From “Music For The Soul” by Alexander Maclaren

This speaks right to the heart of the matter with all of us.

THE THREE-HEADED EVIL THING – I

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is desperately sick: who can know it? – Jer_7:9

I was going to use an inappropriate word, and say, the superb ease with which Christ grappled with, and overcame, all types of disease is a revelation on a lower level of the inexhaustible and all -sufficient fulness of His healing power. He can cope with all sin, the world’s sin and the individual’s. And, as I believe. He alone can do it.

Just look at the problem that lies before any one who attempts to staunch these wounds of humanity. What is needed in order to deliver men from the sickness of sin? Well! that evil thing, like the fabled dog that sits at the gate of the infernal regions, is three-headed. And you have to do something with each of these heads if you are to deliver men from that power.

There is, first, the awful power that evil once done has over us of repeating itself on and on. There is nothing more dreadful, to a reflective mind, than the damning influence of habit. The man that has done some wrong thing once is a rara avis indeed.  If once, then twice; if twice, then onward and onward through all the numbers. And the intervals between will grow less, and what were isolated points will coalesce into a line; and impulses wax as motives wane, and the less delight a man has in his habitual form of evil the more its dominion over him; and he does it at last, not because the doing of it is any delight, but because the not doing of it is a misery. If you are to get rid of sin and to eject the disease from a man, you have to deal with that awful degradation of character and the tremendous chains of custom. That is one of the heads of the monster.

But, as I said, sin has reference to God, and there is another of the heads. For with sin comes guilt. The relation to God is perverted; and the man that has transgressed stands before Him as guilty, with all the dolefulness that that solemn word means; and that is another of the heads.

The third is this- the consequences that follow in the nature of penalty – “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  So long as there is a universal rule by God, in which all things are concatenated by cause and effect, it is impossible but that ” Evil shall slay the wicked.” And that is the third head. These three, habit, guilt, and penalty, have all to be dealt with if you are going to make a thorough job of the surgery.

And here I want not to argue, but to preach. Jesus Christ died on the Cross for you, and your sin was in His heart and mind when He died, and His atoning sacrifice cancels the guilt, and suspends all that is dreadful in the penalty of the sin. Nothing else – nothing else will do that. Who can deal with guilt but the offended Ruler and Judge? Who can trammel up consequences but the Lord of the Universe? The blood of Jesus Christ is the sole and sufficient oblation for, and satisfaction for, the sins of the whole world.

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