Tag Archives: Indwelling Sin

“The old weather-beaten Christian” by John Newton

“I am almost continually a burden to myself, and find such a difference between what I seem to be in the pulpit and in public, and what I really feel myself to be before the Lord, that I am often amazed and confounded.

And was it not that the Lord has been pleased in some measure to establish me in the knowledge of my justifying righteousness, and the unalterable security of His covenant of grace, I should be ready to give all up.

I am kept at a great distance from the full possession of my privileges; but, through mercy, the evils I feel are confined within myself; the Lord keeps me from stumbling outwardly, and does not suffer Satan to distress me with those grievous temptations which he has always in readiness when permitted.

I trust my hope is founded upon a rock, and that He to whom I have been enabled to commit my soul, will keep it to the end. Yet surely I am a wonder to myself.

Exercises of mind are common to all who know any thing of themselves, and have some just views of their obligations to redeeming love.

But those who preach to others must expect a double portion of trials. We need them in order to keep us humble, upon which, as a means, our success and comfort especially depend.

We need them that we may know how to speak a word in season to weary souls.

Innumerable are the trials, fears, complaints, and temptations which the Lord’s people are beset with; some in one way, some in another: the minister must, as it were, have a taste of all, or it might happen a case might come before him to which he had nothing to say.

And we need them likewise to bring our hard hearts into a feeling disposition and sympathy with those who suffer, otherwise we should be too busy or too happy to attend unto their moans.

Surely much of that hasty and censorious spirit, too often observable in young converts, arises from their having, as yet, a very imperfect acquaintance with the deceitfulness of their own hearts.

But, the old weather-beaten Christian, who has learnt by sorrowful experience how weak he is in himself, and what powerful subtle enemies he has to grapple with, acquires a tenderness in dealing with bruises and broken bones, which greatly conduces to his acceptance and usefulness.

I desire, therefore, to be resigned and thankful, and to give myself up to the Lord to lead me in whatever way He sees best.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 6 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 6: 129-130.

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“I am a silly sheep, but I have a gracious, watchful Shepherd” by John Newton

“Many splendid houses are dungeons with respect to spiritual light.

A believer could not bear the thoughts of living in any situation, unless he enjoyed the light of the Sun of Righteousness; and with this any situation is tolerable.

You know the value of this light; and you are favoured with it. Therefore I doubt not your house is a good one.

May you enjoy it more and more, and now you are withdrawn from the noise of the town, and (as I suppose) in some measure from the hurry of business, may your leisure be sanctified, and a sense of the Lord’s presence brighten every hour of your future life.

And may you dwell, as Jacob lodged for one night, at the gate of heaven, till the appointed moment when the gate shall open and let you in, to be forever with the Lord.

In the mean time, you are happy that the Lord has favoured you with many opportunities and advantages of promoting His glory, and the good of His people, and given you a heart to improve them.

I would tell you how it is with me if I could; at the best, it would be an inconsistent account.

I am what I would not, and would what I cannot.

I rejoice and mourn; I stand fast, and am thrown down in the same moment.

I am both rich and poor; I can do nothing, yet I can do all things. I live by miracle.

I am opposed beyond my strength, yet I am not overpowered. I gain when I lose, and I often am a loser by my gains.

In a word, I am a sinner, a vile one; but a sinner believing in the name of Jesus.

I am a silly sheep, but I have a gracious, watchful Shepherd.

I am a dull scholar, but I have a Master who can make the dullest learn.

He still bears with me, He still employs me, He still enables me, He still owns me.

Oh, for a coal of heavenly fire to warm my heart, that I might praise Him as I ought!

As a people, we have much cause of complaint in ourselves, and much cause of thankfulness to Him.

In the main, I hope we are alive, though not as we could wish; our numbers rather increase from year to year, and some flourish. In the ordinances, we are favoured in a measure with his presence.

But, oh, for a day of His power; that His work may run broader and deeper, and the fire of grace spread from heart to heart, till the whole town be in a flame!

