1. The Weakness and Depravity of Humanity

By John Thiel, The Power of the Cross Conference, Study 1, mp3

 We want to meditate upon the power of the cross and appreciate a message of understanding in reference to the power applicable to the person who needs the power; the object upon which the power is to be exercised. The power of the cross is given for a purpose to benefit the sinner. It is a power that is needed to achieve what a sinner cannot do.

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 

A sinner must be born again and when he is born again, what is to be achieved? It says he is no more to sin; to cease from sin. This is the cry. Many people have asked me what does this mean? Are we not still in danger of sinning? It says that a person who is born again does not commit sin. It points out to us very clearly that the power of God is something that will produce in the soul this result not to sin. In this plight of thinking that I can’t stop sinning, I need to understand the power of the cross. To achieve that objective, to achieve the success, to master the conquering of sin we are told that if we want the mastery over it there is something we need to understand.

2 Timothy 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, [yet] is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 

In our striving to gain the mastery over sin we must strive lawfully. Our purpose here is to study and understand the lawful way to reach perfection. To be able to do this lawfully we must understand the laws that are directly relevant to this striving.

Romans 7:21-24 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 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.  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 

The apostle is trying to strive for the mastery over sin but as he is striving he is discovering a law that goes contrary to the law of God which is in his mind. After the inward man he delights in the law of God but there is a law in his members. Can you see here there are two laws? One is the law of sin in the members and the other is the law of God. We are confronted with the challenge, he is crying out here, I want to stop sinning but there is a law of sin in my members and I am a wretched man, who can help me? This is what we want to get the perfect answers to from the word of God.

This law of sin in my members; it’s a law and its part of the human being. Another word for that law is the law of heredity. It is something which all of us hate to admit that I am just like my father or my mother. I see this time and time again that people don’t like the idea that they have something inside of them that is like their parents. It’s the law of heredity; it’s a law, you can’t stop it; it’s there.

Apostle Paul says I am so wretched, I don’t want to be like this but it is there in me. To deal lawfully in the mastery over this problem we must understand these two laws; the law of God versus the law of heredity. He says it there in verse 23, I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind. There is a war in the law realm. To deal with this we need to understand God’s part and my part. How can he be lawfully correct being a sinner?

Romans 3:25-26 Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 

Sins that we have committed and that we are committing because of the law of sin in our body, how can we be declared righteous by God and He be righteous and just at the same time? It says that God does indeed work something out here for us in which if we believe in Jesus, then God will justify us and He will be perfectly lawfully correct. He is going to be just while He justifies the sinner. We want to appreciate this.

What is our depraved condition that needs to be lawfully dealt with; the law of sin in the body? To understand this law; I can’t emphasise the study we are having right now to much as very, very important. I notice that people keep forgetting this principle. To understand how I am going to succeed I need to understand the law of heredity in my physiology. Sr. White tells us that according to what we read in Romans, the law of sin is in my members, the members of my body. If there is a law of sin in the members, is it important to understand our body/our physical make up, the members of our body?

The relation of the physical organism to the spiritual life is one of the most important branches of education. It should receive careful attention in the home and in the school. .  {COL 348.1} 

Notice how many need to understand this.

All need to become acquainted with their physical structure and the laws that control natural life.  {COL 348.1} 

We must know and understand the laws that govern our physical nature. One of those laws is the law of heredity. We must understand this principle if we are going to fight lawfully.

Those who understand physiology and hygiene will, in their ministerial labor, find it a means whereby they may enlighten others in regard to the proper and intelligent treatment of the physical, mental, and moral powers. Therefore those who are preparing for the ministry should make a diligent study of the human organism, that they may know how to care for the body, {6T 302.1} 

We need to understand in this drama of conquering sin how physiology affects our moral powers. In the ministry this needs to be understood so that people can be helped how to deal with their moral questions. This is exactly what the apostle Paul said, there is a law in my members. I need to understand how to deal with this; I need to understand how to fight lawfully to gain the mastery.

