Vespers – Spurgeon’s Question 17

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. …
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— …
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

  • Romans 5:6, 12, 19

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

  • 1 Corinthians 15:22

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

  • Ephesians 2:1-3

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

  • Romans 8:7-8

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

  • Genesis 6:5

As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
    there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”
“Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
    “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know.”
    “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

  • Romans 3:10-20

Surely I was sinful at birth,
    sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

  • Psalm 51:5

Even from birth the wicked go astray;
    from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies.

  • Psalm 58:3

but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

  • James 1:14

For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

  • Matthew 15:19

“Q. 17. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
“A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin (Rom. 5:19), the want of original righteousness, (Rom. 3:10) and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin (Eph. 2:1; Ps. 51:5), together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it (Matt. 15:19).”

  • Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism (Scripture proofs in bold above)

“Q. 18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
“A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell consists in: the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.”

  • The Shorter Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

“Q. 25. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
“A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consisteth in the guilt of Adam’s first sin,  the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually; which is commonly called original sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions.”

  • The Larger Catechism (Westminster Assembly)

A couple of weeks ago, we skipped the Larger Catechism questions that corresponded to Spurgeon’s question 15, but here we are going back to pick up one of those questions that we skipped.  At times, with the structure and the flow from one question to the next, it gets complicated.  Thus last week, the Shorter Catechism question 17 related to question 27 in the Larger.  This week, the Shorter’s question 18 relates to question 25.  These catechism questions have a great deal of overlap, establishing why we put ourselves in our present state.

While this question seems to attack the same subject as recent questions, it digs deep into the sin nature of us all in detail.

  1. Adam sinned.  As descendants of Adam, we bear the same curse.
  2. We desire, usually on our own merit, to regain the righteousness of a sinless person.
  3. Our entire nature is thereby corrupted.  As the saying goes that there is no such thing as a selfless good deed, our nature is to think of what we get out of that good deed, even if we only get the “high” from certain enzymes pumping through our veins.  I like crediting all quotes, but the internet gives hundreds of articles on why the statement is not true, while in many cases self-aggrandizing the writer or the person the article is written about, including an episode of an old television show.
  4. And then it seems that we cannot help but to make mistakes even then.

I like the psalmist’s comment about how, at birth, we start out by lying.  I have heard many mothers make excuses for their newborns.  No mother that I know of refers to their child as anything other than innocent.  If the child cries, it is their method of communicating.  The child is wet or dirty and needs a diaper changed.  The child is hungry or thirsty.  The child needs to be burped. … Until the time when it is none of those things, and the child has learned that to be the center of attention, they can cry.  Unless you are like one of our sons who would cry because he wanted to be left alone, untouched by anyone.

For you mothers, I am barking up the wrong tree, but the psalmist agrees with me.  And with the Shorter and Larger Catechisms using that biblical reference, a few theologians might agree too.

And now let us sing.

The following hymn, Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me is sung by unknown (Kyle and Hannah Gilbertson’s Youtube channel). And a word about pilots, watching the video below. In most cases, a pilot guides the tug that is bringing the big ships in and out of the ports. They know the specific hazards. They know about sunken hazards that the seafarers may not see. Having Jesus as our pilot can take care of that sinfulness borne from the estate in which man’s fall leaves each of us, but even then, Jesus must pilot the ship, not simply tag along as we do it ourselves.

1. Jesus, Savior, pilot me

Over life’s tempestuous sea;

Unknown waves before me roll,

Hiding rock and treach’rous shoal.

Chart and compass came from thee;

Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

2. As a mother stills her child,

Thou canst hush the ocean wild;

Boist’rous waves obey thy will

When thou say’st to them, “Be still!”

Wondrous Sov’reign of the sea,

Jesus, Savior, pilot me.

3. When at last I near the shore,

And the fearful breakers roar

’Twixt me and the peaceful rest,

Then, while leaning on thy breast,

May I hear thee say to me,

“Fear not; I will pilot thee.”

  • Edward Hopper, Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me

Closing Prayer

Dear Lord,
We have all sinned.  We all have a sin nature, but in making us new creations, You have given us that spark within us that helps us to desire You and the things of Your kingdom.  We are still a work in progress.  We still make mistakes, but one day even that will fall away and we can be totally cleansed,  Thank You for the provisions You have made so that we can become more like Your Son, Jesus.
In thy Name we pray.
Amen

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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