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BOOK CHOICE – From Out of the Ordinary

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BOOK CHOICE – From Out of the Ordinary -NOVEMBER/DECEMBER, 2014

The Sins Of Saints.…By Herbert G. Lockyer

LOIZEAUX BROTHERS. Neptune, New Jersey
Copyright (c) 1970 by LOIZEAUX BROTHERS, Inc.

First British Edition, September 1970. Third Printing December 1979

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
255 Pages

 

PART ONE – Saints in Scriptures

PART TWO – Saintly And Unsaintly Saints

PART THREE – Sins Of Saints

PART FOUR – Saviour Of Saints

 

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Christ never called any particular person a Saint . . . Generally given in the plural, the term represents a group of people who all alike are loyal followers of the Master. The Hebrew word for saints is used as a name of Deity, “Thine Holy One” (Psalm 16:10); twice as the name of a person, Christ Himself, and given as a quote from Psalm 16: 10, namely Acts 2:27; 13:35.

 

Until regenerated men and women discover the truth of the two natures – perpetually antagonistic one to the other – they are perturbed when they find themselves yielding to sin. No saved person can experience a joyful triumphant life that does not face the true fact about his own inherent, corrupt nature and the bias therein to evil.

 

Thus at the outset we state the premise: Saints should not sin; Saints do sin; Saints retain the sinning nature; saints dishonour God by sinning; saints rob themselves of power and reward by sinning; saints can be victorious over sin. . . READ MORE

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Part One – Saints in Scripture

The term Saint is the fifth word in the New Testament, being found in the caption, “The Gospel according to Saint Matthew” repeated in the succeeding three Gospels, and likewise found in the title of the Epistles. What must not be forgotten is that these titles were included by the translators or printers and are not there by divine inspiration. Saint Matthew, Saint Mark and so on are not part of the original Scriptures, which have little to say about saint but a great deal about saints

In the New Testament the Greek word for saint is also used as an adjective and combined with spirit to indicate the Holy Spirit. The singular Greek word, like the Hebrew word, implies the Holy One, the holy place, the sanctuary. What is interesting to note, however is that when the word is used with respect to the Redeemer, it is translated in the plural – saints, with the three following exceptions: “the saint of the Lord” (Psalm 106:16); “one saint speaking” (Daniel 8:13); “Salute every saint in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:21). Apart from these three occasions, saint is never used as a title for a human being whether alive or dead. Nowhere in Scripture are the followers of Christ mentioned as saints – Saint Mary, Saint John, Saint Peter etc. Neither is saint applied as a title to any celestial created being. Michael, the archangel, or his companion Gabriel, are never spoken of as saint (Luke 1:19; Jude 9). The Hebrew word for saints is used as a name of Deity, “Thine Holy One” (Psalm 16:10); twice as the name of a person, Christ Himself, and given as a quote from Psalm 16:10, namely Acts 2:27; 13:35. Christ never called any particular person a saint. Generally given in the plural, the term represents a group of people who all alike are loyal followers of the Master: “All the saints in Christ Jesus which are in Philippi” (Philippians 1:1)

Sixty-two times, saints designate a company of saved people, just as other terms do. Brethren is the most likely used title, occurring well over one hundred times. Disciples is used thirty times in the Acts but not thereafter.

Children of God, Sons of God, servants and slaves are among other terms used to describe those who are the Lord’s, who collectively are saints. If there is any distinction between these names it is that, as the Church, believers are called out of the world; as brethren they have an obligation to each other; as sons or children of God they all possess an equal standing before God as heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. Paul never called any given believer a saint, nor ever referred to himself as a saint. His estimation of himself was that he was “less than the least of all saints” (Ephesians 3:8)

 

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Christ never called any particular person a Saint . . . Generally given in the plural, the term represents a group of people who all alike are loyal followers of the Master. The Hebrew word for saints is used as a name of Deity, “Thine Holy One” (Psalm 16:10); twice as the name of a person, Christ Himself, and given as a quote from Psalm 16: 10, namely Acts 2:27; 13:35.

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Going over the references to saints we find Scripture declaring definite truths regarding such a status, indicating as it does separation farom sin and the world and separation unto god. Summarizing Biblical teaching on “sainthood” we find, first of all, that there are saints in Heaven who became saints on earth before they were taken to Heaven. The death of saints is precious to the Lord because it means that they go to swell the glorious hosts above (Psalm 116:15). When Jesus returns it will be with “all His saints” who are “the spirits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22-23). When Jude spoke of the Lord coming with “ten thousands of His saints” (Jude 14), he used a word meaning myriads or an innumerable host. What unending joy will be ours meeting saints, famous or unknown on earth, when we reach Heaven!

