The crowning sin of the ungodly!
(William Bacon Stevens, "The Parables" 1857)
"The one who believes in the Son has eternal life; but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him!" John 3:36
Unbelief is the crowning sin of the ungodly! And until Christ is believed in, by a faith which "purifies the soul" — all other changes will be of no avail.
We may correct this evil habit;
we may prune away that sin;
we may turn from debauchery to purity;
we may turn from profanity to reverence;
we may turn from covetousness to charity;
we may polish our characters until we shall appear beautiful to ourselves and others;
we may even have a sentimental regard for Christ, and experience a sort of respect for His ordinances, and join with external devotion in the praises of the sanctuary —
yet, build up these characters as high as we may, adorn them with every worldly ornament, set them off with every earthly virtue — unless Christ is formed in our hearts as the hope of glory — they are nothing "but white-washed sepulchers, which, indeed, appear beautiful outwardly — but within are full of dead bones and all uncleanness!"
On the other hand, no matter how evil may have been our former course, no matter what the turpitude of our character — though our sins are as black as midnight, and as numberless as the stars, and as vile as Hell itself; yet, if we now receive Christ into our hearts in the fullness of a faith that trusts in Him alone — all will be well! "Though your sins are like scarlet — I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson — I will make them as white as wool!" Isaiah 1:18