There is the law of sin in my members. Where are the organs, the members of the body that contain the law of heredity that receive the automatic functions of sin in the body, the law of sin and how to govern moral behaviour in reference to this in the body? Through the DNA in the hormonal make up of our body there are hereditary laws we have received and they function automatically in there. That automatic function is within the realm of the hormonal functions of the body, the endocrine system. This is one of the most profound studies in physiology, how that there are organs in my body that under stimulation will immediately inject chemicals straight into the blood stream and those chemicals will have an impact upon our feelings, upon our thoughts and so on. They will just press in upon us whether we want them or not, they just come in.

As an example, as you talk with somebody and somebody really presses you with argument and with force, something happens inside of you, you want to explode. That’s the adrenal glands working hard, you’re having an adrenal rush, you want to express yourself in annoyance. The adrenal glands produce adrenalin which is pumped straight into the bloodstream and it will make you want to fight or run, whichever one you are going to choose to do. In fact, different people don’t even have to think, they just do whatever comes naturally. It’s called the passions and when somebody gets angry and annoyed, he will either give something with his anger by becoming violent or walks away. You think you have been repulsed by their running out. Fear to run, or to fight. That is a chemical reality.

There are other different chemical realities such as a person who is very warm and very affectionate as some women tend to be, very motherly and other women who are more cold and frigid. That comes from the ovaries, the sex hormones that affect their emotional life. If they have too much there is a lot of warmth and affection if they have too little there is a frigid condition. It is a condition of chemistry of the physiology of the body. Another one is thyroxin; if you have too much you are fidgety, restless person. You have slightly bulging eyes and you can’t sit still. I was a student at high school and one of the teachers was like that. We were supposed to be doing our exam and he was pacing the floor back and forth; he was as restless as can be. His eyes were slightly bulged and I knew afterwards what his problem was when I did my nurse’s training; he had too much thyroxin in his system. On the other hand, if you have too little you become phlegmatic, pudgy, slow to act, not very aggressive. Sometimes these sort of characteristics seem to be good, but when you need oomph you haven’t got it because there is too little thyroxin.

We are affected in our physiology to react passionately in one way or another. This is through the law of heredity. It is something you are endowed with that you have no say over. It is written in our body. Our behaviour is affected by our organs, by those endocrine organs. The question arises, if we are the product of God’s creation why have we got this problem? Why is there this derangement within the endocrine system so that according to heredity we have inherited these passions that are all over the place? Here is the reason.

The infinite value of the sacrifice required for our redemption reveals the fact that sin is a tremendous evil. Through sin the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted. Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul. Temptations from without find an answering chord within the heart, and the feet turn imperceptibly toward evil.  {8T 312.2} 

A young man walking down the street sees a Jezebel, something happens inside of him that he cannot help. Because of the sinful derangement of our physiology through sin the whole human organism is deranged the person has passions he cannot control. That is what Apostle Paul was writing about. There is a law of sin in my members O wretched man that I am! There is a warfare going on between the law of God and law of sin in my members. It’s because sin has deranged the whole human physiology, the human organism.

As we know so well, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Sin came in through Adam and it’s been a hereditary weakening experience right through to our time. We are living right at the very end now where there has been such an accumulation of hereditary weaknesses that we suffer under in these last days. It has been an on-going increase of hereditary injections of DNA from the parents before us. As apostle Paul said O wretched man! How can I be delivered from this problem?

We have a compassionate God who understands what sin has done to us.

Psalm 78:38 But he, [being] full of compassion, forgave [their] iniquity, and destroyed [them] not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. 39 For he remembered that they [were but] flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. 

He remembered that they [were but] flesh. He understood the physiology of a deranged body, and deranged faculties which without even thinking, turn imperceptibly toward evil. He knows that and so He is compassionate. We want to understand that when certain things happen inside of us and we are having a struggle and fall, God is not unfeeling about it; He has compassion for us.