All God’s saints, whether in heaven or on earth, are living saints, and require no edict to make them so. The only people who qualify as saints are those ho have made a covenant with God by sacrifice (psalm 50:5), who recognize and honour the lordship of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2) and who rest in the promise that He will never forsake them (Psalm 37:28)

The next question is, how do people become saints? Paul addressed the Ephesians as “the saints. . .at Ephesus” (1:1). But what were they before they became saints? They were “dead in trespasses and sins,” “walked according to. . .this world”; “by nature the children of wrath”. They were deep-eyed sinners (Ephesians 2:1-3). Few sinners today are as abandoned to wickedness as those Ephesian idolaters. Yet they were transformed from sinners into saints. How? Only by the grace of God through faith in the finished work of Christ: “By grace are ye saved [Made Saints] through faith” (Ephesians 2:4-10). Who and what is a saint then? Only a sinner saved by grace. The process of transformation is the same today. As a sinner repents of his sin and receives Christ as Saviour, the miracle happens and the hell bound sinner becomes a heaven bound saint. Thus, all saved sinners are saints, but, as we are to see, some are more saintly than others. Repentant, believing sinners becoming saints must assume the obligation of contending for the faith that saved them: “Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). The faith is that body or system of Christian teaching given once for all, and which, therefore, requires no addition. Much of the religious jargon we hear today is foreign to the faith we have to defend. Modernism is opposed to the faith which Jesus will find to be a scarce commodity on earth when He returns.

Do our lives and lips defend the faith? When Paul, who had suffered much for Christ and His gospel, almost from the day he became a saint, came to die, he could proudly confess, “I have kept the faith” (2Timothy 4:7). His many scars (Galatians 6:17) testified to his courageous defence of the truth he dearly loved and expounded more fully than any other New Testament writer. If we are children of God then the commission is ours to agonize for the truths of salvation by grace through faith apart from works, the divine inspiration and infallibility of Holy Writ, the lordship of Christ, the missionary programme contained in our Lord’s commission, for personal sanctification as an evidence of the integrity of the truth. The saints who live the faith and fight for it are not to be found in the secluded life of a cloister but out in a hostile world where the majority are the enemies of God.

Since I must fight if I would reign,

Increase my courage, Lord!

I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain

Supported by Thy Word

 

In concluding this section, we cannot do better than to quote from the notes of the renowned missionary, Arthur S. Leisching of Ceylon, who died in 1891:

 

“ WHAT ALL SAINTS HAVE!

A list of 40 items which include:

Peace – Romans 5:1; Eternal life – 1John 5:11; Redemption – Ephesians 1:7; Hope – Hebrews 6:19; Deliverance Hebrews 2:15; Access Ephesians 2:18; . . .Christ’s peace – John 14:27; God’s Care – 1Peter 5:7; The Holy Spirit – Romans 5:5; Guidance – Psalm 32:8; Boldness – Ephesians 3:12; Sins forgiven – Ephesians 1:7

 

WHAT ALL SAINTS ARE!

Saved – Ephesians 2:8; Jusified – romans 5:1; Accepated – Levviticus 1:4; . . . In Christ – Romans 8:1; Saints – Romans 1:7; In the Sprit – Romans 8:9

 

WHAT ALL SAINTS OUGHT TO BE!

Holy – 1Peter 1:16; Wise – Colossians 1:9; Doint good – Galatians 6:10; Serving all – 1Corinthinans 9:19; Kind – Epohesians 4:32; Obedient – 1Peter 1:14;. . . Srong – Ephesians 6:10; Fruit bearing – John 15:5; Content – Hebarews 13:5; Overcoming – revelations 2:3; Praying – Ephesians 6:18;

 

 

 

Part Two – Saintly And Unsaintly Saints

 

Until regenerated men and women discover the truth of the two natures – perpetually antagonistic one to the other – they are perturbed when they find themselves yielding to sin. No saved person can experience a joyful triumphant life that does not face the true fact about his own inherent, corrupt nature and the bias therein to evil. Writing to those who were, without doubt, Born-Again believers John said: “If we say …we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1John 11:18). The Psalmist reminds us that “every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Psalm 39:5). While the early disciples thought of themselves as “His holy ones” they knew only too well that they were not sinless ones, for when they would do good, evil was present with them. They were saved by grace and were thus saints, set apart from sin for the Saviour’s possession and use, and were exhorted to live as becometh saints (Ephesians 5:13). As saints therefore they were not to be unsaintly in life so they might be a beneficiary of the victorious life possible for any believer.

