“Surely that man must be in an unhealthy state of soul, who can think of all that Jesus suffered–and yet love those sins for which that suffering was undergone! It was sin which wove the crown of thorns! It was sin which pierced our Lord’s hands and feet and side! It was sin which brought Him to Gethsemane and Calvary, to the cross and to the grave! Cold must our hearts be, if we do not hate sin and labor to get rid of it–though we may have to cut off the right hand and pluck out the right eye in doing it!”
“In order that by means of the Commandment the unspeakable sinfulness of sin might be plainly shown.” Romans 7:13
“The Christianity which is from the Holy Spirit, will always have a very deep view of the sinfulness of sin. It will not merely regard sin as a blemish and misfortune, which makes men and women objects of pity and compassion. It will see sin as the curse which cursed God’s beautiful creation, the cursed thing which makes the whole earth groan and struggle in pain, the abominable thing which God hates, the thing which makes people guilty and lost in his Maker’s sight, the thing which deserves God’s eternal wrath and condemnation. It will look on sin as the cause of all sorrow and unhappiness, strife and wars, quarrels and contentions, sickness and death!
Above all, it will see in sin the thing which will ruin us eternally–unless we can find a ransom, lead us captive–unless we can get its chains broken, and destroy our happiness, both here and hereafter–unless we fight against it, even unto death.
“Study universal holiness of life. Your whole usefulness depends on this, for your sermons last but an hour or two–but your life preaches all the week!
If Satan can only make a covetous minister a lover of praise, of pleasure, of good eating–he has ruined your ministry.
In great measure, according to the purity and graces of the instrument, will be success. It is not great talents God blesses, so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an powerful weapon in the hand of God!”
“As precious liquors are best kept in clean vessels–so sound doctrine is best kept in a pure heart and life. Who, indeed, would knowingly pour a choice wine into a tainted cask? It would be foolish to do so.
When we hear of men living in sin, and yet claiming to be children of God–we are disgusted with their pretenses, but we are not deceived by their professions.
In the same manner, we care little for those who are orthodox Christians in creed–if it is clear that they are heterodox in life. He who believes the truth–should himself be true. How can we expect others to receive our religion–if it leaves us foul, false, malicious, and selfish?
We sicken at the sight of a dirty dish, and refuse even good food when it is placed thereon. So pure and holy is the doctrine of the cross, that he who hears it aright, will have his ears cleansed, he who believes it aright, will have his heart purged, and he who preaches it aright, will have his tongue purified. Woe unto that man who brings reproach upon the gospel by an unholy life!
Lord, evermore make us pure vessels fit for Your own use, and then fill us with the pure wine of the grapes of sound doctrine and wholesome instruction. Do not allow us to be such ‘foul cups’–as to be only fit for the wine of Sodom!”
“…the new birth involves the acquisition of a new nature through the implanting within us of the very seed or lifegiving power of God. Birth of God is a deep, radical, inward transformation. Moreover, the new nature received at the new birth remains. It exerts a strong internal pressure towards holiness. It is the abiding influence of God’s seed within everyone who is born of God, enables John to affirm without fear of contradiction that he cannot go on sinning (2 Cor.5:17; 2 Peter 1:4).”
– John Stott, The Letters of John, p.131 (italics in original)
“There follows a definition of sin. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness (anomia). There are other definitions of sin in the New Testament (e.g. Rom. 14:23; Jas. 4:17; 1 Jn. 5:17); but this, far from being ‘somewhat superficial’ (Dodd), is the clearest and most revealing. The statement ‘sin is lawlessness‘ (that is, a defiant violation of God’s moral law) so identifies the two as to render them interchangeable terms. Wherever one of them is read, it is possible to substitute the other. It is not just that sin manifests itself in disregard for God’s law, but that sin is in its very nature lawlessness. Lawlessness is the essence, not the result, of sin. Thus exposed in its ugly reality, the seriousness of sin emerges. The heretics seem to have taught that to the enlightened Christian questions of morality were a matter of indifference; today our sins are excused either by euphemisms like ‘personality problems’ or by the plea of cultural relativity. In contrast to such underestimates of sin, John declares that it is not just a negative failure (hamartia, sin, meaning literally ‘missing the mark’, and adikia, unrighteousness, a deviation from what is right or just), but essentially an active rebellion against God’s known will. It is important to acknowledge this, because the first step towards holy living is to recognize the true nature and wickedness of sin.”
– John Stott, The Letters of John, p.126-127
“Looking at the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer, we can see that this is the first priority of which Jesus spoke. His initial request was that the name of God be hallowed. It is the Greek word hagios, which is literally translated ‘holy.’ The top priority for the Christian is to see that God’s name is kept holy, for it is holy. If that were the only prayer request the Christian community ever made, and if believers made it earnestly and regularly, I suspect the revival we pray for and the reformation we so earnestly desire would be accomplished in no time. Everything–our work, our ministry, and all aspects of our daily lives–would be affected.”
– R.C. Sproul, Does Prayer Change Things?, p.28
“I know your thoughts!” Job 21:27
Do we pay sufficient attention to our thoughts? Every thought has a character–it is either good or bad. Every thought produces an effect–it either sanctifies or depraves.
Sin begins in thought; holiness begins in thought; misery begins in thought; happiness begins in thought. Thought decides the state of man–hence the Bible says, “As he thinks in his heart–so is he” [Proverbs 23:7].
We cannot tell what a man is by his words, nor always by his acts–but if we could get at his thoughts, we could. God attends to our thoughts, and he wishes us to do so. He asks, “How long shall your vain thoughts lodge within you?” He testifies, “I know the thoughts that come into your mind–every one of them!” Not only so–but Jesus has declared, “I am He who searches the thoughts and the heart!” [Revelation 2:23]
Reader, God knows the thoughts that come into your mind!
– James Smith
“Jesus is the model and the exemplar of what it means to love one another. ‘By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers’ [1 John 3:16]. Here John lays down a pattern that is imbedded throughout God’s Word: God’s commands to us are rooted in the wonder of his grace to us in his Son.
“What constrains obedience is not merely the fact that God himself commands us, though that would be a sufficient motive. Being the God of grace that he is, our Father seeks always to give us further powerful reasons for obedience. We see this pattern in Exodus 20:1-17 when God, through Moses, gave his people the Ten Commandments. Before he says, ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ (verse 3), he says, I am the LORD [the covenant Lord] your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery’ [verse 3]. What a glorious incentive to obedience! God had rescued and redeemed them; he was their God, the covenant Lord who has made them his people.”
– Iam Hamilton, Let’s Study the Letters of John, p.44