THE TRUTH ABOUT ORIGINAL SIN

By Dale Rude - July 2003


The main questions that will be addressed in our study are:

1. What actually happened in the garden? How does Adam's rebellion against God affect mankind? What impact does this initial act of rebellion have on us today?

2. What is Original Sin? Did we inherit sin from Adam? If so, how is it forgiven or dealt with in Bible salvation? Does it require an additional cleansing subsequent to our conversion?

3. What about man's nature? Is it corrupt? Why do all children choose to sin after they reach the age of accountability?

4. Who is the "old man" and when does he die? Who is the "new man" and when do we receive him?

5. When do we receive the Spirit of God? Does His inception require an additional "work of grace"?

Mans crime of rebellion and sin.

Picture yourself in the Garden of Eden. None of the stresses and obligations that we have today. Jobs, school, children, housework, etc... Nothing but a minimal obligation to God. This is the way it was "in the beginning". Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

The Bible teaches that mankind was made in the image of God. He was created with a likeness or similarity to God. In certain ways, he resembled God. Genesis 1:26-27 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Adam and Eve did not physically look like God because God is a Spirit. Being created in God's image simply means that man was created with some of the same moral attributes or characteristics of God (i.e.. righteousness, purity, and holiness). Before the fall, God's ultimate approval was on Adam. The Bible implies that God would come down to walk and directly commune with Adam (Gen 3:8). But sin entered into the picture and separated man from God. Adam and Eve were told one thing by God not to do; Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. But that's exactly what Adam and Eve did. Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

It was here that Adam and Eve rebelled against God, and therefore they walked away from grace. They disobeyed a known commandment of God. They chose to love themselves more than God. They chose to be selfish rather than to obey God. An important question to ask ourselves is what it was that caused Adam and Eve to disobey God and commit this sin against their loving creator? Certainly, there was nothing sinfully "wrong" with them. As noted, they were created in the image of God. They were not "slanted" towards sin inwardly (in other words by an inward sinful nature), they were morally pure and holy. There was nothing sinful about them that they inherited, for they were never physically born. As the scriptures reveal, their natures were patterned after God's nature. They didn't have sinful depraved natures, but yet, they still rebelled against God and sinned, thereby seperating themselves from God's divine favor.

The answer to this all-important question is quite simple: They listened to Satan's reasoning, were tempted by him, were drawn away by their own lust, and yielded to a sinful temptation. Many years later, the Apostle James reaffirmed this universal reality by the proclamation that "every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:14-15. Notice, it was Eve who was first drawn away by her lust for the fruit. She was deceived and sinned before Adam did. After she rebelled, she handed the fruit off to Adam and he willingly sinned likewise, knowing full well what the consequence would be. Again, both Adam and Eve made a deliberate choice to rebel and sin against God, knowing that the penalty would be death. Did they die that dreadful day? Physically, no. Spiritually, yes. They were separated from God's approval. Sin always separates man from God. Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. God's punishment and attitude toward Adam and Eve can be seen in the rest of Gen 3:14-24. He no longer looked on them with the divine favor that He did when He first created them. They seperated themselves from God's unmerited favor because they chose to rebel against God rather then to obey Him. That day, because of his rebellion, Adam introduced sin and death into the world. Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.

How Are We Effected By Adam and Eve's Rebellion Against God?

Prior to the day that Adam and Eve disobeyed and sinned against God, there was no such thing as sin in this present time world. Because of Adam's rebellion, the Bible says that sin was introduced into the world, not into the hearts of mankind. At the time of this first sinful act, there were no other inhabitants for sin to enter into therefore sin was introduced into the world in the universal sense of the word. Yet today, sin's influence in the world is readily felt all around us. In fact, in a symbolic sense, sin has made its way out from the hearts and lives of mankind and has now filled the entire earth. There is no place in this sinful time-world that man can travel to in which he can escape from the influence and results of sin. The devil is described as being "the prince of the power of the air". The devil is the "god of this world" and will use anything readily available from this world to tempt us to sin. Hence, it is no surprise when we read the admonition of Saint John where it is recorded that we are to "love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." (1 John 2:15-16) Worldliness and sin go hand in hand, and in fact are one in the same.