 

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Until regenerated men and women discover the truth of the two natures – perpetually antagonistic one to the other – they are perturbed when they find themselves yielding to sin. No saved person can experience a joyful triumphant life that does not face the true fact about his own inherent, corrupt nature and the bias therein to evil.

 

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Thus at the outset we state the premise: Saints should not sin; Saints do sin; Saints retain the sinning nature; saints dishonour God by sinning; saints rob themselves of power and reward by sinning; saints can be victorious over sin.

The title saint makes a great demand upon us for it means that we are “God’s holy ones” and have been set apart or consecrated as His chosen ones. We are called to exhibit saintliness. Belief must regulate behaviour; there must be the practice of what we profess. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are to be saintly or holy, and not live as unsanctified saints. Our holiness of life does not make us saints but manifests us as saints. It is because when saved by grace, we become saints that we must cultivate saintly living, and not live as unsaintly saints who are ever the tragedy of Christianity. We are guilty of sin if we know we should do good but do it not (James 4:17). The Scriptures give us clear guidance as to those sins destructive of saintliness of life.

There are seven sins in which we must not engage (Romans 13:13-14); six sins with which we must not associate (1Corinthians 5:9-11); eleven from which we must turn away (2Corinthians 12:20-21); nine the saints must put away (Ephesians 4:25, 28-31); nine in which sinners live but saints must not (Ephesians 4:17-19); six which should not be named among saints (Ephesians 5:3-4); six we must mortify (Colossians 3:5-6); six we must put off (Colossians 3:8-9); nineteen from which we must turn away (2Timothy 3:1-5); nine from which we are saved (Titus 3:3-5); five we must lay aside (1Peter 2:1).

With such a formidable array of sins before us we can understand why Jesus said “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” – but deceive no one else! (1John 1:8; 2:1) “the truth is not in us” In general, sanctification implies the dedication of a person, place, or possession to God and for God.  Anybody or anything belonging to God, and set apart for His service, was considered holy. (See Genesis 2:3; Exodus 28:41; 30:25; Leviticus 8:30 etc). As a skilfully cut diamond has one beauty but many facets, so the priceless provision of sanctification, which makes a saint saintly, has several aspects.

  1. A Pre-conversion Sanctification. Our finite minds cannot fully comprehend the wonderful truth that “God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” (2Thessalonians 2:13); and also that we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1Peter 1:2)
  2. A Positional Sanctification. Regeneration is our entrance into sanctification. Once we repent as sinners and accept by faith the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour we become complete in Him and accepted in Him…

 

  1. A Practical Sanctification. Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be saints, it is incumbent upon us to separate ourselves from all that is alien to t he holy will and purpose of God. Practical sanctification involves walking the path of separation amid the activities of life whether in domestic, social or business relationships, and keeping ourselves unspotted from the world. Our Lord prayed for His own that they should not be taken out of the world, but kept in it without its evil (John 17:15). If they fail in saintliness, there is the Advocate with the Father to plead His efficacious blood (1John 2:1). A cause for gratitude is that we are not left to produce the sanctity of life God desires and demands.

 

  1. A Progressive Sanctification. It is the desire of God that the path of the just should be as a “shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18; Samuel 23:4). Sanctification is both instantaneous and progressive. The moment a believing sinner is regenerated he becomes a child of God and in a Positional sense a saint (1Corinthiians 6:11; 2Corinthians 1:1; Hebrews 10:10,14). As Dr Williams Evans put it “If a man is not a saint he is not a Christian; if he is a Christian he is a saint”. Made a saint by grace, he must now grow in grace – not grow into it, but in

 

It is as we seek to grow up in Him that we realize the necessity of reckoning ourselves dead unto sin and alive unto God (Romans 6:11) – a conscious act making us cognizant of our dual nature, the conflict between which Paul expounded most convincingly (Romans 7:15-25)

When God graciously saved us, He did not take away our old Adamic sinful nature with which we were born. Had He done so, it would have saved us from many heartache over our sinning. He made us the recipients of a new nature, a divine nature, referred to as “the new man” just as our inherited corrupt nature is “the old man”. The carnal nature, the source of sin, at enmity with God, we must put off or die to it. The old nature ever prompts us to sin, but the new nature cannot sin (1John 3:6-9). When I – the new man – would do good, evil – the old man – is with me. But when Paul said, “I die daily”, he meant that day by day he resisted the approach and appeal of his old corrupt and condemned nature, and by the Spirit’s power was more than a conqueror. Such a daily death to sin and self indicates a progressive sanctification.

