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Graveyard Religion

"The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ. Bible Commentary Vol. 6, p. 1075

These are my own notes and are not a word-for-word transcript of the message. However, by listening multiple times to the sermon and filling in what was missed previously, I have attempted to get as close as I can to what was shared. Quotations have, in many cases, been expanded to the sentences around what the speaker quoted to enable the reader to gain the full impact of what was shared in the sermon. Where the speaker referred to quotations without giving a reference, I have attempted to find the quotation that most closely reflects what was being shared. - © Cheryl Hosford


The message that will be shared in this sermon is the key. Without question it is the most important single subject that we could discuss when it comes to salvation, righteousness by faith, God's plan, the plan of salvation. The whole thing is centered in what we will be sharing here.

Romans 6:5 - For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

Galatians 3:24 - Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Justification by faith is an integral part of Paul's thinking all the way through, and there is no descrepancy between what he wrote to the Roman church or to the Galatian church or in any of the other letters that he sent. When he said that the law was "our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster."

For many generations of time, it has been a difficult thing for Seventh-day Adventists to answer these two verses of Scripture - that Christ frees us from the law. The tragic thing is that we did not realize that this is a fact. So consequently we hung on tenaciously to our former beliefs. But we were mistaken.

Ellen White says that when Paul is speaking in these two verses, he is speaking expressly of the ten commandment law. In the book of Galatians, he talks of both laws, but in these two verses, he is speaking expressly of the ten commandment law.

To understand this, we must go to Romans 3:20:

"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin."


There isn't any way that
we can be justified by
obedience to God's law.

What Paul is talking about in Romans 3, is that we never come to Christ by obedience to the law. This is what the Jews tried to do. By obeying the law, they thought they would discover; but instead of discovering Christ, they only found that their ego was built up higher and higher. Unfortunately, when we strive in our own efforts to obey God's law, we come to the same thing. "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified." There isn't any way that we can be justified by obedience to God's law. Justification is on an entirely different basis. However the law does serve an entirely different function, and is just as valid today as it ever was. It is exceedingly important that we understand it. Paul says, "for by the law is the knowledge of sin."

Remember that we talked about the difference between "sin" and "sins." Here is the key to understand what Paul is talking about. If by the "deeds of the law", no one is going to be justified, yet, the law reveals sin to us, then we need to understand what is being revealed to us.

We must remember that "sins" and "sin" are represented entirely differently in Scripture. I was first made aware of it several years ago when I read from Elder Mead McGuire's book, His Cross and Mine. It is a lovely book, and Elder McGuire was one of my favorite authors and speakers. He was a godly man in the General Conference.

On page 125 of His Cross and Mine, he writes:


There is a great difference between sins and sin.

Sins are acts of transgression of divine law which God is always ready to forgive through the merits of Christ in response to the prayers of penitent faith, but sin He cannot forgive.

Sin is the nature which leads us to disobey God's law. The nature in which we come into this world does not change.

There is a great difference between sins and sin. Many find serious difficulty in their Christian life because they do not understand this distinction. Beneath all our acts of transgression is the principle of sin from which they spring. Though all our evil deeds were pardoned, we would still go on sinning. Something more must be done for us than to simply pardon our sins.

I read to you already that Jesus Christ died on the cross and earned the right to be our representative. He earned the right to forgive our sins. We need to read on.

He, (Christ), is willing to pardon the transgressor, but this would avail nothing unless a change is wrought in man's nature. He must remove from the man what causes the sins.

This brings us to another aspect of sin as is set forth in scripture. We will get to that soon.

On page 142 of His Cross and Mine, he writes:

Here, it is necessary to consider the distinction between sin and sins. Sins are acts of transgression of divine law which God is always ready to forgive through the merits of Christ in response to the prayers of penitent faith, but sin He cannot forgive.

