About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

Believers in a Hostile World to Live with Expectancy of The Return of Christ

1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. ]

John 11:17-27;  First Thessalonians 4:15-17; 5:1-9;  2 Thessalonians 2:1-3;  Titus 2:11-13;  Hebrews 10;24-25;  James 5:7-9;  First Peter 4:7;  First John 2:18 and Revelation 1:1

The contemporary church as I am told and read urgently needs spiritual revival, and that will only occur when believers get beyond personal desires and long to think, speak, and live in the ways Scriptures outlines.. 
As I understand this, when believers do, the church, the true believers, will be more than a crowd, on Sunday, but it will become spiritually powerful before this hostile world that we live in.
So what then is the incentive for Believers to be about their duty as Chrisitans believers?
Peter says "The end of all things is near.  First Peter 4:7a.
Now I will admit that I struggled with this word "End", and what it meant, until I began to study the meaning of the word. The word rendered END is the Greek word "telos" (5056 Strong's)

Telos refers to a consummation, a goal achieved, a result attained, or a realization. Can refer to that which is final as well as that which is completed. This term does not refer to annihilation (although indeed this present earth and heavens will be burned with intense heat . Peter 3:12) but is used in Scripture to refer to the end of the age. Jesus Himself used the term in this way (e.g.,  Matthew 24:6, Mark 13:7, Luke 21:9  The sense of "end" as a point in time appears also. The kingdom of Messiah has no "end" Luke 1:33). Telos as the "outcome" of something is the idea in   Luke 18:5 and Luke 22:37       it denotes the "fulfillment" of prophecy about Jesus
The Greek word group (teleō [verb], telos [noun]) has two basic emphases. The primary concept of "end" is that of achievement of an intended goal. Particularly in eschatological passages the NT picks up the thought of process implicit in the OT. But the NT draws our attention to the conclusion of the process. That end is an extremity, but it is an extremity infused by purpose. Nothing is random; nothing is purposeless. When the end comes, it will bring the achievement of all of God’s purposes. The end will be marked by the consummation of God’s plans. The other concept implicit in the Greek words indicating "end" draws our attention to persons or to things that have reached an intended goal. In a limited but real sense, achieving a goal means that a thing or person is completed, or perfect. Thus "perfect" in the NT does not suggest sinlessness or flawlessness; rather, it is a mature stage of development in which one’s potentials are achieved.
The word Telos, does not necessarily indicate termination or chronological conclusion
Rather has a learn means "fulfillment",  or "a purpose attainted,"  or a goal achieved."  Here in the text of First Peter, Peter is speaking of the fulfillment of all things, that is the Lord's returned.
Acts 3:21, Colossians 3:4, 2 Thessalonians 1:10, 2 Timothy 4:1, and 8; Hebrews 9:28 and Revelation 20:11-13.
The term " is at hand"  or "is near"  means "approaching.  Its a perfect tense which indicates a consummated in this text it means to complete make perfect, .  process with a resulting nearness that -the event (Christ's return) is imminent: i.e. about to happen, near, coming forthcoming.  Could occur at any moment as in Matthew 24:37-39; Romans 13:12,  First Thessalonians 5:2, Revelation 16:15 and 22:20.
Here is the incentive: ie.e. a thing that motivates or encourages one to do something, which is well needed among Christian Believers today, would you say?
We thus need to live with this ongoing attitude of anticipation or expectancy, as a mark of faithfulness.
Dad preached this all my life,  I believe every single day that Jesus Christ could return and take us all to heaven.
Mark 13:35-37; Luke12:40; 21:36; 1 Corinthians 1:7, as well as 1 Timothy 6:14, Titus 2:13 and James 5:7-9

Five major patterns in First Peter
1. The believer's behavior.

2. The believer's unfair circumstances.

3. The believer's deference implies a yielding or submitting to the judgment of a recognized superior out of respect or reverence.

4. The believer's motivation by Christ's example.

5. The believer's anticipation of future glory.

i.e. The behavior of believers when they encounter unfair circumstances reflects a spirit of deference in all relationship as they follow Christ's example and anticipate future glory.

6. The believer's resource of God's grace. i.e. we must understand and apply what he wrote about God's grace as our resource in order to obey His exhortations. As in 5:12 "Stand firm in the true grace of God."

