Anthony Burgess on the distinction between daily infirmities and gross sins

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Reformed Covenanter

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There is a great difference to be made in respect of Humiliation, and the measure of godly sorrow for it. For as the sin may exceed another, as much as the Camel doth a Gnat; so ought the sorrow as much as an Ocean doth a drop. Thus Peter goeth out, and weeps bitterly; he did not so for every defect, and spiritual imperfection in him, as for this abominable Apostasy.

We read also of the incestuous person, as he committed a sin, that was not so much as named among the Gentiles, so he manifested such sorrow as was scarce heard among Christians; insomuch that the Apostle was afraid of him, lest he should be overwhelmed with too much sorrow. Now if for every sin of infirmity there should be as much sorrow and humiliation, as for these crimson and scarlet sins, how would the whole life of man be but a continual trouble of soul? and in what darkness would he live always? ...

For more, see Anthony Burgess on the distinction between daily infirmities and gross sins.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
@Reformed Covenanter

I had wondered about how to rightly respond to degrees of sin. We know that all sins deserve an infinite hell, and all are highly offensive to God, but we'd never move an inch forward in our lives if we we put on sackcloth and ashes for every wicked thought.

It's an act of the mercy of God that we are not in perpetual mourning, and can truly enjoy good things in this life. I do wonder if not making distinctions in degrees in our response to sin might actually result in legalism. After all, you've got to make life bearable somehow.

Thanks be to God that such mourning is not demanded on all occasions, because we sin not only against a holy God and against nature, but as Christians also the grace and mediation of Christ.

So I think such a view as propounded in your post is likely to result in greater worship to God.

Thank you for bringing up all these treasures.
 
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RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
Do you mean legalism in the sense of being overly strict in judging others?

Could include that. But also, If every sin shakes you in the way that adultery or murder should, you’ll never have assurance, you’ll believe you have no grace, you’ll wonder why God never delivers on His promises to mortify sin to the degree you expect He should, and you’ll look for something in addition to the Gospel to help. After all, the Gospel isn’t cutting it to help you progress.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Could include that. But also, If every sin shakes you in the way that adultery or murder should, you’ll never have assurance, you’ll believe you have no grace, you’ll wonder why God never delivers on His promises to mortify sin to the degree you expect He should, and you’ll look for something in addition to the Gospel to help. After all, the Gospel isn’t cutting it to help you progress.

Yes, and the result of that will actually be more unholiness and greater liability to fall into even worse sins than the ones which you are presently committing.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Could include that. But also, If every sin shakes you in the way that adultery or murder should, you’ll never have assurance, you’ll believe you have no grace, you’ll wonder why God never delivers on His promises to mortify sin to the degree you expect He should, and you’ll look for something in addition to the Gospel to help. After all, the Gospel isn’t cutting it to help you progress.

Also, it is legalism because it betrays the fact that the one lacking assurance owing to daily sins of infirmity does not experimentally understand the difference between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace. God demanded perfect and perpetual obedience as the condition of life in the legal covenant. In the evangelical covenant, by way of contrast, God is pleased to accept sincere but imperfect obedience on the part of those to whom he has granted the gift of eternal life on account of Christ's merits.
 
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