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NATURAL MAN'S REBELLION AGAINST TRUTH, #595

And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. (JOH 8:45).

This is Christ, the Son of God, speaking. He is truth. He is the living Word. He is telling you and me: "Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." There is a truth embedded in this case scenario that natural man will not hear. That truth deals with the total depravity of the human heart by nature.

There is much religion in the world today. Many of the most religious people are the greatest sworn enemies of this truth. Our Saviour's dialogue in the case before us was with those believing Jews spoken of in JOH 8:31-32. "Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

It is the truth of our depraved nature that makes us free from the power of sin. By nature we love sin. By nature we love self, and that love will never be broken until we learn to understand the truth of who we really are by nature.

Their whole concept of salvation was a lie! There is nothing Satan loves more than to give you and me to believe we are saved while we are on the broad road to hell. The Apostle Paul is dealing with this false peace in 2 COR 11:13-15; "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."

Do you know what the distinction is? They have a gospel that does not teach repentance, and to understand the doctrine of repentance we need to understand where we need to repent. Our eyes need to be opened to see the truth of what Jesus answered them in Verse 34: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." Do we commit sin? Yes, we all commit sin, and we by nature are the servants of sin, and we love things that are unpleasing to the Lord. This is our nature. We need to understand this before we will ever rightly understand repentance. "…but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." LUK 13:3.

We must come to the knowledge of this vital truth. The whole concept of salvation that these religious Jews believed was a lie. They were deceived into believing that salvation was theirs by virtue of the circumcision covenant. They thought that the mere fact that they were circumcised made them heirs of salvation.

Look at what we see in JOH 8:33. "They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?" Their confidence was in the fact of being descendants of Abraham under the circumcision covenant. That was the foundation of their faith.

These same Jews thought that the circumcision covenant made them proper candidates for baptism, yet see what John the Baptist told them in MAT 3:7-9. "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [Is that telling us that they had salvation?] Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance." He told them they were not proper candidates for baptism until they understood repentance, and until they have repented of their sins.

This word meet comes from the Greek word axios (ax'-ee-os), which means "deserving, comparable or suitable to." When he says, "Bring forth fruit meet for repentance," he is saying they need to bring something that compares with repentance. There has to be remorse over sin. There has to be a desire to turn from sin. There has to be that working of sanctification of the Holy Spirit in the heart, that desiring to serve God and not serve sin. And he is telling them that until you can show me that work of repentance in your soul, you are not a candidate for baptism.

John the Baptist further rebuked them for thinking that the covenant of circumcision made them proper candidates for baptism. MAT 3:9 says, "And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." Don’t plead the covenant of circumcision as the basis for your baptism. You need repentance before you are a candidate for baptism, before you are going to be baptized into the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Don’t think that just because you are the natural descendants of Abraham and just because you have been circumcised into the circumcision covenant that that makes you a proper candidate for baptism.

The truth John emphasized was that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was that of sanctification. John the Baptist is pointing out that water baptism is only a symbol of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and now he is pointing out that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that of sanctification. It is that of cleansing, setting apart for God. It is separating the precious from the vile. That is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Now I want you to follow this carefully because John the Baptist spells this out so beautifully in MAT 3:11-12. "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire [see how he describes that baptism in the next verse]: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

The baptism of the Holy Spirit is separating the precious from the vile. What is more precious than truth? What is more vile than error? That separating, those setting apart, that sanctifying process. The chaff must be burned. As we are weaned from our sins, we are brought from under the power of sin. As we are brought into serving the living God, the chaff is burned. That is being baptized by the Holy Spirit. All these fleshly desires, all that pride of life, that lust of the flesh is chaff that must be swept away by the wind. The Holy Spirit is typified by the wind, and the Holy Spirit separates those fleshly desires from the spiritual desires. It is that setting us apart for that which is holy. That is being baptized by the Holy Spirit.

Now, we see, "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." All of this that pertains to serving sin, we must take up our cross. What does that mean? We must crucify the old lusts of the flesh, the old man of sin because we cannot serve sin and serve Christ.

This prophecy of John the Baptist, where he said: "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor," separating the wheat from the chaff, is what Jesus was doing in the case scenario in John 8. These believing Jews are professed believers, yet they have no knowledge of the depravity of their own heart. They don’t understand the pride of their own heart. They don’t understand the evil, lustful desires of their heart. They don’t understand the corruption that dwells within, and yet they think they have salvation because they are in the circumcision covenant. They are believing Jews. They are the religious of the earth, and they are far from the truth because they have a false foundation. They are resting on something besides the finished work of Christ. They are resting on something besides the perfect atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that cleansing power of His blood. They are resting upon their own good works.

