Dr. Jack L. Arnold                                                                                                                                                                      Equipping Pastors International, Inc.

How to Live the Christian Life                                                                                                                                                                                   Attachment to Lesson 9




             I know it is my duty to be perfect, but I am conscious that I cannot be. I know that every time I commit sin, I am guilty, and yet I am quite certain that I must sin--that my nature is such that I cannot help it. I feel that I am unable to get rid of this body of sin and death, and yet I know that I ought to get rid of it... It is my agonizing death struggle with my corruption that proves me to be a living child of God. These two natures will never cease to struggle so long as we are in this world. The old nature will never cease to struggle so long as we are in this world. The old nature will never give up; it will never cry truce; it will never ask for a treaty to be made between the two . . . What a fight.  (C. H. Spurgeon, The Fainting Warrior)


             It continues in us so long as we live, in some more and in others less, according as the one or the other principle is the stronger.  (Martin Luther)


             We must take comfort about our souls if we know anything of an inward fight and conflict. It is the invariable companion of genuine holiness... Do we feel anything of war in our inward man? Well, let us thank God for it! It is a good sign. It is strongly probable evidence of the great sanctification ... any thing is better than apathy, stagnation, deadness and indifference.  (J. C. Ryle, Holiness)


             There are some professing Christians who can speak of themselves in terms of admiration; but, from my inmost heart, I loathe such speeches more and more every day that I live. Those who talk in such a boastful fashion must be constituted very differently from me. While they are congratulating themselves, I have to lie humbly at the feet of Christ's Cross, and marvel that I am saved at all -- to wonder that I do not love him more, and equally to wonder that I love Him at all -- to wonder that I am not holier, and equally to wonder that I have any desire to be holy at all considering what a polluted, debased, depraved nature I find still within my soul, not withstanding all that Divine grace has done in me. If God were ever to allow the fountains of the great deeps of depravity to break up in the best man that lives, he would make as bad a devil as the Devil himself is. I care nothing for what these boasters say concerning their own perfections; I feel sure that they do not know themselves or they could not talk as they do. There is tinder enough in the saint who is nearest to heaven to kindle another hell if God should but permit a spark to fall upon it. In the very best of men, there is an infernal and well nigh infinite depth of depravity. Some Christians never seem to find this out. I almost wish that they might not do so, for it is a painful discovery for anyone to make; but it has the beneficial effect of making us ease from trusting in ourselves and causing us to glory only in the Lord.  (Spurgeon)


             The good which he would do, he did not, but the evil which he would not, that he did,  making Romans 7 his common experience.  (Chrysostom)


             When I look into my heart and take a view of its wickedness, it looks like an abyss infinitely deeper than hell.  And it appears to me that, were it not for free grace, exalted and raised up to the infinite height of all the fullness and glory of the great Jehovah, I should appear sunk down in my sins below hell itself, far below the sight of everything but the eye of sovereign grace, that alone can pierce down to such a depth.  And it is affecting to think how ignorant I was, when a young Christian, of the bottomless depths of wickedness, pride, hypocrisy, and deceit left in my heart.  (Jonathan Edwards)


             I have lived hitherto a sinner, and I believe I shall die one.  Have I than gained nothing?  Yes, I have gained that which I once would have rather been without—such accumulated proof of the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of my heart as I hope by the Lords blessing has, in some measure, taught me to know what I mean when I say, Behold I am vile . . .I was ashamed of myself when I began to seek it, I am more ashamed now.  (John Newton)


             My heart is half devil and half beast.  (George Whitfield)


             The sinful John Bradford:  a very painted hypocrite; the most miserable, hardhearted, and thankful sinner, John Bradford.  (John Bradford)


             I cannot pray, but I sin; I cannot preach, but I sin; I cannot administer, nor receive the holy sacrament, but I sin.  My very repentance needs to be repented of; and the tears I shed need washing in the blood of Christ.  (Bishop Berkeley)


             Upon a review of the past year, I desire to confess that my sinfulness has been exceeding great; my sins still greater; Gods mercies greater than both.  My shortcomings and my misdoings, my unbelief and want of love, would sink me into the lowest hell, was not Jesus my righteousness and Redeemer.  (Agustus Toplady)