Why is despair so sinful and miserable?

Despair concerning salvation by Jesus Christ is not only pitiable, it is culpable. Satan loves to see our hearts filled with despair. But precisely because it is such a Satanic fruit, it is to be feared, shunned, and repented of. There is hope for the despairing, but only as we flee our despair to Jesus Christ.

Listen to William Swan Plumer explain the sinfulness and sorrow of despair: “Unbelief is the only sin by which a header of the gospel will seal his own ruin, and despair is the perfection of unbelief. To refuse to rely upon Christ’s finished work is to reject the sinner’s only hope. Unbelief is a great sin. The greater its power, the greater our guilt. As despair is unbelief consummated, it is superlative wickedness. If any man fears sin, let him chiefly fear this sin. It takes hold on destruction. No man can be justified or sanctified in whose heart this principle of pride, darkness and stubbornness reigns. There may be a voluntary humility in despair, but that is only another name for pride. Despair also goes upon the ground that men are either saved by their own deservings, or because they have not greatly offended, and this it excludes the salvation of the gospel, which is for the chief of sinners. And despair is full of stubbornness. What is a greater sin than to refuse to trust God when he bids us believe him; to decline to lean upon him when he extends to us his hand? We cannot have too low and opinion of ourselves, or too high an opinion of Christ. It is the great design of the Scriptures to teach the best to despair of being self-saved; the worst not to despair of being saved by Christ, and to offer all the help they want [lack].” (From Vital Godliness, 118-119)

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