Adam was directly responsible for his own sin. He chose to selfishly rebel and sin against God. Indeed, Adam exercised his own free will and chose to rebel against the loving and intelligent will of his Creator. His sin brought about his own spiritual death, or separation from God. Adam is not directly responsible for our individual sins. He is indirectly responsible in that it was he that introduced sin into the world, and therefore we are surrounded by it's influence. However, we are each responsible for our own sin. It seems as though today, people are eager to place blame on everything and everybody else but themselves. Personal responsibility for our individual actions and rebellion against God seems to be a thing of the past in the minds of many today, even many religious people. It is the spirit of this age. However, someone once said, "You are today what you decided to be yesterday". There is much truth in this statement. Sadly, people are quick to blame the school system for the uncontrolled behavior of the children. They blame the government for the evils of our society. They blame the police for not doing enough to lower the crime rate. They blame the deteriorated conditions of the neighborhoods for the increased number of gangs and gang violence. Certainly these systems are not without their faults, however, the real cause for the evil condition in our world is quite simply sin. People have chosen to rebel against God and live a sinful life, rather than to obey God and live holy.

As individuals accountable to God, we can't blame Adam, Eve, father, mother, husband, wife or anyone else for our own sin. Notice at first, Adam tried to blame Eve for his sin. Eve tried to make excuses as well. She attempted to blame the serpent for her sin. What did God do? Did God accept these lame excuses and just hold the serpent responsible? No! He held them individually accountable. He punished Eve for her sin and Adam for his sin as well. The serpent got his just punishment too! To this day, even he doesn't have a leg to stand on. This principle of individual responsibility is still the same today. We are responsible for our own individual sins. The Bible reveals the following: Romans 14:10-12 ... we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Adam sinned inwardly in his heart before he even took that first bite of the fruit outwardly. Sinning against God does not always require an outward act. We can sin against God in our hearts and never involve another body member or an outward expression. Lust is a good example of such a sin. Having a wrong motive or bad attitude is just as sinful as any outwardly committed sinful act.

Adam's sin caused him to go from being spiritually alive to being spiritually dead. The same is true today. In fact, thousands of years later, the Apostle Paul said in Romans 7:9 For I was alive (spiritually innocent) without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died (spiritually). Paul was spiritually innocent and in his own words "alive" from the time that he was born until the age of accountability and reason, when he intentionally disobeyed the law of God and sinned. Notice, according to the scripture, not until after he sinned did Paul spiritually die. The same is true universally. The Bible teaches in 1Tim 5:6 that one who lives in sinful pleasure is dead while they yet live. Sin always brings a spiritual death.

Temptation in and of itself is not sin, whether we label it as "inward" or "outward" temptation. However, yielding to or acting upon an evil temptation in rebellion against God's Word is sin. Being continually tempted by the devil to do wrong is something that we must contend with for the rest of our lives. This is where the Christian's real battle is. But, God's grace is sufficient. 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. God doesn't take us bodily out of the world or it's influences, but He does give us the power to overcome the world! 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Praise God! Indeed we must be sanctified in this life, yea sanctified wholly, but we need not expect to be removed from temptation to sin. This is a message much needed for new converts.

Cleanse The Inside First.

Many insist on reversing God's true plan of salvation as they attempt to require outward holiness before inward holiness. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. In these scriptures, Jesus clearly outlined the cleansing process. Indeed, in this line of thought there are "two cleansings". He said that we must have the inside cleaned first and made holy (cleansed from sin and a pure heart placed within) and then, afterwards, the outside (our lives, actions, deeds, appearance, etc...) will come clean. Jesus' all-cleansing sin-killing, deep penetrating, stain removing blood (and oh how powerful it is) cleanses us first within thereby provides the way that we can be holy, and the Apostle Paul further expounded and said that we are to assist in cleansing ourselves outwardly afterwards. 2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Sadly, some people have attempted to reverse this process and insist on outward holiness before inward holiness. Two-step teachers believe that a justified believer still possesses, and is indeed driven by, a sinful carnal nature (a sinful heart) even after he is saved. They believe that a "justified" person is still categorized as a sinner because of inherited sin from Adam (in other words, a sinner at heart saved by grace). I'm afraid that some have watered down the blood of Jesus and the true plan of salvation so as to require two applications to be cleansed from sin. The two cleansing teaching attempts to require a believer to live an outwardly holy life after he is justified, while arguing that the inside, the believer's heart, is still sinful and in need of another "cleansing". Contrary to Scripture, this method requires that one cleanse first the outside, so that the inside may come clean. My friend, this teaching is 180 degrees from the truth. It is the complete opposite of what Jesus taught. God does not justify us in sin or in a sinful heart condition. He delivers and saves us from sin! There are no such persons as "sinners saved by grace", for if there were such persons, what would they be "saved" from? Being saved is more then just some label, it is a living experience. It is living a holy life!

