Fifty-four thousand seven hundred and fifty sins! And what about them? They were all committed by one man! Surely be must have been a “sinner above all men“! Not so. His own words were that, if he could only live the remainder of his life as he had done the past, he had no fear of reaching heaven at the end. Indeed, his outward conduct was irreproachable and his character blameless. Then, how came he to commit so many sins? On his being asked if he had spent a careful and steady life, he replied that he had always treated his neighbour kindly and had been an honest man, whilst he could not say that he had ever sinned against God. On the truth of the last statement being questioned he acknowledged that he, with the rest of people, had sinned in word, thought, and deed. Thus far he pleaded guilty, and that before God.
Suppose his age to have been somewhat over fifty years, it follows that, sinning thus, at the rate of three times daily, he stood charged with no less than the awful amount of fifty-four thousand seven hundred and fifty sins! And supposing, further, that he should live to the age of eighty years, he would then be amenable for the round sum of eighty-seven thousand six hundred sins.
Now this calculation is on the most moderate terms, reckoning for one sin in word, one in thought, and one in deed daily; and yet in how many more points must he have even unwittingly offended!
Thus, then, this man, should he only live on as hitherto, must seek admission to heaven with this enormous charge against him.
Alas! how little the real nature of sin is understood, even by those who profess to shape their conduct by the word of God. How many are drifting down the stream, pluming themselves on the thought that, since they are kind neighbours, and moral, upright, and honest members of society, they have nothing to fear.
But on the “broad road that leads to destruction” there are two sides, and on each side a pathway. The one is frequented by drunkards, profane, godless, and dissolute people; but on the other treads, softly and unconsciously down, the professor of a truth which he does not possess, he who has “a name to live but is dead,” who can condemn sin in others, but who forgets that he has sins of his own. Yet each pathway has the same ending, and each traveller has his doom in the same place.
True, social laws distinguish carefully and well between the drunkard and the sober man, nor is morality, in every way, to be but commended and esteemed; but the balances of divine equity are far more delicately adjusted than human scales, so that what may pass before the dull eye of man may be faulty in that of God. Now God’s standard is that by which each action is to he measured; and learn, O reader, that if “all unrighteousness be sin,” so too “thy righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Such is the decision pronounced by the word of God—such is the result of God’s measurement. And surely this is exceedingly solemn! Bad as open sin may be, the good works themselves, of an unconverted man, are unclean in His sight. Have you bethought yourself of this? Perhaps, like him of whom you have been reading, you have been building on a blameless life, an amiable disposition, a charitable heart, or a religious character, without recollecting that in thought, word, and deed, you have sinned daily, until you have run up another such accumulation of crimes. We read that David, the “man after God’s own heart,” wrote of himself that innumerable evils had compassed him about, and that his iniquities were more than the hairs of his head. Innumerable evils! an amount that could not be numbered; beyond calculation. And yet each was known to God; placed “in the light of his countenance;” “naked and opened before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
And so with you, dear reader; sins unknown, or long since forgotten, have all been made note of by God; and remember that His word says, “The wages of sin is death,” and “after this the judgment!” Remember this “death is the wages of sin.” Your repentance, your tears, your reformation, could never atone for your sin. Nay, the divine sentence pronounced on sin, all sin, every sin, is death. You must accept this sentence in all its fullness. God will never lessen one whit of its severity. It is demanded by divine justice and must be met. O unpardoned soul, whether deeply stained by open sin, or simply as “good as your neighbour,” can you meet this sentence? Can you receive such awful wages?
But hearken! A substitute has died. A daysman has interposed. A ransom has been given! Jesus has “once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God;” or again, “God commends his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us;” or again, “He has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Will you not avail yourself, today, of this glorious substitution? To believe and know that Christ has died for your sins, was delivered for your offences, and raised again for your justification, is to bring your soul on to the ground of peace with God. O remember the blood that cleanses from all sin, that precious blood which can fit a soul for the presence of God on high, where nothing that defiles can enter. O remember Him who died, and who then said “It is finished,” but Who was raised again in proof of salvation being a finished work, finished by Him for us, our substitute, our Saviour, our righteousness, our all and in all. Oh, dear reader,
It is not thy tears of repentance nor prayers,
’Tis “the blood that atones for the soul”;
On Him then Who shed it thou mayest at once
Thy weight of iniquities roll.
Yea, rather, see them rolled away; “sins, as scarlet, made as white as snow,” by means of “the precious blood of Christ.”