“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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It’s the Start of a New Year …

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It’s been awhile since my last post – probably before final exams … I’m sorry for the lengthy delay in-between posts!

A lot of things have happened between then and now, so let me run you through a quick recap of the rest of November, the entire month of  December, and January thus far:

FINAL EXAMS

Overall, my final exams went well. They certainly could have been better, but they also could have been worse, so I’m thankful my grades are where they’re at. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, and I’ve been actively thinking through ways to be even more efficient with my time. I honestly cannot devote much more time to studying, but the trick is to be even more effective with that time … I’ve come up with a few ideas and got a few more from some of the academic support staff here at Liberty, so hopefully I’ll start this semester on a better foot than the first one.

I never had the privilege of pulling an all-nighter – I know many of my classmates did, but I know that for myself, pulling one would absolutely hurt me in more ways than it would help … so I mainly relied on being diligent throughout the entire year at putting in the study and got up earlier than normal during the last few weeks of studying. I always thought I was a night person, but I soon learned when classes began that I’m definitely a morning person. Once 7 or 8 PM rolls around, I simply cannot focus and my eyes “glaze over,” making it almost impossible to continue studying.

Another thing I implemented this semester and will continue to do is to treat Friday night and Saturday morning as a regular weekday. I generally like to stay up late Friday night and take it easy and sleep in on Saturday … but I soon found that sleeping in on both Saturday and Sunday messed up my sleeping schedule for the rest of the week. Going to bed at a decent hour on Friday and getting up perhaps later than regular (but still early), I can get in some quality hours of study before lunch.

Then Sunday truly becomes a day of rest …. the only morning I don’t set an alarm.

HOME!

Once finals were over, a couple of classmates and I went out to eat at a Chinese buffet to celebrate. We all were thankful finals were over and felt fairly well about how they had went. After lunch, I cleaned out all of my books and study materials out of the library and began to pack my duffel for my flight out of Richmond the next day.

Flights out of Lynchburg were awfully expensive, so I drove over to Richmond, parked my car, and flew out. While going through security, I nearly had a mini heart attack as I thought I had somehow left my driver’s license at the house … it was in it’s normal spot, but I guess I just overlooked it. I caught up on some much-needed sleep on the long flight home … for some reason, I’ve always been able to sleep well on the plane, usually falling asleep before the plane even takes off and waking up right after it touches back down.

When I landed, my family was waiting for me, waving signs … after hugs, smiles, and dinner, we were back at home! It was definitely good to be back in my bed in the “boys room” with Aaron and Toby. After being back home for not even a full day, it was like I had never left. Grocery shopping expeditions, Starbucks runs with siblings, playing the piano, card games, cleaning the kitchen with my “crew,” seeing our funny cat again … life was good.

During my stay at home, we traveled over to Leavenworth, WA a small town nestled in the mountains. All of the buildings are designed to look (European/Swiss-ish) … even the McDonalds! We were hoping for some snow and did get some, but they have a bunch of little shops downtown and some nearby hiking. It was a short visit, but we sure packed a bunch in … the worst part about any vacation is leaving and unpacking the van once you arrive back home.

CHRISTMAS

I think the day after I flew back home, we headed over the local tree farm to pick our tree out. We’re always hoping to get the biggest tree in the lot, but not only does it have to be tall, but it’s got to be wide, with lots of branches. Once we arrive, we all fan out over the entire farm, scouting out the trees and hollering at everyone else to look at “their tree.” Once everyone finds “the perfect tree,” we vote, and through a process of elimination, one person’s tree wins. This year, Amy’s pick won. (I gave my best sales pitch, but apparently, it wasn’t quite enough to sway the voters … it still was a close vote!)