What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! I'm reminded of the old-time church of God song often sung by the saints everywhere. The title is "The All-Cleansing Fountain" and the first and last verses read like this: "There's a fountain opened in the house of God, Where the vilest of sinners may go, And all test the power of the crimson flood, Of the blood that makes whiter than snow. What are these in spotless robes and whence came they, As they're singing with palms in their hands? These thro' tribulation gained the victory, Having washed in the blood of the Lamb." The chorus says: "Praise the Lord, I am washed, In the all-cleansing blood of the Lamb, And my robes are whiter than the driven snow. I am washed in the blood of the Lamb." Oh the power in the blood of Jesus! Hallelujah!

God's Way: A New Heart And A New Spirit.

God outlined His way of redemption in Ezekiel 36:25-27; "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you (inside first), and a new spirit (inside first) will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh (inside first). And I will put my spirit within you (inside first), and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them (outside afterwards)". God's way is consistent with what Jesus taught us in Matthew 23:26. Notice, as outlined in these scriptures, we are given a new and pure heart, a new spirit, and God's own Holy Spirit, all at the same time. We are cleansed inwardly and given a new heart with its new desires. As a result of this spiritual heart transplant, God places within us a pure heart that He can write His laws upon (Heb 8:10). We have a personal understanding of God's commandments, we have the inward dwelling of the Holy Spirit giving us power to resist doing evil, and therefore we can fully obey God's commandments. God does not write His laws on sinful or carnal hearts. He didn't do this in the Old Testament time-period and He doesn't do this in the New Testament time-period either. This is why He gives us a new and pure heart. Some would have us to believe that God takes one sinful heart out when He initially saves us and puts another sinful heart right back in. But, my friend, God has something far better than that! He doesn't just overhaul our sinful heart, He gives us a brand new one.

The Apostle John recorded in Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection (or he that is passed from death unto life, i.e. from being spiritually dead in sins and trespasses to being spiritually alive in Christ, due to having a born-again experience): on such the second death (or physical death) hath no power. Why are we blessed? Because our new heart is pure. Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Because of this pure heart, someday we shall see God face to face, with nothing in our lives that will cause an eternal separation from God. Why are we holy? Because we are sanctified and cleansed from all sin by the blood of Jesus Christ during that first resurrection, or at the time of our conversion (being raised from spiritual death unto spiritual life). Every genuine conversion is from sin unto holiness, as certainly as from Satan unto God.

As already shown, the new heart that God gives us is a pure heart, but we are to keep this new heart clean because it will motivate our actions. Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. We keep our heart clean by living a consistent holy life, that is to say a life free from all sin. Our heart is the seat of our affections. When we are saved, according to the scriptures, God also places His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, within us. We will study more about this later on in this booklet. This experience of being born of the Spirit and becoming a new creation with new desires, along with knowing the laws of God, will give us the cause (purpose, determination, love, etc…) to walk in God's statutes and keep His judgments. This allows us to keep both the outside and the inside clean and free from all sin.