The first truth these professed believers did not understand, nor did they want to hear, was the need of repentance. In our natural state, you and I don’t want to have our sins identified. I was brought up in a religion where they have a famous phrase and that is sins and miseries. Oh, be careful though, don’t ever identify one. Don’t ever get personal now by putting your finger on a given sin. Do you know why? You will blow the church empty. It is a general statement, "sins and miseries," but are we dealing with the bitterness and hatred that dwells in the heart by nature? Identify that and you lose your friends. Identify pride, identify the evil nature of the heart, or start talking about the spirit of the law, and you get very unpopular.

This is what was happening to Jesus. He was talking to the religious Jews. What was His problem? They didn’t want to hear the truth. They didn’t want to have Him put His finger on their conscience and cause them to understand that they didn’t have one stone to throw at a prostitute who was taken in adultery. They didn’t want to have their own hearts revealed. They didn’t want to hear the call of repentance. There was no place for it.

Look at what Jesus asked them in JOH 8:43; "Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word." Cannot in the original means "have no desire to." You have absolutely no pleasure in hearing what I am telling you. You hate it. You cannot hear it.

The reason the unregenerate cannot understand the need for repentance is revealed in MAT 11:25. How is it that logic wouldn’t reign-to understand and to realize the logic for the need of repentance? "At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." MAT 11:25. To those who have become small in themselves, He reveals the need of repentance.

Now, I want you to back up with me to Verse 16 and see that He is talking about repentance. "But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children. Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not."

Then He shows that Sodom and Gomorrah will rise in judgment with this generation. Why? They didn’t even have the gospel, but if they had had the gospel that these people were receiving, they would have repented.

See the contrast. When Jesus had upbraided them for their unrepentant spirit, He said: "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent." In other words, He had hid from them the need of repentance. That is why there was no place for that doctrine in their hearts. Why? The Lord has those He has loved from all eternity, and those whom He has loved from eternity He will bring into circumstances where they become as little children. "Except ye become as a little child, ye cannot enter the kingdom." He said, "Thou has revealed it unto babes"-unto those who have not stood so high in their pride.

These Jews were such religious authorities. Oh, they had the answers for everything, but He says, "You don’t have an ear to hear the truth." Our text says, "And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." The plain truth Jesus reveals here about every man as they are born, is what He said in the preceding verses. This plain truth applies to you and me. By nature, you and I, are described in Verse 44: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. [That is a description of man by nature.] When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."

This speaks to every one of us. Even those whom the Father has loved from eternity, even those, whom the Spirit will quicken and bring into a newness of life, are born unregenerate, by nature. EPH 2:3 says that by nature we are all born under the love and power of sin. "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature [as we were born] the children of wrath, even as others."

Until God grants you and me grace, that is, the influence of His Holy Spirit on our hearts, you and I are by nature of our father the devil. We are all children of wrath, even as others. We are not born Christians. We may have the godliest parents, but we are born enemies of the truth by nature.

So, the central theme Jesus is teaching in this chapter is the effect of His sorting out the wheat from the chaff. This sorting is not done on the basis of church membership, or by claiming salvation through the circumcision covenant. Each one us are identified by whose influence we serve under.

Now Jesus is telling us is that by nature we are serving under the influence of Satan. Your heart and my heart are moved by influence. When we by nature are under the influence of Satan, pride has place in our hearts. When we are under the influence of Satan, we have room for lust. We have room for covetousness. All these things are natural to us because we are serving under the influence of Satan. That is the meaning of what Jesus is saying in Verse 44: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." We are under Satan’s influence, but when God works grace in our souls and we become a new creature, we come under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God.

It says in Verse 36, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." We become free from the influence of Satan and sin and the love of sin. Now we have grace, and grace means the divine influence of the Holy Spirit, which reveals itself in our lives.

In JOH 8:39 we read, "They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham." Whose influence you live under is revealed in your actions and attitudes. Who are you serving? It will reveal itself in your actions and your attitude toward your fellow man.

Until by God's grace we come under the Divine influence of the Holy Spirit, we are willful bond servants under the influence of our natural father, and that is every human being. We are by nature under the influence of our natural father, the devil, with our hearts serving under his influence.

