Easter: May 18th
The Fourth Sunday After Easter: Sin
by Bishop Ehrler, 1891
"And when the Paraclete shall come, he will convince the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. Of sin indeed; because they have not believed in Me." (John 16: 8.)
Is infidelity the only sin, for which the world will be punished by the Holy Ghost? St. Augustine gives the following answer to this question: "Certainly, if there was no unbelief, there would be no sin; because, if the just man lives according to this faith, he will abstain from sin. But, we must observe that there are different kinds of belief; and the belief that Christ was the Saviour, is not at all the same thing as to believe in Christ. The devil entertained the first belief, but not the second; for only those believe in Christ who hope in Him and love him. Now, since the majority of so-called Christians, do not love Christ, but, on the contrary, insult him--all sins in a certain sense, may be called sins of unbelief. Let us, then, today, consider, with the light of faith,
I trust that when we have once understood the malice of sin, and its injurious effects, we shall not only fly from it for the future; but also believe in Christ by loving and serving Him.
I. Sin, in its essence is 1. An insult; and 2. An outrage against God.
1. Mortal sin is the greatest insult that can be given. I can not better express its malice, than by saying that as God is the greatest Good, so sin is the greatest evil, and consequently, diametrically opposed to the supreme Good. The malice of sin consists chiefly in this: That the sinner, (as far as in him lies,) would annihilate God. Perhaps you cannot comprehend this, and you say: "I do not wish to injure God; I only desire to follow my own will and inclinations." But, listen to me--the creature must depend upon the Creator: this is such an essential property of the creature, that God would not be God, if there could exist a creature independent of himself. Sinner! Do you wish to be your own master? Then as far as in you lies, you rob God of His divinity; since as the superior is not master when his servants disobey him, so, also, God would not be God, if you could withdraw yourself from His jurisdiction, and follow your own will in opposition to His. (...)
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