Sins That Go Before &
1 Timothy 5:24
"Some men's sins are open beforehand,
going before to judgment; and some men they follow after."
Primarily, these words refer to the ministry. Never act
suddenly. You may be deceived, and lay hands on unfit men,
damaging the Church and dishonoring God. Manner may deceive.
Latent sins may slumber beneath specious appearances. Some
sins, blossom at once, and evil is unveiled. At times the
poisonous springs send forth their deleterious waters at once.
Sometimes they are like hidden watercourses flowing beneath
the surface soil, and appearing in expected places. Moral
government always exist, bur diversity characterizes the
methods of God. Justice and judgment are the habitation of its
throne. Sometimes Cain and Ananias are punished at once; the
one is outlawed, the other dies. But Herod and Pilate waited
for a revealing day. Subject---Sins that go before. They have
outriders. As with a trumpet-peal attention is called to their
advent. We see the evil-doers; vile in countenance, shambling
in gait, dishonored in mien. These sins are revealed. We mark
lost delicacy, honour, purity, peace, principle, reputation,
This is special or exceptional.
"Some men's sins. "Do not,in observing them, draw an argument
for the necessary goodness of others. The openness of some
judgment does not give, necessarily, fair fame to others. In
the most decorous life there maybe secret sins. The slumbering
fire may be in the hold of the stately ship. The hidden
vulture maybe waiting for the carrion of the soul. But here
there is judgment. We look around, we see it. Our newspaper,
our neighborhoods say, "Behold the hand of God here." Faith is
departed; hope is blighted; beauty is destroyed; the dark
outriders are here.
II. This is a spectacle to men. "They are open
beforehand," and not made manifest merely in the sense of
being sins, but their judgment is with them. For there are two
ideas---you may see a sin to be a sin, but you need not have
its judgment open. But the translation here requires that we
should understand that the judgment is open, as well as the
sin. You see not only men's corruption, but their misery; not
only their guilt, but their shame. A child might see a poison
berry, and know that it is such; or see a snake, and be told
it has a sting; but how clear the judgment if; under the one
tree, a little child lay dead; and beside the serpent a man
was struggling in throes of agony.
III. They are open beforehand. That implies they are
hints in this world (where there is a place for repentance) of
troubles yet to come. They do not exhaust judgment; they are
premonitions of it. The light of mercy plays all around even
the paths of judgment here; for the Savior of men is able to
deliver from every prison-house. The beforehand judgment may
be a merciful thing, but let no man deal lightly with it. The
gathering clouds presage the fury of the storm; the pattering
drops herald the hail and rain; the reddening light of the
volcano tells of the desolating lava. "Some men's sins are
Sins that follow after. "Some men they follow after."
Here is a revealed fact with no comment upon it, but it is
very terrible. A smooth comfortable life, and yet a life of
comfortable sin! No blame, no ostracism from society. Men
deceive themselves. They go into the street of their Nineveh,
but no prophets reproves them. The waters are rising, but no
Noah warns them; all is placid and full of repose.
The connection between a man and his sins.
"And some men they follow after." Our sins are like us;
they reflect our faces; they are mirrors which will one day
show ourselves; they follow after us by a moral individuality;
they will each fly to their own centre. Our sins are not
resolvable into some generic whole as the sin of man. The
blight in the summer-time is not so disastrous in defacing
beauty, the locust of the East are not so devastating in their
all-devouring flight, as are our troops of sins. They follow
after us, and blight our immortality.
The connection between shame and sin.
follow after." That is the reason we are not ashamed of them.
Shame for sin is not sorrow for sin. The Hindoo is only
ashamed when he is discovered. That is not grief at sin: it is
horror at being found out. Sins that follow after are not much
thought about. The world has given us carte blanche if we
preserve our position in society. What men shrink from is
exposure and shame. If all sins were revealed, who could bear
it? If the earth were a moral mirror, who could walk upon it?
But detection surely comes in God's way---in God's great day
when he shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus