SermonIndex Audio Sermons
Image Map
See Opportunities to Serve with SermonIndex
Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Our Sense of Sinfulness Works for Good

Print Thread (PDF)

Goto page ( 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 Next Page )

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2145

 Our Sense of Sinfulness Works for Good

Our Sense of Sinfulness Works for Good by Thomas Watson

Even the sense of our own sinfulness will be overruled for the good of the godly.

Thus our own sins shall work for good.

This must be understood warily, when I say the sins of the godly work for good — NOT THAT THERE IS THE LEAST GOOD IN SIN.

Sin is like poison, which corrupts the blood, infects the heart, and, without a sovereign antidote, brings death. Such is the venomous nature of sin, it is deadly and damning. Yet, God, by His mighty overruling power, makes sin in the issue turn to the good of his people.

Hence, that golden saying of Augustine, “God would never permit evil, if He could not bring good out of evil.”

The feeling sinfulness in the saints works for good several ways.


That sin is in the godly is sad, but that it is a burden is good. Paul’s afflictions were but a play to him, in comparison of his sin. He rejoiced in tribulation, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 7:4). But how did he weep and bemoan himself under his sins! “Who shall deliver me from the body of death?” (Rom. 7:24). A believer carries his sins as a prisoner his shackles; oh, how does he long for the day of release. This sense of sin is good.


He feels his sin, as a sick man feels his sickness, how welcome is Christ the physician to him! When Paul had cried out of a body of death, how thankful was he for Christ! “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 7:25). Christ’s blood saves from sin; it is our sacred ointment.


1. A sense of sin puts the soul upon self-searching.

A child of God being conscious of sin, takes the candle and lantern of the Word, and searches into his heart. He desires to know the worst of himself; as a man who is diseased in body desires to know the worst of his disease. Though our joy lies in the knowledge of our graces, yet there is some benefit in the knowledge of our corruptions. Therefore Job prays, “Make me to know my transgressions” (Job 13:23).

It is good to know our sins, that we may not flatter ourselves, or take our condition to be better than it is. It is good to find out our sins, lest they find us out.

2. The inherence of sin puts a child of God upon self-abasing.

Sin is left in a godly man, as a cancer, or a hunch upon the back, to keep him from being proud. Gravel and dirt are good to ballast a ship, and keep it from overturning; the sense of sin helps to ballast the soul, that it be not overturned with vain glory.

We read of the “spots of God’s children” in Deuteronomy 3:5. When a godly man beholds himself in the glass of Scripture, and sees the spots of infidelity and hypocrisy, this makes the plumes of pride fall; they are humbling spots. It is a good use that may be made even of our sins, when they occasion low thoughts of ourselves. Better is that sin which humbles me, than that duty which makes me proud.

3. Sin puts a child of God on self-judging.

He passes a sentence upon himself; I am more brutish than any man (Prov. 30:12). It is dangerous to judge others, but it is good to judge ourselves, “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (1 Cor 11:31). When a man has judged himself, Satan is put out office. When he lays anything to a saint’s charge, he is able to retort and say, “It is true, Satan, I am guilty of these sins, but I have judged myself already for them; and having condemned myself in the lower court of conscience, God will acquit me in the upper court of heaven.”

4. Sin puts a child of God upon self-conflicting.

Our spiritual-self conflicts with our carnal-self, “The spirit lusts against tile flesh” (Gal. 5:17). Our life is a wayfaring life, and a warfaring life. There is a duel fought every day between the two seeds. A believer will not let sin have peaceable possession. If he cannot keep sin out, he will keep sin under; though he cannot quite overcome, yet he is overcoming, “To him that is overcoming” (Rev. 2:7).

5. Sin puts a child of God upon self-observing.

He knows sin is a bosom-traitor, therefore he carefully observes himself. A subtle heart needs a watchful eye. The heart is like a castle that is in danger every hour to be assaulted; this makes a child of God to be always a sentinel, and keep a guard about his heart. A believer has a strict eye over himself, lest he fall into any scandalous enormity, and so open a sluice to let all his comfort run out.

