“There are two things, which I have always looked upon as difficult. The one is, to make the wicked sad; the other is, to make the godly joyful.”
So says Thomas Watson in his preface to “A Divine Cordial” published in 1663. A big problem that can be observed today is that there is not much difference in the outlook and demeanour of saints and sinners. Can we say that the saints are too sad and the sinners are too glad? Alas the reality is far from this. Let us ponder upon that.
- Sinners should be sad. They should be sad because they are sinners. They have offended the God who is the Holy One. Their lives and their beings stand as an offence before Him. They presently have the wrath of God abiding upon them. They only have an eternity of experiencing the eternal judgement of the eternal Lord God ahead. Surely sinners should be sad.
- Saints should be glad because in Christ they have the forgiveness of their sins. They owe everything to the kind gracious good workings of God. This is the great God who has sent His Son to die for their sins. So they should be glad. And they have eternal life. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Surely saints should be very glad.
As Christians then, it is good to be continually encouraging one another about the privileges we have in Christ. We should be speaking of the blessings we have through being saints. And there should be joy and gladness in our midst. Preachers have a key responsibility here. But all of us should start thinking about how we can be helping other saints we know to be glad.
For sinners, who have yet to come to know the salvation of God, the good news is that there is salvation available in and through Christ Jesus. If you are not a Christian reading this, the most urgent need you have is to really start to know how bad your sins are before God and to start to feel bad about them. Then you must look away to the cross of Jesus where he took all your badness. If you are a sinner, the worst thing you can do is be glad about your state.
Oh to see in 2014 more sad sinners and more glad saints.
(Originally published at Venabling on 16th January 2014).