Have you ever owned before God “Behold, I am vile”? Do you bear witness to the humbling fact before your brethren and sisters in Christ? It is comparatively easy to utter such words, but do you feel them? Does the realization of this truth make you “blush” (Ezra 9:6) and groan in secret? Have you such a person and painful sense of your vileness that often, you feel thoroughly unfit to draw nigh unto a holy God? If so: You have abundant cause to be thankful to God that his Holy Spirit has shown you something of your wretched self, that He has not kept you in ignorance of your woeful state, that He has not left you in that gross spiritual darkness that enshrouds millions of professing Christians. Ah my stricken brother, if you are groaning over the ocean of corruption within, an feel utterly unworthy to take the sacred name of Christ upon your polluted lips, then you should be unfeignedly thankful that you belong not to that great multitude of self-complacent and self-righteous religionists of whom it is written, “They were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down” (Jeremiah 8:12).
Much cause have you to praise the God of all grace that He anointed your sin-blinded eyes, and that now, in His sight, you are able to see a little of your hideous deformities, and cry “I am black” (Song of Sol. 1:5). You have abundant cause to walk softly before God. Must not the realization of our vileness truly humble us before Him, make us smite upon our breast, and cry “God be merciful to me, the sinner!” Yes, such a prayer is as suited to the mature saint as it was when first convicted of his lost estate, for he is to continue as he began: Colossians 2:6, Revelation 2:5. But alas, how quickly does the apprehension of our vileness leave us!
How frequently does pride again dominate us. For this reason we are bidden to, “Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged” (Isaiah 51:1) Beg God to daily show you your vileness that you may walk humbly before Him. You have abundant cause to marvel at the surpassing love of the Triune God towards you. That the Eternal Three should have set Their heart upon such a wretch is indeed the wonder of all wonders. That God the Father should foreknow and foresee every sin of which you would be guilty in thought and word and deed, and yet have loved thee “with an everlasting love” must indeed fill you with astonishment. That God the Son should have laid aside the robes of His glory and be made in the likeness of sin’s flesh, in order to redeem one so foul and filthy as me, was truly a love “that passeth knowledge.” That God the Holy Spirit should take up His residence and dwell in the heart of one so vile, only proves that where sin abounded grace did much more abound.
A. W. Pink (1886-1952)