March 14, 2019 by directorfsm
by John Owen – March 14th, 2019
Clear Sense of Sin (Continued)
c. Consider the evils of your sin
Consider the evils of your sin. I mean its present evils. Danger concerns what is to come; evil concerns what is present. Some of the many evils that attend an unmortified lust may be mentioned.
1). It grieves the holy and blessed Spirit Who is given to believers to dwell in them and abide with them. So, the apostle, exhorting them against many lusts and sins (Eph 4:25-29), gives this as the great motive of it: “Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (v. 30). That is, grieve not that Spirit of God whereby you receive so many and great benefits; of which he instances(80) one signal(81) and comprehensive one: “sealed unto the day of redemption.” The Holy Spirit is grieved by it. As a tender and loving friend is grieved at the unkindness of his friend, of whom he has deserved only good, so is it with this tender and loving Spirit, Who has chosen our hearts for a habitation to dwell in, and there to do for us all that our souls desire. He is grieved by our harboring His enemies and those whom He is to destroy, in our hearts together with Him. “He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve” us (Lam 3:33); and shall we daily grieve Him? Thus is He said sometimes to be “vexed,” sometimes “grieved at his heart,” to express the greatest sense of our provocation (Isa 63:10; Gen 6:6).
Now, if there be anything of gracious honesty left in the soul, if it be not utterly hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, this consideration will certainly affect it. Consider who and what you are, Who the Spirit is that is grieved, what He has done for you, what He comes to your soul about, what He has already done in you—and be ashamed. Among those who walk with God, there is no greater motive and incentive unto universal holiness, and the preserving of their hearts and spirits in all purity and cleanness, than this: that the blessed Spirit, Who has undertaken to dwell in them, is continually considering what they entertain in their hearts, and rejoices when His temple is kept undefiled. That was a high aggravation of the sin of Zimri, that he brought his adulteress into the congregation in the sight of Moses and the rest, who were weeping for the sins of the people (Num 25:6, 14). And is it not a high aggravation when a lust is countenanced in the heart, or suffered to abide there; when it is (as it must be, if we are believers) entertained under the peculiar eye and view of the Holy Ghost, Who is taking care to preserve His tabernacle as pure and holy?
2). The Lord Jesus Christ is wounded afresh by it. His new creature in the heart is wounded, His love is foiled, His adversary gratified. Just as totally forsaking Christ through the deceitfulness of sin is to “crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Heb 6:6), so every harboring of sin that He came to destroy wounds and grieves Him.
3). It will take away a man’s usefulness in his generation. His works, his endeavors, his labors, seldom receive blessing from God. If he be a preacher, God commonly blows upon his ministry, so that he shall labor in the fire and not be honored with any success or doing any work for God. The like may be spoken of other conditions. The world is at this day full of poor, withering professors. How few are there that walk in any beauty or glory; how barren, how useless, are they for the most part! Among the many reasons that may be assigned for this sad state, it justly may be feared that this is none of the least effectual: many men harbor spirit-devouring lusts in their bosoms, which lie as worms at the root of their obedience, and corrode and weaken it day by day. All graces, all the ways and means whereby any graces may be exercised and improved, are prejudiced by this means. As to any success, God blasts such men’s undertakings.
This, then, is my second direction, and it regards the opposition that is to be made to lust in respect of its habitual residence in the soul. Keep alive upon your heart these or the like considerations of its guilt, danger, and evil. Be much in the meditation of these things; cause your heart to dwell and abide upon them. Engage your thoughts in these considerations. Let them not go off nor wander from them until they begin to have a powerful influence upon your soul—until they make it to tremble!