Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(The previous chapter may be found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/06/13/paul-baynes-brief-directions-unto-a-godly-life/)

CHAPTER FIVE: PRACTICE AND PROFESSION

            Thus having spoken of the inwards lusts and sins of the heart, and showed how they are disliked and renounced all believers: the like is to be shown of outward sins of the life, that they be abhorred and shunned also: which is the rather to be considered, because many boast they have true hearts to God, when their lives are wicked; but rejoice either about their salvation, or the goodness of their heart: if their behavior be stained with outward wickedness, and their holy profession blemished with open in shameful sins, then their boast is vain. None can be truly godly who does not endeavor to walk free from offensive evils (if he knows them to be sins). This can be seen throughout Scripture: 1 Samuel 4:7, Hosea 14:9, 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 2:20, James 1:25; Romans 6:2. By example, Joseph, Genesis 39:10, Moses, Hebrews 11:24, Zacheus, Luke 19:2, of the sinful woman, Luke 7:37.

            They plainly showed that they believed in Christ, because they came to forsake sins which by nature they loved and by custom they had long lain in; they did this even though the sin was pleasant unto them[1].

            Those Who Will Not Utterly Renounce Sin

            Notwithstanding the former doctrine be most plain for Scripture and reason, yet there are many that hope for salvation, and yet renounced not open sins, and outward offenses.

            These are referred to four sorts.

            The Gross Offender[2]

            The first are gross offenders. They show their hypocrisy by open and repeated evil. They may profess Christianity, but they consider it to be of little worth.  Their constant wickedness causes them to think poorly of all others – and to become hardened and blinded in their own sin. Now such hardness of heart and lack of conscience evidences God’s judgment – especially when they continue to make some sort of profession of godliness and at the same time show no evidence of change in their heart. 2 Timothy 3:1-9.

            The Completely Careless

            The second sort are such as being rude[3] and ignorant, or altogether careless; flattering themselves in that gross and brutish estate, who have many speeches also suitable for their lives, which lay open their hearts to all.

            The Occasionally Conforming

            The third sort our such as because they keep within some civil course of honesty, and are free from gross[4] crimes[5], think themselves to be in a very good estate – even though their many faults to be seen in them. Some of these (as also of the former) are sometimes pricked in their conscience for sin, or rather for punishment of it. Exodus 9:27. They may show some change in life. Mark 6:19, Hosea 6:4, Micah 6:6. They will sometimes make vows and covenants to do well. Psalm 78:36.  They will sharply reprove others. Psalm 50:16.  They have some sudden flashes of grace, and yet do lack true godliness. Therefore, they have their sentence pronounced by their Savior. Matthew 22:31 & 5:20.

            The Censorious “Brother”

            The fourth sort of professors[6] are such who think well of themselves due to their  seeming zeaL. Yet, they cannot brook or abide any other that differ from them in judgment. They are taunters, railers[7] and slanderers of their brothers.  Yea, most sharp and uncharitable and proud censurers of their brothers and betters; who are so soon ripe in their own conceit, that none is meet[8] or sufficient to teach them. Titus 3:1-2.

            The life thus led is not the life which God requires, neither are those works which faith affords. So that howsoever God gathers his elect out of all these kinds, yet are none of them will be accounted as his, while their hearts abide stained with such corruptions, or their lives defiled with such treachery.

            The Godly Do Have Faults

            Against this that has been said, some will be objecting in asking, Why such differences made of men? Have the godly no faults? Are they without infirmities? Are they not like unto other men sinning [don’t they sin like other men?].  If it be so, why should they be shoaled [differentiated or distinguished as a group] from the others?

            The distinction is made by the Lord himself, in name, conversation [manner of life], and reward. Psalms 1:2 & 50:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:9.

            The end of the ministry is to shoal God’s elect and beloved ones from the world, and to bring them to his sheepfold.

            When the Godly Comes to Themselves

            How can this be, if they be not partakers of the same sins that other men are? It cannot be denied, but the godly are somewhat infected with common corruptions, living where Satan lives.  And further, it is possible they may also lie in the same loathsomeness for season. But yet so, as it appears plainly, that they were not given over like wicked men: for when they come to themselves again, we see how strangely they are amazed at their own offense, how they tremble to think what they have done, and can have no peace within themselves till they return home again after they are gone out of the way, and so are made more vigilant and wary against the like another time.