God's grace is sufficient for all our needs. 2 Corinthians 12:9.
1. Grace proceeds from God. 1:2
2. Grace produces confidence: 1:10
3. What proclaims God's grace is our conduct: 2:19-20
4. Grace perfects character. Grace is the source of service: 4:10; Grace is the source of humility: 5:5. God's grace is the secret of both the attitude and activity.
5. Grace promotes courage: 5:10. To resist the devil, to give us strength to defend ourselves agains his attacks. 5:8-9

This epistle exhorts us to "stand firm" in this grace (5:12). This is Peter's appeal to his Christian readers.

1. When God tries our faith, we need to remember that we have an adequate source of "strength" in God's grace (2 Cor. 12:9).

2. When our faith is trembling, we need to remember that we have an adequate source of "confidence" in God's grace. This is not simply positive thinking, but real external help.

3. When our circumstances are difficult, we need to remember that we have an adequate source of "conduct" in God's grace, not just "pep talks."

4. When we suffer for conscience's sake, we need to remember that we have an adequate source of "character" in God's grace, not just self-effort.

5. When assaulted by the adversary, we need to remember that we have an adequate source of "courage" in God's grace. Some need courage to evangelize, others need it to do other forms of ministry.

We "stand firm in the true grace of God" when we respond to suffering for Christ's sake as Peter directed. God's grace is what we need to rely on, as we commit ourselves to continue to walk in the will of God. We need to trust and obey!





Meditation and Communion With God is the Christian Life Fuel

Bringing Meditation Back

Meditation is distinct from mere reading — especially so-called "speed reading." It means not just running the words quickly through your mind, aiming only to grasp a minimum of meaning, but pausing enough to ponder their significance, and trying to feel their emotional weight by pressing them into the heart. Meditation seeks to experience the truth of the text — not just pass information through the mind, but truly grasp it with our affections.
Jack Davis is right in waving the flag for "a more reflective and leisurely engagement with Scripture" in our day (Meditation and Communion with God: Contemplating Scripture in an Age of Distraction, by John Jefferson Davis. 10.00 kindle Footnote on the book which I got 04 16 2016
As culture has become at once more secular and more religiously pluralistic, a renaissance of interest in the spiritual disciplines has been sparked in evangelical Protestant circles. Mounting levels of stress, burnout and spiritual dryness among those in ministry has only stoked this desire for spiritual nourishment and renewal. John Jefferson Davis helps us recover the practice of meditation on Scripture as he explores the biblical and theological foundations rooted in the arrival of "the age to come" in Jesus Christ. Indeed by virtue of our union with Christ, the Triune God of the Bible draws near to his people so that they may also draw near to him. Meditation on God's revelation has always been central to enjoying communion with the Father through the Son and in the Spirit. Davis gives us fresh and practical guidance on removing the obstacles that block our fellowship with God and listening to Scripture in ways that can enrich our worship, faith, hope and love.
). Far too often, we are far too rushed when we come to our Bibles. According to Davis, the nature of modern life, and the "information overload" we have through television, smartphones, and endless new media "makes a slow, unhurried, and reflective reading of Scripture more vital than ever"

Gospel Maturity

1. The Gospel Is for Maturity

Out of a good desire for growth and maturity, it’s tempting to focus our attention on our own lives. We assess our relationships. We evaluate our priorities. We may even zero in on our own heart issues like pride, lust, envy, or greed. And while it’s healthy to realize our own need for change, it’s possible to divert our eyes and hopes from what truly transforms.

Paul wanted the same thing we want in our own lives and churches—maturity. But to bring that about, he directed the gaze of his people toward Christ, not their own cares. He described his ministry like this: "[Christ] we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ" (Col. 1:28).

We know Paul desired to preach nothing but "Christ and him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2), but do we subtly assume this kind of preaching is really for the unconverted? Paul had a different understanding. He was convinced the same gospel that saves the lost also sanctifies the found. Maturity is the goal, and the proclamation of Christ is the means. He insisted that the spiritual sight of Christ brings growth, vitality, and transformation to the soul.

Paul proclaimed the glories of the King so that believers would grow. We should do no less

Lecture 1: Fundamentals of Expository Preaching - Dr. John MacArthur

Charles e Whisnant, Charity F. Whisnant

Yep its us

God Communication With Believers

There is no inteligent sentence, no sane explanation that really can completely explain this mysterious ways that our Saviour and Lord can communitate with the hearts of those who have become His by His salvation

These were some books that a preacher at the TG4 Conference bought.
How One Man's Sin Produce Death for All Man

Romans 5:12-1`7 Doctrine of Hamartiology and Thanatology


Charles e Whisnant, Teacher


Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned
Therefore -

AS By One (5618) (hosper) is a conjunction which introduces a comparison. The main point in Romans 5:12-21 is the comparison between Adam and Christ, explaining how Adam on one hand was the means of bringing in sin and death, while Christ on the other hand was the One who brought in justification and life

One man - Although not name in this verse, this is clearly Adam. As Barber discusses above, in Genesis 2:16,17, God gave one command to eat from every tree in the Garden except the Tree of Knowledge, for if he ate of this tree he would surely die.