 

  1. A Prospective Sanctification. Saintliness in its final perfect form will be experienced only when Jesus takes us to be with Himself. We know that we are presently the children of God – too often sinning an disobedient children; but when He appears we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as he is – perfectly holy (1John 3:1-3). Not until that glorious moment shall we be sanctified completely (1Thessalonians 3:12-13)

 

 

 

 

 

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When God graciously saved us, He did not take away our old Adamic sinful nature with which we were born. Had He done so, it would have saved us from many a heartache over our sinning

 

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For now, as we journey on, walking in the light as He is in the light, we become more than ever conscious of our spots, wrinkles, and blemishes; but the best is yet to be and will be ours when the prayer of Jesus on behalf of those redeemed will be answered:

“Father I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which thou hast given Me” (John 17:24). The wonder of wonders is that His saints will then share His glory.

 

 

 

Part Three – Sins Of Saints

 

Scripture, history and experience alike testify that Christians, although named saints, are capable of, and do sin – much to their shame. While we have a sinless Saviour, ours will not be a sinless perfection until we see Him face to face

It was John Wesley who said that we will not injure the cause of holiness by admitting our sins, but that we are sure to do so by denying them.

In this section of our meditation we are not concentrating upon the more overt act of wickedness into which saints sometimes lapse, as David did in the tragic matter of Bathsheba and Uriah. What gross sins saints can be guilty of in their unguarded moments, and how such glaring sins injure their testimony and bring shame upon the cause of Christ!

We are thinking here rather of those dispositional sins which are as numerous as the various facets of human nature, and as fully injurious as the more prominent sins of the flesh.

There are few hindrances to the Christian cause as effective as a bad disposition, known as the vice of the virtuous. A saved woman for example even though she does not gamble, swear, drink, smoke, or attend places of worldly amusement, is ineffective in her witness if she manifests a churlish temper and grieves her family with her acid tongue. Some people have spoken about “sweet sinners and sour saints” talking of meeting some sinners who were more kind, gracious, and considerate than a few saints within our circle of friends.

To avoid misunderstanding of what we mean by dispositional sins let us list a few of them: sensitiveness, irritability, faultfinding, peevishness, temper, a sharp tongue, cruelty, uncharitableness, self-assertiveness, pride, criticism, cynicism. How these ugly dispositional flaws in saints often turn away those they try to win for the Saviour, and kill the witness of a church!

 

 

THE WOOD KILLED MORE THAN THE SWORD

On the Biblical account of Absalom’s death, we read that on that day, the wood slew more than the sword (2Samuel 18:8). Entangled amid the boughs of a great oak tree, Absalom himself became the victim of the wood rather than of Joab’s sword. Now, a cool shady Woodland is, in itself one of the most beautiful creations of God. What is more refreshing than an hour or so in a tree-filled wood! The fragrance of plants and flowers, the murmuring waters of a brook, the singing of birds, and glades of rest alike make a wood a delightful refuge from the cares of life. Yet the tragedy is that the wood devoured more of Absalom’s fascinated followers than the sword.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Now, cool, shady Woodland is, in itself one of the most beautiful creations of God. What is more refreshing than an hour or so in a tree-filled wood! The fragrance of plants and flowers, the murmuring waters of a brook, the singing of birds, and glades of rest alike make a wood a delightful refuge from the cares of life. Yet the tragedy is that the wood devoured more of Absalom’s fascinated followers than the sword . . .

. . . The moral is evident: slaughter by unrecognized foes is more to be feared than the enemies we can see…We do not succumb to the grosser sins of life; we shrink from a defiance of established moralities; no sword mows us down. Yet we fall to the wood; its snares enmesh us; we become victims of lesser evils…We are overcome by the pleasantries of the wood…The darker sins we abhor, yet fall before insincerity, envy, passion for money…May God open our eyes to the perils of the wood!

 

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The moral is evident: slaughter by unrecognized foes is more to be feared than the enemies we can see. We do not succumb to the grosser sins of life; we shrink from a defiance of established moralities; no sword mows us down. Yet we fall to the wood; its snares enmesh us; we become victims of lesser evils. The story of our collapse is the same as that of Absalom. We are overcome by the pleasantries of the wood. Many of the little foxes within the wood spoil the grapes. The darker sins we abhor, yet fall before insincerity, devotion to appearances, “harmless” self-indulgence, deviation from truth, envy, silly vanities of mind and manner, uncontrolled speech, trivialities, important unimportance, passion for money, the loves that come into life without allegiance to redeeming love.

