The Truth of the Cross:

 

The mystery of the Cross was only given to Paul

          ___________________________________________________________________

 

 

What is the SIN NATURE? 

  

 

Bob Speed

(e-mail   bobcspeed@gmail.com)

 

 

 

 

PREFACE

 

I want to thank my dear friend Mark Olson for opening a store- front ministry in downtown Brainerd, Minnesota called the Sanctuary. I was an eager supporter of the idea.  Mark has been my Bible confidant and prayer buddy for about the last 10 years, and we began our get-togethers on Tuesdays and Thursdays about two years ago.  We were pretty much alone for the first six months before a few drop-ins showed up from time to time.  At the time of this writing we are still a small group of men, but God has blessed us with what we all claim to be some marvelous revelation.  The group of two expanded to three and four when Kevin Donnell graduated from Teen Challenge and Roger Osell joined us on a regular basis.  A few more have come and gone in the meantime.  Our foursome became a solid core group of eight when the Lord blessed us with three seasoned Christian men: Steve Glenz, Bruce Lapka, and Ray Lindberg and a man who rediscovered the Lord Jesus and can’t seem to get enough of our meetings, Garrick Hammond.  We can’t thank them enough for their support and willingness and desire to go deep into God’s Word together.  They have encouraged me to put on paper for them and any of you who want to hear or read about our most miraculous revelation on the Message of the Cross.

 

The Message of the Cross is “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”

But what exactly does that really mean?  As a group, we were determined to find out what it meant.

 

A Most Startling Comment

I was brought up in a Pentecostal church, thought I was born-again but God showed me that I was no more than a “religious man going through the motions at age 62.  I wasn’t real fond of finding that out, but it got me on a track to pursue being a more authentic Christian.  Mark was brought up Catholic and after enduring some heavy physical and emotional pain found Jesus to be his source as well. 

We both stumbled onto the Expositors Bible put together by Jimmy Swaggart.  As we studied from this Bible we became concerned and at times upset with commentary notes relating that most of the churches were not preaching the Cross: Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  We could not quite get our head around what was meant by this.

Then a guest Speaker, David Ravenhill, was invited to Brainerd for three nights of meetings.  I’ll never forget the moment when he said, ”I would say that it’s very likely that less than 10% of born-again Christians understand the Message of the Cross.”  I could hardly wait to talk to Mark about his remarks.  I made a point to ask three pastors that I highly regard if they could agree with the statement.  To my surprise all three said that they doubted that it would be that high!

For approximately the next three months we pretty much studied in the book of Romans, focusing on chapters 6-8.  As a group we didn’t seem to get enough of it, as we wanted to be sure we would at some point be considered to be in that 10% of true Christians.  The more we studied, the more we realized that we too did not have the revelation of the Cross and made it our goal to find it!

The Apostles Didn’t Get It at First Either! 

Paul’s conversion took place around AD. 38.

Galatians 1:15-20 (NKJV)

15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,

16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood,

17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went to Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and remained with him fifteen days.

19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.

20 (Now concerning the things which I write to you, indeed, before God, I do not lie.)

 

Galatians 2:2-9 (TLB)

1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.

2 I went there with definite orders (NKJVJ says “revelation”) from God to confer with the brothers there about the message I was preaching to the Gentiles. I talked privately to the leaders of the church so that they would all understand just what I had been teaching and, I hoped, agree that it was right.

3 And they did agree; they did not even demand that Titus, my companion, should be circumcised, though he was a Gentile.

4 Even that question wouldn’t have come up except for some so-called “Christians” there—false ones, really—who came to spy on us and see what freedom we enjoyed in Christ Jesus, as to whether we obeyed the Jewish laws or not. They tried to get us all tied up in their rules, like slaves in chains.

5 But we did not listen to them for a single moment, for we did not want to confuse you into thinking that salvation can be earned by being circumcised and by obeying Jewish laws.

