The dangerous practice of presumption


I have noticed a tendency to become settled in life with a certain level of sin which I accept as unchangeable. The argument goes like this: I have been a Christian for 15 years. I’ve done lots of growing in that time. In the early days I was acutely aware of my moral failings and I grew in large spurts. But I seem to have reached a point where growth, if any, is in tiny incremental steps. A bad week will set me back further than I’ve grown in a year. In some way, I have grown to accept that my sinful nature creates a ceiling or a level which sanctification tends towards but cannot exceed. So I live with my short temper and impatience and presume that I have an excuse all worked out. It’s sin living in me (Romans 7) and I’ll never change. The presumption that I’ll never change is fatal. Here’s Thomas Watson on the subject of presumption:

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. It is sad when the goodness of God, which should ‘lead to repentance’ (Romans 2: 4), leads to presumption.

I’ve learned recently that my ceiling is false. The more I grow in my heartfelt grasp of God’s grace to me in Christ, the higher my ceiling is raised. When I know the grace of God more I hate my sin more and am sensitive to what I do and say. Lord, let me know more of the wonders of your grace so I might loath my sin and live for Christ. Amen

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