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Sin is Illicit Love

by Norman P. Grubb

In the same way in those early days we used to lose fine folks through covetousness. For instance, you might get some fine evangelist serving the Lord for just a pittance for the Lord’s sake. And suddenly he would go off selling liquor or something else, or working on the Sabbath, or taking a job in the world because he is attracted by the world. And covetousness has taken him. But covetousness didn’t start with the act of leaving God’s work. It started way back there in his heart. We didn’t know that. All we saw was the fruits.

Now I saw a difference from the past in Africa. That is, that God has taught them to live closely and to fellowship together in their walk. A number of times over I heard this and it struck me very much; I noticed how an African would stand up and say something like this: “Brothers, I want you all to thank God that this week the Blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed the sin out of my heart.” Then in his own way he would give his own description. Several times over I heard this same thing: “I was going down this week to those stores. (Because the Western goods are just coming into Africa, Africa is getting out of its primitive condition now.) And my, when I saw what those foreigners had brought in—those flashlights, those bicycles, those clothes, ‘Ooh,’ I said, ‘I must get some of these things, I must get some more money, I must get some more of these things.’” Then he said, “Brothers, when I went back to my hut and read God’s Word and prayed that night, the Spirit of God spoke to me. He said, ‘You’ve sin in your heart because you are beginning to love some of the things of this world more than Jesus.’ And Brothers, to love anything in this world more than Jesus is sin. So I repented of this sin and it is cleansed by the Blood of Jesus and I want you all to thank God that sin is taken out of my heart.” “Now,” I said, “I see this is sin in its earliest form there.” It was too early to produce a ruined life. I heard the same thing about impurity and it didn’t grieve me to hear it. I heard Africans and missionaries too get up and say, “Brothers and sisters, I want you to bless God. This week the devil has been assaulting me with impurity of mind and impurity of thought, and, praise God, He has enabled me really to repent of this thing and have it cleansed by the Blood and by God’s grace I’ve been freed.” You see what was going on in the mind was coming out before it had produced the deeds.

Karuizawa Japan Conference of 1954
Topic: “Temptation”