Many have attempted to lower the standard of justification to include willful disobedience of known commandments of God, yet profess to be saved. We cannot be justified before God while still living in open rebellion to His Word. We can't be saved from sin while still committing sin. If so, what would we be saved from? As has already been stated, being "saved" is not just a mere label, it's a living experience and a present everyday reality. Additionally, God doesn't justify us in sin, He sent His Son to save us and deliver us from all sin. We should experience what we believe, and that our beliefs should be nothing more or nothing less than what the Word of God teaches. God would not have us up and down, in and out, saved one week and backsliden the next, while all the time still professing salvation. If we will dig deep and hit the rock, get genuinely born-again and receive the gift of God (Eph 2:8), God will give us an experience that will keep us from sin and will last a lifetime. Then, and only then, are we truly justified before God. My friend, many inward or outward carnal manifestations are not to be found among truly saved children of God. A holy life is one that is free from all sin.

Original Sin.

The next subject that we want to study is that of Original Sin . It is interesting to note right at the front of this portion of our study that the expressions: Original Sin, Adamic sin, inherited sin, generational sin, inbred sin, dormant sin, native depravity, sinful nature, or depraved nature cannot be found in the King James Version of the Bible. This is not to say that they should immediately be discarded as false doctrine, but we should at least be aware of their consistent absence. The way that many "religious leaders" commonly use these expressions, we would be led to believe that they are frequently found throughout the entire Bible, as this is a very prominent teaching in "Christendom". However, such expressions or such teaching is not found in the Bible at all. We honestly feel that if all parties were to limit themselves to just expressions found in the Holy Scriptures, most of the present controversy would be eliminated. As Bro. D. O. Teasley expressed in his song, it would be good if all would go "Back to the Blessed Old Bible". One brother told me once that he would have a very difficult time preaching on sanctification without the use of these expressions, as they were common expressions among those with whom he fellowships. I asked him what that said for the soundness of his message.

Is "original inherited sin" taught in the Bible? First of all, we must answer the fundamental question: What is sin? The definition of sin can be easily summed up by the following two statements:

1. Sin is a willful transgression (or rebellion) against God and His law (1 John 3:4).

2. Sin is knowing to do good, but not doing it (James 4:17).

By this scriptural definition, sin can be divided into two categories: omission and commission. Sin is characterized by willingly committing an act or omitting an act. Two key elements of every sin are our knowledge and our will. One must know what is required and willfully disobey (or rebel against) that requirement to sin against God. Paul said in Romans 7:7 ...I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. For instance, I must know that it is wrong for me to steal before I am responsible to God for the sin of stealing. As a child, I am not held accountable to God for "stealing" a cookie from the cookie jar until I know that I am sinning against God's commandment of not stealing. Mother may hold me responsible, and she should. That's why it's the parent's responsibility to train up children in the way they should go. We must know what is required of God and willfully disobey to commit sin.

Now we must ask: Is a newborn child a sinner? Let us answer this question with the litmus test of truth. First of all, does a newborn child know what God requires of him? No. Does he know and willfully disobey (or rebel against) the law of God? Obviously, No. Then the Bible teaches that he or she is not a sinner, plain and simple. John 15:22 If I (Jesus) had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. Romans 4:15 ... for where no law is, there is no transgression. With this understanding, it can plainly be seen that sin is not something that is inherited (a substance), but must involve both knowledge and will. Both the Old and the New Testament describe sin as a wrong action of will or motive of heart, not as a static or inactive substance separate from the will that is received through heredity genes. When Adam and Eve committed that first sin, they knew what God required of them, they willfully chose to disobey, and they paid the price (they were cut off from God). Their sin is not passed on to us genetically. The Bible says: "And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself" Job 19:4 .

A careful examination of Old Testament scriptures reveals the following: Ezekiel 18:19-20 Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son...

This scripture clearly teaches that children do not bear the sin of their parents, i.e., a son does not bear the iniquity or the sin of his father. Every individual is responsible for his own sin and will pay the penalty for it. Ezekiel 18: 1-17 clearly states, "The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, …Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD. If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things, …shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him. Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father's sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, … he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live."

Adam's sin was Adam's problem. We are not accountable to God for Adam's original sin. (In all actuality, it was Eve [Gen 3:6] that committed the first "original sin".) We don't bear his iniquity. We did not genetically inherit his sin nor is it inbred into our hearts. Until Jesus comes and personally speaks to us, we have no sin.

