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The Sin of Indifference PDF Print E-mail
Written by R.W.Cothern   

The poor little struggling people of God are naturally prone to sin.

We will undoubtedly always be imperfect as long as we live in this body of mortal flesh. We will stumble along, and fall into one wrong, feel the sting and pain of penitence, beg God to forgive, and we feel forgiven.

Then, almost in the next step we fall into another wrong. The worst condition of all, and one which we become too blind to see, is the sin of indifference.

All I know about these matters is what I have learned in the past 50 years from my own experience and what I read in the Bible. Over and over, I have lapsed into states of indifference, and while at it wasted many precious days, drifting idly along with the current, not caring or much concerned, which way the river runs.

The thought presents itself to me, "Why don't you quit worry­ing about Primitive Baptists' troubles and about your own troubles, and learn to just take it easy. Have a good time! You are doing all right; you don't need anything. Enjoy life while you have it."

That's just a pretty good philosophy for the natural man, if he can make himself forget he is a soldier of the cross and has a responsibility to fight all evil in self and in the great kingdom the order "present your bodies of grace and to himself apply to a living sacrifice holy, acceptable to God."

Sometimes when I visit neighboring churches and find that many of their members can’t find the time or inclination to come out to their meetings, I wonder if they too are not afflicted with this worldly philosophy of "taking it easy." If they are, then I would like to talk things over with them from my own experiences. Maybe we can understand each other, and profit from the advice the good book gives us.

One of the messages of Jesus to the church at Laodicea was "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth to the churches.'' Of course the fellow who is "rich, and increased with goods, and hath need of nothing" is pretty hard to attract with this advice, because of his cold indif­ference. He is neither cold nor hot; he just doesn't care. Chances are he will likely stay that way until some gospel "eye-salve" is applied so he can see just how "wretched and poor and bind, and miserable, and naked" he really is.

Just what is the spirit saying to the churches? One thing it is saying is "I counsel thee to buy of me gold, tried in the fire (and that is pure gold. That is the kind the very streets of heaven are paved with, the kind that will make you rich in heavenly values, that even the fires of hell will not melt or destroy). This gold not only makes you rich, it glit­ters with a luster that lights up the whole church and gives you a feeling of wealth, health and happiness!

Then the spirit is also saying to the churches to "buy white rai­ment, that ye may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear." True reconciliation to the will of God, and true unselfish service to the best of your ability is all the obedience God asks of you. If He has that kind of obedience, He will clothe you in the beautiful and comfortable "white raiment" of His sweet approval. If through your indifference and cold neg­lect, you refuse him that obed­ience, he is going to let you go unclad, and the "shame of your nakedness" will be revolting to God and all the humble people. So "he that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit sayeth, for "the Spirit and the bride say come, and let him that heareth say, come, and let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him balm the water of life freely."

Not long ago I was in atten­dance at a little church, where many were absent. The few present feeling their poverty of soul, sang that sweet old song, which is an index to the feelings of those who are rich with the "gold" of our text, and able to feel their need before their God:

"Hungry and faint, and poor;

Behold us Lord again,

Assembled at thy mercy's door,

Thy bounty to obtain.


Thy word invites us nigh;

Or we must starve indeed;

For we no money have to buy,

No righteousness to plead.


The food our spirits want,

Thy hand alone can give;

O hear the prayer of faith and grant,

That we may eat and live."


Tears ran from the eyes of the singers, and love filled our hearts for each other. The Spirit of our God made his royal pres­ence felt, and we were "rich" in the glory of faith, hope and char­ity.

We were clothed in the raiment of His love and sweet approval. O what riches! Can we afford to lose them in a desert of lost causes? Is life in this world worth living without God's peace, without the peace and fellowship of each other?

I drove home that evening over some hundred miles of desert. As far as I could see, the highway stretched mile after mile toward the sunset, and it was something like my own little highway of life-...hedged with cactus, thorns, and briars. A drought lay heavily upon the land and there was no flowers or any green living thing to break the monotony.

But the sound and rich sentiment of that little song and the memory of the powerful gospel preached during the meeting was something like soft music in my soul. And I said, “this is the true water of life. O Lord let me take it freely.” I am sure I will die poor in this world’s goods, but I long to enjoy the “gold, tried in the fire” and I am willing to “but it” even if it costs my very life.

Please help me pray for grace to overcome the awful sin of indifference.

R.W. Cothern
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.