WHAT IS OUR SINFUL NATURE?
By Rev. Ernest O'Neill
This is what the sinful nature is. (Rev O'Neill shows a visual with 3 rectangles. The top is "spirit"; middle is "soul"; bottom is "body").
Life should have come this way (Rev. O'Neill shows coming from God into our spirit and down through soul and out to body), but in fact, it's going back up that way. We're trying to suck from the world the love, the security, the significance and the happiness that we were meant to get from God. And so our whole nature is working the wrong way. Haven't you tried to trust God at times? Especially when things have gone wrong in your life -- a financial disaster, something bad on your vacation, the death of your mom or dad -- and you've thrown your hands up and said, "Everything is finished!" Then you trusted God for about a day or two days and you know what happens, the nature takes over again.
The old sinful nature -- your body works, your soul works and your spirit doesn't work. That (points to soul) has taken over again and you've slipped back into that (points to body). And so you cry out again and again, "The good that I would, I cannot do." How often have you tried to stop worrying about your bank account? How often have you tried to stop worrying about the finances? You know you do, you try. We talk about trusting God for our finances and you try to trust Him. But you find yourself slipping back into, "Well, two from four leaves two and three from six leaves three. Yes I have that amount left and I have this amount to pay next week." You slip into it because it's the nature. Your sinful nature won't let you trust God.
Loved ones, that's why the event occurred that is described in Genesis 3:24. It's the one that provides that title for Steinbeck's novel you remember.
Genesis 3:24, "He (God) drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life."
What does it mean? God saw that he had made us eternal. He had made us in a position where we could take of the tree of life if we wanted to and we could take of the Holy Spirit. We could continue to live forever and if He allowed us to do that with this nature (that we have developed), we would turn the whole universe into a hell.
We would fly from planet to planet or from Milky Way to Milky Way, from solar system to solar system and we would suck the whole world into pleasing us and doing what we wanted. If five billion of us got into the universe doing that soon the universe would be absolute anarchy and chaos filled with selfish people who were trying to get from the universe what they could only get from their Maker.
So God, to protect the universe and indeed to protect us, cut us off from the Holy Spirit. He withdrew the Holy Spirit from us so that our own spirit actually died. That's what happened.
Our own spirits actually died. That's why many of us have no spirit. From time to time the Jeanie Dixons and spiritualists seem to have a live spirit but it's a live spirit to the evil spirits in the universe. It isn't alive to God's spirit. For most of us, our spirit is dead completely. For most of us if we try to find ourselves, we can't. Some of us say that. "I can't find myself." We can't find ourselves because we've lost ourselves becoming clowns -- pleasing people or trying to satisfy our own needs. We are now slaves to the world so that we hardly can remember who we are.
Sometimes late at night in bed you think, "What have I become?" Some of us can't even ask that. Some of us just say, "Who am I? Who am I? What would I really be like if I could be what I wanted to be?" That's why we say our spirits are dead. We've lost the sense of our own identity -- of who we are because we no longer have contact with our Father and we operate from our bodies up through our souls. That's the way we live.
When do our emotions go up? When we've had a nice meal. Our tummy feels comfortable, so our emotions go up and we say, "I feel happy." Or the sun shines and the spring comes early to Minnesota. So, "Whoopee, I feel great!" But if it is rainy and cold and snowy I feel down. So we're at the mercy of circumstances. We're like little puppets that are played with. It's the same with our bosses. They smile at us so we are pleased and we have a wonderful day. It's so dumb. The boss will die in a couple of years and I don't know where our happiness will be then.
We're like little animals that are utterly dominated by the outside physical world. That's why so many of us come into times of darkness and despair.
At times we waken up in the mornings with an inexplicable sense of fear and eminent disaster. We don't know why. It's because we're living in the body or we're living in the soul. So we're utterly dominated because we're living from the outside in and not from the inside out.