The New Testament reveals the following: Romans 9:11 For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil. Romans 5:13 ...sin is not imputed when there is no law. Here, we learn that the Bible again teaches that unborn children are not sinners. They are not born saints, but neither are they born sinners. The charge that children are born evil sinners is foreign to the Word of God. Additionally, according to Rom 5:13, they are not accountable for Adam's sin because sin is not imputed (charged, accountable) when there is no moral law that has been personally and willfully broken. The doctrine of Original Sin leaves the impression that sinners are to be pitied rather than punished, simply because they were "born wrong" and couldn't help but to choose to live a life of sin. According to this doctrine, sin is a calamity, not a crime. In all reality, a sinner is a rebel against a loving God, not a subject of pity who has lost his ability of will by virtue of his natural birth and thus could not help sinning.

In the religious world it is taught that Adamic sin is not something that is forgiven, but is something that must be cleansed out. Where does this teaching come from? Certainly not the Word of God. Nowhere in the scriptures does the Bible teach that God will cleanse us from any type of sin that we don't confess or ask forgiveness for. On the contrary, the Bible clearly proclaims that "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" 1 John 1:9. If we are to be cleansed from sin, in any form, we must confess it, or in other words, we must take responsibility or personal ownership for it, and seek God's forgiveness for it. If these key actions don't take place, one does not receive a cleansing from sin.

We have shown by the Word of God that sin is not inherited. Since there is no such sin as Adamic sin or original inherited sin, an additional cleansing or work of grace is not required to remove it. As was stated, the Bible says: 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. There is not a single verse in the Bible that charges one with inbred sin and therefore, not a single verse in the Bible that addresses how to get rid of it. The Bible is consistent.

Well, if it is this simple, one might ask why there is so much confusion in the religious world about this teaching? This is a very good question. Certainly, God is not the author of such confusion. In response to this question, we will spend the next few pages looking at the other side of this teaching and studying the scriptures that are sometimes used to support the inherited sin teaching.

Was Seth Born A Sinner?

In answer to the question as to whether Seth was born a sinner or not, we want to first introduce two differing views of thought before addressing the real meaning of this passage. The scripture in question is Genesis 5:3. "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth. The first view is that this scripture is addressing the spiritual and moral state in which Seth was born, while the second view is that this scripture is simply referring to Seth's outward appearance, and that it has nothing to do with his moral condition.

Some of those who teach that sin is inherited have erroneously concluded that Adam passed sin onto Seth, his third son. They say that this was the beginning of "native depravity". According to the teaching, man's moral nature was corrupted and became sinful after the fall and that corrupted nature, or Adamic Original Sin , was genetically passed on to Seth. It attempts to redefine sin as a genetic substance rather then a choice. They say that Seth's moral status at birth, or even at the time of his conception, was patterned after Adam's corrupt sinful image after the fall, rather than in God's image. However, we must first note that this teaching is based on the assumption that Adam was unrepentant and in a sinful state at the time of Seth's birth. In all reality, the Bible does not even let us know for sure where Adam stood with God at the time when Seth was born. There are no negative connotations explicitly implied in this verse. We have indications that he taught His children to fear and serve the Lord, particularly in teaching his children the necessity of bringing offerings to the Lord (Gen 4:4), and it well may be that Adam had truly repented and received forgiveness from God such that he had been restored back into a right relationship with God. In light of this possibility, or even probability, this scripture would therefore teach that Seth would have been born in the image of God, just as Adam was originally created.

However, the biggest problem with this particular theory is that it simply is not sound because it unjustly imposes a selective moral decay or imputed righteousness upon a newborn that is solely dependant upon the spiritual status of the father at the time of the infant's birth or conception. Such cannot be the case. Either all are born in the image of a sinful man or all are born in the image of God. Gen. 9:6 refutes the hypothesis that all are born sinful because it refers to a time period much later chronologically than that of Seth's birth, yet it is clearly stated "in the image of God made he man". New Testament scriptures also confirm the reality that since the creation of man, he has consistently been, and is yet created in the very image of God. Both 1 Cor 11:7 and James 3:9 conclusively state that man is "the image and glory of God" and that he is "made after the similitude (image) of God".

