Six hindrances to mourning for sin


On Sunday I’ll be preaching the penultimate sermon in a series of 11 on the life of Joseph. I’m slightly gutted that the series is finishing and that I covered the ground so quickly. I could happily preach four or five sermons on this Sunday’s section alone, Genesis 47:7-27. Jacob’s mourning at the evil of his days could be one sermon in itself.

And Jacob said to Pharaoh,
“The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years.
Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life” (Genesis 47:9)

We know the story. Jacob’s family life is marked by evil. Yet, God’s grace is revealed through the once suffering now ruling Son, Joseph, who secures for God’s chosen family the best of the land and free, perfect provision for the needs of the whole clan (Gen 47:11-12). God’s grace brings out Jacob’s mourning for sin and sets the tone for this section of Thomas Watson’s exposition of hindrances to mourning our sin. Here’s six of Watson’s nine hindrances of mourning sin in light of God’s grace:

1 The love of sin. The love of sin is like a stone in the pipe which hinders the current of water. The love of sin makes sin taste sweet and this sweetness in sin bewitches the heart.

2 Despair. Despair affronts God, undervalues Christ’s blood and damns the soul. …Despair locks up the soul in impenitence.

3 A conceit that this mourning will make us melancholy: we shall drown all our joy in our tears. But this is a mistake. Lose our joy? Tell me, what joy can there be in a natural condition? What joy does sin afford? Is not sin compared to a wound and bruise? (Isaiah 1:6).

4 Checking the motions of the Spirit. The Spirit sets us a-mourning. It causes all our spring-tides. ‘All my springs are in thee’ (Psalm 87: 7). Oft we meet with gracious motions to prayer and repentance. Now when we stifle these motions, which is called a quenching the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5: 19), then we do, as it were, hinder the tide from coming in.

5 Presumption of mercy. Who will take pains with his heart or mourn for sin that thinks he may be saved at a cheaper rate? How many, spider-like, suck damnation out of the sweet flower of God’s mercy? Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save sinners, is the occasion of many a man’s perishing. Oh, says one, Christ died for me. He has done all. What need I pray or mourn? Many a bold sinner plucks death from the tree of life, and through presumption, goes to hell by that ladder of Christ’s blood, by which others go to heaven.

6 A conceit of the smallness of sin. ‘Is it not a little one?’ (Genesis 19: 20). The devil holds the small end of the perspective-glass to sinners. To fancy sin less than it is, is very dangerous. An opinion of the littleness of sin keeps us from the use of means. …View sin in the red glass of Christ’s sufferings.

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