To this I hope you will give a hearty Amen, and often remember us in your prayers.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 6 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 6: 104-105.

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“I am a silly sheep, but I have a gracious, watchful Shepherd” by John Newton

“Many splendid houses are dungeons with respect to spiritual light.

A believer could not bear the thoughts of living in any situation, unless he enjoyed the light of the Sun of Righteousness; and with this any situation is tolerable.

You know the value of this light; and you are favoured with it. Therefore I doubt not your house is a good one.

May you enjoy it more and more, and now you are withdrawn from the noise of the town, and (as I suppose) in some measure from the hurry of business, may your leisure be sanctified, and a sense of the Lord’s presence brighten every hour of your future life.

And may you dwell, as Jacob lodged for one night, at the gate of heaven, till the appointed moment when the gate shall open and let you in, to be forever with the Lord.

In the mean time, you are happy that the Lord has favoured you with many opportunities and advantages of promoting his glory, and the good of his people, and given you a heart to improve them.

I would tell you how it is with me if I could; at the best, it would be an inconsistent account.

I am what I would not, and would what I cannot.

I rejoice and mourn; I stand fast, and am thrown down in the same moment.

I am both rich and poor; I can do nothing, yet I can do all things. I live by miracle.

I am opposed beyond my strength, yet I am not overpowered. I gain when I lose, and I often am a loser by my gains.

In a word, I am a sinner, a vile one; but a sinner believing in the name of Jesus.

I am a silly sheep, but I have a gracious, watchful Shepherd.

I am a dull scholar, but I have a Master who can make the dullest learn.

He still bears with me, He still employs me, He still enables me, He still owns me.

Oh, for a coal of heavenly fire to warm my heart, that I might praise Him as I ought!

As a people, we have much cause of complaint in ourselves, and much cause of thankfulness to Him.

In the main, I hope we are alive, though not as we could wish; our numbers rather increase from year to year, and some flourish. In the ordinances, we are favoured in a measure with his presence.

But, oh, for a day of His power; that His work may run broader and deeper, and the fire of grace spread from heart to heart, till the whole town be in a flame!

To this I hope you will give a hearty Amen, and often remember us in your prayers.”

–John Newton, The Works of John NewtonVolume 6 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1988), 6: 104-105.

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“The never-failing springs of covenant grace” by John Owen

“Besides the continual supplies of grace that constantly, according to the tenure of the covenant, are communicated unto believers, which keeps them that they thirst no more as to a total indigence, there is, moreover, a readiness in the Lord Christ to yield peculiar succour to the souls of His, according as their occasions shall require.

The apostle tells us that He is ‘a merciful High Priest,’ and ‘able’ (that is, ready, prepared, and willing) ‘to succour them that are tempted,’ (Heb. 2:18); and we are on that account invited to ‘come with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,’ (Heb. 4:16)—that is, grace sufficient, seasonable, suitable unto any especial trial or temptation that we may be exercised withal.

Our merciful High Priest is ready to give out this especial seasonable grace over and above those constant communications of supplies of the Spirit which we mentioned before.

Besides the never-failing springs of ordinary covenant grace, He hath also peculiar refreshing showers for times of drought; and this is exceedingly to the advantage of the saints for their preservation and growth in grace.”

–John Owen, “Indwelling Sin in Believers,” in The Works of John Owen, Volume 6: Temptation and Sin (ed. William H. Goold; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1681/2009), 6: 288.

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“Look to the bright side” by John Newton

“I observe your experience is a mixture of joy and complaint, and thus it must be till the Lord shall be pleased to put an end to our conflict with indwelling sin. Both are right.

We have reason to mourn that there is such an opposition within us to all that is good; and we have reason to rejoice, for Jesus is all-sufficient, and we are complete in Him.

We cannot but mourn to find that our passage lies through fire and water; we ought to rejoice that this difficult way will lead us to a wealthy place, where joy will be unspeakable, glorious, and endless.

We may well mourn that our love to the Lord is so faint and wavering; but oh! What a cause of joy to know that His love to us is infinite and unchangeable.