We have already noted that the Bible explicitly states that "the son shall not bare the iniquity of the father" (Ezek 18:20). This scripture includes Adam and his son Seth. Also, the Bible says that Abel, the second of Adam's sons, was righteous in God's eyes (Heb 11:4, Matt 23:35). If Adam's sin was inherited or passed down from father to son, why wasn't Abel born in a corrupted sinful state? The Bible says that it was appointed by God that Seth replace Abel (Gen 4:25). The name "Seth" means "compensation". God compensated Adam for the loss of his righteous son Abel. In fact, it was through Seth's lineage that man once again began to "call upon the name of the LORD" (Gen 4:26). It was also through Seth's lineage that we read about faithful Enoch who the Bible says "had this testimony, that he pleased God", insomuch that he never even saw physical death but was translated directly into the presence of the Lord. (Heb 11:5). Most importantly it was through Seth's lineage that Jesus came, and all agree that Jesus certainly didn't genetically inherit Adam's sin nor was he born after the image of fallen Adam. In all, this teaching attempts to make God responsible for compensating righteous with unrighteousness.

We should also note here that the same logic and reasoning that concludes that mankind inherits sin (because of the comparison to Seth's image) must equivocally conclude that mankind inherits righteousness (because of the comparison to Abel's image). As previously noted, this reasoning would make our moral and spiritual condition at the time of our birth or conception directly dependent upon our father's spiritual condition at the time when we were born or conceived. Surely, the Bible does not support such a teaching. Since both conclusions cannot be true, we must therefore conclude that the entire logic leading to such conclusions is faulty.

The second view holds that Genesis 5:3 is simply referring to Seth's appearance. It is believed that Seth resembled Adam and had some of the same physical characteristics of Adam. Advocates of this view point out that this "likeness" to Adam was not said to apply to all of Adam's children, only to Seth. It is not said to apply to his daughters, for instance. It is noted that the Bible does not say that Adam begat children in his image, only a son, and particular son at that. It would therefore come as no surprise that one of Adam's sons particularly looked a lot like him. Many sons resemble their fathers. According to this view, there is not even so much as a hint of where the likeness of Seth to Adam found in this scripture applies to all of mankind.

Advocates of this view feel that God was using the physical resemblance of Seth to Adam to illustrate that as a physical likeness is passed on from a father to his son, we, as children of God, through Christ, the second Adam, spiritually resemble our Father. The Bible says that when we, as sons of God, see our Father, we will resemble Him. 1 John 3:1-2 "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is". As Seth looked like his natural father, so shall we look like our spiritual Father. "As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" 1 Corinthians 15:49. Just as when Adam's seed was implanted and produced offspring that resembled him, when our heavenly Father implants His seed, or His Word (Jesus; Luke 8:11, John 1:1,14), it produces children that resemble Himself. We are the sons of God. As the song says, "I am a child of God". 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

While this view may have some good merits, it puts all of the emphasis on the outward appearance, and completely ignores the inner qualities or graces. When God first spoke and said "let us make man in our image, after our likeness", He certainly was not talking about outward appearance. Why would we suspect that the image and likeness mentioned in Gen 5:3 be a shift in thought and solely describing the outward appearance?

