The True Believer’s Constant Struggle Against Indwelling Sin

Psalm 51:5-7
       Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

JAMES DURHAM (1622-1658): The corruption of nature being seen, is the most humbling thing. There is nothing so abases man, and heightens God, nor puts man to make use of a Mediator, than the sense of that corruption of nature that man brings with him into the world. This humbled David.

ALEXANDER COMRIE (1706-1774): Experience teaches all who are brought to the exercise of faith, that the heart is wickedness itself.

MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): When you read about some of these characters in the Old Testament―David and so on―you’re not reading a history book, you’re reading about yourself. You say, “That’s me! It’s all very well; it looks terrible in David, but I’ve got that sort of thing in me.”

A. W. PINK (1886-1952): He who is experimentally acquainted with the “plague of his own heart,” I Kings 8:38, is one in experience with the most eminent of God’s saints. Abraham acknowledged he was “dust and ashes,” Genesis 18:27. Job said “I abhor myself,” Job 42:6. David prayed, “Have mercy upon me, O Lord; for I am weak: O Lord heal me; for my bones are vexed,” Psalm 6:2. Isaiah exclaimed “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips,” Isaiah 6:2. In the anguish of his heart, Jeremiah asked, “Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame?” Jeremiah 20:18. Daniel once owned, “There remained no strength in me, for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption,” Daniel 10:8. Paul cried, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:24.

JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The examples of the saints recorded in Scripture prove, and indeed of the saints in general, that the greater measure any person has of the grace of God in truth―so much the more deep and sensible their perception of indwelling sin and infirmity has always been.

JOHN BERRIDGE (1716-1793): As the heart is more washed, we grow more sensible of its remaining defilement, just as we are more displeased with a single spot on a new coat than with a hundred stains on an old one.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): We think ourselves angels, when we are nearest akin to devils; but when we get akin to angels, then we mourn the devil that still is within us. I know this, that when God the Holy Ghost gives a man a view of himself, he is utterly loathsome in his own esteem.

JONATHAN EDWARDS (1703-1758): When I look into my heart, and take a view of my wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than hell.

JOHN OWEN (1616-1683): I do not understand how a man can be a true believer in whom sin is not the greatest burden, sorrow and trouble…Whosoever contends against indwelling sin shall know and find that it is [ever] present with them―that it is powerful in them.

D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): I have more trouble with D. L. Moody than with any man I ever met.

LADY THEODOSIA POWERSCOURT (1800-1836): I am quite weary of this heart―Satan’s workshop―always going on―hammer, hammer, hammer, stealing every grace given.

JOHN KNOX (1514-1572): When I deeply do consider the cause of Christ’s death to have been sin, and sin yet to dwell in all flesh, with Paul I am compelled to sob and groan as a man under a heavy burden, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Albeit I never lack the presence and plain image of my own wretched infirmity―in youth, mid-age, and now after many battles, I find nothing in me but vanity and corruption.

JOHN BERRIDGE: It is a part my litany, “Lord, deliver me from myself!”

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): There is the seed of all sins―of the vilest and worst of sins―in the best of men.

J. C. RYLE (1816-1900): The best of men are only men at their very best. Patriarchs, prophets, apostles—martyrs, fathers, reformers, puritans—all, all sinners who need a Saviour: holy, useful, honourable in their place—but sinners after all.

JOHN NEWTON: Sin is in-wrought into our constitution, and our souls must be freed from our bodies, before we shall be fully freed from the evils under which we mourn…Though every Christian does not suffer greatly by persecution, poverty, and worldly troubles, yet they all suffer much from indwelling sin, temptation and Satan.

C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): All the devils in hell and tempters on earth could do us no injury if there were no corruption in our own natures.

ROBERT FLEMING (1630-1694): In the worst of times, there is still more cause to complain of an evil heart than of an evil world.

JOHN KNOX: I sob and lament for that I cannot be quit and rid of sin. I desire to live a more perfect life.

GEORGE WHITEFIELD (1714-1770): We shall never have such a dominion over indwelling sin, as entirely to be delivered from the stirring of it; and the greatest saint cannot be assured, but some time or other for his humiliation, or punishment for unfaithfulness, God may permit it to break out into some actual breach of his law, and in a gross way too. Let us not be high-minded, but fear.

R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): God indeed, as our Father in Christ Jesus, does not blame us for indwelling sin; but He does require that we should contend against it.

THOMAS BROOKS (1608-1680): Consider the reasons why the Lord is pleased to have his people exercised, troubled, and vexed with the operations of sinful corruptions; and they are these: partly to keep them humble and low in their own eyes, and partly to put them upon the use of all divine helps, whereby sin may be subdued and mortified; and partly, that they may live upon Christ for perfecting the work of sanctification; and partly, to wean them from things below, and to make them heart-sick of their absence from Christ, and to maintain in them bowels of compassion towards others that are subject to the same infirmities with them; and that they may distinguish between a state of grace and a state of glory, and that heaven may be more sweet to them in the close.

THOMAS ADAMS (1583-1656): Heaven begins where sin ends.


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