That is interesting, and rather shocking to many people. Sins, God is always ready to forgive - every request. But sin, He cannot forgive. He would be immoral if He did. Sin is the nature which leads us to disobey God's law. The nature in which we come into this world does not change. God says it in so many words, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6) Flesh cannot become Spirit. There is no way.

That is what He told to Nicodemus. When Nicodemus came to Christ, as far as he was concerned, he was already living above the law. He couldn't possibly conceive that there was anything that needed to be done in His life. Paul had the same experience, and so did the rich young ruler. But in reality, we find that the nature with which we come into the world does not change, as we read in the Saviour's words, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

The only way to be rid of a bad nature is by death. The only way to receive a good nature is to be born again. It is as simple as that. If we realize it, we would be able to stop right here, just as Jesus did when those Greeks came to Him in the outer court, where Jesus met them on Wednesday night before His crucifixion. They came and told Philip, "We would see Jesus." Jesus probably had only fifteen minutes of time to spend with these Greeks.


The only way to be rid
of a bad nature is by death.

The only way to receive a
good nature is to be born again.

How could He get the message of righteousness by faith, what the Christian life is all about, and what the victory life is all about, across to these men in fifteen or twenty minutes of time when the disciples had been with Jesus for three years and they didn't understand.

He simply said, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." John 12:24

We could stop right there and go home, if we had the same attitude of seeking for truth that the Greeks had. When they came to Jesus, they were in dead earnest. They had been converted to Judiasm and when they came into Jerusalem, they heard about His triumphal entry and said "we have to see Him." They went to Him and Jesus talked with them.

Ellen White, speaking of this experience, said that the disciples and those standing around when Jesus said to His Father, "glorify Me, glorify Thy name," and the Father spoke, and said "I will. I have glorified it and will glorify it." The disciples and others thought it thundered or an angel spoke to Him. But the Greeks heard and understood the message and accepted Christ as the Messiah. Out of the whole group, only the Greeks heard it. Why? They were in dead earnest.

It is absolutely essential that if we are going to find the truth, that we be in dead earnest and set aside all preconceived ideas, for it is those that hinder us as it did those in 1888.

Romans 3:20-21

20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;


If we are living our lives by keeping the commandments,
we are not keeping the commandments at all.

Paul is simply telling us Jesus came and lived apart from the law, yet was totally and completely obedient to the law. The Christian who truly becomes a child of God is not consistently conscience of that which the law is saying. If we are living our lives by keeping the commandments, we are not keeping the commandments at all.

Romans 6:5 - "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"

What would do you think of when you think of the "likeness of his death?" Romans 6 is a picture of baptism, but baptism doesn't do anything for the individual. Baptism is a symbol of that which has already taken place. It is a symbol of death, burial, and resurrection.


What is the
likeness of His death?
One thing - Willingness.

What is the likeness of His death? One thing - Willingness.

It is almost as though Jesus was anxious to die.

Philippians 2:8 - And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

What is He talking about? Jesus, growing up at His mother's knee, learned who He was. He figured out who He was at a very early age - we don't know how early, but by the time He was twelve years old, he certainly knew. "Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself" unto death. As soon as He knew who He was, He knew that He had one mission - to die. He came to this world to die. Scripture goes on. "even the death of the cross." This takes us into a realm of thinking that causes us to shudder, for we just don't begin to fathom the depths of this type of thinking.


We will be ready to
take our cross when
self becomes intolerable.

Miles J. Stanford, in his book Green Letters, p. 78, 79, "When a believer begins to see the cross for what it is - a place of death - he is inclined to hesitate in choosing this type of fellowship. Our Lord Jesus understood this well since this is the manner in which He finished the work on our behalf. So He simply allows our knees to continue the relentless pressure until we finally bend to His inevitable. We will be ready to take our cross when self becomes intolerable."

That's what Jesus said was necessary in Luke 14. We have to come to the point where we hate this natural self life which drives us into sin, which is incorrigible, which Paul says is at enmity against God. There is nothing that can be done for it. That's why Paul says "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." Galatians 5:24

Let's see what Paul's theology was in this.