Man (444) (anthropos) is a generic name for human beings in general. Anthropos is distinguished from aner, which refers to the male sex. Anthropos on the other hand signifies a member of the human race, without reference either to sex or nationality.

the) SIN ENTERED THE WORLD AND DEATH THROUGH SIN AND SO DEATH SPREAD TO ALL MEN: he (definite article) hamartia (sin) eis ton kosmon eiselthen (3SAAI) kai dia tes hamartias ho thanatos: (Ro 6:23; Ge 2:17; 3:19-24; Ezek 18:4; 1Cor 15:21; Jas 1:15; Rev 20:14,15)
This passage is often referred to when one seeks to explain the doctrine you may have heard described as original sin. Original sin is a term used to describe our inheritance of a sinful nature from Adam. The sinful nature originated with Adam and is passed down from parent to child. We are by nature children of wrath (Eph 2:3).

The Sin (266) (hamartia) is the Greek word hamartia [word study] which originally conveyed the idea of missing the mark (as when hunting with a bow and arrow and not hitting the target - see this literal use of the most common Hebrew word for "sin" - Jdg 20:16!) and then came to mean missing or falling short of any goal, standard, or purpose.
In the theological sense as used most often in Scripture the word sin describes one's thoughts, words or deeds which so often miss the ultimate purpose that God would intend them to have (i.e., they "miss" His will). Stated another way, our thoughts, words and/or deeds fall short of God’s perfect standard of holiness. Now here is where the definition of Sin as used in Romans 5-8 can become a bit confusing.

Entered (1525) (eiserchomai from eis = into, a preposition of motion into any place or thing + erchomai = come) literally means to come into and so to enter into. is in the aorist tense and the indicative mood which signifies that at a certain point in time sin "went in the world's front door (by means of Adam's sin)" Sin is personified as an evil that invaded the perfect Garden setting. Adam sinned, and at that point in time, the consequence of his sin was immediate for at that moment, the "deadly virus" named the sin entered into the world and spread to "infect" the entire human race.

World (2889) (kosmos] related to kosmeo = to arrange or put in order from komeo = tend, take care of) according to W E Vine means "a harmonious arrangement or order," then, "adornment, decoration," came to denote "the world, or the universe, as that which is divinely arranged." What a tragic irony that the sin and its corrupting, destructive effects entered into a place of such "harmonious arrangement and order"! is often thus used to denote human beings--the race, the human family. is the same word used in John 3:16 where God so loved the world, the sinful human family composed of sinners.

Death (2288) (thanatos) indicates the opposite of life and the absence of life and in the NT is seen as the consequence and punishment of sin. Death speaks of separation, physically of the soul from the body and spiritually of the soul from God. Note that death does not signify either annihilation or extinction. Here in Romans 5:12 Paul speaks not of death in general but "the death", in a sense personifying death as using sin as its point of entry into the world. Before the sin there was no the death.

Passed (1330) (dierchomai from dia = through + erchomai = go) means literally to go through or to pass throughout. It speaks of complete movement in a particular direction. To spread means to to send or be sent out in all directions, as for example a highly contagious deadly virus disseminating and spreading completely through an entire population. Paul uses this verb to describe the veritable diffusion of sin and death among mankind. His phrase "upon all men" emphasizes that the diffusion is universal in scope.

All (3956) (pas) means all without exception. It includes the idea of the whole (of humanity in this context).

Sinned (264) (hamartano) means to miss the mark and so to miss God's will and purpose for one's life. The aorist tense is constative (summary) aorist which in simple terms means that at one point in time all men sinned. To what point in time does Paul refer? It was the time when Adam first sinned. His sin became mankind’s sin, because all mankind were in his loins, so to speak.

All (3956) (pas) means all without exception. It includes the idea of the whole (of humanity in this context).