6. Sin puts the soul upon self-reforming.

A child of God not only finds out sin, but drives out sin. One foot he sets upon the neck of his sins, and the other foot he turns to God’s testimonies (Psalm 119:59).

Thus the sins of the godly work for good.

God makes the saints’ maladies their medicines. But let none abuse this doctrine. Do not say that sin works for good to an impenitent person. No, it works for his damnation, but it works for good to them that love God; and for you that are godly, I know you will not draw a wrong conclusion from this, either to make light of sin, or to make bold with sin. If you should do so, God will make it cost you dear. If any of God’s people should be tampering with sin, because God can turn it to good, though the Lord does not damn them, He may send them to hell in this life. He may put them into such bitter agonies and soul-convulsions, as may fill them flail of horror, and make them draw nigh to despair. Let this be a flaming sword to keep them from coming near the forbidden tree.


 2013/7/18 3:55Profile

Joined: 2004/7/4
Posts: 1014
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

 Re: Our Sense of Sinfulness Works for Good

With all due respect to the speaker, but this rates up there with one of the most grievous things I've ever read on Sermonindex.

As I see it this is blasphemous and AntiChrist and makes a mockery of the blood and guts of Calvary.

Zeke Oosthuis

 2013/7/18 4:17Profile

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2145

 Re: Temptations work for our good

Temptations work for our good

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Even temptations are overruled for good, to the children of God. A tree which is shaken by the wind is more settled and rooted. Just so, the blowing of a temptation does but settle a Christian the more in grace.

Temptations are overruled for good in eight ways:

(1.) Temptation sends the soul to prayer. The more furiously Satan tempts, the more fervently the saint prays. The deer being shot with the dart runs faster to the water. When Satan shoots his fiery darts at the soul, it then runs faster to the throne of grace. When Paul had the messenger of Satan to buffet him, he says, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me” (2 Cor. 12:8). That which makes us pray more, works for good.

(2.) Temptation to sin, is a means to keep from the perpetration of sin. The more a child of God is tempted, the more he fights against the temptation. The more Satan tempts to blasphemy, the more a saint trembles at such thoughts, and says, “Away from me, Satan!” When Joseph’s mistress tempted him to lust, the stronger her temptation was, the stronger was his opposition. That temptation which the devil uses as a spur to sin, God makes a bridle to keep back a Christian from sin!

(3.) Temptation works for good, as it abates the swelling of pride. “To keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud!” (2 Cor. 12:7). The thorn in the flesh was to puncture the puffing up of pride! Better is that temptation which humbles me-than that duty which makes me proud! Rather than a Christian shall be haughty minded, God will let him fall into the devil’s hands awhile, to be cured of his swelling pride!

(4.) Temptation works for good, as it is a touchstone to try what is in the heart. The devil tempts-that he may deceive us; but God allows us to be tempted, that He may try us. Temptation is a trial of our sincerity. It argues that our heart is chaste and loyal to Christ-when we can look a temptation in the face, and turn our back upon it. Many have no heart to resist temptation. No sooner does Satan come with his bait-but they yield; like a coward who, as soon as the thief approaches, gives him his purse. But he is the valorous Christian, who brandishes the sword of the Spirit against Satan, and will rather die than yield. The valor and courage of a saint is never more seen than on a battlefield, when he is fighting the red dragon, and by the power of faith puts the devil to flight. That grace is tried gold, which can stand in the fiery trial, and withstand Satan’s fiery darts!

(5.) Temptations work for good, as God makes those who are tempted, fit to comfort others in the same distress. A Christian must himself be under the buffetings of Satan, before he can speak a word in due season to him who is weary. Paul was well-versed in temptations. “We are very familiar with his evil schemes” (2 Cor. 2:11). Thus he was able to acquaint others with Satan’s cursed wiles (1 Cor. 10:13). A man who has ridden over a place where there are bogs and quicksands—is the fittest to guide others through that dangerous way. He who has felt the claws of Satan, the roaring lion, and has lain bleeding under those wounds—is the fittest man to deal with one who is tempted. None can better discover Satan’s subtle devices than those who have been long in the fencing school of temptation.

