March 13, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 13th, 2019
Clear Sense of Sin (Continued)
b. Consider the danger of your sin (continued)
3). Loss of peace and strength
Consider the loss of peace and strength all a man’s days. To have peace with God, to have strength to walk before God, is the sum of the great promises of the Covenant of Grace. In these things is the life of our souls. Without them in some comfortable measure, to live is to die. What good will our lives do us if we see not the face of God sometimes in peace, and if we have not some strength to walk with Him? Now, an unmortified lust certainly will deprive men’s souls of both these. This case is so evident in David as that nothing can be more clear. How often does he complain that his bones were broken, his soul disquieted, and his wounds grievous on this account! Take other instances: “For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth…I hid me” (Isa 57:17). What peace, I pray, is there to a soul while God hides Himself; or what strength while He smites? “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face” (Hos 5:15). That is, I will leave them, hide My face; and what will become of their peace and strength then?
If ever, therefore, you have enjoyed peace with God; if ever His terrors have made you afraid; if ever you have had strength to walk with Him, or ever have mourned in your prayer and been troubled because of your weakness—think of this danger that hangs over your head. It is perhaps but a little while and you shall see the face of God in peace no more. Perhaps by tomorrow you shall not be able to pray, read, hear, or perform any duties with the least cheer-fulness, life, or vigor. Possibly you may never see a quiet hour while you live, so that you may carry about you broken bones, full of pain and terror, all the days of your life. Yea, perhaps God will shoot His arrows at you, and fill you with anguish and disquietness, with fears and perplexities; make you a terror and an astonishment to yourself and others; show you hell and wrath every moment; frighten and scare you with sad apprehensions of His hatred—so that your sore shall run in the night season and your soul shall refuse comfort (Psa 77:2); so that you shall wish death rather than life; yea, so that your soul might choose strangling. Consider this a little: though God should not utterly destroy you, yet He might cast you into this condition, wherein you shall have quick and living apprehensions of your destruction. Accustom your heart to thoughts hereof; let it know what is likely to be the outcome of this condition. Leave not this consideration until you have made your soul to tremble within you.
4). Eternal destruction
There is the danger of eternal destruction. For the due management of this consideration, observe the following.
a). Connection between continuance in sin and destruction
There is such a connection between a continuance in sin and eternal destruction that, though God does resolve to deliver some from a continuance in sin so they may not be destroyed, yet He will deliver none from destruction that continue in sin—so that while anyone lies under an abiding power of sin, the threats of destruction and everlasting separation from God are to be held out to him. This is the rule of God’s proceeding: If any man “depart” from Him, to “draw back” through unbelief, God’s “soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Heb 3:12; 10:38); that is, His indignation shall pursue him to destruction (Gal 6:8).
b). No confidence in deliverance from destruction
He who is so entangled under the power of any corruption as above described, can have at present no clear prevailing evidence of his interest in the covenant, by the efficacy whereof he may be delivered from fear of destruction. The result is that destruction from the Lord may justly be a terror to him. He may, he ought, to look upon it as that which will be the end of his course and ways.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1). True, but who shall have the comfort of this assertion? Who may assume it to himself? They “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” But you will say, “Is not this to persuade men to unbelief?” I answer: No. There is a twofold judgment that a man may make of himself: first of his person, and secondly of his ways. It is the judgment of his ways, not his person, that I speak of. Let a man get the best evidence for his person that he can, yet to judge that the end of an evil way will be destruction is his duty; not to do it is atheism.
I do not say that in such a condition a man ought to throw away the evidence of his personal interest in Christ; but I say, he cannot keep those evidences. There is a twofold condemnation of a man’s self. First, in respect of what it deserves, when the soul concludes that it deserves to be cast out of the presence of God; and this is so far from a business of unbelief that it is an effect of faith. Secondly, with respect to the result and event, when the soul concludes it shall be damned. I do not say this is the duty of anyone, nor do I call them to it; but this I say: the end of the sinful way wherein a man is ought by him to be concluded to be death that he may be provoked to fly from it. And this is another consideration that ought to dwell upon such a soul, if it desire to be freed from the entanglement of its lusts.