Sinned (264) (hamartano) means to miss the mark and so to miss God's will and purpose for one's life. The aorist tense is constative (summary) aorist which in simple terms means that at one point in time all men sinned. To what point in time does Paul refer? It was the time when Adam first sinned. His sin became mankind’s sin, because all mankind were in his loins, so to speak.

Now the question that comes to mind is why?

How did death come to be the reigning monarch of the world?

We are looking then at the influence of one man so that he dominates a whole flow of human beings by his one act. Because of Adam's sin, all men are condemned. Because of Christ's obedience, all men are offered pardon.

Now let's begin by looking at Adam and the reign of death.

Now the first point: Sin entered the world through one man.

That's what it says in verse 12, "As by one man sin entered into the world."
It does not say that Adam originated sin. Sin had already originated prior to Adam. For the Bible says the devil sinneth from the beginning.
Satan made the product; Adam just introduced it into the marketplace. First John 3:8:

Now would you notice it says in verse 12 that by one man sin entered the world, not sins.

God made us as a procreating race so that what we are is passed on to who we bear.
And you have Adam and Eve, as well, sinners with a corrupting defiling principle in them. And when they procreate, they will procreate sinners and more sinners and more sinners and more sinners and here we are. And it all started when Adam sinned.
The world of mankind was corrupted.
John Donne was right when he wrote, "No man is an island entire of itself, every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod is washed away, Europe is less, as well as if a promontory were or a manor of thy friends. Every man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
When Adam sinned he was the whole human race. He was mankind sinning. And in his loins was the seed that would bring forth every human life, every human life.
When he was polluted, it guaranteed that everybody born out of his loins would be polluted. In fact, the pollution intensifies through history and Paul says in 2 Timothy that evil men get worse and worse. Instead of evolution, it's devolution, it gets worse and worse, it's degenerating, it's breaking down. The whole of mankind was in the loins of Adam. And all human history is encapsulated in Genesis chapter 3.
Now the Jews understood this concept of what we call corporate personality. (which I have never heard of before)

The Jew never thought of himself as an isolated individual.
He didn't see himself that way. He thought himself a part of a tribe, a part of a family, a part of a nation. And in the Old Testament God treated people as whole units.

So Paul presents Adam acting as mankind.

That is, by the way, what his name means, mankind. He is the solid mass of humanity. By the way, I believe he was all the humanity there was then, he and his wife who is seen as one with Him for they two had become (What?) one flesh. And he introduces rebellion and evil into the human stream.
So his is the act of humanity. He is not acting as a man, he is acting as man. And so he's the cause of all men becoming sinners. And that is why 1 Corinthians 15:22 says this, "In Adam all die." In Adam all die. All men inherit corruption from Adam. We were there, as it were. As God views it we were there and we might as well have been there because we have inherited, as Augustine used to say, it is the seminal (influential, groundbreaking,) transmission of the sin principle

Principle number two — death entered the world through sin.
"In the day you eat you shall surely (What?) die."
So when the corrupting principle came, so did its penal (the prescribing the punishment of offenders under the legal system) consequence.

Death came as the penalty for sin. Death then is the unfailing fruit of the poison that entered Adam's heart. And solidarity and guilt involve solidarity and penalty. Sin and death will never be separated. And that's why Hebrews 9:27 says, "It is appointed unto men once to die." Adam died, so everybody who comes out of Adam's loins is going to die. The sin principle, its penal consequence is there.
Now notice again that it keeps using the word "sin."
It says that by one man sin entered the world, and the second principle, death by sin.
Death comes not because you commit sins, but because you bear in you a sin principle, a corrupt nature.
We are always trying to live longer! But 55 million will die this year.

Now what kind of death is it?
And I'll give you a little thanatology here. Never heard of that term: Do you know what it is?
Thanatology is the scientific study of death. It investigates the mechanisms and forensic aspects of death, such as bodily changes that accompany death and the post-mortem period, as well as wider psychological and social aspects related to death. It is primarily an interdisciplinary study offered as a course of study at numerous colleges and universities.
First, spiritual death.
When Adam sinned did he die on the spot physically? Did he die eternally? No. He just died spiritually. What does that mean? Separation. Death is separation. Physical death is separation from the living. Spiritual death is separation from the living God. Eternal death is eternal separation from the living God and the living who are living in the presence of the living God.

