there is still a shade, and that something may be found that is blanched to a higher state of purity. When we put ourselves in comparison with the apostles, we discover that we are not what we should be; but if we could bring ourselves side by side with the purity of God, O what spots! what defilements should we find on our surface!”

The horror of hell allows us to catch a glimpse of how serious sin is in God’s eyes:

“We must know the extent of eternity, and then the unutterable agony of that eternal wrath of God which abides on the souls of the lost, before we can know the awful character of sin. You may best measure the sin by the punishment. Depend upon it, God will not put his creatures to a single pang more pain than justice absolutely demands

Spurgeon then concludes with a few applications:

“The first lesson is—Behold then the folly of all hope of salvation by our own righteousness … You say that you have good works. Alas your good works are evil, but have you no evil ones? Do you deny that you have ever sinned? Ah! my hearer, art thou so besotted as to declare that thy thoughts have all been chaste, thy desires all heavenly, and thine actions all pure? Oh, man, it all this were true, if thou hadst no sins of commission, yet, what about thy sins of omission? Hast thou done all that God and that thy brother could require of thee? Oh these sins of omission! The hungry that you have not fed, the naked that you have not clothed, the sick ones, and those that are in prison that you have not visited—remember it was for sins like these that the goats were found at the left hand at last. Not for what they did do, but for what they did not do—the things they left undone, these men were put into the lake of fire.”

I think it’s easy to put so much credence in emotion when it comes to salvation … Spurgeon addresses this:

“But now we come to another—how vain are all hopes of salvation by our feelings. We have a new legalism to fight with in our Christian churches. There are men and women who think they must not believe on Christ till they feel their sins up to a most agonizing point. They think they must feel a certain degree of sorrow, a high degree of sense of need before they may come to Christ at all. Ah! soul, if thou art never saved till thou knowest all thy guilt, thou wilt never be saved, for thou canst never know it. I have shown thee the utter impossibility of thy ever being able to discover the whole heights and depths of thine own lost state. Man, don’t try to be saved by thy feelings. Come and take Christ just as he is, and come to him just as thou art. “But, Sir, may I come? I am not invited to come.” Yes you are, “Whosoever will, let him come.” Don’t believe that the invitations of the gospel are given only to characters; they are, some of them, unlimited invitations. It is the duty of every man to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is every man’s solemn duty to trust Christ, not because of anything that man is, or is not, but because he is commanded to do it. “This is the command of God, that ye believe on Jesus Christ whom he has sent.”

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Now the Real Work Begins …

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Classes just ended Friday and Thanksgiving break officially began that afternoon … for the undergrad students at least. Technically, we have about a week and a half off, but considering that it’s our first semester and our first final exams, the majority of us are skipping the typical Thanksgiving festivities and are hunkering down to polish up our outlines and attempt to file everything we’ve learned into our brains …

Speaking of which, aren’t brains amazing? There’s not really a “cap” to how much information you can store in it. It’s not limited by a certain amount of terabytes … we have the responsibility to ensure that what we put inside that unlimited data bank is … “true … noble … just … pure … lovely … of good report … [virtuous], and praiseworthy. (Phil. 4:8, NKJV). 

Regarding Thanksgiving, I’m not exactly sure what my plans are. I’ve already received a few invites from a family at church, an upperclassman, and my roommate for dinner, but depending on how my studying is going, I may just go out to eat at a restaurant with a friend, perhaps.

It definitely hurts to not be back home with my family, taking the ferry over on a chilly morning, talking, laughing, strategizing for Black Friday (but never doing anything), playing music, eating all of the Japanese food along with the traditional American food, seeing relatives … or, as has been the case for the past two years, getting together with friends from Texas, getting in a game of volleyball, playing music … I’ve thought about all of the things I’ll be missing out on a few times this past week, and if you know me, you know how hard it is for me when I have to break a tradition. It sure is tough! 

But … this is where God has me at this season of life. He made it possible for me to get here, do “ok” in a full semester of classes, and already knows how I’ll do on my final exams. Does it mean that it’s all happy and cheerful over here in Lynchburg? No, not necessarily. Like I said, sometimes I feel miserable and want to quit because I can’t stand missing out on everything. But, there is contentment in knowing that I know that this is exactly where God wants me … how can I be so depressed when He’s blessed me and given me so much? I have: an awesome family, friends (and new friends), a good church, good health, a battered (but working) car, a great living arrangement, fantastic professors and classmates …

I think those two things, (1) knowing that God is sovereign and that I’m here at the law school for a reason, and (2) He’s blessed me with so much definitely make the sadness definitely more manageable.

