Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Greater Grievance

It is the Holy Spirit's work to convict of sin and apply comfort. And the Christian can resist these operations. But if it has become somewhat hipster-fashionable to wallow in the mire of despair, as if it somehow speaks of a deeper sort of piety, then it must be said that the latter offense is more grievous than the former.

In "Faith Seeking Assurance", Anthony Burgess writes:

It is a great sin to rebel against God’s Spirit, whether in the conviction of sin and duty or as comfort to counteract our doubt and distrust. Yes, the latter is a greater sin, for though the Spirit of God convinces and reproves us, yet its particular operation is to convince us of our adoption, thereby enabling us to call God 'Abba, Father.' Therefore, when we peevishly refuse the Spirit’s work within us, we do in a most eminent manner oppose the Spirit in His greatest glory.

The greater work of the Spirit is positive, i.e., as the Great Comforter of Christ's people. Therefore, to oppose Him in His greater work is the greater offense.

Far from breeding complacency, receiving the Spirit's comfort is actually the sharpest and most potent flesh-mortifying sword in the Christian's arsenal as it implies that the Christian has looked upon Christ in faith and has been ravished by His beauty and thus satisfied. Two opposing affections cannot comingle in the human heart, and therefore the Spirit's comfort is Christ loved and sin loathed—and sin loathed is sin mortified.

Mourn sin and look to Christ, look to Christ and then rejoice!

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