I have found that my natural bent is to excuse my sins, not confess them. Rather than mortifying them, I spend my best efforts fortifying them. They appear to me as precious darlings, to be protected from the harsh looks of my Father. “He just doesn’t understand, you see. He doesn’t want you to have that freedom which He enjoys!” Thus was the first temptation of the Destroyer in the garden! And who, in my natural estate, am I inclined to hear the louder? Rather than crying out to the Father to take away these leaches that suck the life out of me, drag me down to their slimy pit, I manipulatively replace His law with laws of my own making, seeking to take the limelight off of my darling sins. I can –by strong delusion and hardening of my heart- assuage my guilty conscience of my transgression of God’s Law. Thereby, the fortification of sin is ensured, and the mortification ruled out.
What a grievous thought it is that I would ever detract from the protection of my Creator Who knows what is best for me, Who has adopted me into His family, and Who seeks only my good. Why would I ever seek to throw off the reins of His benevolence and, instead, embrace the cruel blades which are covered by the deceptive velvet paws of sin? This is our natural bent. This is why we must not seek to evade guilt, conviction, rebuke, or sound preaching. We need these things to remind us of our sins and our absolute need to mortify them, and these are the means God has appointed to do so. The goal is –at the very least- twofold:
1. To be shut up to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His righteousness alone.
2. To endeavor toward new obedience, with a new commitment to identify, confess, forsake, and mortify our sins.
This is also why we need to attend on the ordinances of worship. The Gospel is not meant merely for the unregenerate to hear. All of God’s people need to hear and make use of such on a regular basis. There is no room for stagnation or shrinking back. We must not be those who shrink back in unbelief, but those who press forward, clinging to the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s promise to save to the uttermost all of those who come to Him by faith in Christ alone! Let us be guilty no more in the fortification of sin, but vigorously active in the mortification of sin, not trusting in that mortification, but in the Lord Who is pleased to make means effectual as He so chooses. Our hope, our trust, and our rest must be in Christ’s work, and that alone, but may it not be said of us that we are not working out our salvation with fear and trembling. We are the people of means, and God is the God of results.