On Monday we looked at Jesus speaking about how we ought to take sin seriously. He commands us to cut sin off no matter the cost. Then on Tuesday John Owen gave us 9 practical ways to put to death the deeds of the body (flesh) by the Spirit. Today I want to look at why sin keeps us from seeking Christ most abundantly.
Sadly there are times as Christians we pursue sin going against our God-given conscience and more importantly God's authoritative word. When this occurs our focus has shifted off of Christ to pursue our sinful desires. Our hearts have been deceived to "enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin" instead of trusting God's promise that in his presence there is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16:11). As Christians, God promises that "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
As Christians we must find our satisfaction in Christ and in Christ alone. It is true that "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick" so we are unable to understand it (Jeremiah 17:9). We must never pridefully think our hearts have arrived at a place where sin no longer takes place. Can you imagine? This is why we long for the day when we pass from this place to eternal glory with our Savior. No more pain, sorrow, crying or sin when we get to Paradise. But while here on earth we must wage war against our sinful flesh that tries to steal our desires and affections. We can identify with the psalmist when he says, "My flesh and my heart may fail." Praise God he does not leave us there but goes on to say, "But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Ps. 73:26). God is the strength of our heart and he is our portion forever but when we do not confess our sin this truth is hindered. Suddenly we are not seeking Christ but trying to satisfy our flesh with objects that do not ultimately satisfy. J.C. Ryle says it this way:
"What is the reason that men are so half-hearted in seeking Christ? Why are they so soon deterred, and checked, and discouraged in drawing near to God? The answer is short and simple. They do not feel sufficiently their own sins. They are not thoroughly convinced of the plague of their own hearts, and the disease of their own souls. Once let a man see his own guilt, as it really is, and he will never rest till he has found pardon and peace in Christ"
May we pursue Christ with clean hands and a pure heart desiring nothing else on this earth beside him. How? Gaze upon the cross. Praise God for the sacrifice of his Son on your behalf. He paid the price for sin. Your sin. My sin. On Thanksgiving praise God for the blessings he has bestowed on you through the cross.
Grace upon grace,