Daily Devotionals

Devotional: May 25th


The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise. - Psalms 51:17

ONE indispensable characteristic and certain criterion of a true message and Gospel from God is that it pierces the conscience and kindles the sense of sin. There is a great deal of so called Christian teaching, both from pulpits and books, in this day, which, to my mind, is altogether defective by reason of its under-estimate of the cardinal fact of sin, and its consequent failure to represent the fundamental characteristic of the Gospel as being deliverance and redemption. I am quite sure that the root of nine-tenths of all the heresies that have ever afflicted the Christian Church, and of the weakness of so much popular Christianity, is none other than this failure adequately to recognize the universality and the gravity of the fact of transgression. If a thing comes to you, calls itself God’s message, and does not start with man’s sin, nor put in the forefront of its utterances the way by which the dominion of that sin in your own heart can be broken, and the penalties of that sin in your present and future life can be swept away, ipso facto, it is condemned, as not a Gospel from God, or fit for man. Oh, my brother! it sounds harsh; but it is the truest kindness, when Nathan stands before the King, and with his flashing eye, and stern, calm voice says, "Thou art the man." Was not that nobler, truer, tenderer, worthier of God, than if he had smoothed him down with soft speeches that would not have roused his conscience? Is it not the truest benevolence that keeps the surgeon’s hand steady whilst his heart is touched by the pain he inflicts, as he thrusts his gleaming instrument of tender cruelty into the poisonous sore? And is not God’s mercy and love manifest for us in this, that He begins all His work with us with the grave, solemn indictment of each soul by itself, "Thou art the man." "He showed me all the mercy, for He taught me all the sin."

Sin is a universal disease. Humanity is bound in one because all of us are among the multitude of impotent folk. Like the boils and blains that broke out in Egypt when Moses tossed the dust in the air, whether it is Pharaoh or the slave grinding at the millstone, or the outcast on the dunghill, the blain is there on every skin. Does not the assurance that God’s great love is not turned away from men by their transgressions feed the hope - nay, rather, inspire the certainty - that for all the sick there is healing? It seems to me that any man that believes in a God who is not a devil ought to believe in a God who reveals Himself. Here is the very weakness of what nowadays is called Theism, that, asserting the existence of a Supreme Being who is love and righteousness, it maintains that that Being has never said a single word to men, and never done a single thing, to lift them out of the mire. Whosoever may believe that, I cannot; and it seems to me that the doctrine of Christianity is far more in consonance with the assurance that He is love than that dreary creed that the infinite and loving God has not spoken, and never will nor can speak, to His world. Carlyle, in one of his bursts of melancholy, said, speaking about the Deity as he conceived Him, "And He has done nothing! " He has done something. He has opened "a fountain for sin and for uncleanness."

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