The Depths of Sin

Psalm 130:1 “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.”

“Perplexed thoughtfulness about their great unkindness towards God, is another part of the depths of sin-entangled souls. So David complains, ‘I have remembered God, and was troubled.’ Psalm 77:3. How came the remembrance of God to be a matter of trouble to him? In other places he professes that it was all his relief and support: how comes it to be an occasion of his trouble? All had not been well between God and him; and whereas formerly, in his remembrance of God, his thoughts were chiefly exercised about his love and kindness, now they were wholly engrossed with his own sin and unkindness: this causes his trouble. Herein lies a share of the entanglements occasioned by sin.

Saith such a soul in itself: ‘Foolish creature! hast thou thus requited the Lord? is this the return that thou has made to him for all his love, his kindness, his consolations and mercies? Is this thy love to him? Is this thy kindness to thy friend? Is this thy boasting of him, that thou hadst found so much goodness and excellency in him and his love, that though all men should forsake him, thou never wouldst do so? Are all thy promises, all thy engagements, which thou madest unto God in times of distress, upon prevailing obligations, and mighty impressions of his good Spirit upon thy soul, now come to this, that thou shouldst so foolishly forget, neglect, despise, cast him off? Well! now he is gone, he has withdrawn from thee, and what wilt thou do? Art thou net even ashamed to desire him to return?’

Thoughts of this nature cut Peter to the heart, upon his fall. The soul finds them cruel as death, and strong as the grave. It is bound in their chains, and cannot be comforted. Psalm 38:3-6. And herein consists a great part of the depths inquired after. For this consideration excites and puts an edge upon all grieving, straitening, perplexing affections, which are the only means whereby the soul of a man may be inwardly troubled, or trouble itself: such are sorrow and shame, with that self-displeasure and self-revenge wherewith they are attended. And as their reason and object in this case transcend all other occasions of them, so on no other account do they cause such severe and perplexing reflections in the soul as on this.”

  • John Owen, The Forgiveness of Sin, pp. 18-19
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