Romans 7: 4 - "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."

To the Galatian church, he said that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. When faith is come, we no longer have any need of the schoolmaster. Now Paul is saying the identical thing here. "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God."

Then in Romans 7:5, 6, Paul begins a dissertation here that has caused a lot of problems in some men's minds. Let me make it clear.

"For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, (transgressions of God's law) which were by the law (the law itself reveals these sins, Paul speaks of these as motions of sins), did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
" (Parentheses are his comments)

What is he talking about when he says, "that being dead wherein we were held?"

Romans 7:22, 23 - "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. "

The "law of sin which is in my members. " When Paul says, we have been planted in the likeness of His death, we actually willfully die. That which is contained in the members dies.

If that is true, why did Paul say "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good." (Romans 7:15,16) Have you had any problems that way?

Romans 7:6 - "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." This is talking about Paul's sinful nature. When that sinful nature dies, we are actually delivered from the law of sin in our members. This is why Ellen White says that when this message of Justification is preached clearly, and received fully, then Satan's power is broken.

When the natural man, the old sinful nature dies, we find ourselves in a position (I don't want you to misunderstand me.) where God must bring us back to in order to work with us. It is the position of a new birth. Back to the same point that Adam was created in, with a nature which is no longer attracted to sin. But you say "I have been attracted to sin still." I'm not going to ask you if that is true, because I know it is. What we are talking about in this whole picture is character.

Paul says, "that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." Romans 7:6

In other words, this business of trying to keep from sinning, Ellen White has a clear comment on this. She says that those who try to keep the law because it is right to keep the law, do not obey. There is no way this can be done.

Christ's Object Lessons, p. 97, 98


When the requirements
of God are accounted a burden
because they cut across human inclination, we may know that the life is not a Christian life.

The man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of obligation merely--because he is required to do so--will never enter into the joy of obedience. He does not obey. When the requirements of God are accounted a burden because they cut across human inclination, we may know that the life is not a Christian life. True obedience is the outworking of a principle within. It springs from the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right--because right doing is pleasing to God. {COL 97.3}

There is only one way that we can keep the law and be obedient to Him, and that is as we are born again in a new nature. Otherwise our obedience becomes a constant doing of "things."

Romans 7:7 - "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet."

"I had not known sin" - this is not "sins". We have known "sins" all the way along. All one has to do is to read God's law and the obvious thing we see there is "Thou shalt not," "Thou shalt not" and "Thou shalt." This reveals sins to us. We often close our minds to the main purpose of the law, that of revealing sin - my sinful nature to me. Then when I try to be obedient to the law, my inability to do so should drive me to the only way it can be kept, that is through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul said, "I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." Paul said "I have kept the law, " but he goes on and says in verse 8, "But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead."

Concupiscence simply means a strong desire. This is nothing more than a mental attitude, brought on by strong feelings. The body is where the law of sin rests according to Romans 7:23. This is what Paul discovered that he didn't know. He said, "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members."

Here we find this was working in me all manner of concupiscence (strong desire). While the law was taking occasion by my being obedient to the law, I did not understand that sin was in my mind - not in what I did. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." "Out of the heart..." Every sin comes out of the heart.

Paul could hate - and he obviously did - for he hated the Christians and he persecuted them and put them to death. He didn't think he was doing anything wrong. In reality, that which was in his mind was disassociated entirely from that which Paul was doing.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 - "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.)"

Paul is saying, I now saw the law for what it really was - pointing to sin, not sins, only. Please get it clear. The law does point to sins, transgressions of the law. But the main purpose of the law is to reveal sin, a sinful nature. When that happens, then death is the only answer. When death is the only answer, we begin to see that we then are freed from even the thought.


God doesn't want to deliver us simply from sins. He wants to deliver us from sin itself.

Sin resides in the mind -
not in the deeds we do.

Paul goes on in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 - "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)" Here we have the whole kernal of what God wants to do in us. He doesn't want to deliver us simply from sins. He wants to deliver us from sin, itself. Sin resides in the mind - not in the deeds we do. It is not, according to Paul, what we actually do by the deeds of the law that condemns us, but that which is behind the deeds of the law. That is the mental attitude and the relationship that we must maintain and sustain.

So Paul says that "But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead." Sin hid behind the commandment - not sins - but my very sinful nature was hiding behind the commandment. I thought I was a commandment keeper and I was perfectly free. I was obedient to all the law and there was nothing to condemn me. But when I saw the law condemn my nature, I discovered that the law pointed to me as a terrible person. When "sin revived, and I died" Romans 7:9 There is only one answer - when sin revived, I died.


Self-righteousness:
Being particularly careful,
lest we break one of God's commandments.

"For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" Romans 7:9 Paul is saying, I lived for such a long time in self-righteousness. There is a lot of that around. Self-righteousness. Being particularly careful, lest we break one of God's commandments. Now I am not preaching permissiveness in any sense of the word. We are preaching the very principles of the law. It is this that Ellen White emphasizes over and over again, that we must be obedient to the principles - not the precepts only. That makes a vast difference.

Romans 7:13 - "Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful." He is talking about sin not sins. Sins God is willing and ready and anxious to forgive, but He cannot forgive sin. It must die.

In Steps to Christ, p. 62, we read:

It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God's law.

Adam had the capacity to keep God's law. You and I do not have that capacity.

But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ's character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.

This is wonderful. This is God's plan. Why? Because He knew our helplessness - that we are totally helpless. We cannot meet the claims of the law or obey it. But Jesus did and gave us that marvelous record, as though it is ours entirely. How essential is this?

7a Bible Commentary, p. 664

His death on the cross of Calvary was the climax of His humiliation. His work as a redeemer is beyond finite conception. Only those who have died to self, whose lives are hid with Christ in God, can have any conception of the completeness of the offering made to save the fallen race. -- Letter 196,1901

Messages to Young People, p. 127


Why is it so hard to lead
a self-denying, humble life?

Because professed Christians are not dead to the world. It is easy living after we are dead.

Why is it so hard to lead a self-denying, humble life? Because professed Christians are not dead to the world. It is easy living after we are dead.

When this situation is faced, we break Satan's power in our lives, and we take ourselves to God and out of Satan's realm and jurisdiction. How?

God's Amazing Grace, p. 31

All who have put on the robe of Christ's righteousness will stand before Him as chosen and faithful and true. Satan has no power to pluck them out of the hand of the Saviour. Not one soul who in penitence and faith has claimed His protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy's power.


Christ will not permit one soul to pass under the enemy's power, as long as they keep themselves in this dying-to-self position. That's all He asks us to do.

Christ will not permit one soul to pass under the enemy's power, as long as they keep themselves in this dying-to-self position. That's all He asks us to do.

We have to face one fact. We are talking about character. It is Christ's character that He credits to you and me. That character is something that need to thoroughly need to understand.

Steps to Christ, p. 57, 58

The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts.

Your habitual living pattern is the basis of your character. It is what happens when you hit the wrong nail with the right hammer. What happens then reveals character. It is not what you thoughtfully do. Anyone can live a life exteriorly free from sin when he walks into church. No one is going to say, "yea, I lost my temper." You won't tell everybody these things then. But when you get back home with only family, character begins to show up. This is where character really is.


When God justifies us,
He gives to us His character instead of ours.

But that does not destroy
the habitual lifestyle.

