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The crying evil of both the Church and of the world!

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The crying evil of both the Church and of the world! 

(Thomas Reade, “The Desire of More”) 

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Colossians 3:5 

“You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or covetous person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a covetous person is really an idolater who worships the things of this world.” Ephesians 5:5 

The love of money
 under every form, insinuates itself into every heart. 

A day is fast approaching when it will be clearly seen whether Christ or Mammon has swayed our affections. 

Covetousness
, in the language of Scripture, is the desire of having more. If we are habitually desirous of riches, for their own sake, we are, in the estimation of God, covetous people, idolaters, the servants of mammon. Our station may be exalted; our profession of religion may be outwardly strict, but still our destruction is sure. 

There are, perhaps, few sins which assume so plausible an appearance; and for which so many excuses are made as for that ofcovetousness. And hence it is that we have need to guard so much the citadel of the heart. 

Covetousness
, eating like a canker, upon the vitals of our religion–is the crying evil of both the Church and of the world! 

What advantage did Lot’s wife, Achan, Gehazi, Judas, and Ananias and Sapphira, gain by their desire for more? They reaped shame and death; and now stand as beacons in the Word of God to warn us against their soul-destroying sin! 

For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul?” Luke 9:25 

She left her heart behind her!

“Remember Lot’s wife!” Luke 17:32

We should observe in these verses–what a solemn warning our Lord gives us against unsound profession.

Lot’s wife went far in religious profession. She was the wife of a “righteous man.” She was connected through him with Abraham, the father of the faithful. She fled with her husband from Sodom, in the day when he escaped for his life by God’s command.

But Lot’s wife was not really like her husband. Though she fled with him–she left her heart behind her! She willfully disobeyed the strict injunction which the angel had laid upon her. She looked back towards Sodom–and was at once struck dead! She was turned into a pillar of salt, and perished in her sins! Remember her–says our Lord, “Remember Lot’s wife!”

Lot’s wife is meant to be a beacon and a warning to all professing Christians. It may be feared that many will be found like her, in the day of Christ’s second coming. There are many in the present day, who go a certain length in religion. They speak the “language of Canaan.” They use all the outward ordinances of religion. But all this time, their souls are not right in the sight of God. The world is in their hearts–and their hearts are in the world. And by and bye, in the day of sifting–their unsoundness will be exposed. Their Christianity will prove rotten at the core! The case of Lot’s wife will not stand alone.

Let us remember Lot’s wife, and resolve to be real in our religion. Let us never rest until we have the true grace of God in our hearts–and have no desire to look back to the world.

(J.C. Ryle, “The Gospel of Luke” 1858)


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