Life's Lameness: the Character of Sin
Jeremiah 44:4
However, I sent to you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh…

The church bells were ringing out a merry peal of welcome as a bride and bridegroom left the church after the marriage service. The bride was given some flowers as she passed to her carriage, and a small drop of water fell from a flower on to the bride's light dress. Soon after, a slight stain was noticed there, and the remark was made: "A spot of sin as small as this would shut either of us out of heaven." That remark was perfectly true. A little speck of dust on the lens of a telescope will mar its powers of vision. A tiny hair in the mainspring of a watch will suffice to stop the machinery, So one little sin, secretly cherished and wilfully indulged, will choke up our soul s communion with God and destroy our spiritual comfort. What, then, is sin? Sin is rebellion against God. Self-love is the secret of sin. The hidden principle of all sin is rejection of the will of God. None of God's commands are grievous, and therefore the question of our obedience is made to turn precisely on the will of God. God alone is independent. He has made us for Himself; and the more we seek to bring our wills into subjection to His, and our lives into complete dependence upon Him, the happier and the holier shall we become. As a train was speeding along the railroad in the north of England the other day, a spark from the engine set fire to a shrub in a plantation near the line, and then the fire spread to a forest, where it raged for two days, doing immense damage. Who would have thought that such a result would arise, from a little spark? Yet so it is in the world of life — great results spring from the most trivial causes. Our hearts are, like those dry trees, ready to burst into a blaze when touched by the spark of sin. Therefore we must beware of sin. When Canova, the great Italian sculptor, was about to commence his famous statue of the great Napoleon, his keenly observant eye detected a tiny red line running through the upper portion of the splendid block of marble which had been brought from Paros at enormous cost. Others saw no flaw, but the great sculptor detected it, and he refused to lay chisel upon it. The very perfection he aimed at compelled him to reject the marble block. Now if there is a flaw in your life, others may not see it, but God most assuredly will. And that there is such a flaw God declares. His Word asserts, "All have sinned" (Romans 3:23). "There is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Psalm 14:3). During a naval engagement off Copenhagen, Admiral Parker signalled the ships to cease action. Nelson did not wish to retire his ship. When informed of the Admiral's signal, he looked through the telescope with his blind eye, and exclaimed, "I see no such signal" He persistently deceived himself in order that he might continue the fight. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). But we deceive no one else. It is no excuse for a man to say he does not steal, does not lie, does not swear, does not covet. Neglect of known duty is sin. Man has a duty to God (Matthew 22:37). Not to love God is sin. And the Bible not only charges man with not loving God, but it speaks of man as being in a state of "enmity against God" (Romans 8:7). Therefore he cannot restore himself. It is a stormy night by the sea-shore. The wind is howling and moaning, and ever and anon with boisterous gusts threatening violence to the shipping in the harbour. The sea is lashed into a seething foam. On the beach are scattered groups of people — men hurrying to and fro with excited determination, and women wringing their hands in mute agony and mingled prayer. You look out to sea. In the darkness of the night you can see nothing, but you can tell by the whirr and rush of the rocket apparatus, by the cries of the life boatmen, that a vessel is in danger. You know there is a ship in distress by these signs, though you may not know the extent or reality of her danger. So, when I see the Lord Jesus Christ leaving His throne in glory, living a life of anguish, and dying a cruel death, I learn that sin is a terrible reality. Oh, what a hideous, fiendish monster is sin, when it turns its cursed enmity against the blessed Son of God, and imbrues its cruel hands in His precious blood! The Emperor Arcadius and his wife Eudoxia had a very bitter feeling towards St. John , Bishop of Constantinople. One day, in a fit of anger, the Emperor said to some of his courtiers, "I would I were avenged of this bishop!" Several then proposed how this should be done. "Banish him and exile him to the desert," said one. "Put him in prison," said another. "Confiscate his property," said a third. "Let him die," said a fourth. Another courtier, whose vices Chrysostom had reproved, said maliciously, "You all make a great mistake. You will never punish him by such proposals. If banished the kingdom, he will feel God as near to him in the desert as here. If you put him in prison and load him with chains, he will still pray for the poor and praise God in the prison. If you confiscate his property, you merely take away his goods from the poor, not from him. If you condemn him to death, you open heaven to him. Prince, do you wish to be revenged on him? Force him to commit sin. I know him; this man fears nothing in the world but sin." Is there no lesson here for you and me?

(A. Finlayson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.

WEB: However I sent to you all my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them, saying, Oh, don't do this abominable thing that I hate.

God's Patient Pleadings
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