Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices – Lessening of Sin

Thomas Brooks in “Precious Remedies Against Satan’s devices” lists strategies that Satan uses to entice us to sin. The third strategy is by extenuating and lessening of sin.

Ah! says Satan, it is but a little pride, a little worldliness, a little uncleanness, a little drunkenness, etc… Alas! says Satan, it is but a very little sin that you stick so at. You may commit it without any danger to your soul. It is but a little one; you may commit it, and yet your soul shall live.

Satan minimizes sin to lessen our horror and disdain for it. In fact, Satan will make sin seem very small before we sin and impossibly huge after we sin.

For remedies, Brooks has us consider:

  1. Sins which we are apt to account small have brought upon men the greatest wrath of God. He lists examples: “… the eating of an apple, gathering a few sticks on the Sabbath day, and touching of the ark.” It does not matter if sin appears small or minor to us, but how sin appears to God. Do you love, cherish, and practice what He hates? “Therefore, when Satan says it is but a little one–you must say, Oh! but those sins which you call little, are such as will cause God to rain hell out of heaven upon sinners.”
  2. Giving way to a less sin makes way for the committing of a greater sin. Sin is a wedge and can only lead to more and more sin. “If we commit one sin to avoid another, it is just we should avoid neither… Sin is of an encroaching nature; it creeps on the soul by degrees, step by step, until it has the soul to the very height of sin.” Brooks again provides a Biblical example: “David gives way to his wandering eye, and this led him to those foul sins that caused God to break his bones, and to turn his day into night, and to leave his soul in great darkness.” Sin brings forth death. It cannot do otherwise. A small sin is merely an entree into greater sin and death.
  3. It is sad to sin against God for a trifle. “It is devilish to sin without a temptation; it is little less than devilish to sin on a little occasion… The less the temptation is to sin–the greater is that sin. Saul’s sin in not waiting for Samuel, was not so much in the matter–but it was much in the malice of it…” It would be a great evil to dishonor, lie, or cheat a friend on account of a small matter; how much more so to sin against God for small temptations? Is not Christ worth more than those twenty silver pieces?
  4. There is great danger… in the smallest sins. “Greater sins do sooner startle the soul, and awaken and rouse up the soul to repentance, than lesser sins do. Little sins often slide into the soul, and breed, and work secretly and indiscernibly in the soul…” “A little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:6). We may be on watch for great and famous sins, but do we care for even the smallest infection?
  5. Other saints have chosen to suffer the worst of torments, rather than commit the least sin. “Daniel and his companions … would rather choose to burn, and be cast to the lions–than they would bow to the idol which Nebuchadnezzar had set up… they would rather burn than sin! They knew it was far better to burn for their not sinning, than that God and conscience should raise a hell, a fire in their bosoms for sin.” Look to our brothers and sisters who have gone before us — they viewed all sin as something to be avoided whatever the cost.
  6. The soul is never able to stand under the guilt and weight of the least sin. For those sins committed intentionally, you know you will feel guilty afterwards and you know what that will feel like. Why set yourself up for such an ordeal?
  7. There is more evil in the least sin than in the greatest affliction. God the Father did not spare His own Son. God’s wrath was poured out full measure for sins great and small. This is God’s evaluation of sin.

We must see sin as God sees it, hate it as He hates it, and to prepare our minds beforehand for how we will meet it. Purpose now, before temptation, to accept the suffering, displeasure, discomfort, and scorn that comes from not sinning so when those times come your decision will be already made.

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