Christian, you cannot believe that evil which is in your heart, and which will break forth suddenly--if God should leave you!
"You will burn their strongholds, slay their young men with the sword, dash their infants in pieces, and rip up their pregnant women. And Hazael answered: What is your servant, only a dog, that he should do this monstrous thing!" (2 Kings 8).
Hazael could not believe he had such evil in his heart, that he should rip up women with child. Is your servant a dog? Yes, and worse than a dog--when that corruption within is stirred up!
If one had come to Peter and said, "Peter, within a few hours you will deny Christ," he would have said, "Is your servant a dog, that he should do such a monstrous thing?" But alas! Peter did not know his own heart, nor how far that corruption within would prevail upon him!
The sea may be calm and look clear; but when the wind blows--how it rages and foams! Just so, though now your heart seems good, yet, when temptation blows--how may sin reveal itself, making you foam with lust and passion! Who would have thought to have found . . .
adultery in David,
drunkenness in Noah,
and cursing in Job?
If God leaves a man to himself--how suddenly and scandalously may sin break forth in the holiest men on the earth!
by Thomas Watson
"Hold me up--and I shall be safe!" Psalm 119:117
"Fear not! You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart." 1 Samuel 12:20
Penitent, sorrowing backslider, here is a word for you. Fear not! Painful are your thoughts; bitter are your self-reproaches; your "sighs are many," and "your heart is faint." (Lam. 1:22.) The morning brings to light your misery; and the night reveals your shame from you. Restlessness has overtaken you; your happiness is gone. How are you fallen from your peace! Degraded in your own eyes — you feel cast out by God.
Fear not! my penitent friend. From my heart I pity you; as a fellow-sinner, I feel for you. My own heart responds to your heart, saying, "Unclean, unclean!" My brother in corruption! My brother also in the love of Jesus — peace be to your conscience, and comfort to your broken spirit! Strength be to your feeble knees, and to your arms that hang down! (Hebrews 12:12.) Listen to the voice of Jesus, my sorrowing brother. Yes, listen again. Does not Jesus speak to you? Does He not say, "Fear not!"
Is it anywhere written in the Word, that there is no pardon for the backslider? The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin:
from scarlet sins,
from numberless sins,
from backsliding sins!
Fear not, poor afflicted one! You accuse yourself — but Jesus will not accuse you. You weep bitter tears — but Jesus will wipe them from your eyes. Your tears are precious to Him. Your broken heart is a cordial to the heart of Jesus. In your troubled conscience He sees of the travail of His soul, and is satisfied. (Isaiah 53:11.)
Dear brother! Yes, still a brother — still a disciple — still a child of God — look up to Jesus! He is looking upon you, smiling on you, waiting for you. What do you say to Jesus? "I have sinned against the Lord." What does Jesus say to you? "The Lord also has put away your sin!" (2 Samuel 12:13.) Take it not to heart if Jesus thrice says, "Do you love Me?" Can you say, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you?" (John 21:15-17.)
Fear not, brother — but listen to the Word. "Turn, O backsliding children, says the Lord, for I am married unto you; I will heal your backslidings!"
"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you!" (Isaiah 44:22)
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness!" 1 John 1:9
by George Mylne