This verse sums up everything that was said above very succinctly – couldn’t have said it better: 

 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “Give thanks in all circumstances (yep, even when you miss out on Thanksgiving festivities – why?) for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (exactly – ties in the sovereignty aspect.)

Well, I’m about ready to head over to church. The skies here are grey, it’s 48 degrees over here, but it looks like they’re snow clouds. 

Have a terrific Thanksgiving day wherever and whoever you may be celebrating it with, folks!

Four Weeks Left

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Well, we’re only four weeks away from the end of the semester and finals! 

I feel like I’ve been doing “well,” but there’s so much more that needs to be done … I think a new goal for this week is to get up at 3:50 AM and aim to arrive at the law school at 5 AM. I know I work best when I break up my day into manageable chunks. For instance, instead of studying for 10 hours straight, I would prefer to do two, separate 5-hour chunks. The same applies with how I study. I do enjoy listening to instrumental music while I study, but I can only handle it for about an hour before I can’t focus anymore and the music hurts more than it helps. I feel like I’m definitely a morning person, so I’m going to give this a shot. This past week, I’ve gotten up at 4:50 and arrived at the school at 6 AM. It’s worked out really well, so I’m excited to push it back an additional hour this week. Of course, there’s also ways I can be more efficient in studying and completing my homework quicker than what I am now. 

Every day is so important. In the academic environment, missing a day of class, falling behind in homework, even if it’s only a day, can really wreck the rest of your week. It’s truly important to make every day matter and be diligent to complete the objectives of the day. Law school is a marathon. Just this past week, we discussed in one of our classes how slacking off now and just doing the “bare minimum” could really hurt you down the line when it comes time to take the bar exam. Having that long-term perspective is important when your focus gets stuck on the ground in the daily grind of homework and classes instead of the on the horizon, where it should be. 

Writing this makes me remember one of my Dad’s favorite verses which I believe is quite relevant:  Continue reading

Goodbye, August

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Well, today is officially the last day of August. 2014 has been yet another fast-moving year, with so many major things happening.

School is still going well, for those of you wondering – I have been able to get into a schedule of sorts, which is a must for me. I thought I had it all planned out before the first day of class (and actually spent a few hours creating an hour-by-hour schedule), but obviously, once school starts, things change somewhat (okay, maybe a lot) and you have to figure out what works best. I aim to be in bed by 10 PM every night and wake up at 5 AM, but that’s the “best case” scenario and not always the most realistic one. After a cup of coffee and Bible/book reading, I head over to the law school library to review the material we’ll be covering in that day’s classes, which usually start at 8 AM. 

The first-year class (87 of us) is split, nearly evenly, into two sections. The different sections don’t see each other a whole lot as we have different classrooms and different professors, but we have had one shared class this past week. Our section has been meshing fairly well, I think. Everyone has each other’s backs and have been really supportive and encouraging of each other, which is key. 

After the last class is over, I generally will head to the library again to complete assignments for two of my classes before heading home to finish up the last one. Continue reading

Good Way of Putting It …

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Came across this quote in a blog post put out by Desiring God:

“It is an oversimplification to say that Christians – or conservative evangelicals – are simply against homosexuality. We are against any sin that restrains people from everlasting joy in God.”

– Jonathan Parnell

Causes of Fear

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Change has always been something I dread.

It’s the fear of the unknown, the fear of losing everything that you treasure and cherish today.

Whether it was as a shy five-year-old who cried when his Mom made him run across the field for his first soccer practice or as a teen who did everything he could to avoid having to join a speech and debate club meeting, I’ll be the first to admit that my natural inclination is to resist change and to fear the unknown.

Once I grow accustomed to something, it’s incredibly tough to pull me away from it – just ask my family. For instance, ever since I was five, I’ve had the same silly birthday cake – it’s shaped like a turtle with tons of frosting and loads of candy. Traditions are important to me. While maintaining traditions is all good, being unwilling to accept necessary changes and refusing to take crucial actions because it’s “too scary,” aren’t traits you want to be known for.  Continue reading