Three Great Struggles in the Christian Life

  In his comments on James 3.2, Thomas Manton (a Puritan involved with the writing and publishing of the Westminster Confession) wrote the following outstanding observation while he discussed failures and fights in the Christian life.  Three great sins that the Christian struggles with are these:

“They seek in themselves what they can only find in Christ; they seek in the law what can only be found in the gospel; and they seek on earth what can only be enjoyed in heaven.”

There is a world of Christian wisdom in that small paragraph – it summarizes so well how we struggle with pride, self-righteousness, legalism, confusing the law and the gospel, worldliness, and so forth.  This makes me thankful to God for his grace that justifies and that gives us the power to fight against these horrible sins.

shane lems

sunnyside wa

2 thoughts on “Three Great Struggles in the Christian Life”

  1. Nice quote! I love this commentary. Manton is quite brilliant and very approachable, especially for a Puritan. When I taught in James, I relied on this volume more than any other, beyond the Bible.

    Here is one of my favorite quotes by Manton dealing with pride from this same commentary:

    “Proud nature thinketh itself somebody, when it can get into a chair of arrogance, and cast out censures according to its own will and pleasure, as if God hath advanced us into some higher rank and sphere, and all the world had been made to be our scholars. It suiteth with self-love, because it diverteth the care of our souls; they that so narrowly look after the mote, forget the beam. And it strengtheneth self-conceit; so many evils in others make our own the less odious. It serveth vainglory, and provideth for our esteem abroad; we demolish the esteem of others, that out of the ruins of it we may raise a structure of praise to ourselves. Now all these evils are in the best of God’s children. ‘Pride of life’ is last mentioned, 1 John ii. 16, because it is last mortified; it groweth with the decrease of other sins, and thriveth by their decay.”


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