First Published: April 2, 2010
Derek Thomas’ last two Sunday evening sermons have been riveting and convicting. If you missed them, you’ll want the tapes. He probingly dealt with the issue of unconfessed, unrepented of, sin. A friend of mine recently sent me this quote from Jonathan Edwards which seems timely in light of Derek’s messages. “Sin is of a deceitful nature because, so far as it prevails, so far it gains the inclination and will, and that sways and biases the judgment. So far as any lust prevails, so far it biases the mind to approve of it. So far as any sin sways the inclination or will, so far that sin seems pleasing and prejudiced to think it is right. Hence when any lust has so gained upon a man as to get him into a sinful way or practice, having gained his will, it also prejudices his understanding. And the more irregular a man walks, the more will his mind probably be darkened and blinded because by so much the more does sin prevail.
“Hence many men who live in ways which are not agreeable to the rules of God’s Word, yet are not sensible of it. And it is a difficult thing to make them so because the same lust that leads them into that evil way blinds them in it. Thus, if a man goes on in a way of malice or envy, the more malice or envy prevails, the more will it blind his understanding to approve of it. The more a man hates his neighbor, the more he will be disposed to think that he has just cause to hate him, that his neighbor is hateful and deserves to be hated, and that it is not his duty to love him. So if a man lives in any way of lasciviousness, the more his impure lust prevails, the more sweet and pleasant will it make the sin appear, and so the more will he be disposed and prejudiced to think there is no evil in it.
“So the more a man lives in a way of covetousness, or the more inordinately he desires the profits of the world, the more will he think himself excusable in so doing, and the more will he think that he has a necessity of those things, and cannot do without them. And if they are necessary, then he is excusable for eagerly desiring them. The same might be shown of all the lusts which are in men’s hearts. By how much more they prevail, by so much more do they blind the mind and dispose the judgment to approve of them. All lusts are deceitful lusts. Ephesians 4:22: “That ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” Even godly men may for a time be blinded and deluded by a lust, so far as to live in a way which is displeasing to God.
“The lusts of men’s hearts—prejudicing them in favor of sinful practices, to which those lusts tend, and in which they delight—stir up carnal reason, and put men, with all the subtlety of which they are capable, to invent pleas and arguments to justify such practices. When men are very strongly inclined and tempted to any wicked practice, and conscience troubles them about it, they will rack their brains to find out arguments to stop the mouth of conscience and make themselves believe that they may lawfully proceed in that practice.
“When men have entered upon an ill practice, and proceeded in it, then their self-love prejudices them to approve of it. Men do not love to condemn themselves. They are prejudiced in their own favor, and in favor of whatever is found in themselves. Hence they will find out good names, by which to call their evil dispositions and practices. They will make them virtuous, or at least will make them innocent. Their covetousness they will call prudence and diligence in business. If they rejoice at another’s calamity, they pretend it is because they hope it will do him good and will humble him. If they indulge in excessive drinking, it is because their constitutions require it. If they talk against and backbite their neighbor, they call it zeal against sin. It is because they would bear a testimony against such wickedness. If they set up their wills to oppose others in public affairs, then they call their willfulness conscience, or respect for the public good. Thus they find good names for all their evil ways.”