A friend was recently confessing to me that his sins were exceeding great. He felt truly overwhelmed by them, crushed under them, and was deeply discouraged. As he was sharing this my thoughts were drawn to a passage from William Bridge's, A Lifting Up for the Downcast. In fact, what I had read that morning spoke directly to his situation. Below is what I shared with my friend. Bridge explains that the Christian should be convicted and humbled by his sin, but not downcast.
But again you say, suppose that a man’s sins be exceeding great, gross and heinous; for I do confess that possibly a godly man may sin some sin against his light, and against his conscience sometimes; but as for me, my sin is exceeding great, gross and heinous, and have I not just cause and reason now to be discouraged?
No, not yet, for though your sin be great, is not God’s mercy great, exceeding great? Is not the satisfaction made by Christ great? Are the merits of Christ’s blood small? Is not God, the great God of heaven and earth, able to do great things? You grant that God is almighty in providing for you, and is He not almighty also in pardoning? Will you rob God of His almightiness in pardoning? You say your sin is great, but is it infinite? Is not God alone infinite? Is your sin as big as God, as big as Christ? Is Jesus Christ only a Mediator for small sins? Will you bring down the satisfaction of Christ, and the mercy of God, to your own model? Has not the Lord said concerning pardoning mercy, that His “thoughts are not as our thoughts, but as the heavens are greater than the earth, so are his thoughts (in this respect) beyond our thoughts”? Has not the Lord said, in Isaiah 43 unto the people of the Jews, at verses 22-24, “But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel. Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offering, neither hast thou honored me with thy sacrifices...Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.” Yet, verse 25, “I even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” Here are sins, and great sins; and if the Lord will therefore pardon sin because it is great, unto His people, then surely they have no reason to be quite discouraged in this respect.
- William Bridge, A Lifting Up for the Downcast
This has been an encouraging book, and I hope you will check it out. It is a great tool for preaching the gospel to yourself.