Friday, October 14, 2011

We have no idea...

I do not think, in the nature of things, that mortal man can at all realize the exceeding sinfulness of sin in the sight of that holy and perfect One with whom we have to do. On the one hand, God is that eternal Being who “chargeth His angels with folly,” and in whose sight the very “heavens are not clean.” He is One who reads thoughts and motives as well as actions, and requires “truth in the inward parts.” (Job xv. 18; xv. 15; Psa. li. 6.) We, on the other hand - poor blind creatures, here to-day and gone tomorrow, born in sin, surrounded by sinners, living in a constant atmosphere of weakness, infirmity, and imperfection - can form none but the most inadequate conceptions of the hideousness of evil. We have no line to fathom it, and no measure by which to gauge it. The blind man can see no difference between a masterpiece of Titian or Raphael, and the Queen’s Head on  a village  signboard. The deaf man cannot distinguish between a penny whistle and a cathedral organ. The very animals whose smell is most offensive to us have no idea that they are offensive, and are not offensive to one another. And man, fallen man, I believe, can have no just idea what a vile thing sin is in the sight of that God whose handiwork is absolutely perfect - perfect whether we look through telescope or microscope - perfect in the formation of a mighty planet like Jupiter, with his satellites, keeping time to a  second as he rolls round the sun - perfect in the formation of the smallest insect that crawls over a foot of  ground. But let us nevertheless settle it firmly in our minds that sin is “the abominable thing that God  hateth” - that God “is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and cannot look upon that which is evil” - that the least transgression of God’s law makes us “guilty of all” - that “the soul that sinneth shall die” - that  “the wages of sin is death” - that God shall “judge the secrets of men” - that there is a worm that never  dies, and a fire that is not quenched - that “the wicked shall be turned into hell” - and “shall go away into  everlasting punishment” - and that “nothing that defiles shall in any wise enter heaven.” (Jer. xliv.  4;  Hab. i. 13; James ii. 10; Ezek. xviii. 4; Rom. vi. 23; Rom. ii. 16; Mark ix. 44; Ps. ix. 17; Matt. xxv. 46;  Rev. xxi. 27.) These are indeed tremendous words, when we consider that they are written in the Book of  a most merciful God!
No proof of the fulness of sin, after all, is so overwhelming and unanswerable as the cross and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the whole doctrine of His substitution and atonement. Terribly black must that guilt be for which nothing but the blood of the Son of God could make satisfaction. Heavy must that weight of human sin be which made Jesus groan and sweat drops of blood in agony at Gethsemane, and  cry at Golgotha, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. xxvii. 46.) Nothing, I am convinced, will astonish us so much, when we awake in the resurrection day, as the view we shall have of  sin, and the retrospect we shall take of our own countless shortcomings and defects. Never till the hour  when Christ comes the second time shall we fully realize the “sinfulness of sin.” Well might George Whitfield say, “The anthem in heaven will be, What hath God wrought!”
~ J.C. Ryle, Holiness

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