 

But the wood holds no hidden danger for those who linger in it with Him whose grace can make us more than conquerors over all the seemingly harmless things of life. May God open our eyes to the perils of the wood!

 

Alas this is the day of the sword, and it devours millions. But the wood, even the tree on which the Saviour died, will yet conquer more than the sword. Christ’s day is coming, and when here, He will have universal dominion. As the Lamb, He is to reign forever. His hand, nailed to the cross of wood, is to wield the sceptre of complete supremacy. What a message of hope this is for a sinning saint as well as a war-torn world.

 

From here, the author then identified and treated twenty-five (25) sins.

 

  1. The sin of SADNESS

 

It might be argued that this is a natural condition and not, therefore, qualified to be placed among the dispositional sins of a saint. But Dale, in one of his renowned sermons, urged people to confess and forsake the sin of gloominess. Sadness does become a sin when a Christian weeps and laments over personal trials and losses as if no one else ever endured similar sorrows. The only One who had pain and anguish no other could endure was the Saviour who became “the Man of sorrows”. You may think your cross is the heaviest one could bear but if you look around you will discover sadder hearts with heavier trials than yours.

The tragedy is that man himself is responsible for much of the gloom afflicting human lives in our modern age. Man was made in God’s image and was never meant to have a forlorn countenance but to rejoice in Him who is ever the health of our countenance (Psalm 42)

We could not be human if we did not have occasions of natural sadness for varied reasons. Shakespeare speaks of an inexplicable sadness:

 

In sooth I know why I am so sad;

It wearies me: you say it wearies you;

But how I caught it, found it, or came by it,

I am to learn

 

In a broken world like ours, we are only too conscious of the sources of sadness and sorrow. What we must guard against is succumbing to our sadness until it becomes a fixed despair. The saints of the early church had more than enough to make them sad but, filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, they triumphed over adversity. Had sin not entered to mar God’s universe there would have been no sadness. He meant joy to be the natural state of man, but our age is surely one of the saddest in world history, especially as we think of millions who live on the brink of starvation. But amid the gathering gloom the joy of the Lord can be our strength (Nehemiah 8::10).

Every sorrow can be a message to teach us something more of God and concerning His concern for the hearts of pilgrims on their way to the celestial city. Drinking from the cup of divine joy, a saint amid sorrow  can smile and sing.

Sadness may spring from circumstances, but gladness is from God (Isaiah 35:10)

It is questionable whether fullness of joy can come to us except through suffering, whether the fruit of the tree of life can be tasted apart from the tree of Calvary. No matter how dark our night, we can rejoice in the God of our salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-19)

 

 

  1. The sin of INGRATIATUDE

An ancient proverb has described ingratitude thus: “as soon as you have drunk

you turn your back to the spring”. Was this not the sin of nine of the ten lepers whom Jesus cleansed as He prepared for His last pilgrimage through Jerusalem, where He was to suffer the base INGRATITUDE of man in all its fullness? One cleansed leper gladdened the heart of Christ as he glorified God for the mercy of a miracle of healing (Luke 17:15-16). It has been said “Hell is full of the ungrateful”. While this may be so, the tragedy is that far too many saints on their way to Heaven often forget to say “Thank you, Lord”. Saints must think and thank; pause and praise. If hitherto they have lived on Grumbling Street or

Whining Lane, they should relocate to Gratitude Terrace or Thanksgiving Corner, where the air and the district are of the best and the rent is no higher.

 

Why not at this very moment close your eyes and exclaim ‘Bless the Lord O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2). How guilty we are of taking so much from His bountiful hands yet of offering Him so little in return! Thanklessness is a sin against God, against society, against ourselves. It is likewise a robber, plundering God of His due. Too often we rob our friends of happiness simply because we forget to say thank you. No wonder Shakespeare, in Twelfth Night says:

 

I hate ingratitude more in a man

Than lying, vainness, babbling, drunkenness

 

We live in an ungrateful world in which heartlessness is the haunting shadow in many a heart and home. No wounds so deeply scar the noble and generous spirit as those caused by ingratitude.

Ingratitude is not only cruel but the evidence of selfishness. Thankless hearts usually belong to selfish people in whom the finer qualities are withered because of ingratitude. Rivers of goodness flow into the life, but nothing in the way of praise flows out. It may be that the nine lepers, who were healed as they went to the priests, felt they had received what was their due as helpless and hopeless men. Perhaps their erroneous reasoning was that the loathsome disease was an injustice; health was their right, and they need not be profoundly thankful. How we, as saints, need to guard ourselves against such self-conceit and pride!