Turn with me to PSA 58:2-4. It so beautifully describes the heart of man under the influence of our natural father before we have grace in our hearts. "Yea, in heart ye work wickedness; ye weigh the violence of your hands in the earth. The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." It isn’t only that we do a wrong thing, but in our heart we work wickedness; it is our willing desire, our willing service.

Do you see why the Lord Jesus says you are of your father, the devil, and his lusts you will do. Satan was a murderer from the beginning. He abode not in the truth. There is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own. We go astray as soon as we are born, speaking lies.

"Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear." PSA 58:4. That is exactly what Jesus is telling them: "Because I tell you the truth you believe me not." JOH 8:45. You are not willing to hear it, because I am telling you who you are by nature. He tells them they are seeking to kill Him because He tells the truth, and there is no place for His Word in them.

Jesus said, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do [i.e., ye are willing to do]." There is no resistance to it. By nature we are willing servants of sin. Do you know why we are so willing to serve sin? We love it. We love that which gratifies the flesh. We love that which pleases the flesh, by nature, until we learn to see how displeasing it is to the Lord. Then we have a desire to be delivered from it.

Our text says in JOH 8:45, "And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." What our text says, in effect is, that because I've told you the truth about your depraved condition, you would rather kill Me than serve under my influence. You would rather hang me on the cross and kill me than to have Me tell you the truth about who you are by nature, rather than to have the light shine into your conscience. Although you think you are religious and although you think you are serving God, when the light shines in your heart you begin to realize you haven’t got one stone to throw at the greatest sinner on earth. That is so humbling and humiliating to natural man, they would rather kill the truth.

This term, believed not, seems to be synonymous with what Jesus said in MAR 16:16: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." That term "believed not" means to stand in open contempt of all authority. "Believed" means to be under the influence of divine authority.

Those who believe in Him, those who are willing to serve under the influence of the Holy Spirit, will be saved, but those who resist the truth, those who rebel against the truth, shall be damned. Those who believe in Him, those who are willing to serve under the influence of the Holy Spirit, under the kingship of Christ, will be saved, but those who believe not, or those who stand in contempt of His Word, shall be damned.

The human race is now reaping what they sowed in Paradise. What did we sow in Paradise? If you understand agriculture, you know that if you want to harvest a crop of wheat, you sow wheat. If you want to harvest a crop of corn, you sow corn. You harvest what you sow.

We harvest what we sow, and this is why Jesus says "Ye are of your father the devil" and we love to have it so by nature.

They rejected the truth of God and chose to believe a lie. They did not love the truth. So, what is the difference? What are the consequences? Look at 2TH 2:11-12; "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."

In this state of delusion, man will lend credence to the most illogical, satanic concepts. Now God has sent this delusion that we should believe a lie by nature. Now, let me give you one example. Consider the doctrine of evolution. It is so illogical. I heard a judge say: "Well, you taught about turtles. Where did that turtle come from? Well, as far as you know it is turtles from there all the way down. But where did the first turtle come from? There’s no answer to it." This was his explanation of the evolution theory. People will fabricate all their thinking to make that as logical as they can.

But watch how skeptical they are when you start telling them some truth. By nature man loves a lie. They are skeptical of the truth. There is no place for that. You can come with the plainest truths that can support the simplest truths in the Word of God, and they will not hear it. That is man by nature. They don’t want the Word of God.

Why has the highest court of our land said the Bible must be excluded from the schools? Violence destroys our nation, and yet the law of love may not be taught. The law of love, "do unto others as you would that they do unto you," is forbidden to be taught to the new generation, while violence is wrecking our society. They can come with all their philosophies and all their logic of why you should never spank a child and why you cannot discipline and why, why, why. But the Word of God says in PRO 13:24, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."

That simple truth they will not hear. That is man by nature. Man by nature of this delusion not only goes "astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies" (PSA 58:3), but they hate the truth and love lies.

Look at PSA 62:4; "They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly." See how deep-seated deceit is in our human nature. That is the deep-seated nature of the depravity of the human heart.

Why would any person delight in lies? There is no logic to it, but through lying and deceit they find a place of false security. They find a place where they can feel secure.

Look at ISA 28:15 to see that false security that is built up by wanting to believe a lie. This is fallen man by nature. "Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves." ISA 28:15.

