No man knows what sin really is...

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Puritan Board Doctor
From one of J. C. Philpot's sermon:

No man knows what sin really is, until its nature and power are experimentally made known to him. Many go on for years in a sort of dreamy profession of religion, knowing nothing experimentally of the amazing power of sin in their carnal minds. Many a professor walks consistently for years, sin all the while lying dead and torpid in him, until some mine, which Satan perhaps has been secretly digging for weeks, months, or years, suddenly explodes, and sets all the sin of his heart a fire; and he, not being possessed of grace, and God, therefore, not upholding him by his powerful hand, is at once driven into secret or open licentiousness: and hardly knows what sin is before he is plunged headlong into it.

A child of God never knows what he really is, and what a poor weak creature he is against temptation, until the power of sin is opened up in his carnal mind. But when sin is opened up, when temptation and his fallen nature come together, when Satan is permitted to blow a blast from hell into his carnal mind, and to suit the temptation to the lust, and the lust to the temptation, then a child of God begins experimentally to know the overwhelming power of sin, and to feel as utterly unable to stand against sin and Satan as to perform an immediate miracle before your eyes. But, by this painful experience, he learns his need of divine strength and the necessity of being kept by the power of God from falling a prey to his own corruptions. This unexpected discovery of his own weakness effectually convinces him that God himself must work in him deliverance from the power of evil, and "strengthen him with might by his Spirit in the inner man," against the swelling tide of his own corruptions, or sooner or later he must be utterly carried away by them.

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." Romans 5:20

In order to know what grace is in its reign over sin, and in its super-aboundings over the aboundings of iniquity, we must be led experimentally into the depths of the fall. We must be led by God himself into the secrets of our own heart; we must be brought down into distress of mind on account of our sin and the idolatry of our fallen nature. And when, do what we will, sin will still work, reign, and abound, and we are brought to soul poverty, helplessness, destitution, and misery, and cast ourselves down at the footstool of his mercy--then we begin to see and feel the reign of grace, in quickening our souls, in delivering us from the wrath to come, and in preserving us from the dominion of evil. We begin to see then that grace superabounds over all the aboundings of sin in our evil hearts, and as it flows through the channel of the Savior's sufferings, that it will never leave its favored objects until it brings them into the enjoyment of eternal life! And if this does not melt and move the soul, and make a man praise and bless God, nothing will, nothing can!

But until we have entered into the depths of our own iniquities, until we are led into the chambers of imagery, and brought to sigh, groan, grieve, and cry under the burden of guilt on the conscience and the workings of secret sin in the heart--it cannot be really known. And to learn it thus, is a very different thing from learning it from books, or ministers. To learn it in the depths of a troubled heart, by God's own teaching, is a very different thing from learning it from the words of a minister or even from the word of God itself. We can never know these things savingly and effectually, until God himself is pleased to apply them with his own blessed power, and communicate an unctuous savor of them to our hearts, that we may know the truth, and find to our soul's consolation, that the truth makes us free!

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