Sinners in Zion!
(James Smith, "The Fearful Destiny!" 1857)
"The sinners in Zion are terrified! Terror has surprised the hypocrites!
'Who can live with this devouring fire?' they cry.
'Who can survive these everlasting burnings?'" Isaiah 33:14
The threatenings of God are solemn things.
They are called forth by sin.
They prove God's justice.
They manifest His unutterable abhorrence of all impurity.
Who are these "sinners in Zion"?
These are sinners—who profess to be saints; and such are sinners with an emphasis. They are HYPOCRITES! They pretend to be saints—yet know they are not. They wear a mask. They act a part—like actors in a play!
Of all characters, hypocrites are the worst! The Lord Jesus pronounces more woes against the hypocrites in one chapter—than against the devil all through the New Testament! It is to be feared—that we have many 'masked' men, and many 'masked' women in our churches! Like white-washed sepulchers, they appear beautiful to the eye—but within all is corrupt and vile!
But where are these sinners, these hypocrites? In Zion! Among God's people! Under the preaching of the pure Word. The greatest sinners under heaven—are to be found professing the holiest religion! They are in the church—but they are not of the church!
And when judgment begins, as it will, at the house of God—then these pretenders, these sinners, these hypocrites, will be detected and exposed!
God especially hates deception! He would have us to be . . .
either one thing—OR the other;
either hot—or cold;
either saint—or sinner;
either walking in holiness—or following the world.
Sinners in Zion!
But to be in the church—and yet of the world;
to pretend to be a Christian—and yet live in sin;
to turn His holy religion—into a 'mask' to answer a selfish purpose—is especially hateful in His sight!