6 And the great leaders of the church who were there had nothing to add to what I was preaching. (By the way, their being great leaders made no difference to me, for all are the same to God.)

7 In fact, when Peter, James, and John, who were known as the pillars of the church, saw how greatly God had used me in winning the Gentiles, just as Peter had been blessed so greatly in his preaching to the Jews

8 —for the same God gave us each our special gifts—

9 they shook hands with Barnabas and me and encouraged us to keep right on with our preaching to the Gentiles while they continued their work with the Jews.

 

Previously, Paul made it clear that his message (Message of the Cross) was not learned from any man:

Galatians 1:12 (NKJV)

12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:12                             (NKJV)

At Jerusalem the leaders (pillars) of the church accepted his new revelation on the Cross as well as the teaching on Law verses Grace.  This is the foundational doctrine upon which all Christian doctrine must rest.  If the Message of the Cross is not preached and taught in the church, then it is preaching and teaching a different Gospel! There is only ONE Jesus (with a capital “J”.

There are many forms of “jesus”: a different “gospel.”

         -jesus +works

         -jesus +tradition

         -jesus + social programs

         -jesus + denominational doctrine

         -jesus + Mary

         -Jesus + Ecumenism

         -jesus +psychology

The only true Gospel is “Jesus only.”  Jesus plus anything else is a “false gospel” and false teaching.

So, let us pursue the Message of the Cross according to the Apostle Paul, which was revealed to him from Heaven. 

Paul starts with Righteousness.  I will use (capital C and capital R in order to make it clear: “Christ Righteousness” as opposed to man’s “self righteousness.”  This difference is a most critical point in order to more fully understand the Message of the Cross.  I will cover it more intently later on.

 

Romans 4:3 (NKJV)

3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for Righteousness.”(Paul is quoting Gen 15:6 in describing what the bible says about Abraham.  Abraham gained Righteousness by simple faith in God).

Then he continues to:

         Romans 5:9 (NKJV)

9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  (Justified means the same as “made Righteous” and the BLOOD of CHRIST stands as the guarantee for that Justification.)

Then continues to:

Romans 5:19 (NKJV)

19 For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many (refers to all) were made sinners, so also by one Man’s (Christ’s) obedience many will be made Righteous.

Think about these next two verses for a minute.

Hosea 4:6 (KJV)

6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: 

-What knowledge?  Not man’s knowledge, but Godly knowledge (The Bible).

Judges 21:25 (KJV)

25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

 -Does that sound like the family, city or country that you live in?

 

Three Natures

 

WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW !

-We were created in the likeness of God.

Genesis 1:26 (NKJV)

26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;

         -God is a Spirit; therefore we are also a spirit.

-We also can refer to it as a “spirit nature” (Divine nature).

We are also born with a “human nature.”

         -This refers to our personality as it develops.

         -Our preferences for food, colors, music, sports, art, etc.

Adam and Eve also had both a spirit nature and a human nature.

         -Therefore we are distinct in being “human beings.”

         -This was true before the Fall of Adam (in disobedience).

When Adam and Eve sinned they also took on a third nature.

From then on every human being now has a SIN NATURE !

 

The Sin Nature

 

Our sin nature operates through our “physical body.”

We are three part beings:

{C}1.   {C}Spirit

{C}2.   {C}Soul

{C}3.   {C}Body

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV)

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Who we really are is a “spirit” (as just mentioned).

So this is the structure:

         -We ARE a spirit.

         -That HAS a soul.

         -That lives in an “earth suit.”

The truth is that the body is “neutral.

         -It can only carry out what the brain tells it to do.

         -Within itself it is neither holy nor unholy.

         Matthew 5:29-30 (KJV)

29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

It is all processed in the brain and acted out in the body.

-Through the physical sense may come some “stimulation” or “thought,” but it is the mind that sorts out in which way a person will act it out.

The soul becomes the KEY PART in the battle against sin.

