The Sin Nature- Part II
Whenever our faith is in Christ and the cross, the Holy Spirit will then automatically work within our hearts and within our lives and carry out what He alone can do. That’s why with many new believers, nicotine drops off, alcohol drops off, jealousy drops off.
The believing sinner coming to Christ feels and thinks, “I’ll never sin again,” because he’s in love with the Lord; he’s been changed by the power of God. But he finds right down the road that he does sin; he fails in some way. And then he thinks, “I can’t do that again. I’ve got to do thus and so, so that I don’t fail again.”
That’s when he embarks upon a position of law because that’s all he knows— “I’ll be faithful to Wednesday night Bible study, I’ll pray this, I’ll do that, I’ll do the other”—and those things he sets out to do are good things, and they will bless him, but they are deceiving because they make him think, “I’m in victory,” but then he finds that he fails again, and he gets confused; he doesn’t understand why or what’s happening.
I don’t think it’s too much in vogue now, but the modern church the last few years has come through these “encounter” sessions—seminars that teach, “This is going to give you victory over sin now.”
I got a letter from a dear brother—I don’t know who he was, I’d never heard of him—but he wrote, “I’ve found the answer to victory over sin. I know what the solution is.” Well that showed right there that he was having problems of some nature, whatever they were. And he went on to catalogue in his letter how that he attended this seminar that was put on by a man who I know—I know him very well; he was a head of a particular Pentecostal denomination. But this is what the man was told to do to guarantee his victory, and this, or one of its variations, is being used all over the world: This particular seminar was for preachers and their wives—several hundred attended there because this man was a “spiritual leader,” and he knew the answers. So they were told to bring a pad of paper with them and a pencil, and they were to write down all of their sins and failures. Then this group paired off—man to man and woman to woman—and they were to read them all out to each other: “I did this; I did that,” etc. And the man writing me this was quick to add, “Mine were not nearly as bad as some of the others’.” Then the group was told, “Now tear your papers up into little pieces, and don’t let any drop to the floor, and then hold the pieces above your head—that signifies that God has taken control. Then throw the pieces on the floor,” which they all did. Then the leader told them, “Jump up and down on them and start praising the Lord because you’re now free from these problems; you don’t have them anymore.” They have all kinds of variations on this same approach—one told its participants to put all of their failures into a suitcase and then throw the suitcase into the river, which they all did.
Go ahead and laugh because it is silly. This pitiful, pathetic claim that such foolishness will give people victory came from men with all kinds of education. But do you find anything like that in the Word of God? No, you don’t; it’s not there. So what good are these “encounter” sessions going to do? Those people left them thinking, “Oh, I’ve got the victory now because everybody’s jumping up and down on these pieces of paper! I’ve got victory over these sins now—they’re under my feet! This is the answer, the solution!” That is the most utterly ridiculous, absolute foolishness that the church sinks to—renting these hotel conference rooms to have a big deal seminar and come back saying, “We’re victorious now.” It would look to me like somebody would ask the question, “How is this victorious? How in the world is tearing up some pieces of paper going to help you any?” It’s not, ladies and gentlemen.
The Modern Church
The modern church continues to forsake God’s way, which is the cross, and that’s how the Holy Spirit works, entirely by and through the cross of Christ, and it only allows for us to have faith in Christ and what Christ did at the cross. I’m not talking about a wooden beam; I’m talking about what Jesus there did. That’s all it requires. The Holy Spirit works through the cross: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).
So the problem, in most cases, is ignorance, but that doesn’t mean that a person is exempt from the trouble that is going to come in the not too distant future if that status and state of ignorance remains.
The way that many believers address the sin nature is denial—they deny that they have a sin nature: “Maybe we had one before we were saved, but we don’t have that anymore.” I was reading the other day, and that writer said, “No, we never did have one, period.” That’s an interesting concept.
Denial—believers deny that they have a sin nature. My answer to that is: Why in the world did Paul spend so much time and devote so much space to this problem if it doesn’t exist?
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). Let’s say it again, if we are under law, sin will have dominion over us.
Dominion is a powerful word, and it means that sin is dominating that person—beyond their power of control. It’s compulsion; they’re not able to throw it off—that’s how powerful sin is. It’s not a joke. It’s not just a little walk in the park. It has a power to it, and we learn how powerful it really is by understanding what it took to address it, which is the cross.
A perfect example of this is found in Exodus 5, where the Lord sent Moses in, and the demand was, “Let My people go.” That came from God, but did Pharaoh relent? No! Seven times Moses had to appear before Pharaoh. Seven times. How long between each time? I don’t know, but instead of Pharaoh relenting and saying, “Oh, you mean it was Jehovah who said to let them go? Why certainly, they’re free to go,” No, no. Pharaoh said, “Who is this God? I don’t even know who He is, and you’re talking about me obeying Him.” Then he doubled the workload on the Israelites. They had been making so many bricks per day with the Egyptians supplying the straw. But now Pharaoh said, “You’re going to gather the straw yourselves, and you’re going to make the bricks, just as many as you’ve been making before, and if you don’t do it, I’m going to kill you.”
It was so bad that the elders of Israel went to Pharaoh and said, “Would you do something? We can’t stand this; it’s killing us.” They wanted to give up, but thank God, Moses didn’t. (Ex. 5).
I want to say it again: This is not a walk in the park; Satan means business; God means business—this sin nature is a tremendously important thing, and yet we still think, “I believe in the message of the cross, so that means I’ll never have another temptation, there will never be another problem, everything is fine, the bad habits I’ve got are instantly gone. Friend, it just doesn’t work that way. In fact, there are untold numbers out there saying, “I believe in the message of the cross, and I’ve done what you said to do, but things are not better, they’re worse!
The key is this: If the believer won’t give up; if he won’t quit, then victory will ultimately be his. Somebody asked, “Well why doesn’t the Lord just make it easier?” Well, He has made it as easy as He can—we don’t have to get on a cross.
It may not be easy, but the result is well worth the struggle, believe me. It doesn’t mean that you will never sin again, but it does mean that sin will not have dominion over you. Praise God.