For it is a fire that consumes to destruction, and would root out all my increase.
All Commentaries on Job 31:12 Go To Job 31
Gregory The Dialogist
“For this is a heinous crime and the greatest iniquity. For it is a fire that consumes to destruction and that roots out all increase.” There is this difference between “sin” and “crime.” All crime is sin, but not all sin is crime. And in this life there are numbers without crime, but no one can be without sins. And hence the holy preacher, when he was describing a person worthy of the grace of priesthood, never said, “If any is without sin,” but “if any is without crime.” Who can be without sin, when John says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us?” In this same distinction of sins and crimes, it deserves to be considered that occasional sins pollute the soul, while crimes slay it. Hence, blessed Job in characterizing the crime of lust says, “It is a fire that consumes to destruction.” In this way, the heinousness of this atrocity not only stains to the length of defilement but also devours to the extent of destruction. And howsoever many other good deeds there may be, if the enormity of lust is not washed out, they are overwhelmed by the immensity of this crime. He added going on, “and rooting out all offspring,” for “the offspring” of the soul are good practices. The soul, nevertheless, if the right order is being reversed, then the flesh exercises dominion over it, and all the things that are put forth well are consumed by the fire of lust.