"The first thing to do is: Turn to the Scriptures. Yes, turn to John Owen (never a bad idea!), or to some other counselor dead or alive. But remember that we have not been left only to good human resources in this area. We need to be taught from 'the mouth of God' so that the principles we are learning to apply carry with them both the authority of God and the promise of God to make them work." - Ligonier
Sermon no. 3109, delivered Lord’s Day evening, August 16, 1874, by C. H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” –Galatians 6:7
I find, on reference to Luther’s Commentary on the epistle to the Galatians, and to Calvin’s Commentary on this passage, that both those learned expositors consider that this refers to the treatment of ministers by their people in the matter of their pecuniary support. They very properly point out the connection between the sixth verse and the seventh—“Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
I suppose that there was a need for such an injunction in Paul’s day, and there is a need for it now. There were some hearers of the Gospel, then, who contributed generously towards the maintenance of the preacher, and the apostle says that what they gave would be like sowing good seed, in return for which God would give to them an abundant harvest, but there were others who gave sparingly, and who would therefore have a proportionately small return.
God uses even sin to develop us as Christians. That may sound like a bold statement, especially because God never wants us to sin (1 John 2:1); we should always seek to avoid it and not take it lightly.
God created Adam and Eve knowing they would sin. Their sin—which cast the entire human race into sin and resulted in a cursed universe—was nonetheless used by God to work a greater good. Because mankind was plunged into a lost condition, God would send His Son to redeem the world. Perhaps nothing brings glory to God like the atoning death, burial, and conquering resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ—the gospel message. Believers find themselves in a better position than Adam and Eve ever were!
There is a vast difference between God desiring sin and God using sin for spiritual purposes. Jesus said of the sinful woman who turned to Him, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Jesus is not encouraging us to sin rampantly so that we will love Him more. Instead, He calls us to come to Him now, whatever our state. But if we come to Him from an extremely sinful life, we will appreciate His forgiveness even more. But there is a downside: such persons will have more baggage and will have done more damage. I have known many folks to say, “I so wish I had come to the Lord at a younger age!” Sadly, many will never come to Him.
Read the series.
In light of these and other passages, it seems difficult to deny that there is such a thing as an “unpardonable sin” or what Jesus calls, “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.” But the possibility of such a sin raises many difficult questions, especially for pastors. Was the unpardonable sin unique to the first century? Or is it still possible for someone to commit this sin today? If so, how shall we counsel the struggling soul who believes he has committed this sin and can no longer be forgiven? Can we know whether someone has committed this sin? If so, should we pray for their salvation or refrain from doing so?
Read the series.
Jesus’ greatest critics were the scribes and the Pharisees. As we have seen above, they were religious men who possessed much biblical knowledge but who refused to submit to God’s will. On one occasion, they actually accuse Jesus of performing miracles by the power of the devil rather than by the power of God. Jesus’ response is tremendously sobering:
Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation (Mark 3:28-29).
Read Part 1.
Why does God treat some sin more seriously than other sin? The answer to that question depends upon at least two factors: the degree of light the sinner possesses, and the degree of intention involved in the sin. Let’s consider each of these in turn.
In Luke 12:47-48, Jesus teaches this principle by way of an illustration:
And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.