            The which of the wicked cannot be said. 

 

            Why Would God Let the Godly Sin?

            Besides the falls of the godly are but when they are securer and take liberty onto themselves[9]. 2 Samuel 11:4. Sin comes for the godly when they fail to fence themselves and as they are charged.[10] Hebrews 4:1 & 3:12. As for reproachful and flagitious falls, we must know that it is possible for us to be preserved from them. 1 Peter 5:10. So was Enoch, Abraham, Caleb, and Joshua, with many others; but yet as many rare and servants of God have fallen into shameful sins, so may we: God suffers his servants to fall so dangerously for these causes.

1.      1.  For the humbling of them.

2.     2.. That they see his exceeding bountifulness and pardoning so great sins, and so love him the more, Luke 7:47, John 21:15.

3.     3.   That others far weaker than they, yet faithful, may be encouraged to believe that there sin shall be pardoned, and their weak service accepted by God. 1 Timothy 1:16. Without such an example of repentance, they might otherwise be discouraged. Out of these cases, if we hold fast to faith and stand upon our watch, we need not fear falling, for God takes no pleasure to cast them down who desire to stand, but to raise them up who are fallen. Psalms 130:3. To help our weakness, the supply our wants, and to deliver us from such dangers as we fear, so far as it is expedient; or else he makes us able to bear them.

      The Infirmity of Sin Continues

      Now concerning infirmities, it must be granted, that because they have still a body of sin within them, they must needs be subject to infirmities, and this is properly a sin of infirmity, When partly of  [deficient] knowledge and more through frailty, an offenses is wrought to the displeasing of God: and when such a one is committed – even though he does not wish it to be so –  yet because the power of corruption at that time is greater in him the strength of grace, therefore he was forced to yield to it. It is in this that the godly do much differ from all wicked: for it is their greatest care that they may not fall, the greatest sorrow when they are overcome, their greatest joy, when they do prevail over sins; none of which are to be found in the wicked.


[1] The original sentence reads, “Thefe forfaking thofe sinnes whicy by nature they loved, and by cuftome they had long lien in, doe plainly fhew that they believed Chrift, forfaking their old sinnes, though they were never fo pleafant unto them.”  

[2] The original paragraph reads, “The first are gross offenders,whom every vile person do scorn because he does see their hypocrisy by open and often committed evils, and has Christian religion itself in mean account, for their cause; for profane men when they see and walk sincerely indeed, and without just cause of rebuke, are little moved up their example, neither greatly reverence them, or take any good by them, but reproach them rather; for this is because they see so many, besides some outward appearance of zeal, were little better in their lives than themselves, and therefore they are hardened to think so of all the rest; which willful blindness and hardness of heart, though it be a fearful sign of God’s vengeance to them, yet this is the great part may be justly ascribed to the lives of those two professing godliness, in their deeds deny the same. 2 Timothy 5:6. For whom it had been better but they had never made any profession at all, such as Saul. 1 Samuel 22:18.”

[3] Here “rude” means unsophisticated, ignorant – not merely poorly mannered. These are people who seemingly do not even recognize their profligate sin.

[4] Open, obvious sin.

[5] Not merely offenses against the law of the state, but also against God’s law.

[6] A “professor” is one who professes Christianity, irrespective of whether he leads a Christian life.

[7] To “rail” against someone would be rant and revile.

[8] No one is suitable.

[9] Our greatest danger comes when we think ourselves secure.

[10] Proverbs 4:20–27 (ESV)

            20          My son, be attentive to my words;

incline your ear to my sayings.

            21          Let them not escape from your sight;

keep them within your heart.

            22          For they are life to those who find them,

and healing to all their flesh.

            23          Keep your heart with all vigilance,

for from it flow the springs of life.

            24          Put away from you crooked speech,

and put devious talk far from you.

            25          Let your eyes look directly forward,

and your gaze be straight before you.

            26          Ponder the path of your feet;

then all your ways will be sure.

            27          Do not swerve to the right or to the left;

turn your foot away from evil.