The Matthew Henry commentary published in 1706, of which the great evangelist George Whitfield read completely, four times, the last time on his knees, penned the following concerning sin that plagues the life of the lost:
Also the terrors of conscience disturbed their enjoyments. God hath said it, and all the world cannot unsay it, That there is no peace to those who allow themselves in any sin.
Henry was referencing the following passage from Isaiah the prophet:
20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, When it cannot rest, Whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
21 "There is no peace," Says my God, "for the wicked." Isaiah 57:20-21 (NKJV)
It is a true saying that in heart of the life separated from God, sin cannot be eradicated no matter how hard one tries. The terrors of conscience that Henry speaks of are ever present like a clinging virus, so much so, that the semblance of peace they offer is really no more that a mirage. In Proverbs 14:13, we read, “Even in laughter the heart may sorrow…” Humanity has learned to hide what is true very well. Even the so called atheist cannot escape the terrors of conscience, yet chooses still, to offer no solid explanation for why evil exists. Sin is not simply missing the target, as many have said; it is the knowledge of emptiness. It is the terror of hurt, the alarm of impending judgment, and the shock of realizing the results of action. The sinner is caged in and the keys of freedom are nowhere to be found. The caged heart is the heart that weeps inside and drones throughout the days in the dregs of its bonds. Truly, there is no peace, no rest, no escape for the wicked.
But one may say, “I am not sure who you speak of, for it certainly is not me” and they point the finger of the heart at many others, fully realizing the emptiness they feel within their own soul has been left wanting. Maybe it is why the Bible speaks so highly of humility. Humility teaches us that we must bow down in realization that we ourselves are really not the “end all—beat all” that we think we are. There is one who is higher and who has the answers for our pain stricken lives and His name is Jesus. Yes, the incarnation of God who became like us that He might experience the same things we experience on a personal basis. He knows the tentacles of pleasure that draw us away from reality. He also knew that there was no earthly escape—no prescription for flight from the trepidation that sin weaves daily and hourly in the heart of the lost soul. The lost soul sins and screams, “Where can I run to? Where can I hide? How can I escape this evil that has found its dwelling place in my heart? Oh for the days when I was a child and all I knew was the swing-set or the fishing pole on the banks of the river! Oh, if only those days of peace would come to me again—the days when my heart knew no folly.” But no amount of wishing—no amount of dreaming—no amount of meditation can take you there. Those days of innocence are long gone. They are only faint memories that stir the longing of one’s heart.
Is there any escape? There is. But its pathway is through the tunnel of humility and its end is the Cross of Christ. For upon that cross hung an innocent Man who ascended from heaven to provide us the only way of escape. He gave His life for our escape. He gave His heart for our peace. He gave His nail scarred hands for our hope. It starts with saying “Yes. I am a sinner. I have wronged myself and others. I have played in the pastures of pleasure and I have found them wanting. I realize my folly and I need to be set free. I realize my sin rises to the heavens and has offended You, oh God. Please allow me to put my hand into His nail scarred hand and be set free from this wicked that ensnares my heart. I give myself to You even as You gave Yourself for me.”
A prayer along those lines coupled with a sorrowfully repentant heart will open your eyes to the keys that will open the cage of sin you are bound in. There is no peace for the wicked but there is peace to those who choose allow the past to be washed away in the river of His blood that flowed from that cross so many years ago. After He died, having taken upon Himself the burden and due punishment for the sin of the world, He buried it in the tomb. He then arose, free from the hellish burden and into a new body free from the entanglement of death and sin. His resurrection is the end of the life of the one who will choose to follow.
You can be set free today, if you wish. The pull and tug of God’s Spirit is telling you to come humbly to the foot of the cross. But neither I, nor anyone else can make that decision for you. Jesus has placed the ball into your court. How will you handle it? Joshua stated his decision in this manner:
15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)
Won’t you seek His peace today? His peace can be your peace if only you will ask.