Aren’t these awesome truths? By nature man has made a covenant with death and hell. I have heard so many people say, "Well, when I come up in the Day of Judgment, I’ll tell God…" No, every mouth will be stopped. When the light of the truth comes into the heart, they will call on the mountains to fall on them to hide them from the light that shines from that throne. Christ is the light, and when that true light will shine in their heart. They now learn for the first time to see the true nature of their sin and the true nature of their deceit. They will call on the mountains to fall on them, and yet they will make a covenant with hell. And they will say "when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves."

These are truths that we by nature have no pleasure in hearing. That is what our text says: "Because I tell you the truth you don’t want to believe it." We have to understand the true nature of the human heart so we have a desire to be delivered from the power of sin and have a desire to be reconciled with the will of God.

Because of this strong delusion God has sent upon all those who "received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2TH 2:10), they have become proud and self-sufficient. That is man by nature.

In PSA 12:4 we read, "Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?" Those who make lies their refuge, they think they are going to come on the Day of Judgment and be able to argue their way through. They are going to say: "Our tongue is our own. With our tongue we will prevail. We will talk our way through this." Satan has deceived them, and they will perish.

This is the cause for what we read in 2TI 4:4: "And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." By nature we like to hear smooth things. We like to hear things that make us think that we are not that bad. We are pretty religious, and we have lived a good life and there is no reason why we shouldn’t go to heaven. That is what man likes to hear by nature. They don’t want to hear anything about the depravity of the human heart.

As we hold our text in its context, we must remember who it is Jesus was talking to. It is to the religious. It is those who claim they have believed. They were very religious, but had a heart filled with all iniquity. Their hearts had not been changed.

Look at 2TI 3:1-5 to see what the Scriptures teach us the religious world will be in the latter days. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers [do you see the description of the heart by nature, and there is no repentance], disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [and yet] Having a form of godliness [they are the religious of our day], but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."

What is the power of godliness? It is repentance. Godliness is to love God with your heart, your soul and your mind. What is the power of godliness? Loving your neighbor as yourself. That divine influence of the Holy Spirit upon the heart, which quickens us unto a new desire, which gives us new affections, which delivers us from these truce breakers, these false accusers and all of this that is such an abominable state of the human heart by nature. It delivers us from that fallen character.

These religious fanatics have a keen eye to find criticism for those who reprove their wrong attitude. Have you ever talked to modern Christians today about abortion? Oh, don’t be judgmental. They have a right to choose. Then try to talk to them about homosexuality. Oh, many will say that God loves them. Be careful, God made them that way. Oh, they can be critical if you put your finger on any given sin. Oh, don’t be judgmental. God loves them.

There is no basis in Scripture for their views. They have a form of godliness. They are religious but their religion comes straight out of the pit of hell. Satan goes about as an angel of light. What for? To deceive if it were possible the very elect. These who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof, would consider themselves as authorities in their own right. They have forsaken the authority of the Word of God. The Word of God says these things are sin, and they will put it all under the blood of Christ and say, "Yeah, but Christ has washed it all away, and now don’t be judgmental." In other words, continue to live in sin.

They are authorities in their own right as we see in 2TI 3:7-8: "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith." You take the Word of God and show them the plain gospel truth and they resist it like these men resisted Moses.

Our Saviour is still telling this generation what He told those unbelieving Jews: "Ye are of your father the devil." That is where we all are by nature. That is where you and I are by nature, until God brings us from under the influence of Satan and sin, and brings us under the influence of His Holy Spirit. We are servants of Satan and sin. Jesus said, "Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." Do you know why? Because by nature we love sin. By nature we love the things that serve the flesh, and we don’t want to take up our cross and crucify the flesh.

These plain truths about our depraved nature in our unregenerate state are very pointed, and straightforward. These truths which reveal our deceit and love for sin are the condemnation of the world.

Look what Jesus said in JOH 3:19-21. "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light [men do not want this light of truth turned on. They want to shut that light off. They don’t want to have the light of the Word shine into their souls and to tell them wherein their condemnation lies.], because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light [those who love the truth], that his deeds may be made manifest [that the Lord would show them where they are wrong, that they might correct and repent of the evil.], that they are wrought in God."

A right knowledge of Jesus' candid truth is essential to salvation. This is so important, and it is so awesome. The knowledge of our depravity and the sinfulness of sin is essential to our salvation. Jesus said in JOH 8:36: "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

As the Holy Spirit begins to work His grace in a person's soul, it is a right knowledge of the true nature of sin that sets us free from the love and power of sin. It is so easy to look at another person and see pride in him, and someone who is arrogant and proud is obnoxious. But when the light shines into my heart, and the Lord shows me the pride in my heart, there is nothing more humbling than for me to see how proud I am and then to understand why this has been offensive to other people. Now I desire to be delivered from that pride. Now I desire to be given the grace to walk in humility, but it isn’t until that light shines and we receive a right view of that sin, that we have a desire to be delivered from it.

