Sunday, October 4, 2015

Do We Understand How Sinful Sin Really Is? The Puritans Did!

The Puritan Thomas Watson, in his Body of Divinity, lists ten ways in which sin is truly sinful:

     1) Incredulity: Our first parents did not believe that what God had spoken was truth (Gen. 2:16-17, 3:4). They believed not that they should die, because they could not be persuaded that such fair fruit had death at the door. Thus, by unbelief they made God a liar. In fact, what was worse was that they believed the devil rather than God.

     2) Unthankfulness: God had enriched Adam with a variety of mercies, stamped His own image on him, made him lord of the world, and given him the fruit of all the trees for food, with just one excepted. Thus, to take from that one tree was high ingratitude.

     3) Discontent: Adam differed little from the angels (Ps. 8:5), had native innocence, and enjoyed the glory of Paradise as his realm. Yet, he had to have more, because his heart could not be satisfied with all that he had.

     4) Pride: he loved the offer of Satan to become like God (Gen. 3:5)!

     5) Disobedience: God had given him his existence and all his subsistence, so it was right to expect his obedience.

     6) Curiosity: Adam sought to meddle with what was not his, though it was to cost him everything.

     7) Wantonness: With the choice of all other trees, Adam had all of his needs filled, but demanded the satisfaction of his lusts as well. Watson is expressing the same truth as in James 1:14-15: "Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."

     8) Sacrilege: God had reserved this one tree of the garden for Himself, yet Adam deigned to rob Him of what was His alone.

     9) Murder: as the federal head of all his posterity in the covenant of works, Adam represented us in his actions, and chose to bring the curse of death on all of humanity (Rom. 5:12).

     10) Presumption: Adam presumed, contrary to God's warning, that he would not die, regardless of his actions. "Surely," he decided, "God must relent if I choose to do as I wish."

And later in the same book, Watson makes this observation: "The sight of Christ's bleeding body should incense us against sin. Let us not parley with it; let that not be our joy, which made Christ a man of sorrow." This is, again, a precept from James 2:10: "Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it." Whatever sin any person holds onto, thinking it just isn't really so bad, he must think differently if he understands that any sin makes the sinner guilty of breaking the whole law (James 2:11). This especially overthrows the Catholic distinction between "mortal" and "venial" sins. According to James (a book that they otherwise enjoy quoting), and, as repeated by Watson, every sin is mortal (Ezekiel 18:4, Rom. 6:23).

No comments: