HOW CAN WE ESCAPE OUR SINFUL NATURE?
by Rev. Ernest O'Neill
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 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.
And what do we do? We try the power of positive thinking. We try to make ourselves act right, but we can't. Our nature is determined because we've inherited it from millions of forefathers. We've been operating this way for thousands of years. So the whole nature of the race is built into us now. From time to time we can act against it. But usually it acts upon us. Throughout the Old Testament days, God did not show what He had done. Throughout the Old Testament days, He simply did what we asked for. We asked for knowledge - the knowledge of good and evil -- so He gave us the law.
He said, "If you were living right, you would have no other gods before me. If you were living right, you would not covet. If you're living right, and trusting me, you would not kill. You would not murder. You would not envy. You would not commit adultery." He gave us more knowledge of good and evil so that we would know more and more that there was something wrong. There was something wrong with the way we were living. But God Himself did something to remedy this. He is the only who has done it and is able to do it.
He crucified that nature. That's what the Bible says. It calls it our old self -- the old self that works that way. Our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin, or the body that was used by sin, would be destroyed and we would no longer be enslaved to sin. (Sin is just independence of God.) That's what God did. He crucified us in Christ.
Now loved ones, it's silly for you to make a whole deal about God being able to crucify us all. God in fact, crucified us all before we were made. That's what the Bible says. The Bible says that we were crucified in Christ even before we were made. I'll show you where it says that and then explain it to you.
Revelation 13:8-9, "And all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain." I've explained several times before, the Greek order is not that order. It's the order that the King James Version uses and the order of the Greek is, "Everyone whose name has not been written in the book of life of the lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world." That adverbial phrase of time modifies the verb slain. "That was slain before the foundation of the world."
In other words, Jesus the lamb was slain before the foundation of the world.
Even one of our silly computers that we little human beings can manufacture, is able to take into consideration all your characteristics, all the nature of your mom and dad, your birth, your schooling, your abilities, your education, and all the economic conditions that will happen 20 years hence in your life. Even a Cray mainframe is able to work out the permutations and the possibilities of the things that you may do. Probably it is able pretty clearly to forecast what you will do, in the light of your free will and the contingent events in your life.
In other words loved ones, it is not difficult at all to see that the infinite God who made this whole universe is well able to look ahead and to see the things that you and I will do and to provide an answer for that even before He created us. And that's when we were crucified with Christ. If you say to me, "Why are we living the life that we're living?" We're living it because God gave us the freedom to do it. He provided the deliverance for us in Jesus' death, the complete transformation of our natures and then He let us live out the kind of life our sinful nature would live when we exercised our free will.
In other words, we are a lucky, lucky people. Our God has loved us so much but He has allowed us to live the way we've chosen to live for these years and for these generations. Yet in his great graciousness, he has provided a deliverance for us, a completely different character, a new life and a new personality that we can receive by faith when we are at last good and ready. Except loved ones, it can only be during this lifetime.
You have to choose it during this lifetime. Sooner or later, you have to decide whether you will continue to live with this sinful nature that governs your life or whether you will enter into the deliverance that God has given you in His Son Jesus. Loved ones, there is no reason, why you for one more moment should live under the burden and the compunction and compulsion of that sinful nature. There isn't. There is no reason why you should toss in bed one more night with a nervous stomach because you're worried and anxious.
There isn't any reason why you should once more lose your temper with your loved one because your sinful nature is depending on her or him treating you a certain way. There isn't. That has been crucified in Christ and the moment you believe that and start acting in the light of that, that moment God's life and love will begin to pour through your personality and will begin to express itself through you. You will begin to live again the way you are meant to live.