I shall show what a heinous and execrable thing sin is. It is the complication of all evil; it is the spirits of mischief distilled. The Scripture calls it the “accursed thing” (Joshua 7:13); it is compared to the venom of serpents, the stench of sepulchers. The apostle useth this expression of sin, “Out of measure sinful” (Rom 7:13), or, as it is in the Greek, “Hyperbolically sinful.” The devil would paint over sin with the vermillion color of pleasure and profit that he may make it look fair; but I shall pull off the paint from sin that you may see the ugly face of it. We are apt to have slight thoughts of sin and say to it, as Lot of Zoar, “Is it not a little one?” (Gen 19:20). But that you may see how great an evil sin is, consider these four things:
1. The origin of sin from whence it comes: It fetcheth its pedigree from hell. Sin is of the devil: “He that committeth sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8). Satan was the first actor of sin and the first tempter to sin: sin is the devil’s firstborn.
2. Sin is evil in the nature of it. (1) It is a defiling thing. Sin is not only a defection, but a pollution. It is to the soul as rust is to gold, as a stain is to beauty. It makes the soul red with guilt and black with filth. Sin in Scripture is compared to a “menstruous cloth” (Isaiah 30:22), to a plague-sore (1 Kings 8:38). Joshua’s filthy garments, in which he stood before the angel (Zec 3:3), were nothing but a type and hieroglyphic of sin. Sin hath blotted God’s image and stained the orient brightness of the soul. Sin makes God loathe a sinner (Zech 11:8); and when a sinner sees his sin, he loathes himself (Ezek 20:43). Sin drops poison on our holy things: it infects our prayers. The high priest was to make atonement for sin on the altar (Ex 29:36) to typify that our holiest services need Christ to make an atonement for them. Duties of religion in themselves are good, but sin corrupts them, as the purest water is polluted running through muddy ground. Under the law, if the leper had touched the altar, the altar had not cleansed him; but he had defiled the altar. The apostle calls sin, “Filthiness of the flesh and spirit” (2 Cor 7:1). Sin stamps the devil’s image on a man…It turns a man into a devil: “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70).