Pastoral letter 150


“And sin, when it is full-grown, it gives birth to death”

(James 1:15)

 Printable version: pastoral letter 150

Dear Family in Christ,


I have been meditating upon the tragic life of Saul, Israel’s first king.  How tragic it is to trace the development of sin in that miserable man’s life!


I am sure that he, as a younger man, never once imagined that he could get as entrapped in sin as he finally did.  The little jealousies and duplicities in his heart grew until they consumed, literally, his very life.


I don’t think that we realize just how dangerous and wicked sin is, especially so in regard to our own sins.  It will do us good to contemplate and consider the growth of sin in a soul.  We should view the least trace of it with a greater horror than we would a cancer.  (If we were as afraid of soul diseases as we are of body diseases we would be better, holier, happier followers of Jesus).


The scripture above warns us that sin grows.  It does not stay put.  It metastasizes, just as a vicious cancer will.  It is not content to occupy a corner of your life, it wants to kill and destroy its victim.


We simply do not take sin seriously enough.


We never imagine that it will ruin us.


We put up with tumours or pride, jealousy, lust and greed, never considering that they will spread throughout our entire soul.


We think we can control sin, and keep it under locks, allowing it out on occasion for our enjoyment.


But it   GROWS….


And when fully grown, it brings forth DEATH.  Soul death, body death, relational death, eternal death.


It is not funny, and is nothing to joke about.


It is especially horrid when considered in the light of the value of the:

Soul which it destroys,

the God which it dishonours,

and the Divine Image which it defaces.


I want to encourage you to do three things:


First, make it a regular part of your prayer life to ask God to help you see the sin in your life the way He sees it.  Get serious about this.  Be as serious with your soul as you are with your body, and more so.  Ask the Lord to give you a real revelation of the horror of sin, death and hell.  Don’t allow yourself to go soft on this!


Then, ask the Lord to help you understand in an ever new, and deepening way, just what it means to repent before the Cross and receive cleansing through the Blood of Jesus.  His death, for our sins, is sufficient to cleanse and restore the sin-sick soul.  What joy and release there is when Christ cleanses sin!  I believe that we can shout “Hallelujah!” when we experience the cleansing blood of Christ in ever deeper ways.


Finally, meditate upon the beauty of holiness.  A life which is increasingly being conformed to the image of Christ is an increasingly beautiful life.  The soul becomes rich and healthy, God is increasingly honoured, and the Image of God in the redeemed person begins to shine through.  Holiness is a colourful, life-giving, rich state of life which should be cherished and pursued at all costs!


Indeed, if sin, when full-grown, gives birth to death, then godliness increasingly gives birth to Life.


May we receive the grace God is offering to take sin seriously, believe in the Blood of Christ shed for us earnestly, and pursue holiness passionately.




John Gillespie