"Many a man may see his portrait here! The spendthrift hacks away his estate and falls into destitution and disgrace. The drunkard cuts at his health and strength, his family comfort and household peace, and when he has finished his mad work, he drops into ruin, through his own folly. The man of low, debauched habits, is chopping, with fearful effect, at his own body and soul, and will, ere long, rue the lusts which hurl him into disease, agony, and death. There are other fools beside the man in the woodcut, who are lopping off the branch which holds them up. It is base ingratitude when men are malicious and cruel to those who are their best friends. Wives and parents often have to feel sharp cuts from those whom they lovingly support and are anxious to preserve from ruin. Shame that it should be so!
Self-righteous reader, you are ready to join with us in any censure which we may pass upon the madness of the sins we have just hinted at; but permit us to ask you, whether you yourself are not photographed in our picture? You are resting upon the bough of good works, and yet, every day, your faults, imperfections, and sins are rendering it less and less able to bear your weight. It never was a firm support, and if you know yourself, and are candid enough to confess your shortcomings, you will at once perceive that it has become, in the judgment of conscience, a very frail dependence, quite unworthy of your confidence. Had you never sinned, and, consequently, never made one gash in the bough, we might tolerate your trusting to it; but since you have cut at it again and again, and it is ready even now to snap beneath you, we pray you, leave it for a surer resting-place. All reliance on self in any form or shape is gross folly. Feelings, works, prayers, almsgivings, religious observances, are all too feeble to support a sinful soul. "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid—Jesus Christ the righteous." "Whosoever believeth in him is not condemned." " He is able also to save them to the uttermost who come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Trust Jesus and he will never fail you."
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon
I ran across this article in the blogosphere. It is an excerpt from C.H. Spurgeon's (1834-92) tract publication, Sword and the Trowel. As I read, I was reminded of how often we tend to forget how severe our sin nature really is. For example, I recently ran across an article where a preacher said that it was "not his intent to focus on right thinking, but right living". A noble sentiment indeed, however it will fall very short of accomplishing anything. How exactly is one suppose to live right if he doesn't think right?! If I believe that 2 is 3 and 3 is 5, would I be able to solve the mystery of 2+2? No, because my thinking is out of joint; therefore my ability to come to the right answer to the equation is impossible. It amazes me how we overlook the fact that scripture points out time and time again that sin does not just effect us morally, it effects us noetically (on matters of the intellect as well). Sin makes us irrational, illogical, and at times, down right stupid. In fact it is at this point where the moral decline begins. May we recover a full understanding of the doctrine of sin. No man, apart from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, can think clearly enough to bring himself out from under the power of sin. Only Christ can accomplish this for him.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. - Romans 1:21-23 ESV
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. - Romans 1:28-32 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2 ESV
Soli Deo Gloria,