When God justifies us, He gives to us His character instead of ours. But that does not destroy the habitual lifestyle. That habitual lifestyle is still there, and Satan knows it is still there. You were not changed by justification. Your record is changed. Your standing is changed. The devil knows your weakness, and you have some, and so do I. He knows your weakness and he knows what triggers it.So he shapes circumstances and situations so you will fall flat on your face. When you do fall flat on your face and sin, he is going to say to you, "If you were really justified, if you had really given your heart to the Lord, you wouldn't have done this." He gets you to sin, then he turns around and blames you for sinning. What is his goal? To get you to doubt your justification. Because when you doubt your justification, you no longer stand in the experience of God crediting His character to you, according to Romans 5.

When you doubt the reality of it, are you standing in it? No. You are doing the same thing the disciples did when they doubted the Lord Jesus Christ. God says that you are dead, if you reckon it to be so.

Romans 6:11 - "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Believe it, accept it, it is a fact. Then why do I sin? Because the devil knows how to shape the circumstances. In shaping circumstances, he causes the habitual patterns to come out in me, and when the habitual patterns come out in me then he tries to make me think that it is the old nature still alive.

I would like to give you the encouragement that that is not true. That is not true. The only thing that is true, is that you still have these habit patterns. That is why John tells us, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." 1 John 2:1, and "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9


When we fall and Satan says,
"If you were genuinely justified, you wouldn't do this," you don't need to pay any attention to him in any sense of the word.

You can simply say "Thank you Jesus for allowing this to happen in my life. I surrender this habit pattern to You also."

This breaks Satan's power in your life.

When Satan comes along and says, "If you were genuinely justified, you wouldn't do this," you don't need to pay any attention to him in any sense of the word. You can simply say "Thank you Jesus for allowing this to happen in my life." I recognize that this is something that I must surrender also. This habitual pattern. If, instead of falling into discouragement or becoming doubting because of the sin that you have committed, you turn to the Lord in faith, the devil will not follow through with that temptation to you very often. You will break his power in your life. That is why James says, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."

Have you ever fallen into the same temptation twice? I think some of you have. If the devil sees that a good way to get you to fall is by shaping circumstances, he would be a fool if he didn't do it again. But if you don't fall, then he is confused.

Ellen White says that Satan cannot read your thoughts. We will work on this in the next session. But he shapes situations and circumstances in such a way that we think that he can read our thoughts. That is exactly what he did with Eve. She stood there looking at the tree, and he said, "has God said that you shouldn't eat of this tree?" Ellen White said that Eve listened to those words and was shocked to hear her thoughts coming back to her. She thought the serpant could read her thoughts. But Satan could not read her thoughts. We are told that Satan cannot read our thoughts, but he is an astute student of your expression. He does the same thing that your wife does, or your roommate does to you when you walk into the room and they say, "What went wrong today?" Only Satan is much more keen about it and he knows exactly the situation. He doesn't need to be able to read your thoughts, but it has always been a real blessing that he can't. That is why Paul says, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

If we, in every temptation we would simply say, "Thank you Jesus," and then keep on going, it would throw Satan into total confusion. This isn't simply light talk. It is the way to break Satan's power. He simply says the same thing that he did about Paul and Silas when they were thrown into the jail in Philippi, and they started singing. He said, "this is a different breed. I haven't met with this kind before."

When Paul was shipwrecked on the island of Melita, (Acts 28) he was gathering sticks when a poisonous viper fastened itself on Paul and he simply threw it into the fire. The inhabitants of the island looked on him and said, "He's a murderer. Through fate, he escaped the vengeance of the see, but now he's going to die." They watched for Paul to fall over. Paul didn't say one thing. He made nothing of it at all and went on gathering sticks. They watched him and finally said, "He must be a god."

