J. C. Ryle – General Counsels for Young People

FOR ONE THING, TRY TO GET A CLEAR VIEW OF THE EVIL OF TRY TO GET A CLEAR VIEW OF THE EVIL OF VIEW OF THE EVIL OF SIN. Young people, if you did but know what sin is and what sin has done, you would not think it strange that I exhort you as I do. You do not see it in its true colors. Your eyes are naturally blind to its guilt and danger, and hence you cannot understand what makes me so anxious about you. Oh, let not the devil succeed in persuading you that sin is a small matter! Think for a moment what the Bible says about sin — how it dwells naturally in the heart of every man and woman alive (Ecc 7:20; Rom 3:23) — how it defiles our thoughts, words, and actions, and that continually (Gen 6:5; Matt 15:19) — how it renders us all guilty and abominable in the sight of a holy God (Isa 64:6; Hab 1:13) — how it leaves us utterly without hope of salvation if we look to ourselves (Psa 143:2; Rom 3:20) — how its fruit in this world is shame and its wages in the world to come, death (Rom 6:21-23). Think calmly of all this…

Think what an awful change sin has worked on all our natures. Man is no longer what he was when God formed him out of the dust of the ground. He came out of God’s hand upright and sinless (Eccl 7:29). In the day of his creation he was, like everything else, “very good” (Gen 1:31). And what is man now? A fallen creature, a ruin, a being that shows the marks of corruption all over: his heart like Nebuchadnezzar, degraded and earthly, looking down and not up; his affections like a household in disorder, calling no man master, all extravagance and confusion; his understanding like a lamp flickering in the socket, impotent to guide him, not knowing good from evil; his will like a rudderless ship, tossed to and fro by every desire and constant only in choosing any way rather than God’s. Alas, what a wreck is man compared to what he might have been! Well may we understand such figures being used as blindness, deafness, disease, sleep, death, when the Spirit has to give us a picture of man as he is. And man as he is, remember, was so made by sin.

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