A third principle — death spread to all men because — all sinned.
Here's the difficult part. And here's where you get back into the solidarity concept. It says there in verse 12, "Death passed on all men."
Death passed on all men. Death came to all men. Nobody escapes. A very important theological truth, everybody dies because everybody sins because everybody has a sin principle because Adam sinned and introduced the whole thing and passed it on. And just like we got eyes and ears and noses and arms and legs, we got sin from him. But then we could have just left it there and we would have been so easily satisfied, I think, but then he adds that thing at the end of verse 12, "For all have sinned."

a fourth point. And this sums it up. History proves this to be true.
History proves it to be true. Sin came through one man, death came through sin, death spread to all men and history proves it to be true. Verse 13: "For until the law, sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there's no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression." And we'll stop there


Is it injustice for those who have chosen to be what they want to be. 

So a person walks in to the church service and has a sign on their chest: I am gay,  I am married to a man, I am  bisexual or a transgender what would you do?

I would ask then to take the sign off if they would and come in and take a seat and listen to the sermon if they would. 

If a person walks into our Union Mills bakery we don't usually know if they are gay, or a transgender person.  We don't ask.  If they did, we would serve them anyway. And we don't make wedding cakes, but do make a few rainbow cakes.

Sexual orientation should be address.   In West Virginia a school teacher was given 20 years for his sexual orientation for sex with a five year old.

Sexual orientation is an enduring pattern of romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or

lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights.    extremely discriminatory  discrimination  based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Do we discriminat against people

Copyright Law and Cake Decorating Laws

Copyright Law and Cake Decorating

Another common issue that is often ignored is how copyright law affects cake decorating. Copyrighted characters created by Disney, Nintendo, and Nickelodeon are often requested as decorations for kids’ birthday cakes, and trademarks from designer purse manufacturers and sports teams are a common sight on cakes for weddings and other events.
Under current copyright law in the US, in most cases you must obtain permission from the copyright or trademark owner if you want to duplicate a protected work, such as an original character or logo. There are a few exceptions to this rule (including use as a parody, educational use, or copying a small portion of a work as part of a review), but these exceptions typically won’t apply to cake decorating.
If you are copying a copyrighted character in fondant, gumpaste, buttercream, etc. on a cake for personal use, your risk is minimal as long as you do not display the cake publicly — this means no pictures posted on social media sites. On the other hand, selling a cake with copyrighted characters without permission can be dangerous even if you don’t post pictures yourself — if you did a good job, chances are the customer and other guests at the event will post their own pictures.
There are a couple ways you can protect yourself against infringing on copyrights:
Get permission first.
Some copyright owners will let you copy their characters for free, some will require a license fee, and some won’t allow any copying. If you’re not sure who the copyright owner is, a Google search of the character’s name will usually lead to a web site with a copyright notice at the bottom and contact information for the company. Make sure to get permission in writing.
Since some of the most popular characters are owned by companies that usually won’t grant a license (e.g. Disney), your customers may be disappointed. I find that it’s helpful to require the customer to provide written permission before placing the order, that way if the copyright owner denies the request, the customer’s wrath is directed at the copyright owner instead of you. As it should be.
Use Licensed Figurines
There is a component of copyright law called the “First Sale Doctrine”, which allows you to purchase a licensed copy of a copyrighted work (e.g. a Mickey Mouse figurine) and resell that copy without obtaining permission. This is not considered infringement because the copyright owner has already been paid by the licensee. You should make sure the item you buy is legit and not an unlicensed knockoff.
There are some companies (like DecoPac) that sell complete scenes composed of several licensed copyrighted elements. When you purchase these products the license may require the scene to be used as pictured only. It’s unclear as to whether or not this is enforceable, but unless you want to be a test case I would recommend abiding by the license.
Go Generic or Public Domain
Copyright only legally protects original work, and it only protects that work for a certain amount of time. It does not protect generic concepts at all, so (as an example) you would be able to make a cake in the shape of a purse as long as it doesn’t look like a Coach purse or have a Coach logo.
There are also some works that are in the public domain, either because the author has given up copyright protection or copyright has expired. For example, Lewis Carroll’s original Alice in Wonderland books are in the public domain, so you are free to create your own spin on any of the characters in the book without permission. However, since Disney’s characters inspired by Carroll’s books are protected, you would need permission before reproducing any of them.
The line between generic and copyrighted can sometimes be a little blurry. My rule of thumb is if an average person would look at a cake and think “hey, that’s (copyrighted character)”, you need permission. (Making Mickey Mouse blue won’t cut it.) And since your goal as a cake decorator is to have exactly that reaction, you can see why this can be a difficult situation.
One final note: you may notice many, many examples of infringing cakes posted online by both individuals and businesses. This may be due to people being unaware of copyright law or simply not caring about it, but it does not mean that copyright law is not being enforced. This law exists to protect the investment of people and businesses who spend time and money creating original works of art, and if you create your own original work you would want to enjoy those same protections.
Granted that the scope and duration of copyright law has gotten a little out of control: works are currently protected for 95 years from the original publication date, and you can expect this to be extended further before 2019, which is when Mickey Mouse will fall into the public domain. But that’s a discussion for another time, and unfortunately you still have to follow laws you don’t agree with.