That is what God wants you and me to do - live in total and complete trust in Him. Isn't that right? To live in total and complete trust in Him. He has told us that He gives us authority to tread on serpants, scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19)

Oh how unnecessary it is for us to go through life so maimed and crippled! We don't need to. Walking with Jesus, all things are ours, because they are His. God's purpose is not merely to deliver from the suffering that is the inevitable result of sin, but to save from sin.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 61

God's purpose is not merely to deliver from the suffering that is the inevitable result of sin, but to save from sin itself. The soul, corrupted and deformed, is to be purified, transformed, that it may be clothed in "the beauty of the Lord our God," "conformed to the image of His Son." "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." Psalm 90:17; Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 2:9. Eternity alone can reveal the glorious destiny to which man, restored to God's image, may attain.


God's purpose is not merely to deliver from the suffering that
is the inevitable result of sin,
but to save from sin itself.

That which you look upon
as disaster is the door to
highest benefit.

In order for us to reach this high ideal, that which causes the soul to stumble must be sacrificed. It is through the will that sin retains its hold upon us. The surrender of the will is represented as plucking out the eye or cutting off the hand. Often it seems to us that to surrender the will to God is to consent to go through life maimed or crippled. But it is better, says Christ, for self to be maimed, wounded, crippled, if thus you may enter into life. That which you look upon as disaster is the door to highest benefit.

To save from sin itself. If we could catch this and realize that this is the heart of all understanding of the Christian life. When Adam came forth from the hand of God, He still had to be tested. That is exactly what happens with us. God brings us back to the same point and then sees to it that we are tested, to see whether or not we will trust God in all things.


The blood can wash away sins, transgressions, but it cannot wash away my old man. I need the cross to crucify me to sin.

That which we are in Adam is the natural, human, sinful self. It is the cross in which we must share that delivers us from that nature. The blood can wash away sins, transgressions, but it cannot wash away my old man. I need the cross to crucify me to sin. This is the heart of the core, and many godly men down through the ages have seen this but unfortunately, most of us haven't seen it as we should.

1 Selected Messages, p. 366

God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul.

The "heart" and "mind" are synonymous. The active living faith that works through love. That is why we must come to the place where we love God's law, and not look at it as a set of restrictions in any sense of the word. For the law is a transcript of God's character. In reality, the law becomes a beautiful thing. It doesn't restrict me. It doesn't hem me in. It is actually what points to that which delivers me.

Jesus said, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." John 8:36. This is the freedom which Jesus alone can give as we participate in His crucifixion. When we participate in His crucifixion, then we have total and complete freedom comes to us. But it isn't easy to die.

Mount of Blessing, p. 141, 142


The battle which we have to fight--the greatest battle that was ever fought by man--is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love.

The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart. The battle which we have to fight--the greatest battle that was ever fought by man--is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love. The old nature, born of blood and of the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up.

He who determines to enter the spiritual kingdom will find that all the powers and passions of an unregenerate nature, backed by the forces of the kingdom of darkness, are arrayed against him. Selfishness and pride will make a stand against anything that would show them to be sinful. We cannot, of ourselves, conquer the evil desires and habits that strive for the mastery. We cannot overcome the mighty foe who holds us in his thrall. God alone can give us the victory.

He is ready and willing to do it when we are ready and willing to see the problem. Paul could not have been delivered and be the great Paul that he was until he saw his sin nature. Then and then alone, could he become the man that he was.

He desires us to have the mastery over ourselves, our own will and ways. But He cannot work in us without our consent and co-operation. The divine Spirit works through the faculties and powers given to man. Our energies are required to co-operate with God.


Every time we fall,
we must be willing to say
"Lord, that too must die."
God will then take it away.

What we must be willing to see ourselves, and every time we fall flat on our face be willing to say "Lord, that too must die." God will then take it away. We will cover this much more in the next session.

Ellen White speaks of this in another way, that I think helps make it clearer.

Adventist Home, p. 127, 128

The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it.

That's where Paul says the law of sin was - in the flesh.

The words "flesh" or "fleshly" or "carnal lusts" embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God.

