Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin! Psalm 51:2
One of Satan’s devices to draw you into sin is to get you to consider the sins of the best men, and hide their virtues. He shows the adultery of David, the pride of Hezekiah, the impatience of Job, the drunkenness of Noah, and the blasphemy of Peter, but he hides their tears, sighs, groans, and repentance. David fell fearfully and Peter dreadfully, but they rose sweetly by repentance. Many sin like them who never repent like them and so perish forever. These saints did not make a habit of sin. They fell once or twice, and rose by repentance, that they might keep closer to Christ forever. They sinned accidently, occasionally, and with much reluctance. To use their fall to sin on purpose is to sin readily, obstinately, presumptuously, delightfully, and customarily. If you willfully trade in sin, you promote sin’s necessity in your soul. If one tasted poison once, and yet narrowly escaped, is it sound reason to assume that if I drink poison every day I shall escape? We need also to consider that though God does not, nor ever will disinherit his people for their sins, yet he has severely punished them. David sinned, and God broke his bones for it (Psa. 51:8). The reason God records the failures of his saints, is to encourage others who have fallen by weakness and infirmity from fainting, sinking, and despairing under the burden of their sins. He also records them as landmarks to warn others that are standing, to take heed lest they fall. It never entered the heart of God to record his children’s sins that others might be encouraged to sin. He would have us hold closer to the skirts of Christ, and avoid all occasions and temptations that may give us an occasion to fall. Others’ sins are landmarks to warn his people about the rocks and snares as they sail through the ocean of this sinful troublesome world.
Sinclair Ferguson has publicly stated that no one has had a greater spiritual impact on his life than William Still! William Still was the minister of Gilcomston South Church, Aberdeen, from 1945 to 1997. While his name may not feature in the official annals of the Church of Scotland, it is doubtful whether any other individual in his Church during the latter half of the twentieth century had such a profound or widespread influence. For over fifty years Mr. Still pioneered a single-minded commitment to expository preaching and congregational prayer which made Gilcomston a beacon of Reformed and evangelical Christianity in Scotland.
A man whose very life breathed the grace and love of God, no one who ever met him, received his counsel, or sat under his ministry, could have escaped the sheer Christlikeness of Mr. Still’s life. In the early days of his ministry he wrote: “There is no part of me, or of my life, that I will withhold from the work that God has called me to.”
It was one of the marks of his evident commitment to the service of Christ that he devoted himself to the pastoral care of his people, providing them with daily Bible reading notes that would feed their souls and prepare them for works of service. The “Notes”, which appeared in the monthly “Congregational Record,” soon became highly sought after across Scotland, the United Kingdom, and even to the far-flung corners of the world, increasing in many a love for and commitment to the Word of God.
Drawn from every book in the Bible, this selection, edited and arranged by David C. Searle, will take the reader through the year with William Still. These pages will explain what it means to live under the authority of Scripture, to exalt the glorious Person of Christ, and to rejoice in the wonder of the gospel.