About four to five years ago I was introduced to some of the works of a prince. This wasn’t just any prince. He was of course royalty but what made him stand out was his passion and zeal for his Fathers Kingdom. When he would speak, he spoke as a strong man of authority. It didn’t matter what your opinions were or even what rank you have in society. To this man everyone was the same.
I found a collection of his works online and had to buy it without hesitation to learn more. A five-book set with over 10 volumes. That comes to about 250 of his finest writings. This man of royalty was a preacher. Not just any preacher, he was the prince of preachers, none other than Charles H. Spurgeon himself.
In the Christian life, we usually find ourselves dividing sin into two categories.
(1) Willful or intentional sin comes from the unrepentant individual who like a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool returns to his folly (Proverb 26:11). They may feel remorse of their sin, but this person consciously decides to continue in their sin.
(2) Unwillful or accidental sin. The Christian, who is fully aware of the consequences of our sins, because of a love for the Lord desires to be free of sin, avoiding sin and welcoming accountability where and when needed. As one of my favorite Psalms would teach, “Though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand.” (37:24 NIV). The believer will stumble into temptations, their battle will not be a perfect victory every time. But through the sin, as we realizing the damage we have just committed, repent of this sin, the Lord will not only forgive us but He speaks “Try again my little child”
One of the most powerful sermons I have read of Spurgeons is called Carnal Mind, Enmity against God. Out of all his sermons I have read, this is one I find myself meditating on quite often. The summary of this sermon is that in the brief moment of sin, we are guilty of murdering God.
As much as I wish it were true, we do not think about the things of God 100% of the time. In this world, we face many distractions by the flesh. Our eyes tempt us to lust, our untamed pride tempts us to become defensive in the face of a critic. Even disagreements or confusion sometimes cause us to lash out in anger. During these times our focus is on the things of this world.
Charles Spurgeon explains in his sermon that in that moment, we reject God, abandon, and ignore Him. What better justification is there to commit sin than to kill the God we claim to worship. Destroy Him so that He no longer exists and His laws are irrelevant? As Charles points out, it IS Enmity, blackness, corruption, rebellion, and wickedness.
But, before we enter upon a discussion of the doctrine of the text, observe how strongly the Apostle expresses it. “The carnal mind,” he says, “is ENMITY against God.” He uses a noun, and not an adjective. He does not say it is opposed to God merely, but it is positive enmity. It is not black, but blackness; it is not at enmity, but enmity itself; it is not corrupt, but corruption; it is not rebellious, it is rebellion; it is not wicked, it is wickedness itself. The heart, though it be deceitful, is positively deceit; it is evil in the concrete, sin in the essence; it is the distillation, the quintessence of all things that are vile; it is not envious against God, it is envy; it is not at enmity, it is actual enmityExcerpt from Spurgeon sermon Carnal Mind Enmity Against God, April 22, 1855
In my judgment, I believe this helps to bring a deeper understanding to Paul’s own claim in Romans 7. Paul discusses the Law and sin to the point that while he knows he has been redeemed, agreeing 200% with the Law, even in his own redeemed spirit, the mind of the flesh and sin still follows close behind him.
In verse 13-20 Paul explains the battle he faces against the flesh. Closing this point in verse 24-25 I believe we really see the depths of this turmoil he faces. If we could reword for a deeper understanding (not to change the text) I think It may sound something like this…
I am at war within myself, I realize that in my moment of sin I am nothing but blackness. I am corruption and rebellion. I am guilty of rejecting God and the murderer of His Holy Law. In this flesh there is nothing good in me apart from the transformation the Lord has done to me. Oh how wretched I am! But thank God for having mercy on me through the sacrifice of my Lord Jesus!
It is such a beautiful thing to see, both of these great men, the Last Apostle and the Prince of Preachers had a strong understanding of their total depravity. It is only because our Lord has changed our heart of stone into a heart of flesh that we have been redeemed.
I believe we can learn through this how we should respond to our own sins. I am not suggesting to fall on our knees in tears simply because we forgot to pray, or love our neighbors as we should (although I have nothing against that), rather when we do sin, recognize truly just how damaging it possibly may be. The Christian will never lose their eternal life over a sin, but it will damage our relationship with God if left unattended.
It is difficult to keep track of every sin we commit throughout any given day. However, one thing I have noticed in my own life is at the end of the day when I am in prayer, when I ask God to forgive me of the sins I commited on that day as I go through naming the ones I remember, when I say “even those I am unaware of or forgot”, He is faithful to bring them into the light so that I too can repent of the once forgotten sins as well.
How strong is your war with God, do you find yourself daily living in the flesh, Enmity against God? Lay down your sword, pick up your cross and be made clean.