This is the nature in which we came into the world. The flesh motivates the brain, and stimulates the brain to take action. This is done by feelings. Anything that we do, must be reduced to feelings. Then the feelings act on the brain and we act accordingly. That is why on Sabbath morning, it feels so cozy in bed. The comfortable, cozy feelings say "I don't think I will go to church today." The feelings relay the message to the brain and the brain says, "I'll go back to sleep." True? That is exactly what happens. "The flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God." It can't. It hast to be motivated by the brain.

We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ.

Then, can you understand why in 2 Corinthians 10 Paul says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of this world. This is in reality what she is talking about here. There is no way you can battle yourself through this whole thing by resisting the fleshly desires. We must deal with it in the mind itself. The battle between Christ and Satan is between who will control the mind. That is where the sum total of the battle is. In living the Christian life, it is a battle for who controls my mind.

All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession. The members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness.

5 Testimonies, p. 310

You should keep off from Satan's enchanted ground and not allow your minds to be swayed from allegiance to God. (Continued below.)

When we fall on our face, the devil says, "That's evidence that you have not actually really received justification, so the mind begins to think. The question is not "Did I fall on my face; Did I sin?" but rather, "who do I believe?" Satan says "You aren't justified." God says, "You are justified." Who do you believe. If I believe God, and I say I am justified and just because I fell flat on my face doesn't mean that I am not justified. It doesn't mean that my record has changed, because I thank God that He's made provision for this. I confess my sin and go on my way. I am then taking myself away from Satan's enchanted ground. It is such a wonderful thing to be able to do this. We can simply dismiss Satan from our minds entirely.

"You should keep off from Satan's enchanted ground and not allow your minds to be swayed from allegiance to God." That is what God wants us to do. Why? He has promised that throughout eternity we will never rebel against Him, if we remain true to the allegiance that we have with Him. That then becomes habitual. Every time I sin, I still remain in allegiance to Him. I will not let this shake me. This does not mean that we can go out and choose to sin. That is not the point. The point is whenever I sin whether it is willful or otherwise, God is willing and ready to forgive me and I must not allow Satan to break that allegiance.

Through Christ you may and should be happy and should acquire habits of self-control.

This is through Christ. You don't do it in any other way. You don't do it by determination or by repetition.


When you decide that as Christians you are not required
to restrain your thoughts and feelings you are brought under the influence of evil angels and invite their presence and their control.

Even your thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God and your feelings under the control of reason and religion. Your imagination was not given you to be allowed to run riot and have its own way without any effort at restraint or discipline. If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character. When you decide that as Christians you are not required to restrain your thoughts and feelings you are brought under the influence of evil angels and invite their presence and their control. If you yield to your impressions and allow your thoughts to run in a channel of suspicion, doubt, and repining you will be among the most unhappy of mortals, and your lives will prove a failure.


When Satan tries to
put thoughts into our minds,
(e.g. thoughts of doubt, repining, suspicion, or feeling sorry for oneself) we must stop right then and thrust the thoughts out - not by ourselves, but we must say:

"Lord, there is the enemy.
I cannot control these thoughts. You take them out of my mind.
I can't control my mind,
but You can."

That is exactly what Paul lived in. Outwardly, he was obedient to the precepts of the law. He kept every one. No one could point a finger at him and say he was a sinner. Outwardly he kept every one. But inwardly his mind was running rampant. He was under the influence of evil angels. We will do the same thing. If our imaginations are allowed to run rampant, when Satan tries to put thoughts into our minds, if he causes you to doubt in any sense of the word, he destroys your allegiance to God. We must stop right then and thrust the thoughts out - not by ourselves, but we must say, "Lord, there is the enemy. I cannot control these thoughts. You take them out of my mind." He has done it for me a thousand times. He will take them out completely. They may come back again in five minutes, and you must do it again. If we do this consistently, the thoughts must leave. Completely. It doesn't matter what type of evil thoughts they are.