In prospect of reaching perfection we are to do so with such sinful bodies, I must strive lawfully, I must understand something. This is what I must understand. I have this flesh that does that sort of thing and God has forgiveness for me but He has more than forgiveness because He wants to help us.

Let’s explore the answers that God’s plan has developed for sinners to become saints; people who have the law of sin in their members can conquer if they will strive lawfully. Paul was talking in Romans 7 about this law of sin in his members and he cried out; how can I be helped? He gives the answer.

Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin,

The marginal reading states as a sacrifice for sin.

Romans 8:4 …condemned sin in the flesh:  that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 

Here he has just given us the beautiful answer to this serious question. What was the answer? In the warfare between the two laws, the law of sin in the flesh and the law of God, he says the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free. What was that in Christ Jesus? The law, the Ten Commandments could not do in that it was weak through the flesh. The Ten Commandments can’t achieve the success of sinlessness because the flesh was weak. What did God do? God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. Many people don’t understand what likeness of sinful flesh is. They think likeness is not exactly the same but  just like, similar.

That He might by His own example condemn sin in the flesh, He took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh. {AG 322.3} 

Is that not evident here that if He is going to give us the example of how to deal with the sin in my body He is going to have the same body. He is going to have the same likeness; He is going to have the law of heredity in His flesh. He is going to have that so He can be an example, He can show me how to conquer my flesh. That is what is says in verses 3 and 4; that he would condemn sin in the flesh that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  We are to follow Christ’s example.

If I am going to follow Christ’s example, I need to study Him in the understanding of this lawful transaction. It’s the law as we read in verse 2, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. What is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus? It is that Jesus understood that in Himself He must conquer the sin in the flesh so that He would never sin and He would give us the example. This is something which we need to understand, namely that what happened with Jesus is to happen with me too.

It is because of our forefathers that the law of sin is in my members.

Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 

What happened? By Adam and Eve and all our forefathers we were made sinners. Our human frame, our physiology was deranged so we were made sinners, we couldn’t conquer, but by the obedience of one, Jesus, many will be made righteous.

The influence of Jesus would have a conquering impact upon us so that we could be made righteous by Jesus, whereas the influence of heredity made us unrighteous. Here is our study in reference to a power that must come to us by which we will be able to conquer lawfully the law of sin in our members, looking at Jesus.

Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

What must we have to gain the measure of the stature of Christ? We must be in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. We have observed that the knowledge we must have is not just a knowledge about Him, we must have a knowledge of Him, of His internal experience. We must have that knowledge, then by that knowledge we can learn by that example how to conquer our sin in the flesh.

There is a remedy for the sin-sick soul. That remedy is in Jesus. Precious Saviour! His grace is sufficient for the weakest; and the strongest must also have His grace or perish.  {1T 158.1}

What must we have? We must have a remedy for the sin-sick soul which is found where? The language is not the remedy is Jesus, it says that remedy is in Jesus. My study must be what was going on inside of Jesus? As I study the inside of Jesus I find the remedy. I need the remedy so that I can conquer sin lawfully. Jesus conquered the sin lawfully; He dealt with the law of sin in His members. He condemned sin in His members, He dealt lawfully, He condemned that law of sin in His members. That remedy lies in Jesus. As we seek to handle this correctly the first thing that has to happen is where do you start to conquer?

The word of God says my son give me your heart. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he. That is where the commencement of my striving must be, my mind, my heart must be changed and I must love God’s law; I must love Him. How does that happen but by His wonderful love that constrains us, that draws us to Him. The carnal mind, the carnal heart must be surrendered, it must be given up, it must die.

Romans 8:5-8 For they that are after the flesh……

In other words, if our mind wants to please the flesh….