I. SIN IS AGAINST MAN'S PRESENT GOOD, IN THIS LIFE, against the good of his body and the good of his soul. For on both it has brought a curse and death.
(1) Against the good of man's body. It has corrupted man's blood, and made his body mortal, thereby rendering it a vile body. Our bodies, though made of dust, were more precious than the fine gold; but when we sinned, they became vile bodies. Before sin our bodies were immortal (for death and mortality came in by sin), but now alas they must return to dust. It is appointed to all men once to die, and it is well if they die but once, and the second death have no power over them. They must see corruption, or the equivalent of death, i.e. a change; for this flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, as that with which we were created might possibly have done (1 Corinthians I5.50). Our body is sown in corruption, in dishonour, in weakness (I Corinthians 15.42-43), and is therefore called vile (Philippians 3.21). Before this body is laid in the grave, it is languishing, in a continual consumption, and dying daily, besides all the dangers that attend it from without.
(2) Against the good of man's soul. The soul is transcendently excellent beyond the body, and its good is beyond that of the body; so that a wrong done to the soul is much more to man's hurt than a wrong done to the body. Therefore our Saviour says, Fear not them that can kill the body, and do no more (which is little in comparison of what God can do to the soul, if it sins), but fear him that can destroy, i.e. damn, soul and body in hell (Matthew 10.28). It is not very ill with a man if it is well with his soul. We can more easily and cheaply die than be damned, and may better venture our bodies to suffering than our souls to sinning, for he that sinneth wrongs his soul (Proverbs 8.36). Nothing but sin wrongs a man's soul, and there is no sin which does not do so.
Thus we see in a general way that sin is against the good of man's body and soul. But in order to exhibit this more clearly and fully, I shall consider and speak of man {1) in a natural sense, (2) in a moral sense.
(1) In a natural sense
If we consider man in a natural or physical state, we shall find sin to be (i) against the well-being, and (ii) against the very being of man. It will not suffer him to be well or long in the world, nor if possible to be at all.
(i) It is against man's well-being in this life. Well-being is the life of life, and sin bears us so much ill-will, that it deprives us of our livelihood, and of that which makes it worth our while to live. Man was born to a great estate, but by sin, which was and is treason against God, he forfeited all. Man came into the world as into a house ready furnished; he had all things prepared and ready to hand. All the creatures came to wait on him and pay him homage; but when man sinned, God turned him out of house and home, and all his lands, goods and chattels were taken from him. Paradise was man's inheritance, where he had everything pleasant to the eye and good for food (he needed no clothes while innocent). But when he sinned, God dispossessed him of all, and drove him out into the wide world, like a pilgrim or a beggar, to live by his own hands and to earn his meat by the sweat of his brow, as you may read at length in Genesis 3.
Thus, by sin, man, who was the Emperor of Eden, is banished from his native country, and must never see it again but in a new and living way; for the old is closed up, and besides that, it is kept against him with flaming swords. Ever since, it has been every man's lot to come into and go out of this world naked, to show that he has no right to anything, but lives on the alms of God's charity and grace. All we have or hold between our birth and death is clear gain and mere gift. God might choose whether he would allow us anything or not, and when he has given he may take back again, and none of us has cause to say anything but what Job did: 'Naked came I into the world, and naked shall I return; the Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord' (Job 1.21). All we have, our food and raiment, is only lent to us. We are only tenants at will, and therefore, seeing we deserve nothing, we should be content with, and thankful for anything (1 Timothy 6.7,8).
To show that man by sin had lost all, when our Lord Jesus came into this world for the recovery of man, and stood as in the sinner's stead, he had not where to lay his head. 'Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head' (Luke 9.58). This plainly shows that the sin of man had left the Son of man nothing. Though Christ were Lord of all, yet if he will come in the likeness of sinful flesh, he must not go like the Son of God, but the Son of man, and be a man of sorrows, destitute, forsaken and afflicted. Though we fare the better for his suffering, he fared the worse for our sin; and among the other miseries he underwent, he had not where to lay his head.