Our attainment in sanctification is weak and our progress slow; but our justification is perfect, and our hope sure.

May we so look to the bright side of our case as not to be cast down and discouraged, and may we maintain such a sense of the dark side as may keep us from being exalted above measure.”

–John Newton, Letters of John Newton (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1869/2007), 80.

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“The costume kingdom” by Paul David Tripp

“These three things– lack of excitement with the gospel, disappointment with God and with Christianity, and taking on the traits of my treasure rather than the character of Christ– can rip the mask off of the costume kingdom in your life.

Could it be that you have shrunk the kingdom of God down to the size of your little kingdom treasures? Could it be that your excitement with the things of the Lord is not really about the Lord at all?

Could it be that the transcendent glory of God and His kingdom has become for you more of a means to an end rather than the end itself?

The scary thing about the kingdom of self is that it is a costume kingdom. It very quickly takes on the shape and appearance of the kingdom of God.

It is very easy to think that we are living for God, while our personal agenda still rules our hearts and shapes our decisions, words, and actions.

It is very easy to think that we are living for the transcendent joys of intimate communion with God, fueled by a personal enthusiasm for His glory, when in fact we have placed our hope in the shadow glories of this created world.

It is very easy to think that we have exited the narrow confines of our little cubicle kingdoms to breathe the spiritually invigorating air of the kingdom of God, when really we are more entrapped in our cubicles than ever before.

It is very easy for our earth-bound treasures and anxiety-bound needs to masquerade as love for Christ and enthusiasm for His work on earth.

It is very easy to shrink the size of your life to the size of your life and not know it, because the little kingdom of self has been a costume kingdom since the time the fatal deception in the garden…

You are not alone in this battle to unmask and dismantle the little kingdom in your life. Be excited! Your Messiah gives you just what you need for this battle.

The little kingdom leaves you poor, so He offers you the good news of the eternal riches of His grace.

The little kingdom enslaves you, so He endured the cross to set you free. The little kingdom leaves you blind, so He places hands of grace on you to restore your sight.

The little kingdom has left you oppressed, so He purchased your release. In your Lord you find all the resources you need to live with insight and liberty while you breathe the big sky air of His glorious kingdom.”

–Paul David Tripp, A Quest For More: Living For Something Bigger Than You (Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2008),  81-82.

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“Where sin can’t breathe” by Kris Lundgaard

“We worship a tender Father as well as a ‘consuming fire’ (Hebrews 12:28-29). Sin can’t breath in an atmosphere of fear and reverence before God. It suffocates. Can you imagine your lust cheery and prosperous when you are on your face before a holy God?”

–Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1998), 131.

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“Indwelling sin is our Judas” by Kris Lundgaard

“Dante found Brutus, Cassius, and Judas in the deepest pit of hell. Those who are traitors, who win the trust of their friends and then betray from the inside, are the most wicked of all. Indwelling sin is our Judas.”

–Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1998), 31.

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“Indwelling sin is a beard” by Martin Luther

“The original sin in a man is like his beard, which, though shaved off today so that a man is very smooth around his mouth, yet grows again by tomorrow morning. As long as a man lives, such growth of the hair and the beard does not stop. But when the shovel beats the ground on his grave, it stops. Just so original sin remains in us and bestirs itself as long as we live, but we must resist it and always cut off its hair.”

–Martin Luther, What Luther Says: An Anthology, comp. Ewald M. Plass (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), entry  no. 4176, 1302-3.

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“Take the soul to task” by Richard Sibbes

“It were an easy thing to be a Christian, if religion stood only in a few outward works and duties, but to take the soul to task, and to deal roundly with our own hearts, and to let conscience have its full work, and to bring the soul into spiritual subjection unto God, this is not so easy a matter, because the soul out of self-love is loath to enter into itself, lest it should have other thoughts of itself than it would have.”

–Richard Sibbes, The Soul’s Conflict, and Victory Over Itself by Faith, XV:vii:6, in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, Vol. 1, (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1862), 200.

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