There’s so much sin in the world that we often overlook it’s seriousness before God. The Book of James teaches that if we break one law that we’re guilty of all. Without our redemption in Christ, our one sin condemns us before our holy God.
The Sinfulness of Sin by Ralph Venning seeks to correct our nonchalant view of fallenness. It’s far to difficult to plumb the depths of this book (I’d end up copying the whole thing), but here are the highlights from section two:
- Now the law not only forbids the doing of evil, whether by bought, word or deed, but also commands the doing of good. So to omit the good commanded is sin, as well (or ill) as is the doing of the evil that is forbidden.
- Whatever then, transgresses the law of God – in whole or in part (James 2:10) – is therefore and therein a sin, whether it break an affirmative or a negative precept i.e. whether it is the omission of good or the commission of evil.
- Sin is a transgression of God’s law, which is not only holy and just, as made and given by a holy and just God, but also good, as it respects man, for whom God made it, according to our text and its context, and as it is in Deuteronomy 5.29 and 6.24, and many other places. I say, sin being a transgression of God’s law, which was made for man’s good, the sinfulness of sin must needs lie in this, that it is contrary (1) to God (2) to man.
- The sinfulness of sin not only appears from, but consists in this, that it is contrary to God. Indeed, it is contrary and enmity itself. Carnal men, or sinners are called bv the name of enemies to God (Romans 5. 8 with 10; Colossians 1. 21); but the carnal mind or sin is called enmity itself (Romans 8. 7). Accordingly, it and its acts are expressed by names of enmity and acts of hostility, such as, walking contrary to God (Leviticus 26.21), rebelling against God (Isaiah 1. 2), rising up against him as an enemy (Micah 2. 8), striving and contending with God (Isaiah 45. 9), and despising God (Numbers 11. 20). It makes men haters of God (Romans 1. 30), resisters of God (Acts 7. 51), fighters against God (Acts 5. 39 and 23. 9), even blasphemers of God, and in short very atheists, who say there no God (Psalm 14. I).
- In short, sin is the dare of God’s justice, mercy, the jeer of his patience, the slight of his power, the contempt of his love, as one writer prettily expresses this ugly thing. We may go on and say, it is the upbraiding of his providence (Psalm 50), the scoff of his promise (2 Peter 3. 3-4), the approach of his wisdom (Isaiah 29. 16).
- Shall I be seduced by you to grieve the God of all my joy, to displease the God of all my comfort, to vex the God of all my contentment, to do evil against a good God, by whom I live, move, and have my being? Oh no!
- Now since sin is a separation between God and man, an interruption of this communion and conformity, it must needs be prejudicial and hurtful to him. Besides, the commandment of which sin is a transgression was given not only for God’s sake, that he might have glory from man’s obedience, but for man’s sake, that man might joy the good and benefit of his obedience, and find that in keeping the commands of God there is great reward. These two were twisted together, and no sooner is the law transgressed but God and man are joint-sufferers, God in his glory and man in his good. Man’s suffering follows at the heel of sin, indeed, as he suffers by sinning, so in sinning; suffering and sinning involve each other. No sooner did sin enter into the world, but death, which is a privation of good, entered by it, with it, and in it, for sin is the sting of death.
- Man no sooner begins to live, but he begins to die; and after a few days, which are but as a span, and pass away more swiftly than a weaver’s shuttle, sin lays all in the dust, princes as well beggars. Sin has reduced man’s age to a very little pittance, from almost a thousand to a very uncertainty, not only to seventy, but to seven, for among men no man’s life is valued at more. Man’s time is short and uncertain: he that is born today is not sure to live a day.
- Sin has made men worship either (1) a false God, which is idolatry; or (2) God falsely, which is superstition.
- Is no less a power than that which raised Christ from the dead, that makes men willing to believe and obey the Gospel (Psalm 110:3; Ephesians 1.19).
- In this world there is a door of hope, a day, an offer, and means of grace, space for repentance, a Mediator in Heaven a patient God, and a possibility of being blessed. But once damned, the door is shut and it is in vain to knock. The day, offers, and means of grace are at an end. No room is left for repentance. God’s long suffering will suffer no longer. The mediation of Christ Jesus is over. There is no possibility of mending one’s condition. We should hear the words of the wise: ‘Whatsoever they hand find to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work (no working out salvation) in the grave, where you go’ (Ecclesiastes 9. 10). Think of it, poor sinner, think of it in time before it is too late; for if you die in your sins, though you should weep out your eyes in hell it will do you no good.