THE BIBLE PROOF OF INBRED SIN (II)
deeper we go in the Bible the more specific and clear is seen the teaching in
regard to inbred sin.
people are not one kind of people in one age and country and another kind in a
different time and place. Regeneration is the same the world round. The wax may
be different, but the signet is the same; and we recognize the stamp of the
Divine Hand in all nations, conditions, and grades. His people are his people
everywhere. His children are not the devil’s servants. The verse above is the
word of the Lord himself, and he says “my people.” This settles the fact of
about them he adds the fact that they are “bent to backsliding.” O that
“bent” in the heart! It has been in the race since the fall. God’s people
suffered with it in Hosea’s time, and they are afflicted with it in these
present times. It is confessed in private and public prayer, acknowledged in the
pulpit, and sung lustily from the hymn book in the well remembered lines:
to wander, Lord, I feel it.
point that we would make is that if there is a “bent to backsliding” in
God’s people, that bent shows a radical trouble. If a man is “bent” upon
leaving his wife, there is faithlessness, disloyalty, or lack of affection in
him. To confess that we feel prone to leave the God we love is to admit an
inward weakness, graver still, a trouble; deeper still, a plague of the heart
that needs attention and prompt relief. This “bent,” or “proneness,” is
not, as the Dean of a certain theological school calls it, “a liability to
sin.” The liability to sin is something inseparably connected with one’s
probationary state as a free spirit working out salvation. To pray for
deliverance from liability to sin is to pray away one’s moral freedom, and
brings the man down to a moral machine or automaton.
young preacher, commenting on the Dean’s utterance, said he feared that the
Professor’s “liabilities were greater than his assets.”
this as it may, this “bent,” or “proneness,” is felt to be far greater
than a “liability to sin.” It is certainly one thing to be liable to sin,
and a totally different thing, and a far graver matter, to feel bent to
backsliding or prone to wander from the Lord.
has not come to destroy in this life the liability or possibility of sinning,
but to take out the bent to sinning. The power to sin, or moral freedom, adheres
to the spirit as the work of God; the proneness to sin is the work of the devil;
and this last, and not the first, is what the Saviour has come to destroy.
is this last thing which is felt stirring in the regenerated heart. It is this
which Christ is willing and able to remove.
away the bent to sinning, Alpha and Omega be.
inbred sin is taught in the Saviour’s words.
solemn things he used to utter about the heart! He described a nature lying away
back and down in us that explained the cause of all the transgressions in the
world. “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” One feels like he had
looked over into a dark pit as he reads these words.
some one insist that all these things are removed in regeneration, we reply:
Yes; these actions cease, or should cease, with the converting grace of God. But
we press this question on the regenerated man as to whether he has had anger or
lust in his heart since his conversion. If he has, Christ says that he has
murdered and committed adultery in his heart. What a heart!
there is another heart which Christ calls a pure heart. Blessed is the man who
has it, says the Saviour. That man certainly has read the Bible with but little
attention not to observe as taught there the difference between a new heart and
a pure heart. A new heart that comes in regeneration has inbred sin in it, but
under the baptism of fire it is purged and becomes a pure heart.
we go on farther with the Saviour’s words. On a certain occasion James and
John wanted to call down fire upon a town and burn it up, because it had shut
its gates against them. Christ’s words to them are most significant: “Ye
know not what spirit ye are of.” That they were his disciples and followers,
and “not of the world,” the Book clearly states, and yet he attributes to
them a spirit dark and the opposite of his own just exactly what we all found
out in the regenerated life. We heard a minister preach a capital sermon, and
then afterwards say that he would have his revenge on a fellow-minister for a
wrong, real or imaginary. There was a “spirit in him” evidently not of
Christ. It was not a temptation; it was something in him.
the reader recall how the Saviour on a certain occasion said to Peter, “Get
thee behind me, Satan?” If it had been the devil in Peter, Christ would not
have added, “Thou art an offense unto me;” but would have rebuked Satan, and
said, “Come out of him.” But the word was “Thou art an offense”—“thou savorest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of
men.” The depravity caused by the devil, and found among men, was here lifting
itself up in the band of the apostles in the presence of the Saviour himself.
Christ called it Satan, and well he did, for inbred sin is the work of Satan;
and here this work was manifesting itself in one of his own disciples.
sin is taught again in the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
have regarded the marvelous work of the Son of God in baptizing the soul with
fire as simply a filling and empowering for service. As a doctrine it is without
any offense to the world or Church if presented and sought as an enduement of
power or qualification for Christian work. It is only when the other hemisphere
of the truth is held up that we hear at once the protest and feel the
other hemisphere or part of the work is the sanctification of the heart. The
baptism with the Holy Ghost by the Son of God does two things: it purifies the
heart and empowers for service. Purifying, filling, abiding, is the order. The
Holy Ghost becomes a constant indweller. “He shall abide with you forever.”
Saviour spoke clearly of the empowering through the evangelist Luke in
the apostle identifies the blessing that came upon Cornelius with that which the
disciples received at Pentecost. He said that there was “no difference,” and
that their hearts were purified at that time.
disciples previous to Pentecost were Christ’s followers, were preachers, had
cast out devils, had their names written in the Book of Life, and according to
the Saviour in his prayer in the seventeenth chapter of John “were not of the
world;” and yet on the morning of Pentecost their hearts were “purified.”
their hearts were purified that day, then there was impurity beforehand. And
this is what we contend is taught by the Bible and verified in human experience:
that there is impurity, a remainder of iniquity left in the regenerated man;
that a pardoned soul is one thing, and a purified soul another thing altogether.
the purifying is taught in the term “fire.” “He will baptize you with
fire!” What for, pray? What does fire do?
one knows that fire is destructive and purifying. There is no other agent on
earth that is more destructive and so purifying.
Lord knew that we would remember this, and that when he promised a baptism of
fire upon the soul we would straightway see that there was something to destroy
in the soul, a nature to purify.
to the consciousness of the soul this is what takes place in the baptism of the
Holy Ghost. Whoever receives it feels that a troublesome something has been
taken out of him, and that the earth has suddenly become very beautiful. Heaven
has come down to us, yes, in us through the possession of a pure heart.
has undoubtedly taught the fact of remaining corruption in the regenerated,
protecting the doctrine of a second work of grace in the symbol of fire.
fires of earth destroy and purify; the fire that Christ sends down upon the soul
likewise destroys and purifies. Here is a figure that in itself alone defends
the truth from all enemies, from Zinzendorf down to the latest writer in the
church. It is the