(6.) Temptations work for good, as they stir up fatherly compassion in God to those who are tempted. The child who is sick and bruised-is most looked after. When a saint lies under the bruising of temptations, Christ prays, and God the Father pities. When Satan puts the soul into a fever, God comes with a cordial; which made Luther say, that “temptations are Christ’s embraces,” because He then most sweetly manifests Himself to the soul.

(7.) Temptations work for good, as they make the saints long more for heaven. There they shall be out of gunshot; heaven is a place of rest, no bullets of temptation fly there. The eagle which soars aloft in the air, and sits upon high trees, is not troubled with the stinging of the serpent. Just so, when believers are ascended to heaven, they shall not be molested by the old serpent, the devil. In this life, when one temptation is over, another comes. This makes God’s people wish for death-to call them off the battlefield where the bullets fly so quick-and to receive a victorious crown, where neither the drum nor cannon-but the harp and violin, shall be eternally sounding.

(8.) Temptations work for good, as they engage the strength of Christ. Christ is our Friend, and when we are tempted, He sets all His power working for us. “Since He Himself has gone through suffering and temptation, He is able to help us when we are being tempted” (Heb. 2:18). If a poor soul was to fight alone with the Goliath of hell, he would be sure to be vanquished! But Jesus Christ brings in His auxiliary forces-He gives fresh supplies of grace. “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!” (Romans 7:37). Thus the evil of temptation is overruled for our good.

Question. But sometimes Satan foils a child of God. How does this work for good?

Answer. I grant that, through the suspension of divine grace, and the fury of a temptation, a saint may be overcome; yet this foiling by a temptation shall be overruled for good. By this foil, God makes way for the augmentation of grace. Peter was tempted to self-confidence; he presumed upon his own strength; and Christ let him fall. But this wrought for his good, it cost him many a tear. “He went out, and wept bitterly” (Matt. 26:75). And now he grows less self-reliant. He dared not say he loved Christ more than the other apostles. “Do you love me more than these?” (John 21:15). He dared not say so-his fall into sin broke the neck of his pride!

The foiling by a temptation causes more circumspection and watchfulness in a child of God. Though Satan did before decoy him into sin, yet for the future he will be the more cautious. He will beware of coming within the lion’s chain any more! He is now more vigilant and fearful of the occasions of sin. He never goes out without his spiritual armor, and he girds on his armor by prayer. He knows he walks on slippery ground, therefore he looks wisely to his steps. He keeps close sentinel in his soul, and when he spies the devil coming he grasps his spiritual weapons, and displays the shield of faith (Eph. 6:16).

This is all the hurt the devil does when he foils a saint by temptation, he cures him of his careless neglect; he makes him watch and pray more. When wild beasts get over the hedge and damage the grain-a man will make his fence the stronger. Just so, when the devil gets over the hedge by a temptation, a Christian will be sure to mend his fence; he will become more fearful of sin, and careful of duty. Thus the being worsted by temptation, works for good.

Objection. But if being foiled works for good, this may make Christians careless whether they are overcome by temptations or not.

Answer. There is a great difference between falling into a temptation, and running into a temptation. The falling into a temptation shall work for good, not the running into it. He who falls into a river is fit for help and pity-but he who desperately runs into it, is guilty of his own death. It is madness running into a lion’s den! He who runs himself into a temptation is like king Saul-who fell upon his own sword.

Conclusion: From all that has been said, see how God disappoints the old serpent-by making his temptations turn to the good of His people.

Luther once said, “There are three things which make a godly man - prayer, meditation, and temptation.”

The wind of temptation is a contrary wind to that of the Spirit; but God makes use of this cross wind, to blow the saints to heaven!