So what is the soul?

{C}1.   {C}Mind

{C}2.   {C}Will

{C}3.   {C}Emotions

Most people confuse the soul and the spirit as the same.

         -This is not true.

         Hebrews 4:12 (NKJV)

12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Many people also think that “the flesh” refers to our body.

         -This also not true.

The “flesh” includes our brain (mind), our “thinking,” feelings, & desires.

-This then is also part of our human nature as well.

                  Galatians 5:17 (NKJV)

17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

So, our behaviors or actions are displayed by the body:

{C}a.    {C}By the words out of our mouth or what we ingest.

{C}b.   {C}By what we choose to look at or see.

{C}c.    {C}By what we choose to listen to or hear.

{C}d.   {C}By what we put our hands on or feel.

{C}e.    {C}By what smells we like or dislike.

All of these behaviors or actions can be good or evil.

So where does good and evil originate in each of us?

         -It originates in our soul—our mind, will and emotions.

                  --Do you know that it’s the soul that must be saved?

         James 1:21 (KJV)

21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

         2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (KJV)

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that

exalted itself against the knowledge of God,

and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;        

         -It is sometimes believed to be in the “heart of man.”

Genesis 6:5 (KJV)

5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

We were born with a “sin nature” due to the Fall of Adam.

The word “sin” can have two different meanings.

{C}1.   {C}When the word sin used as a “noun.”

-It is referring to the “sin nature.”

-In II Cor. It makes reference to “the practice of sin.”

         2 Corinthians 12:21 (NKJV)

21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.

         --Another way is to say “a life style of sin.”

                  -This is the nature of an unredeemed person.

{C}2.   {C}When the word sin is used as a “verb.”

-It is referring to “acts of sin”.

-A person that is truly born again may still commit acts of sin.

         --They are distinguished by:

{C}a.    {C}Those who are quick to repent.

---True repentance is a “gift” from God.

{C}b.   {C}Those who are overcoming their area of bondage (less frequency).

Until a person “genuinely” accepts Jesus Christ they are slaves to the sin nature.

         Romans 6:17-18 (NKJV)

17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.

18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of Righteousness.

So Paul is saying you will be slaves to one or the other.

         -You have both natures in you.

--The sin nature is commonly known the name “self-righteousness.

--The God nature (Divine nature) is known by the name “Christ- Righteousness.

There are two plans for mankind:

{C}1.   {C}Satan’s Plan—“self-righteousness” (the sin nature).

{C}2.   {C}God’s Plan—“Christ-Righteousness” (the God or Divine nature).

You are following one plan or the other.

         -It is not possible to have one foot in each plan.

Before one is saved he is operating in his “sin nature” and his human nature; his God nature or Divine nature is dormant.

         -This Plan appears to be easier.

--Here the road is wider…it is LIBERAL; anything goes…everyone has their own truth.

-An extreme case would be an atheist…he doesn’t believe in God.

-Another person just doesn’t desire to follow God’s Plan.

-Then there are “so-called Christians” who THINK they are following God’s Plan but are really deceived.

         --These are the “religious” people.

         **But beware…the devil has deceived these poor souls!

Conversely, once one is saved he is to live in his God nature and keep the sin nature dormant.

         -This Plan appears more difficult.

--Here the road is narrower…it is very black and white…there is only ONE truth Jesus Christ).

-An extreme case would be a person who desired to walk a Holy life with God (the sanctified life style).

         --The Bible says that the world will see you as one of the

“peculiar people.”

-Another person is desirous of being in God’s plan and is “working out their salvation in fear and trembling.”

-It is in this plan that we can more easily avoid being deceived.

                  --This is the life of being an overcomer.

                  --“Overcomer” of what?

---Over come deception and the power of the devil in our lives.

THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE CROSS

The bottom line:

“Self” cannot save self.”

         -“Trying” won’t work…and “trying  harder” is futile.