If this scripture is not referring to an inherited moral decay and it is not referencing exclusively to a physical appearance, what does it mean? Let's take another look at this scripture. "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth". The word "begat" used here means "to father; sire" and "to cause to exist". The context of this passage is a general listing of the physical lineage of Adam and his offspring. It outlines the various generations of Adam, and provides brief comments such as the number of years that they lived. It is not particularly dealing with spiritual or moral matters, but rather temporal. Strong's concordance defines the word "image" (Strong's 6754 tselem) used in this passage as being the same word as "illusion" and "resemblance". The simple truth of this scripture is that there is a part of mankind that is propagated by Almighty God and there is yet another part that of mankind is propagated by man. Just as when God set the standard of creation by implanting Adam and Eve with souls that were in the very image and likeness of God, the soul that is implanted into each man yet today comes from God and is in the very image and likeness of God. Man is not the originator (or procreator) of souls, God is. Our soul is as perfect as when God created the souls of our foreparents, Adam and Eve. The scripture says "all souls are mine", and the "soul that sinneth, it shall die". Heb 12:9 teaches that God is the Father of our spirit, or our eternal soul. From these scriptures, it is easily shown that God is the originating source of all eternal souls and that when they are implanted into mortal man, they are the means of our divine life and that they are perfectly pure by design. God's creation of a soul is perfect and free from all defilement and sin. Since only God can create something from nothing, our souls are simply spoken into existence. Only until the soul becomes polluted by sin does it spiritually die and only until then do we need forgiveness. However, in the act of procreation, man can only bring into existence something that comes from something else (he cannot create something from nothing). In the act of procreation, man can only propagate a fleshly body, with all its weaknesses intact. These physical bodies, whose origination is from the dust of earth, are therefore the source of many problems. Paul said in Rom 7:5, 23 that in our members (our body), is a "law of sin" that brings us into captivity, and eventually will bring forth fruit unto spiritual death, unless it is brought into subjection through the Spirit of God. As with Adam, a part of us comes directly from God and is created in His very image (the soul), and a part of us comes from our forefathers (the body), which originated from the dust of the earth and is therefore "earthly". Being a twofold creation, we bare the complete image and likeness of our foreparents, starting with Adam and Eve, and continuing in like manner until this very day.

To teach that Seth, and mankind in general, inherited depraved sinful natures because we were created in fallen Adam's sinful likeness, we must also conclude that Jesus inherited sin or possessed a depraved "sinful nature" because the scriptures reveal that He too was born in the likeness or image of man. Philippians 2:5-7 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: If for generation after generation, mankind has taken on the moral likeness of our fathers, clear back to Adam and Seth, then we are forced to conclude that Jesus was born with a corrupt moral nature as He "took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men". Surely, to conclude such is to seriously error in doctrine as the scriptures clearly teach that "ye know that he (Jesus) was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin" 1 John 3:5. Furthermore, and even worse yet, we would have to conclude that God Himself is sinful in nature because the Bible teaches that Jesus is the express (exact) image of God the Father (Heb 1:3, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15). Such conclusions are forced upon us if we are to believe the inherited sin teaching.

While it is discussed in more detail later on in the section entitled "How Does The Reality Of Sinful Flesh Effect Man's Nature?", it should be noted that the lineage of Adam listed in Gen 5 is also the early lineage of Jesus Christ. Jesus came through the lineage of Seth. It is important to realize that our Lord was sent to earth in the same image and likeness as man. In fact in Luke 22:15, Jesus Himself proclaimed that He experienced that same strong fleshly desires (epithumia [1939], same word translated as lust in James 1:14) as does "every man". It is for this very reason that through His triumphant victory over sin, death and the grave, we can obtain the very same victory that He experienced by accepting the plan of salvation. If Christ's nature were in some way different than ourselves, for instance if He could not relate to our infirmities and weakness in the flesh, His victory over sin would not have the same significance that it carries.

Are Children Sinners?

Matthew 18:3 ... Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

In this scripture, Jesus was telling his very own disciples, those who had their names written in heaven (Luke 10:20), those who had authority over the devil (Luke 10:19), those who were not of the world (John 15:19), those who kept the Word of God (John 17:6,8), and those who belonged to God (John 17:9,10), that after their full conversion (Luke 22:32, Acts 15:3 & 9), it would be necessary for them to become like little children, or they would never enter into the kingdom of heaven. Would he have said this to His own disciples if He knew that little children were rebellious little sinners with sinful, evil, and depraved hearts? Not hardly! Telling people of such character to become like sinners, with sinful hearts and natures, is totally contrary to the Word of God and the entire plan of salvation! Furthermore, Jesus said in Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them (His disciples) unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. In this scripture, Jesus Himself said that the Kingdom of God is made up of people that are as pure and innocent as little children. Was He teaching here that the Kingdom of God, the church of God, is made up of sinners and people who have sinful evil hearts and "sinful natures"? Again, I think not. The problem with carnality was not with the little children, it was with the disputing disciples. I wonder if there is not a lesson for us here?

