Sins That Go Before & 
Sins That Follow After
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, joy!

This is special or exceptional.

I. "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 open beforehand."

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.

1. 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.

2. The connection between shame and sin.

"They 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 Christ