You have a choice.
Option 1: The tiniest sin imaginable, a sin that would bring you tremendous wealth and other material pleasures.
Option 2: The greatest suffering imaginable, for rejecting that one tiny sin.
Your selection, please. Or maybe you want to read this first.
In his sermon on Moses’ choice of Christ’s reproach instead of the pleasures of Egypt (Heb. 11:25), the Puritan Thomas Manton argues that the healthy Christian will choose the greatest affliction before the least sin. He then gives a number of reasons “why the greatest affliction is better than the least sin.”
1. In suffering the offence is done to us, but in sinning the offence is done to God; and what are we to God?
2. Sin separates us from God, but suffering and affliction doesn’t, and therefore the greatest affliction is to be chosen before the least sin.
3. Sin is evil in itself, whether we feel it or no; but affliction is only evil in our sense and feeling.
4. Affliction brings inconvenience upon the body only, and the concerns of the body; but sin brings inconvenience upon the soul.
5. An afflicted state is consistent with being loved by God; but a sinful state is a sign of God’s displeasure.
6. Affliction may be good, but sin is never good.
7. There is nothing that debases a man more than sin.
8. Afflictions come from God, but sin from the devil.
9. Affliction is sent to prevent sin; but sin must not be committed to prevent affliction.
10. The evil of suffering is for a moment, but the evil of sin is forever.
11. In sufferings and persecutions we lose the favor of men, but by sins we lose the favor of God.
12. To suffer is not in our choice, but to sin, that is in our choice. Afflictions are inflicted, sins are committed.
13. An afflicted man may die cheerfully, but a man in sin cannot.
14. Sin is contrary to the new nature; but affliction is only contrary to the old nature
15. When you deliberately choose sin, it will within a little while bring greater affliction.
Still want to stick with your choice?
Read Manton’s full explanation here (Vol. 14, 450-454), or access the 22 volumes of his Collected Works in different online formats here.
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