 2013/7/18 4:30Profile

Joined: 2007/4/25
Posts: 1572
Scotland, UK

 Re: Our Sense of Sinfulness Works for Good

********DO NOT THINK LIGHTLY OF SIN*********

Colin Murray

 2013/7/18 5:03Profile

Joined: 2008/10/30
Posts: 2145

 Re: Q. - Can a believer live without sin

Can a believer live without sin?

"There is enough sin in my best prayer to send the whole world to Hell." ~ John Bunyan

An answer to this dilemma from Ambrose -

Christ’s prayer takes away the sins of our prayers. As a child that is willing to present his father with a posy [a small bunch of flowers], goes into the garden, and there gathers some flowers and some weeds together, but coming to his mother, she picks out the weeds and binds the flowers, and so it is presented to the father: thus when we have put up our prayers, Christ comes, and picks away the weeds, the sin of our prayer, and presents nothing but flowers to His Father, which are a sweet-smelling savour.

More from Bunyan -

But I do find many weaknesses in every duty that I do perform, as when I pray, when I read, when I hear, or any other duty, that it maketh me out of conceit with myself, it maketh me think that my duties are nothing worth.

I answer, it may be it is thy mercy that thou art sensible of infirmities in thy best things thou doest; ay, a greater mercy than thou art aware of.

Can it be a mercy for me to be troubled with my corruptions? Can it be a privilege for me to be annoyed with my infirmities, and to have my best duties infected with it? How can it possibly be?

Answ. Verily, thy sins appearing in thy best duties, do work for thy advantage these ways—

1. In that thou findest ground enough thereby to make thee humble; and when thou hast done all, yet to count thyself but an unprofitable servant. And,

2. Thou by this means art taken off from leaning on anything below a naked Jesus for eternal life. It is like, if thou wast not sensible of many by-thoughts and wickednesses in thy best performances, thou wouldst go near to be some proud, abominable hypocrite, or a silly, proud dissembling wretch at the best, such an one as would send thy soul to the devil in a bundle of thy own righteousness.

But now, thou, through grace, seest that in all and everything thou doest there is sin enough in it to condemn thee. This, in the first place, makes thee have a care of trusting in thy own doings; and, secondly, showeth thee that there is nothing in thyself which will do thee any good by working in thee, as to the meritorious cause of thy salvation. No; but thou must have a share in the birth of Jesus, in the death of Jesus, in the blood, resurrection, ascension, and intercession of a crucified Jesus. And how sayest thou? Doth not thy finding of this in thee cause thee to fly from a depending on thy own doings? And doth it not also make thee more earnestly to groan after the Lord Jesus?

Yea, and let me tell thee also, it will be a cause to make thee admire the freeness and tender heartedness of Christ to thee, when He shall lift up the light of His countenance upon thee, because He hath regarded such an one as thou, sinful thou; and therefore, in this sense, it will be mercy to the saints that they do find the relics of sin still struggling in their hearts. But this is not simply the nature of sin, but the mercy and wisdom of God, who causeth all things to work together for the good of those that love and fear God (Rom 8). And, therefore, whatever thou findest in thy soul, though it be sin of never so black a soul-scarring nature, let it move thee to run the faster to the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt not be ashamed—that is, of thy running to Him.

But when thou dost apprehend that thou art defiled, and also thy best duties annoyed with many weaknesses, let that Scripture come into thy thoughts which saith, "Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption"; and if thou shalt understand that, what thou canst not find in thyself thou shalt find in Christ. Art thou a fool in thyself? then Christ is made of God thy wisdom. Art thou unrighteous in thyself? Christ is made of God thy righteousness. Dost thou find that there is but very little sanctifying grace in thy soul? still here is Christ made thy sanctification; and all this in His own Person without thee, without thy wisdom, without thy righteousness, without thy sanctification, without in His own Person in thy Father's presence, appearing there perfect wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification in His own Person; I say, as a public Person for thee; so that thou mayest believe, and say to thy soul, My soul, though dost find innumerable infirmities in thyself, and in thy actions, yet look upon thy Jesus, the Man Jesus; He is wisdom, and that for thee, to govern thee, to take care for thee, and to order all things for the best for thee.