-Only understanding what happened at the Cross will work.

Most Christians are also trying to sanctify “self” by “self.”

         -“Trying” won’t work…and “trying  harder” is futile.

-Only understanding what happened at the Cross will work.

-Only understanding what happened at the Cross will work.

-Only understanding what happened at the Cross will work.

 

                  THIS IS A RECORDING !

 

-Only understanding what happened at the Cross will work.

 

What exactly DID HAPPEN at the Cross?

Most Christians have been taught that they were “saved” when they accepted that Jesus died for them on the Cross.  But while that is the most important “gift” that they received, it was only a part of the gift.  They have not opened the rest of the gift box that Jesus gave them at Calvary that day.

The Greek word for “saved” is sozo. 

What does sozo mean?

You were Saved, Healed, Delivered, Preserved and Made Whole

         -You must receive all this by faith.

                  Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)

6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

         -Renew your mind; turn your will over to God (a choice).

                  Romans 12:2 (KJV)

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

         --Choose what God says do, not what “self” says do.

                  Proverbs 18:21 (KJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

It is said that to be able to live a “victorious Christian life” one must:

{C}A.   {C}Understand the “essence of the Cross.”

{C}B.   {C}Have faith to believe all 5 parts of “Sozo.”

{C}C.   {C}Come to believe that you can live a “Holy Life.”

I want to share a word picture with you to make it clear.

         -Draw two thermometers side by side.

         -Put a zero at the bottom and 100 at the top of each.

         -Label the top of first one “sin nature.”

         -Label the top of the second one “divine nature.”

         -Mark the bottom of the first one “self-righteousness.”

         -Mark the bottom of the second “Christ-Righteousness.”

Remember that all self-righteousness represents the amount of the time you are allowing the “sin nature” to rule over you.

Also remember that Christ-Righteousness represents the amount of time that “Christ” rules in your daily affairs.

When a person has not been born again he lives for the world and thereby is a slave to the “sin nature.”

-His first thermometer registers at or near 100, and his second thermometer is at or near zero.

When a person is “born again:

-His first thermometer begins to register perhaps between 80 and say 99.

-His second thermometer goes up from zero to say, 20.

As the now “saved” child of God grasps more Truth the thermometer of the sin nature continues to adjust and fall while the thermometer of the divine nature continues to adjust and rise upward.

-A simpler way to say it is that self-righteousness (the sin nature) is losing ground in ones life and Christ-righteousness is beginning to define your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ.

-In other words you are “overcoming” the Devil’s rule over you!

But don’t stop there—if you continue to pursue Jesus the thermometers continue to shift toward Christ-Righteousness and “victorious Christian living.”

-When Christ-Righteousness is at say 60 and/or higher, while self-righteousness is dropping to 40 and below you are now more a slave to Jesus and are winning the battle with the enemy of your soul.  You can now rejoice in being an “overcomer.”

Here we must make a HUGE POINT!!!!

There is no way YOU can accomplish this: YOU are the embodiment of SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS!

The only way to overcome your “sin nature” is to surrender your will to Jesus Christ.  At “The Cross” Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to teach you and help you overcome the sin nature (the devil’s plan to torment you and injure you). You can’t do it but Christ within you the hope of glory.

Have you ever wondered what God’s Plan was for you?  You would now be fulfilling that Plan.  As you increase your Holy Walk with Jesus, God has bigger plans for you. NEVER, EVER, TURN BACK.

Romans chapter 6, which is a most important chapter, can be difficult to understand.  Therefore I will print it here for you with some of the commentary provided in the Expositor’s Study Bible that Mark and I found to be so helpful.  (The commentary will be bracketed and underlined to make it easier for you to read and understand as shown here).

The Expositor’s Bible makes an important commentary note that will help us with the passage:

         (Referring to “sin,” –in the original Greek text, If it contains the definite article before the word “sin,” whi



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