A Sad Heart and a Wet Eye

The True Bounds of Christian Freedom (Puritan Paperbacks) This is a pearl of a book: The True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton (d. 1654).  In this work, Bolton (a member of the Westminster Assembly) explains in detail what it means that Christians are “free indeed” (John 8:36).  There are many excellent – and edifying! – parts of this book.  Below is one that I believe is quite helpful when it comes to the topic of a Christian fighting indwelling sin.

“Christ has also freed the believer from the dominion of sin: ‘Sin shall not have dominion over you’ (Rom. 6:14).  Why?  ‘For you are not under the law, but under grace.’  While we were under the law, sin had full dominion.  It had not only possession of us, but dominion over us.  …But now, being under grace, a covenant of grace, and being interested in Christ and set free by Him, we are freed from the dominion and power of sin.”

“We still have the presence of sin, nay, the stirrings and workings of corruption.  These make us to have many a sad heart and a wet eye.  Yet Christ has thus far freed us from sin; it shall not have dominion.  There may be the turbulence, but not the prevalence of sin.  There may be the stirrings of corruption.  It was said of Carthage that Rome was more troubled when it was half destroyed than when whole.  So a godly man may be more troubled with sin when it is conquered than when it reigned.”

“Sin will still work, but it is checked in its workings.  They are rather workings for life than from life.  They are not such uncontrolled workings as formerly.  Sin is under command.  Indeed, it may get advantage, and may have a tyranny in the soul, but it will never more be sovereign.  I say, it may get into the throne of the heart and play the tyrant in this or that particular act of sin, but it shall never more be a king there.  Its reign is over; you will never yield a voluntary obedience to sin.  Sin is conquered, though it still has a being within you.”

“Sin is dead judicially.  Christ has sentenced it.  Christ has condemned sin in the flesh (Rom. 8:3).  Sin met its death-blow in the death of Christ.

If you trust in Christ but still struggle with sin, you’re on the right side.  And remember you’re fighting a battle that has already been won by Christ and will soon be over.  Don’t give up!

Samuel Bolton, The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, p. 26-27.

shane lems
covenant presbyterian church (OPC)
hammond, wi

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