Somewhere in between, I continued a new tradition of making Christmas cookies with my younger siblings. We didn’t have time to make our own frosting, so we bought it this year and all of the “good” cookie cutters were lost, so we only made two types – a tree and … was it a star? There’s an assembly line of sorts that we adopt when making cookies – I make the dough and cut out the cookies, someone does the frosting, and everyone else has a bowl of sprinkles … they turned out pretty good this year, but the frosting wasn’t too good. (Maybe because it was cake frosting?) I think it was our first year that the cookies were gluten-free …

We also maintained our tradition of eating on the floor in the living room picnic-style (rainbow jello, tator-tots, hot dogs, chips) while watching a slideshow of some pictures from the year (Amy put it together), and sleeping under the Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve … it’s getting harder to fit everyone around it! I guess it’s been that way for some time, so a few of us had to sleep on couches. After our traditional Christmas day breakfast, we opened presents and generally had a low-key afternoon and evening, just being together.

AARON’S BIRTHDAY

I think it was close to the end of the last day of my Washington visit, but we celebrated Aaron’s birthday. He’s just about as tall if not taller than me yet, and probably stronger than I am by now as all of the studying (i.e. sitting at a desk for hours on end) is not exactly helping to keep me in shape.

He’s been (and still is) a terrific bro, and we’ve done a lot together over the years. I wish we were closer so we could still continue to do stuff, but I guess that’ll just force us to make the most of the time when we are together.

This year, he picked the “turtle cake,” a cake that looks like a turtle and is loaded with candy. I’ve had the same cake for many years … it was one of the few times (perhaps the only time each year) that we got candy. We used to have this cake book with pictures of each cake and I still remember cake … the green frosting and all of the candy on top. It was an easy choice back then and I guess I’ve never really thought to have something different.

TEXAS VISIT

Those two weeks with the family went by way too quickly. Before heading back to school, I wanted to visit the Hopkins family down in Texas on may way back – I had stayed with them during my internship earlier that year and was an intern with Micah, one of their sons, during our internship with the NCFIC back in 2012. So off to Austin I went …

If two weeks go by fast, I suppose a week goes by even faster. We got a few frisbee, Dutch Blitz, and Settlers of Catan games in, vehicle work, good talks, ditch digging, visited the local nursing home and sang hymns, ate at Pizza Hut and walked through a lights display in Marble Falls … among other things. I’m very thankful to know their family and for their friendship.

While I was down in Texas, I was offered to come back down to Texas later this summer by the attorneys I interned under earlier this year  – it was a tremendous, tremendous blessing. I truly enjoyed and was blessed by the internship and cannot wait to come back and work for them again.

BACK IN LYNCHBURG

So, I arrived back in Lynchburg not even a week ago. I caught a late Sunday evening flight out and arrived back at the house at 2 AM I think. Fortunately, the research intensive didn’t start until 10:30 AM, so I had some time to catch some sleep and do the reading for class.

Even though it was only one book that we were going through, I still felt myself quite busy. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things I guess, and at the same time, I was fighting a minor cold (which still hasn’t gone away). At the end of the week, we were tested on everything we covered in the book, and I felt as though that went quite well.

Over the weekend, I read for Monday’s classes and bought a few office supplies. It was good to be back at Grace Assembly again this Sunday – I guess it’s been awhile since I’ve been there! I’m hoping to meet with one of the elders next week and am having lunch with another man from the church this Friday.

Okay, so that was a long post!. Hopefully that catches you up … it was a good Christmas break – the only thing I wish was that I got more sleep – one of my classmates was worried because I had bags under my eyes …. but I guess I would rather be tired than to have missed out on something. So there you go.

Hope you all have a blessed rest of your Sunday!

Last thing: found this Spurgeon quote that really stood out to me – thought I’d share it:

“Blessed posture! Waiting truly and only upon the Lord. Be this our condition all this day and every day. Waiting His leisure, waiting in His service, waiting in joyful expectation, waiting in prayer, and content. When the very soul thus waits, it is in the best and truest condition of a creature before his Creator, a servant before his Master, a child before his Father. We allow no dictation to God, nor complaining of Him; we will permit no petulance and no distrust. At the same time, we practice no running before the cloud and no seeking to others for aid: neither of these would be waiting upon God. God, and God alone, is the expectation of our hearts.”