SPIRITUAL HELPLESSNESS

Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)

"The fear of the Lord is to hate evil" (Proverbs 8:13). The "fear of the Lord" is one of the many names given to that new nature or principle of grace and holiness which is communicated to the Christian at his new birth. Evidence we have received this Divine gift is, that sin is now a burden and a grief to us. The longing of the renewed heart is to be completely done with sin, but this longing is only realized when we are called Home. Meanwhile, sooner or later, God makes the real Christian learn by humbling experiences that he is without the least power of help from himself. It is easy to say "I have no power," but not so to actually realize the fact; and therefore does God allow us to try and overcome our secret lusts and besetting sins, and to cast out our idols. We pray Him to help us, and every fall we have are sorry for it, and are determined not to act so foolishly again, and we really expect we shall not. But alas, Satan and sin work upon our native corruptions, and with open eyes we go again and again into sin, and bring a heavy load of guilt upon our consciences.

The "law" which Paul speaks of as being at work in his members (Romans 7:23) is nothing else than a love of sin. This is too strong for the Christian, and though he seeks to be more diligent in reading, meditation, prayer, repenting and believing, the victory he longs for comes not to him. Yes, we will not gloss over the solemn fact, but honestly acknowledge itó matters get worse and worse. We read the Word, but it seems to have no power over us; we pray, but it seems all in vain, for the more we pray against sin, the stronger it works; and perhaps we go to the Throne of Grace with increasing reluctance. As for repentance, our hearts seem like stone, until perhaps we are ready to believe that God has given us up entirely. Now all of this, and much more that might be said, is to teach us that we are altogether "without strength." God Himself tells us that when the Ethiopian can change his skin and the leopard his spots, then can those who are accustomed to do evil, do well (Jer. 13:23); and we are brought to realize this in our experience. And how can we find it out in any other way, except by testing our own arm and discovering our supposed strength to be but weakness! But is this all? No; emptied of self, we are then ready to again find Christ a "very present help in trouble." Only those who are truly sin-sick apply in earnest to the great Physician of souls!




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