To add yet another evidence of the venomous nature of sin in this matter, it is not a little remarkable that God did not take the full forfeiture, nor strip us so naked and bare as he might have done, but allowed us a competent subsistence and accommodation. Also, as the first fruits of his goodness, he made the first suit of clothes which Adam and Eve wore. Yet sin is against that good which God left us, and fills it with vanity and vexation, with bitterness and a curse. God left Adam many acres of land to till and husband, but he has it with a curse, sweat and sorrow; many a grieving briar and pricking thorn stick fast to him (Genesis 3.17-19). God left him ground enough (v. 23), but, alas, it is cursed ground! So sin is against man's temporal good, either in taking it from him, or cursing it to him. Sin is so envious, that it would leave man nothing, and if God is so good as to leave him anything, sin's eye is evil because God is good, and puts a sting in it, viz. a curse. To be more specific:
a. Sin is against man's rest and ease, of which man is a great lover; and, indeed, he needs it as a great part of the well-being of his life. It is a sore travail which the sons of men have under the sun. What hath man of all his labour, and the vexation of his heart wherein he laboured? for all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief (Ecclesiastes 1.13; 2.22,23). This is so whether he increase wisdom and knowledge, or pleasure and riches. He takes no rest in the night, but is haunted with vain and extravagant, if not terrified by frightful dreams; and his fancies, which are waking dreams by day, are more troublesome than those of the night. Man's ground is overgrown with thorns, so that he has many an aching head and heart, many a sore hand and foot, before the next year comes round, to get a little livelihood out of this sin-cursed ground. Man's paradisical life was easy and pleasant, but now it is labour and pain, such as makes him sweat. Even his recreations fall short of his labour, for pain and sweat (Ecclesiastes 2.1-2). The old world was very conscious of this, as may be gathered from Genesis 5.29: 'He called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work, and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.' Sin, curse and toil keep company.
b. Sin is against man's comfort and joy. In sorrow shalt thou eat all the days of thy life (Genesis 3.17). Not one whole merry day! It would be some comfort to a man, after he had toiled and moiled all day, if he could eat his bread with joy, and drink his wine with a merry heart. But sin will not allow him to do so; if he laughs, sin turns it to madness (Ecclesiastes 2.2), or else it is no better music than the crackling of thorns (Ecclesiastes 7.6). In Paradise, the blessing of God on Adam's diligent hand made him rich, and there was no sorrow with it (to allude to Proverbs 10.22); but now man's sweetmeats have sour sauces--'in sorrow shalt thou eat'--and his bread is the bread of affliction.
The female, the woman, has a peculiar sort and share of sorrow, for the time of conception, breeding, bearing and birth are tedious. Yet, alas! many who feel the pain which sin brought are not sensible of the sin which brought the pain, though their sorrow and pain also is greatly multiplied, as we find it expressed in Genesis 3.16, and the more so for the want of faith and sobriety (I Timothy 2.15).
c. Sin is against man' s health. From it come all diseases and sicknesses; till sin there were no such things. For this cause, in general, many are weak and sickly among you. Let man take the best air he can, and eat the best food he can, let him eat and drink by rule, let him take ever so many antidotes, preservatives and cordials, still man is but a shaky, sickly thing for all this. Verily every man in his best estate is a frail and brittle thing yea altogether vanity (Psalm 39.5); this text is spoken with reference to diseases and sickness. Take him while his blood dances in his veins, and his marrow fills his bones; even then he is a brittle piece of mortality.
d. Sin is against the quiet of a man's natural conscience. It wounds the spirit and makes it intolerable: 'A wounded spirit who can bear? (Proverbs 18.14). While that is sound and whole, all infirmities are more easily borne, but when that is broken, the supports fail, which has a great influence on the body: 'A merry heart doeth good like a medicine (there is no cordial like it) but a broken spirit drieth the bones' (Proverbs 17.22); it sucks away the marrow and radical moisture. 'Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop' (Proverbs 12.25). A good conscience is a continual feast, but sin mars all the mirth. When Cain had killed his brother, and his conscience felt the stroke of the curse, he was like a distracted man, and mad. When Judas had betrayed his Master, he was weary of his life.
e. Sin is against the beauty of man. It takes away the loveliness of men's very complexions; it alters the very air of their countenance. 'When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty (or, as it is in the margin, that which is to be desired in him) to consume (or melt) away like a moth: surely every man is vanity (his beauty vain)' (Psalm 39.11). There was no such thing as vanity or deformity till sin entered; everything was lovely before, and man above anything in the inferior world.
