by Jeremiah Burroughs
Suppose a malefactor is condemned, but now execution is not till two or three days after; in that space of time he has granted unto him liberty to have meat and drink, and friends come to him, and he may refresh himself in those two or three days; but he has forfeited all his estate, and the tenure now upon which he holds any comfort, it is not the same which he had before, but merely through the bounty of the prince it is that he has comforts.
So it is here. Wicked men have committed sin, and the sentence of death is out against them, and they have forfeited all the comforts of their estates, and of their lives, only God in patience grants unto them some outward comforts here a few days before execution; and upon this tenure do all wicked men hold their estates: I will not say that every wicked man is an usurper of their estates, as some perhaps have held, that they have no right at all before God; some right he has, as you cannot say a malefactor has no right (when he is condemned) to meat and drink before execution; he has right to what is given to him of donation and bounty, but not that right which he had before.
So I say, for wicked men that have estates in this world, they have a kind of right to that they have; but how? Just that right that a condemned man has to his dinner or supper before execution; this is the right of wicked men to their estates; that is, God of his bounty grants a little while before execution they shall have a few comforts to them in this world: And this is the evil of sin, and the least sin, there is not any one sin, but the fruit of it is condemnation. And brethren, you must not mistake, to think that wicked men are never condemned until they come before God in the day of Judgment; they be condemned here, mark that, John, 3. 18. He that believes not is condemned already: now condemned, not hereafter, but a condemned man already: this is a sad condition indeed.
If a man had the sentence of death so past that the whole parliament could not help him, you would think that man in a sad condition. Now let me speak it, and God speaks it to the conscience of every sinner; I say, thou that standest before God in any one sin, and not delivered through the blood of his Son Christ, thou standest so under the sentence of condemnation, as all the creatures in Heaven and Earth cannot help and deliver thee, thou must have some help beyond the help of all the creatures in Heaven and Earth to deliver thee.
When Paul would comfort the saints against all troubles and afflictions they meet with, Rom. 8. he begins thus, There is no condemnation to them in Christ Jesus: as if he should say, this is the comfort, no condemnation.
If I know I am delivered from the sentence of condemnation, let what will fall out I am well enough; but this be sure of, there is Condemnation to those that are not in Christ.
I remember Luther had this speech when he had got assurance of pardon of sin, that he was freed and absolved by God; he cries out, "Lord strike, Lord, now strike, for I am absolved from my sins, thou hast delivered me from sin; now strike, now let any affliction befall that possibly can; let never so much trouble attend I am absolved from sin; now Lord strike."
Source: The Evil of Evils by Jeremiah Burroughs, ch. 31