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Deceitfulness of Sin

October 11, 2018 | by: Mike Law | 0 Comments

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Reflections

Brothers & Sisters,

Just how dangerous is sin? Have you asked yourself that lately? When tempted to sin, we don’t generally stop and think to ourselves, “This could be really dangerous.” That’s part of sin’s great deception. Our temptations present themselves as safe, but this is really a deception of the highest order. What is more, sin has a compounding effect.

Once committed, sin begins to form a hardening layer over our hearts. Once we have committed sin, we are prone to think that nothing bad has come of it, and this only frees us up to go after it again. In this, we are deceived, and are deceiving ourselves. In this we are being hardened and are hardening our hearts. John Owen was aware of this, and so he warned believers of the deceitfulness of sin in his masterful book, The Mortification of Sin. Consider what Owen said:

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’  that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:12-13).

‘Beware,’ he says, ‘use all means, consider your temptations, watch diligently; there is a treachery, a deceit in sin, that tends to the hardening of your hearts from the fear of God.’ The hardening is so serious that your heart becomes insensitive to moral influence. Sin leads to this. Every sin and lust will make a little progress in this direction. You who at one time were very tender and would melt under the influence of the Word, and under trials will grow ‘sermon proof’ and ‘trial proof.’

You who used to have great assurance of God’s love, trembling at His presence, the thought of death, and your appearance before Him, will now have a hardness in your heart that remains unmoved by these things.

You will have no more conviction in your soul about your sin. You will be able to pass over spiritual duties like prayer, hearing, and reading, with your heart not in the least affected by them. Sin will be a light thing to you and you will not be much troubled about it.

And what will be the end of such a condition? Can a sadder thing happen to you? Is this not enough to make any heart to tremble, to think of being in such a state? Alongside of this you will have little thoughts of His grace, of mercy, of the blood of Christ, of the law, heaven, and hell. Take heed! This is the outcome of harbouring your lust—the hardening of your heart, the searing of your conscience, the blinding of your mind, the dulling of your affections, and deceiving of your whole soul.

 

[John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, Treasures of John Owen (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), 68-69]

 

Christian, if you consider your tenderness toward God to be a good gift, if you wish not to jeopardize your assurance of God’s love, if you think conviction of sin is a mighty mercy from God, then remember sin’s deceitful and hardening effects. And Christian, if you are now paralyzed by fear of having fallen into sin, remember the words of the great hymn writer Elvina M. Hall:

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow'r and Thine alone,
Can change the leper's spots
And melt the heart of stone.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

 

Warmly in Christ,

 

Mike