All too often people have to die before they are appreciated. Why not express our appreciation when our kind friends can be cheered by it?

 

Often tombstones are silent liars. “Gone, but not forgotten” is a favourite epitaph. In many cases it should read: “Gone, but soon forgotten” because of the lack of gratitude to, and remembrance of, the departed one.

 

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We live in an ungrateful world in which heartlessness is the haunting shadow in many a heart and home. No wounds so deeply scar the noble and generous spirit as those caused by ingratitude

 

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Do we stand condemned with the sin of ingratitude? Is there a mother’s, or a friend’s or a pastor’s heart we should have cheered by a kind word of thanks? Stop for a moment and think, and say to yourself, “Have I forgotten to say “Thank you?” if you remember a letter of gratitude that should have been written, take your pen and send a word of thanks to that loved one or friend.

 

 

  1. The sin of SELFISHNESS

 

Selfishness has been refereed to as “the sin that bleeds”, and like a leech it does bleed the saint of  the likeness to Christ, who pleased not Himself but emptied Himself to save others. The facets of selfishness are manifold: self-confidence, self-deception, self-esteem, self-interest, self-praise, self-reliance, and self-aggrandizement.

An ancient proverb has it, “He that is full of himself is very empty”. A selfish Christian is a Dead-Sea person – always receiving but never refreshing any other.

For the personification of selfishness we turn to our Lord’s parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21). Here the pronouns of personal possession are prominent – six I’s and five My’s. Foolishly he treasured up for himself all with which God had blessed him. We cannot be “more than conquerors” if the self-life governs.

 

  1. The sin of DESPAIR

There are many professed believers living under despair which has been described as “Black despair, the shadow of a starless night”. Some of them are in mental institutions as the result of a black despair that gripped their minds. Occasionally we hear of one, who was once bright and active in witness for the Lord, ending his life. “Suicide”, it has been said is “the refuge of despair”

Many of the psalms have an eternal freshness because they tell the story of fearful, struggling souls. Thus when despair aggravates not only our misery but our weakness, we are not alone. Disheartened and discouraged, the Psalmist cried “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? (Psalm 42:11; 43:5). In his starless night he asked, “where is thy God?” fortunately the Psalmist knew how to escape from the clutches of Despair: “I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God”

 

  1. The sin of JEALOUSY or  ENVY

 

  1. The sin of PRAYERLESSNESS

 

The language of our prayers may not be correct, but God knows our inner thoughts and desires and answers prayer according to His won intelligence – not ours. What he cannot condone is our failure to pray and intercede for others.

We are urged to pray at all times and for all men. “In every thing by prayer” (Philippians 4:6; ITimothy 2:11). To be delivered in the hour of temptation we must “Watch and pray” (Matthew 26:41)

 

  1. The sin of UNBELIEF

Here we are not dealing with the blatant unbelief of the godless our Lord had in mind when He said that, unless they believe in Him as the only Saviour from sin, they must certainly perish (John 3:15-21), but with the lack of faith of which saved sinners are guilty. How unworthy of us it is to doubt Him who died and rose again for our salvation, and who, as the risen glorified Lord, is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could possibly ask or think! Yet there are times when we doubt whether He is able to meet the needs of our home, business, or religious life, or whether He can satisfy our hearts apart from the addition of worldly pleasures and pursuits. When we fail to take God at His word, to bring to pass all that He has declared, we make Him a liar. As it is impossible for Him to lie, He must fulfil all that He has promised His own (Numbers 23:19).

 

  1. The sin of CARNALITY

Three men are identified in Paul’s writings. The Natural Man, The Carnal Man and The Spirit Man

(i). The Natural Man (1Corinthians 2:14) – Spiritless. He is unregenerate, unrenewed,unchanged spiritutally. The natural man is “the old man” or “the man of old”. The sinner prior to the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, whereby the penitent, believing sinner becomes a “new man”. He is called natural because he is under the influence of unchanged and unchangeable inherited Adamic nature, which we all receive at birth. It is in this sense that we are “born in sin”, or with a bias toward evil, a heritage from Adam and Eve. The unrenewed mind and will moves in the world of self and sense only. Paul does not blame the natural man for his inability, but shows the cause of his limitation. He is helpless to appreciate a divine revelation for he does not have the Spirit which is of God. He is Spiritless.

 

(ii)  The Carnal Man (1Corinthians 3:1-2) – Spiritborn.

