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07 January 2008

Outcry vs. Hate

Regarding “understanding of sin” vs. “conviction of sin,” the bullet item that Leroy had edited in the MacArthur study yesterday

John Bunyan’s book “The Pilgrim’s Progress” is a work that was instrumental in alerting me to the fact that I needed to turn from my sin and begin a relationship with Christ. (Why it took years after that for me to get serious about it I’ll never know…)

It’s my all-time favorite book from 1678. If you’ve never read it, what are you waiting for? If you can read Shakespeare or the KJV, you can enjoy the book in its original language. However, it’s also been adapted into modern English if you prefer the easier approach. Either way, it is a must-read. It wonderfully distills so many concepts into a plain-as-the-nose-on-your-face allegory.

The following exchange takes place between Faithful, one of the main characters in the book, and Talkative, a professing Christ-follower that Faithful and Christian (the primary character) meet on the road to the Celestial City (Heaven). Faithful has set out to get Talkative to say what he really believes, cutting past the very well-stated religious conversation that Talkative has already presented.

(Please note that Bunyan, not I, wrote Faithful’s last comment below. Yep, that word means pretty much the same thing now as it did 330 years ago.)

TALKATIVE: I perceive then, that our talk must be about the power of things. Well, it is a very good question, and I shall be willing to answer you. And take my answer in brief, thus: First, where the grace of work of God is in the heart, it causeth there a great outcry against sin. Secondly…

FAITHFUL: Nay, hold, let us consider of one at once. I think you should rather say, “It shows itself by inclining the soul to abhor its sin.”

TALKATIVE: Why, what difference is there between crying out against, and abhorring of sin?

FAITHFUL: O! a great deal. A man may cry out against sin of policy, but he cannot abhor it, but by virtue of a godly antipathy against it. I have heard many cry out against sin in the pulpit, who yet can abide it well enough in the heart, house, and conversation. Joseph's mistress cried out with a loud voice, as if she had been very holy; but she would willingly, notwithstanding that, have committed uncleanness with him (Gen. 39:15). Some cry out against sin, even as the mother cries out against her child in her lap, when she calleth it slut and naughty girl, and then falls to hugging and kissing it.

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