Romans 8:5 …do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 

If my mind dwells in my flesh; in other words, if my mind is enjoying the flesh then you have no hope. I have to conquer that mind; I have to change that mind. The only way to change it is by surrendering that heart, that mind of the flesh at the cross. They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. The Spirit must govern the mind. Through that we are to live with that mind the faith of Jesus. We are to have the mind of Christ. Let this mind be in you. Apostle Paul said according to my mind and my inward man I already love the law. I have the right mind, so we have to get that mind right, and then know how that mind is to control my flesh.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Luke 9:23 And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

To follow Jesus, to be a disciple of Jesus means to have a mind that will do what Jesus did. We are to take up our cross as Jesus did. Look at Jesus and as you look at Him, you have a change of mind. You want to follow Him; you want to be His disciple. He says, well, take up your cross every day. Let this mind be in you as was in the mind of Jesus. Therein lies the beginning of our remedy.

To take this into the physiological understanding that we have just been describing. If something stimulates or affects you, automatically those hormones are injected into the bloodstream, there is a chemistry that has to do what it has to do, but if you have a mind after Christ there is something you need to understand in reference to this.

In the middle of the brain there is a little pea shaped organ, another little member that is affected by the brain. The brain can send a message to that little organ which is part of the endocrine system; it is called the pituitary gland. That pituitary gland gets a message from the brain; I don’t want this, and sends a chemistry into the bloodstream that counteracts the one that had been injected. So that if a young man sees a Jezebel going down the street and says I don’t want that, the pituitary gland is given orders to send another chemistry to quell that, to counteract that. If you have adrenalin rushing in trying to make you feel violent, the mind of Jesus says I don’t want that and it sends a definite message to the pituitary gland and the pituitary gland will send the chemistry, a counter chemical against that chemical that is in the bloodstream.

Have you ever experienced this where if you have made a decision that you are not going to react and you look to Jesus and that urge suddenly dies and you can relax again? The brain has sent a message to the pituitary gland and the pituitary gland has injected a chemical to quell that passion. That is how it happens. Let this mind be in you to govern and control your chemistry. This is what Jesus meant when He said take up your cross. Use the cross of Jesus Christ and follow His example. This is what He did. We want to know the lawful process by which we will gain mastery over these things.

Romans 8:1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

What are we to do? We are through the Spirit that controls the mind, to exercise the power of the Spirit which cancels out, mortifies, puts to death the chemical that is making me react. It can only be by our mind deciding that I am going to reject that feeling or that passion or that impulse. I don’t want it. By looking to Jesus I learn how Jesus did that. I will follow His example; I will be a disciple, I will take up my cross daily and follow Him. We will mortify the deeds of the body. That is crucifying the flesh. That is what it means.

Isaiah 33:14-17 Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence [shall be] the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters [shall be] sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty:

What is it saying there? We will shut our eyes from seeing of evil. What does that mean? My eyes will see evil, my eyes will see around me but what am I to do with the eye of my mind? I will shut my eye I will shut my ear so that what is trying to impact me and cause all sorts of emotional passions to arouse I will shut that out, I will not permit it to arouse me. As I do not permit this to arouse me because I will crucify my flesh I will shut the avenues within my being to not affect me, I will then be able to dwell on high; I will see the king in his beauty. This is the victory; the reward of the victory.

The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here means the surrender to evil of the whole being. The tendencies of our physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death. {MH 130.1}

The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives. {MH 130.2}

The body is to be brought into subjection. The tendencies of our physical nature must be under the dominion of a higher power. That is what is to communicate with the pituitary gland which sends the message to the endocrine system with all those horrible passions surging around inside of us because of certain things that have stimulated us and it will just conquer it. The passions are to be controlled by the will which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives.

I thank God so much that there is a power that we can tap into which is the power of the cross. These series that we are pursuing here will continue to delve deeper and deeper to all the different powerful manifestations by which we can overcome sin. Here is the depravity of our human nature that can be conquered as we place our will under the control of God instead of our will and mind upon our flesh. We are to dwell with Jesus and if we look to Jesus instead of Adam’s failure, look to Jesus instead of our father’s failure and my failures, He will give me the mind cure, the remedy, to practice to control that which surges through my system which is sin.

I pray that this meditation will never leave us so that we can continue to gain victories and fight lawfully.

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Posted on 06/06/2014, in The Power of the Cross (Conference) and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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