The carnal man is, in one sense, spiritual, in that he received the gift of the Spirit in the moment of his acceptance of Christ as his personal Saviour. Spirit born, however, he lacks he graces of the Spirit. He is saved from the guilt and penalty of past sin but is not sanctified and consequently is unable to comprehend and relish spiritual thing.

The Spiritual Man (1 Corinthians 2: 15-16 – Spirit-filled. To be Spirit-controlled and therefore spiritually-minded is the divine ideal every professed Christian can and should attain. It is a designation implying what is most prominent in the life and labours of a saint, namely the will of the Spirit. The spiritual man is a Spirit-filled Christian in whom an ungrieved, unhindered Spirit manifests Christ by producing a true Christian character.

Jacob, the patriarch who lived for 147 years, had a pilgrimage divided into three unequal parts: 75 years from his birth to Bethel, 20 years from Bethel to Peniel, 57 years from Peniel to his death. In the first part, we see Jacob as the Natural man: crafty, selfish, worldly, not looking beyond self-advantage. In the second part, he was the Carnal man: forced from home by deceit, he came to Bethel where he had a conversion and entered into a covenant with God. In the third part he was the Spiritual man: having seen God face to face his nature and name were changed; he was no longer Jacob, the cheat, the swindler, but Israel – a prince of, or with, God.

 

  1. The sin of  FAITHLESSNESS

 

When Jesus was here in flesh, he called the God-honoured nation of Israel a “faithless generation” (Matthew 17:17). Among Christ’s seven letters to those churches in Asia Minor, there is the brief one He sent to the saints at Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11). And what a challenging letter it was! Knowing that severe persecutions and cruel deaths awaited the saints, Christ exhorted them to be “faithful unto death

 

  1. The sin of COMPLAINING
  2. The sin of YIELLDING
  3. The sin of MONOTONY
  4. The sin of FORBIDDEN ALLIANCES

 

 

  1. The sin of WORRY

 

There is faith unmixed with doubt

A love all free from fear

A walk with Jesus, where is felt

His presence always near

There is a rest that God bestows

Transcending pardon’s peace

A lowly, sweeter simplicity

Where inward conflicts cease

 

There is a service God-inspired,

A zeal that tireless grows

Where self is crucified with Christ

And joy unceasing flows

There is a being “right with God”

That yields to His command

Unswerving, true fidelity,

A loyalty that stands.

 

There is meekness free from pride,

That feels no anger rise

At slights, or hate, or ridicule,

But counts the cross a prize.

There is a patience that endures

Without a fret or care,

But joyful sings, “His will be done,

My Lord’s sweet grace I share”

 

 

  1. The sin of PRIDE

 

Oh why should the spirit of mortal be proud?

Like a fast-flitting meteor and a fast-flying cloud,

A flash of lightning and break of the wave,

He passes from life to his rest in the grave.

  • William Knox, Scottish poet (1787)

 

  1. The sin of WHICH EASILY BESETS US

In his letter to the Hebrews, in the section dealing with the walk and worship of the believer-priest, the writer uses the phrase, “Let us lay aside… the sin which doth so easily beset us” (Hebrews 12:1). The question arises whether any particular sin is intended here. Several scholars have described this particular sin variously as: “the sin that hangeth on us”; “the sin that so readily entangles our feet”; “the sin that subtly encircles us”; “the sin which so easily submits one to calamity”. All of us have some sin to which we are especially prone, which hangs on us, entangles our feet, exposes us to calamity. Yes, there is some parasite clinging to the tree, some blemish in an otherwise good life, some alloy in our gold some dead fly in the ointment.

  1. The sin of FRETFULNESS
  2. The sin of FRIVOLITY

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All of us have some sin to which we are especially prone, which hangs on us, entangles our feet, exposes us to calamity. Yes, there is some parasite clinging to the tree, some blemish in an otherwise good life, some alloy in our gold some dead fly in the ointment.

 

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  1. The sin of IMPATIENCE
  2. The sin of MALICE

 

  1. The sin of UNBRIDLED TONGUE

The Bible has much to say about the double power of the tongue: to bless or blight, to encourage or enflame. Whether our words are cordial or a curse depends upon who controls our thoughts and tongues.

Philosophers and moralizers have supplied us with expressive epigrams of the remarkable power of man’s faculty of speech:

 

A fool’s tongue is long enough to cut his own throat

Put chains on your tongue or it will put chains on you

A tongue given to speaking e il is the sign of an evil mind

A tame tongue is a rare bird

 

  1. The sin of ISIPIDITY

The sin of being “Good for Nothing”!