He is also thy righteousness now at God's right hand, always shining before the eyes of His glory; so that there it is unmoveable, though thou art in never such a sad condition, yet thy righteousness, which is the Son of God, God-man, shines as bright as ever, and is as much accepted of God as ever. O this sometimes hath been life to me; and so, whatever thou, O my soul, findest wanting in thyself, through faith thou shalt see all laid up for thee in Jesus Christ, whether it be wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, or redemption.

Nay, not only so, but, as I said before, He is all these in His own Person without thee in the presence of His Father for thee. - John Bunyan

 2013/7/18 13:58Profile

Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas


I thank the Lord for the ever-sense of sinfulness. This is something I never want to lose sight of. A leper loses his sense of touch, sensation - indicative of death occurring to that part of his body which has become senseless. The grace of God is real life to the spiritual man. A sense of sin necessitates grace, the "Life" to overcome; as soon as the sensation of sin ceases, however, grace is no longer needed and/or cheapified to the level of allowance.

This is how men like the Apostle Paul, and luminaries like George Whitefield, D.L. Moody, Newton, Brainerd, Payson, Edwards, Spurgeon and others experienced an ever-growing sense of their own sinfulness the closer they got to God. But as the awareness of sin becomes heightened, so should the corresponding grace of God to overcome. This cycle keeps us humble. This is God's design and why it sometimes hurts so much when He gives us light on certain unmortified areas of our lives. The hurt is good: it tells us we are moving in the right direction, and have not become lepers. It is only when we cannot detect the sense of our own sinfulness where we should become concerned.

Legalism thrives off of taking this healthy sensation of sin and using it as a weapon of fear-control and guilt. But once we know the truth, we can be set free from Satan's devices and really begin to grow in knowledge of grace, humility and love.

Paul Frederick West

 2013/7/18 14:33Profile


Legalism thrives off of taking this healthy sensation of sin and using it as a weapon of fear-control and guilt. But once we know the truth, we can be set free from Satan's devices and really begin to grow in knowledge of grace, humility and love.

There are two extremes to this "spectrum". LEGALISM is at one end of the spectrum while HYPER-GRACE is at the other end (extreme).

 2013/7/18 14:50

Joined: 2006/6/28
Posts: 3405
Dallas, Texas


There are two extremes to this "spectrum". LEGALISM is at one end of the spectrum while HYPER-GRACE is at the other end (extreme).

Absolutely correct. Both are chasms of destruction around which the Rock of Ages protrudes.

Paul Frederick West

 2013/7/18 15:04Profile

Joined: 2004/10/13
Posts: 2132

 Just not sure

As I read much of the old writings I have to go back to just scripture reading prayerfully in the presence of the Lord alone, because what happens to me anyway, is when I get super introspective I seem to stray off of mercy and grace and it sometimes breeds in me a warped view, very seldom have I strayed the other way but that warped view seems to bring with it many christian abnormalities, if you please. Self examination is good and scriptural, however to live in that state is very harmful, I believe.


 2013/7/18 15:17Profile

Joined: 2006/11/26
Posts: 3783


The Word of God is very plain that "the wages of sin is death." Sin seperates us from God, breaks our fellowship and communion with the Lord, steals our peace and joy and if not dealt with makes us ineffective for God's kingdom purposes.

I don't look at any good thing coming from sin, but if we keep a tender conscience and allow the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sins, then we will quickly run to God to confess and repent of any sin.

The devil wants to use condemnation to keep the child of God focused on his own sinfulness and unworthiness. As long as we are looking within and not to Christ, then we will be paralyzed with condemnation.

We overcome by the blood of the Lamb. If there is sin, it needs to be dealt with. If sin is repented of and put under the blood then there should be no more consciousness of sin. We will always be conscious of our weakness, and this will keep us dependent on the grace of God, not having any confidence in the flesh.



 2013/7/18 15:23Profile

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
Affiliate Disclosure | Privacy Policy