When we don't restrain our thoughts and feelings we are brought under the influence of evil angels and invite their presence and their control. This is a very strong statement. When we let the imagination to run wild, it is Satan who is doing it. God doesn't do it. Satan keeps bringing the thoughts to us and we are allowing ourselves to be under his control by allowing him to go on in his terrible work.

"If you yield to your impressions and allow your thoughts to run in a channel of suspicion, doubt, and repining you will be among the most unhappy of mortals, and your lives will prove a failure." What should happen when doubts come into our minds? We need to say, "Lord, here is the devil." Christ never even one time creates doubts. Satan is the author of doubts. When doubts come into our minds, we say, "Lord, here is the devil. I can't control my mind, but you can." Don't try to put them out of your mind.

Did you ever try to forget about anything? That is the best way to remember it. You can't control your mind. There are only two powers that control the mind. Christ and the enemy. Doubts and repining. That takes us down to the sadness, unhappy, repining. None of these should be allowed in the Christian life. "But," you say, "I can't get over it." No, you can't. But you can recognize them as a manifestation of self. "I'm feeling sorry for myself." If we allow them to to run rampant in our minds, self soon drives out every good impulse and we find ourselves under the control of the enemy. God wants us to be delivered from this type of situation.

6 Bible Commentary, p. 1075

The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ.

If we are buried with Him in death we will be raised with Him in His resurrection. (Romans 6:4) That resurrection that Paul is talking about is not the same resurrection that he talks about in 1 Corinthians 15. Here he is talking about the resurrection to a new life. A new birth. A new man, a new woman, is born when this old nature dies. It is as real as you are real, if you believe it.


Our business is to accept that we are new creatures; new individuals; born new entirely. We are then to live in that new nature. When we live in that new nature, Satan's power is broken.

That is why Paul said, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:11. This is a real experience and the devil doesn't want you to believe it. He will cause feelings or anything to happen to cause you to doubt the reality of your experience. Jesus says it is so whether you feel it or not. Our business is to accept that we are new creatures; new individuals; born new entirely. We are then to live in that new nature. When we live in that new nature, Satan's power is broken. It doesn't mean that his temptations don't come, but his power is broken. He no longer has the inside track. All he can do is thrust his temptations at you, but praise God, if we recognize that the new nature is totally and completely dependent on Christ, we have one who is powerful, who will not allow one of His children to pass under the power of the enemy, if we do not break the relationship. Jesus will never break it. Satan cannot break it. Who then can? Just you. If the devil can create these conditions, doubts, criticism, whatever it might be that he might bring into your life, then you break the relationship. I hope you have caught a vision tonight of what it is to die to self.

Ellen White says, "There are some who are seeking, always seeking, for the goodly pearl. But they do not make an entire surrender of their wrong habits. They do not die to self that Christ may live in them." Christ cannot live in the old nature. "Therefore they do not find the precious pearl." He can only live in the new nature. Can you see the importance of the death experience? This is the foundation of a walk with the Lord, Jesus Christ? Is this what you like to have? That is what I have seen happen in the lives of hundreds and hundreds of people who have caught this vision and realize what really is necessary. If you haven't realized this before, I pray that this death experience will become real in your life - even right now as you are reading. Before you place your head on the pillow tonight, allow yourself, your old natural self, to be crucified with Jesus Christ, and you will begin to walk in newness of life.

Our precious Heavenly Father,
This exceedingly important truth, we have only just touched the fingertips as it were. Lord, we have seen enough in us to realize that there is no good thing within us. It helps us to see our nothingness. Reveal our selves to us that we might be willing to be broken and completely yielded to you. Forgive us for our blindness. Forgive us for our selfishness that we have demonstrated in our living patterns time and time again. Open our eyes to see that there is only one way to be free from this selfishness, and that one way is for the selfish nature to die. If there are some who have never had this experience yet before, may they before they go to bed tonight to sleep to say Jesus, I am willing and anxious for that old nature to be burned out, to be crucified. I want the new nature that God can work with. May this experience be ours. In Jesus name, Amen.

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