First published in 1666, The Sinfulness of Sin was written in the time of the Great Plague of London. Originally titled Sin: The Plague of Plagues, the book bolstered a demanding statement. It suggested that beyond any other human pain, even death, sin is the most serious of all epidemics.
I have to admit, this book has sat on my shelf for nearly two years because I feared its truth. The darkness of sin, while ever-present, is often veiled in the monotony of life. Sin is our default setting; sin often seems so reasonable. Just as Adam and Eve, we too often seek our own way and try to create a world that feels comfortable for ourselves, even though as we do we shun God’s law and what he knows is best for us.
In reading this book during the final weeks of the Lenten season, it afforded me a challenging glimpse at not only my own guilt and failure, but a perspective of the suffering of Christ and the sacrifice he made on our behalf. Venning does a thorough treatment of Christ’s own experience of living amongst sinful humanity, and how that alone for Almighty God much have been vexing. To live among us, then to take on that burden, becoming our sin, is all the more awe-inspiring!
Not only does Christ’s amazing sacrifice cleanse us from sin, but it drives and motivates us to live for him. As Ralph Venning talks about sin, rather than feeling tormented by its description, in light of Christ’s finished work it becomes a commission and motivation to strive to live more like him and to be a light to those seeking for their own salvation and freedom from sin.
This is definitely one of those books that I will be reading again. Venning draws a deep line in the sand, challenging us to live in such a way as to draw us to the heart of God, in spite of what the world may say to the contrary, all for the sake of the glory of God.