Paralysis of the Soul

Jeremiah 17.1

According to the Bible, alienation from God is entirely due to the problem of sin. But what is sin, why should it be so offensive to God, and what is the biblical method of bringing about forgiveness and reconciliation with God?

‘The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron and with the point of a diamond; it is graven upon the table of their hearts and upon the horns of your altars.’

And our subject is ‘paralysis of the soul’. Now, Jeremiah – prophet of Judah who lived and preached some 600 years before Christ – he had been preaching for 20 years before the approximate time that this was written, and went on for another 15 years up until the captivity of the Jews in Babylon and the fall of their city. And he wrote this and uttered these words. Jeremiah is full of profound illustrations – astonishing illustrations, they just fall out one after the other from the text. You have several here in a single verse: the sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron and the point of a diamond. That’s what we’ll mainly look at in the time available to us. Then he goes on to his ‘graven upon the table of their hearts’ – another picture; yet another: ‘and upon the horns of your altars’ and so on.

And he constantly refers to analogies and illustrations in the course of his preaching and his work, but it’s the issue which concerns us this evening: ‘the sin of Judah’. Of course he says that, because he’s addressing the people of Judah, but this is a more universal statement. It’s about the sin of all mankind, the sin of all men and women, the sin that endures through the ages. It is the explanation, the reason, why we as a human race and as individuals are alienated from God and separated from him, and have no real effective concept of the living God, until some point in our lives when we seek and find him according to his own way and method. Well, what’s the cause of the great separation of mankind from God? Well, I’m sure you know that the biblical explanation is sin.