f. Sin is against the loving and conjugal co-habitation of soul and body. They were happily married, and lived lovingly together for a while, till sin sowed discord between them, and made them jar. There is now many a falling out between body and soul, between sense and reason; they pull in different directions; there is a self-civil war. Even in this sense the flesh lusteth against the spirit; the poor man is dragged and pulled this way and that, tossed to and fro as with several winds. Man is full of contradictions: time was when the mind commanded the body, but now this servant rides on horseback, while that prince walks on foot. Man is inverted: his head is where his heels should be; his soul is become a prisoner to the body, rather than a free man, far too often. The beast is too hard for the man, and the horse rides the rider. Sense lords it, and domineers over reason.
g. Sin is against man's relative good in this world. Man's comfort or sorrow lies much in his relationships; the weal or woe of his life is as his relationships are. That which was made for a help proves only too often a hindrance. Sin has spoiled society, so that one man is a wolf, even a devil to another. Sin will not let husband and wife, parents and children live quietly, but sets them at variance, and many times a man's enemies are they of his own house and bosom; they who eat bread at our table lift up the heel against us, and familiar friends become enemies. Lust makes wars (James 4.1), and from pride comes contention (Proverbs 13.10). It breeds divisions and factions in Church and State, so that there is little union or order, harmony, society or friendship in the world.
Thus sin sets itself to oppose man's well-being,
(ii) Sin is against the very being of man. Sin aims not only that man should not be well, but that man should not be at all. How many it strangles in the womb! How many miscarriages and abortions it causes! How many it sends from the cradle to the grave, who have run their race before they can go! Others die in their full strength, beside the havoc it makes by war, and some always eat their bread in darkness (Job 21.23,25). Man no sooner begins to live, but he begins to die; and after a few days, which are but as a span, and pass away more swiftly than a weaver's shuttle, sin lays all in the dust, princes as well as beggars. Sin has reduced man's age to a very little pittance, from almost a thousand to a very uncertainty, not only to seventy, but to seven, for among men no man's life is valued at more. Man's time is short and uncertain: he that is born today is not sure to live a day. And what is our life but as a vapour, which soon passes away. I could enlarge here, but this may suffice, to show that sin is against all the good of man in this life, considered in a natural sense.
(2) Sin is also against the good of man in a moral sense
(i) It has degraded man, by defiling him, and has almost unmanned him; for, as our text speaks of sin as a man, so the Holy Scripture speaks of man as if he were sin, and every man were a man of sin (i.e. a man made up of sin) whether we consider the outer or inner man. Man was a very noble thing, made little lower than the angels (Psalm 8.5). But, alas, by sin he is made almost as low as devils. Man was once a companion for God himself, but sin has separated between God and him, and has robbed man of his primitive excellence. From being a lord he is become a servant, indeed, a slave to creatures, to devils, and lusts of all sorts. Now this debasement came by defilement, which cleaves
a. To his body, for the flesh is filthy (2 Corinthians 7.1), and the body needs sanctifying and cleansing (1 Thessalonians 5.23). The body is a body of sin, the members are servants to uncleanness and to iniquity (Romans 6.19). Take him from head to foot, from the crown of the one to the sole of the other, there is no whole (because no holy) part of him; but all is filthy, and full of putrefactions and sores. If we dissect and anatomize man, we shall find this only too true, for without naming every sin that cleaves to the whole or every part, but speaking in a more general way, it is thus said of sinful men: their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, with their tongues they use deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips, their throat is an open sepulchre (Romans 3.13,14); eyes full of adultery (2 Peter 2.14); the eye-lids haughty (Proverbs 30.13) ears dull of hearing (Hebrews 5.11), yea, deaf as the adder {Psalm 58.4); the forehead is as impudent as a brow of brass (Isaiah 48.4); both hands are employed to work iniquity (Micah 7.3); the belly is an idol-god (Philipplans 3.19); the feet are swift to shed blood (Romans 3.15); and if we look within, their inward part is very wickedness--the Hebrew is 'wickednesses' (Psalm 5.9); the gall is a gall of bitterness, in a moral, as well as in a spiritual sense; the spleen is affected, indeed infected with envy and malice. What part is there which is not the seat of one or other evil?