Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man:…
Sin is a reality. It is not a weakness, but a power; a power which gnaws at the very core of life; a power encompassing and swaying the entire range of our being. It is an inward strife, a pain reaching even to the heart. Let us, then, seek first of all to discern the full significance of sin, that in sincere penitence we may turn away from it. It gives sin's history. The history naturally divides itself into three parts: — Sin.
I. In its origin.
II. In its essence.
III. In its results.
I. EVERY MAN IS TEMPTED, WHEN HE IS DRAWN AWAY OF HIS OWN LUST, AND ENTICED. "His own lust" — the emphasis lies there. Do not throw the blame on any external power; least of all upon God, the Holy One, who has written His law in your hearts! He condemns and punishes sin. He desires that you should be holy as He is holy. Do not seek for the guilt outside yourself, among the people who surround you. I know, indeed, how great is the power of custom, of education, of companionships, the power of men over men; bow overmastering are the first impressions of youth, made upon the unconscious spirit and the undeveloped will. But, nevertheless, all these external influences only tempt — they cannot compel; there is no inseparable connection between them and the soul. The tempting lust! Ah, how insignificant and harmless does it appear at first! How beautiful, in the brilliant colours of childhood! The lust after outward show, after enjoyment, after the possession of earthly things — selfish-ness, vanity, ambition! At first these seem only a childish playfulness, as it were, a snatching at things; a sweet gratification in the absorbing attractions of the outer world; but soon they become a habit.
II. But now, further, SIN IS BORN OF LUST. It surrounds us everywhere — nay, it is within us — it has taken possession of our senses and our thoughts. And in what does it essentially consist? In the opposition between the flesh and spirit! Selfishness and the desires of the senses — these are the two fundamental forms of all sin. You perhaps ask me if sin is indeed so universally powerful and universally diffused? Be assured, sin has manifold forms — refined and gross; concealed and bare; violent and torpid.
III. And so our text proceeds: "AND SIN, WHEN IT IS FINISHED, BRINGETH FORTH DEATH." That is the end — dissolution, ruin, death. And how does the corruption of the spirit show itself? Thus: — The conscience becomes dumb; the sense of spiritual realities dull; the nobler feelings of honour vanish; virtue is only an un-comprehended idea; goodness is only policy, or that which is approved by the lax judgment of so-called good society; truth is trampled under the feet of falsehood; and humanity becomes venal, and makes its bargain with the world. And these are the ruinous lineaments of the face of death — indifference, joylessness, hopelessness 1 And these not only take possession of the individual, but proceed further, and, in their moral ruin and destruction, bear violently away. everything which comes within the range of the sinful life: they destroy the entire house which is built upon the sand. Not yonder only, in the other world, are the punishment and recompense received; there is a Divine justice even upon this earth.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: