"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « What About Those Who Have Never Heard? | Main | Westminster Assembly Poster - Special Offer »

    Growing in Grace & Conscious of Sin

    Due to a rising sense of sin, many genuine Christians, as they grow in grace, may occasionally have doubts arise as to the assurance of their conversion. We can feel that grace is declining when our awareness of inner corruption is growing. Our pride, our lusts and other corruptions swell up in our breasts and so we wonder if our conversion is real, or at least wonder where God is in all of this. Rather than being comforted, we feel extraordinary discomfort. We become worried and irritated and wonder how it is that we feel guiltier than ever.

    If you are complaining to yourself in this way, let me ask you this: Were these corruptions in you before you began to sense their reality? If you are human you answered in the affirmative. You may have noticed them before but not been humbled by them, but now your soul is vexed and brought low by them. This might seem strange but actually you are finally judging yourself aright. This is not a sign of grace decay and decline but, on the contrary, a sign that you are growing in grace. If you notice your sin more, it is because you have more light, because the Lord has made you more sensitive to it. This is actually a sign that God united you to Himself in Christ, and a sign of a thriving Christian. For if God is with you, you will be more discomforted than ever in the presence of your own sin. This means the Spirit is doing His work. The result is that we may think ourselves even more vile sinners than we previously thought. Christian, take note, if this is the case, this is not the love of sin growing in your heart but the love of the Savior. You only make this judgment against yourself because God has made you His and jealously desires your entire heart. That you now finally take notice of these things means that the gospel is at work in you, and additionally, that sin will no longer keep you in bondage but that the Lord is now both freeing you and purging sin from you. The sense of it and the growing distaste for it is the evidence that He is saving you from both the guilt and power of sin. The Son of God has arisen in your bosom and thus the cold glacier has begun to melt as His warmth and love fills you. So if you feel the pangs of more sin in your heart as a Christian see it as a sign that the Lord is moving you on to greater maturity, not less. It seems most dark before sunrise. So if you are irritated rather than comforted, it is not a sign that grace is declining … more likely it is a sign that it is increasing. Humility is better developed in harsh conditions than under the mild comfort of a San Diego day.

    -J.W. Hendryx

    Posted by John on January 2, 2008 12:06 PM


    Thank you for this article, very encouraging.

    This article is very encouraging
    thank you.

    I concur. I needed this today.

    God's providence is amazing! I have been noticing an increassed awareness of sin in my heart and wondering where my concern for sanctification and holiness had gone. thank you for this article and reminding me that while I may only see my temporal conditions, God is always at work conforming me to the image of His Son by the power of His Spirit through His amazing grace. blessings

    I've recently started a study of the beattitudes and I believe this is part of what it means to be "poor in spirit".

    I appreciated this article very much. To know that the grace of God leads men to repentance is an amazing concept. Revelation of sin and sinful tendencies in my life is an act of grace and not condemnation.

    THANKS! A GOLD MINE! I was just reading T. Waston on repentance and it sounded so close to perfectionism, it was oppressive. I believe in repentance, but as I told my buddy Noah sinned EVERYDAY of his life, not just in his drunkenness. Lot sinned EVERYDAY of his life, not just with his drunkenness and daughters. I need to put this post in my "keepers file" (which I honestly have).


    Working through the books of Psalms, Isaiah and Ecclesiastes. Counting on the promises that God in His own time will help me reform my ways and heal me of my waywardness. The contrite and humble will be lifted up. I was a bit wayward early in my walk with God, but Scripture is punching light through the darkness.

    Thank you for you encouraging words. I have been a Calvinist for less than two years and resently started reading The Mortification of Sin by John Owen. My heart has been heavy with the sudden realization of just how depraved I really am. Resently I have came to the point of almost dispondancy, questioning my own regeneration. I have found comfort only when I fall upon Christ and his merits. Luther's realization that "the just shall live by faith" fell on me like a warm blanket earlier today. Your words came at a perfect time and have encouraged me greatly. Not to mention that while I have been having this struggle, my family has been on vacation in San Diego. No Joke!

    This is so beautiful and so true as Gods grace is shown with great joy in our hearts for all he did to save us - I am so undeserving, as the Holy Spirit so shows me all my horrible and shameful vileness of the past and humbles me from pride and works, even now. Thank God my works were not required, for what could I have done to remedy this horrid condition! Nothing could save me but God himself! How deep is his love and truth as his grace flows inside me and gives comfort to our souls even so greater than before after his work is done! Faith is enlarged and the enemies who demand our own merits by works are made less potent by seeing more our Saviors death on the cross and resurrection to eternal joy and glory! Thank you all for walking like this for me to see my brothers and sisters. It is so encouraging!

    Although I do find some comfort in this article, I think we must balance this with the whole counsel of God. Many that read this article will find their lives of loving sin and reveling in it to be a comfort and proof of salvation, when in fact it may be JUST THE OPPOSITE. Paul commands us, through the Holy Spirit to examine ourselves whether we are in the faith. We are also called to OBEY the Lord's commands as proof and evidence that we love him. We must be careful and discerning to know when to say noticing sin is a sign of salvation, and make righteous judgements to know when to demand, out of love, the repentance and mortification of the deeds of the flesh to a 'professing' christian. May we be guided by the truth and walk in love before the Lord as we encourage and, at times, REBUKE our bretheren.

    I read it earlier this year and I'm reading this right now. Thank you! A great comfort! God bless everybody! Still making progress and fighting the fight.

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