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Love sets out a third “case of conscience”: “May a man whose lusts and corruptions are truly mortified by the Spirit of God commit and fall often into those sins that have been mortified?”

Love answers this in two parts: (1) Scripture does not record instances of one who has fallen into an obvious and gross sin, who then falls into that sin again. On this point, I must beg to disagree with Love.  Abraham bizarrely falls into cowardice concerning his wife, first with Pharaoh and later with Abimelech (Genesis 12 & 20).

Love does provide a good model for understanding the proper use of descriptive texts:  A descriptive text does not tell us everything about a topic – the specific cannot always be raised to a general.  For example, a miraculous work of through an Apostle (Acts 3), does not mean that all Christians will perform miraculous works of God.

Thus, Love quotes William Perkins, to the effect, “There is nothing in reason and experience that assure you that a corruption mortified, especially if it is an inward and secret sin, may not break forth again after you have repented of it” (101).  However, Love does not merely rest upon reason and experience (which are themselves no more than specific instances or conclusions drawn from specific instances): “There is nothing in the whole Bible against it that says expressly or by consequence [a logical deduction] that you cannot fall into the same sins after they are mortified.”  Then, as a pastor he wisely adds, “Therefore, this is something for your comfort.”

This does not mean that we should just shrug off a second or third (or nth fall) into sin.  To continue to fall into a sin threatens our heart – it makes it hard. It sets our conscience against, and like a determined detective, the conscience will hound us.  And finally, “I do not say that it is damnable, but it is a dangerous and deadly symptom, a sign of death upon you.