The Apostle Paul was a self-righteous Pharisee until He received a right understanding of his own depravity. We have a man brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. He was one of the most religious of the religious, but in his pride, he was condemning to death those who were serving the Lord. He was taking them to prison. Then he learned to understand the depravity of his own heart. See what he said about sin in ROM 7:12-13. "Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. 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."

When the law is revealed in its right light and we learn to understand, as the Apostle Paul says, "I had not known covetousness, except the law said thou shalt not covet." When the law of God shined in his heart, when his heart was revealed, then he saw what a covetous man he was. He said that now, he begins to see how exceedingly sinful sin is. Now he is starting to see the depravity of his nature. What did this do to Paul? It made him a Christian. What did it do for Paul? It delivered him from covetousness. What did it do to Paul? It made him ask: "What wilt thou have me to do?"

Now, before Paul's eyes were opened to see his "exceeding sinful" nature he could say as we read in PHI 3:4-6: "Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless."

Here was Paul, blameless as touching the law. He wasn’t guilty of one sin until the law unveiled in his heart the true nature of sin. Then when he started to understand the true nature of sin, he became a different man. That is when salvation became his.

This is the religion of the blind, professing church of our day. Oh, they have all accepted Christ. You don’t hear many people complain about the sin of their heart. How often do you hear anybody today complain about the sinful nature of their own heart? They have never learned to see the depravity of their heart. They may accept Jesus as these believing Jews did. They may even recite the sinner’s prayer as a formality, and yet know nothing of what Paul said after he truly learned to believe the truth.

The truth that Jesus Christ is teaching you and me is what the Apostle Paul spoke of here in ROM 7:21-25. When the Apostle Paul became a born again Christian, he became a totally different man. First he said, as touching the law, he was blameless, but now look what he says after he came to the light, when the truth found its way in.

ROM 7:21 says, "I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me." He begins to realize that his best righteousness is as filthy rags. He starts to see that even though he desires to do good and has the divine influence of the Spirit on his heart, and the desire to serve God in perfection, he finds a law, that, when he would do good, evil is present with him.

Verse 22 continues, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:" His heart’s desire now is that he might do that which is pleasing in the eyes of the Lord, but what does he find in the next verse? "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." Now, he has learned to understand the depravity of the human heart and see the sinfulness of sin. The old desires, that old nature of sin is warring against the new desires and bringing him into captivity to the law of sin in his members.

Look in Verse 24 for a different language than what he was saying before he saw the depravity of his own heart. As touching the law he was blameless. Now, he cries out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Now there is place for Christ. Verse 25 concludes, "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."

He now sees there is spiritual warfare. There is the spiritual desire, that influence of the Holy Spirit, to know and do the will of God, but the depravity of that old nature results in a continual warfare. He says he finds now that in the flesh he still serves that which pleases the flesh. There is remorse over every infraction of the law. There is a desire to do perfect obedience and that is gospel obedience. But he says, with that old law of sin, there is still that serving of the flesh.

All those who have received the love of the truth learn in a greater or lesser degree that our old nature is in constant contrast with that Divine influence of the Spirit upon the heart, which wants to revealed itself in our lives. We have that new desire. We have those new affections. We have that desire to do that which is pleasing to the Lord, and we struggle with the spiritual warfare.

Let me read that to you out of GAL 5:14-17: "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit [in the mind of Christ], and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would."

Those who understand the influence of the Holy Spirit, recognize there is that striving of the Holy Spirit in our soul, that new affection, that new desire to do that which is pleasing to the Lord, and to overcome that power of sin. The love of sin has been broken. The power of sin is a continual battle, and now the Lord Jesus says, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."

It is in that blessed atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ that we find deliverance from the power of sin.

To the unregenerate soul Jesus says: "And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." You and I in an unregenerate condition have no pleasure in hearing of the depravity of the human heart. It is the very nature of serving Satan, and when you hear the true nature of depravity that we are in as a result of the fall, it has a humbling effect. This knowledge comes against the natural mind.

Jesus says: "Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not." We like to hear flattering words and that Jesus loves us; all we hear is this flattery, we love to hear it, but we don’t want to hear the truth. That is the absolute depravity of the human heart by nature. Amen.


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