Sin and Sins; Sins After Conversion

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
I find the same confusion of sin and sins as among them all consciously and willfully, the same gross mistake as to where we are to be conformed to Christ. It is the fruit of the generally low estimate of what Christianity is, and in judging this may be useful. Do doubts and fears depart by surrender to Jesus? Take his use of 1 John 3:66Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (1 John 3:6) and compare 9, and see if it be just. In 13 all is the same confusion and a perpetual cleansing by blood, which though to be borne with as ignorance, is all wrong. Also it applies to sins, not sin. Again in 1 John 1:88If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8) confusion of sin and sinning, "an omission deliberately decided on," puzzled her, and trust in Jesus settled it. But, he that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin. It ought to have been a cause for distress, and was not inventing a cause for it. I judge there was very real mischief done her by her new views. She was intensely happy after a thorough evil working of sin in her, various ways of gratifying suggesting themselves to her mind; she was delivered, and no doubt the Lord makes us happy in delivering us, but she appears to me to take this sinful nature and positive dominion of sin in her for a time, uncommon easy. I admit all the grace that delivers, the positive intervention of Christ that delivers, but I should have been, while blessing Christ for His grace, miserable at having had all this working in me; have said, 'if you had been fuller of Christ this would not have been the case—there has been negligence in prayer, want of diligence of heart, consequent want of the sense of God's presence—my fault has given Satan an advantage over me.' I see no trace of what she ought to have felt after such evil working in her heart. I do not stop to notice a very demonstrative nature and much reference to feelings, not that I think that the most expressed are the deepest; but all these traits tell me the low ground they are upon, comparing themselves with themselves—themselves it may be set free, in which I rejoice, but all judged of by feeling of deliverance compared with previous bondage, all about themselves, and I may say, nothing about Christ. It is a sign of christian youth, not of maturity—a babe in Christ speaks of what it feels, a mature Christian of what is in Christ.
All this may be useful in rousing to wants of soul something better than what is going. But it is a pity that if so, there should be so little knowledge of self and knowledge of Christ in it. It is interesting to see deliverance, but to give it out as a kind of wonderful standard is a mistake. It may be well that this side of what a Christian may feel should be set before souls. But you cannot but see that it is all what is produced in us, not what is in Christ and what Christ is. I do not want to depreciate spiritual attainment nor faith in promises. There are cases where we have to watch that mere knowledge does not displace and enfeeble it, but I cannot accept its being substituted for Christ where too the heart has not given itself up altogether to the Lord, the declarations of those who have may awaken the conscience. Many, alas, are far from having done it, and if not watched the world and self creep in, let it be judged. But I ask after reading the book, if Miss F. K. H. and Mr. W—do not rest on the mind more than Christ. This may be useful to awaken, not to mature. And now mark how dangerously and mischievously scripture has to be changed for the system. He adds to sinning, willfully and consciously. Scripture says if a man sin willfully there is no remedy, and what so grieved Paul certainly was not sin in Rom. 7 Further, unconscious sins if they flow from carelessness are a more serious ground of judgment maybe than conscious ones. Again, "goes on cleansing," which was what comforted this lady, is quite false, and mischievously so. It is a bad sign when we have to change scripture to make it do. So, complete in Him; this is what all Christians are said to be. I do not doubt true heartedness and sincerity—superiority to myself in many feelings, but I cannot see maturity in Christ. As I have said, a young Christian speaks much of self and what it feels—natural when they are young—old ones who know themselves, much of Christ. I do not find in any of them Christ has His place. It is well to awaken, but putting it as a model lowers the standard and means of advance towards it. What is beneath the surface is hidden by the glowing expressions of what is in it. I want to get the spectrum of what the sun is made of, and not merely the photosphere, and then Christ will have a larger place Himself.
Ever Truly yours August, 1874