not at once subdued. There is a war between the good and bad principles of action in the soul of him who has been pardoned.?
(e) Sin is represented as existing in the soul prior to the consciousness of it and as only discovered and awakened by the law. ( <450309>Romans 3:9, 10 ? ?when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died? ? if sin ?revived,? it must have had previous existence and life, even though it did not manifest itself in acts of conscious transgression).
<450708> Romans 7:8 ? ?apart from the law sin is dead? ? here is sin which is not yet sin of act. Dead or unconscious, sin is still sin. The fire in a cave discovers reptiles and stirs them, but they were there before because the light and heat do not create them. Let a beam of light, says Jean Paul Richter, through your window shutter into a darkened room and you reveal a thousand motes floating in the air whose existence was before unsuspected. So the law of God reveals our ?hidden faults? ( <191912>Psalm 19:12) ? infirmities, imperfections, evil tendencies and desires which also cannot all be classed as acts of transgression.
(f) The allusions to sin as a permanent power or reigning principle, not only in the individual but also in humanity at large, forbid us to define it as a momentary act. We are compelled to regard it as being primarily a settled depravity of nature, of which individual sins or acts of transgression are the workings and fruits. ( <450521>Romans 5:21 ? ?sin reigned in death?; 6:12 ?let not therefore sin reign in your mortal body?).
In <450521>Romans 5:21, the reign of sin is compared to the reign of grace. As grace is not an act but a principle, so sin is not an act but a principle. As the poisonous exhalations from a well indicate that there is corruption and death at the bottom, so the ever recurring thoughts and acts of sin are evidence that there is a principle of sin in the heart, in other words, that sin exists as a permanent disposition or state. A momentary act cannot ?reign? nor ?dwell? but a disposition or state can. Maudsley, Sleep, its Psychology, makes the damaging confession: ?If we were held responsible for our dreams, is no living man who would not deserve to be hanged.?
(g) The Mosaic sacrifices for sins of ignorance and of omission, and especially for general sinfulness, are evidence that sin is not to be limited to mere act but that it includes something deeper and more permanent in the heart and the life ( <030103>Leviticus 1:3; 5:11; 12:8; cf. <420224>Luke 2:24).
The sin offering for sins of ignorance ( <030414>Leviticus 4:14, 20, 31), the trespass offering for an omission ( <030505>Leviticus 5:5, 6), and the burnt
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