 

  1. The sin of FRUITLESSNESS

As trees planted by the Lord we are always fruitful when we can pray out of sincere hearts:

I have no cares of blessed will

For all my cares are Thine

 

And Frances Ridley Havergal has taught us to sing:

Deepen all Thy work, O Master,

Strengthen every downward root;

Only do Thou ripen faster,

More and more Thy pleasant fruit;

Purge me, prune me, self abase,

Only let me grow in grace.

 

 

  1. The sin of TEMPER

“Unsaintly saints,” according to A.W. Tozer, “are the tragedy of Christianity”, and when they are severe, sharp-tongued, and guilty of an unholy temper, “they constitute a plague and pestilence”

 

Calm me, my God, and keep me calm,

Soft resting on Thy Breast;

Soothe me with holy hymn and psalm,

And bid my spirit rest.

 

 

  1. The sin of SELF-IGNORANCE

With the rapid development of the sciences man has never known as much as he does today. Our forefather, for instance, would be astounded at man’s present conquest of space. Discoveries like the radio and TV have turned the gospel into a world-wide message in a way never before possible. But with all the added knowledge of the universe there is perhaps a lessened knowledge of the world of our own personality in which Heaven and hell fight for supremacy. In spite of the introduction of psychology and psychiatry, man seems to know less of himself than he used to know.

Shakespeare in King Henry VI would have us know:

Ignorance is the curse of God

Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to Heaven

 

A Christian has more trouble getting to know himself than any other person. Worldsworth wrote about being “more skilful in self-knowledge” which agrees with the exhortation of the ancient philosopher, “Man know thyself!”

Within my earthly temple there’s a crowd,

There’s one of us that’s humble, one that’s proud,

There’s one who’s broken-hearted for his sins,

There’s one who, unrepentant, sits and grins,

There’s one who loves his neighbour as himself,

There’s one who cares for nought but gain and self;

From such perplexing care I should be free,

If once I could determine which is me

 

Because of our finite minds we cannot read the meaning of His plans and of our tears, but this we do know:

 

We have the smiling of His face,

And all the refuge of His grace,

While here below

 

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1John 2:1)

 

 

 

 

 

Part Four – SAVIOUR OF SAINTS

 

We are apt to forget that Scripture proclaims a gospel for saints as well as for sinners, and that Jesus is the Saviour of the saved as well as the lost. Paul reminds us that Christ is the Saviour “of all men, and particularly of those who believe in Him” (1Timothy 4:10 Phillips)

When, as lost sinners, we repented of our former sins and received Christ as our personal Saviour, He brought us into union with Himself, seeing that, as our Substitute, He dealt with the guilt of our sin.. Now, as our Righteousness and indwelling Lord, He lives to save us from the defilement and dominion of sin.

 

Sin’s dominion crushed and broken

By the power of grace alone,

God’s own holiness within thee,

His own beauty on thy brow;

This shall be thy pilgrim brightness,

This thy blessed portion now.

 

If we would be practising saints we must constantly realize that the new nature, by the power of the Indwelling Spirit, can triumph over the old nature. Such a victory will show by the fruit we bear that we are saints in Christ Jesus. As we are obedient to His will, we experience what it is to follow Him in the train of His triumph.

 

Jesus is stronger than Satan and sin,

Satan to Jesus must bow;

Therefore I triumph without and within:

Jesus saves me now.

 

If, as saints, we obey what we read today the Lord will grant us salvation from known and conscious sin, but if we disobey the divine voice disobedience closes the door of revelation and of victory. It is as we hide His Word in our hearts that as saints we are kept from sinning against the Lord (Psalm 119:11)

 

And finally, the final Take-Home:

 

SINNER – SAINT

 

I am a sinner – this I know:

And so is every man by nature of his wayward will and acts, his erring thoughts, his low desires.

I am a sinner – this I know:

And confess it in contrition to myself and God, and at times to others.

 

 

But I am also a saint:

One who has seen God’s vision of what I am meant to be in Christ

And strives to draw nearer to the Being

 

 

For a saint is a self-confessed sinner

Dedicated to the ways and spirit and kingdom of his Lord:

Devoted to God’s high goals for men

Resolved with his Master’s help to rise above his sin

Howe’er oft he falls:

Committed to the heavenly kingdom’s ends,

Concerned with the yearnings and needs of others as his own,

Conscious of his call to serve them all

 

A saint is one

Ever led by the love of God, the inspiration of His Spirit,

The fellowship and example of His Son,

Purified, humbled, enlightened, inspired, and taught:

And led where there is work which he must do for God!

 ENDS

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