While I have known some "spiteful" children, after watching how their parents behave, it was understandable why they behaved in such manner. In such cases, I have not at all concluded that they are born with an inherited sin nature, but rather, in an attempt to please their parents and other adults, and/or gain the attention of those same adults, they tend to imitate what they view as acceptable behavior. In other words, they tend to think and act in the same manner as they see their parents behave. On the other hand, I have also seen children reared in the same home with the same upbringing, yet with vastly different temperaments. Being a Christian parent myself, it has been my experience that our children have tender and compassionate hearts and, to a greater or lesser degree, are moved by the appeal "what would Jesus have them do". When I read writings of some who are quick to point out spiteful, sinful behavior in their children and those of others around them, I am often made to wonder exactly what kind of examples they have set before them!

What About Children Who Die Before The Age Of Accountability?

Those who teach inherited sin have a difficult time scripturally explaining how children who die in infancy enter into heaven. The Bible says: John 8:21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come; Matt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. There is no sin (nor impure hearts) in heaven. There never was, and there never will be (Matt 6:10). If the theory of inherited sin were true, children would go to hell if they die before the age of accountability because they are sinners. Can this be true? I find it interesting that the same church of God people that teach the inherited sin doctrine also teach that there will be no sin in heaven. In fact, a popular invitational song written by Bro. C. W. Naylor, a prominent evening light church of God reformer, is titled "Sin Can Never Enter There". Part of the second verse says: "You must here be cleansed from sin, have the life of Christ within, sin can never enter there". However, when it comes to inherited sin, many people seemingly discard the doctrine, the songs, the sin-free requirement, the pure heart requirement, the scriptures, and even the need for a sin cleansing, and insist on the right to enter heaven with sin in the heart, be it an innocent child or a "justified" believer yet in need of a second cleansing. I believe there needs to be a little more consistency somewhere along the line. On the one hand, many are quick and to point out that the devil was never in heaven, for "heaven is a holy place filled with glory and with grace", but on the other hand they teach that heaven is the home of those with uncleansed inherited sin in the heart.

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that infant baptism washes away original inherited sin thereby allowing the child access to heaven (baptismal regeneration). Can this Roman Catholicism solution be found in the scriptures? No. Likewise, two cleansing teachers often just unscripturally explain it away. Many times the claim is usually something like "Inherited sin is covered by the blood" or "God is a just God and I just know He wouldn't send a child to hell". We must respectfully ask; Where are the scriptures that support these conclusions? There are none. Why not? The truth is, children are not born sinners and if they should die before they reach the age of reason and accountability, and before they willfully disobey a known commandment of the Lord, they will enjoy an eternal life in heaven. Children have no sin to be "saved" or cleansed from. Neither does a truly born-again and justified Christian.

Please pay close attention to this next statement. We are not physically born spiritually dead. We are born spiritually innocent and alive. Here's the scripture that supports that conclusion, as already noted. Paul said in Romans 7:9 For I was alive (spiritually alive and innocent before God in his infancy and childhood years) without the law once (before he came to the age of reason and accountability): but when the commandment came (when God sent his Word and understanding to Paul), sin revived (Paul willfully disobeyed a known commandment and sin instantly came alive in Paul's life, just as it did in the lives of others), and I died (Paul spiritually died). Only after Paul disobeyed the known commandment of God was Paul spiritually dead in sins and trespasses and in need of forgiveness. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), not the result of physical birth. I'm afraid some would have us spiritually dead before we are even physically born. This wasn't Paul's experience. See how clear the Bible is? We need not be in confusion on this subject.

Shapen In Iniquity, Conceived In Sin.

Often those who teach the inherited sin doctrine refer to Psalm 51:5 as "positive evidence" supporting their belief that sin is indeed inherited. I have found that this is the single most quoted scripture used by religious leaders, Catholic and Protestants alike, to teach the inherited sin doctrine. It says: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."

First of all, pulling a single scripture out of it's context and baselining a doctrine on it is a very dangerous practice, especially if one attempts to apply it universally to the moral state of all of mankind. The Bible says "in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." Sound doctrine must be established by precept upon precept; line upon line. A good example of the practice of misapplying scripture universally is with the scripture that says "There is none righteous, no not one" (Rom 3:10). If we were to isolate this scripture and remove it from its context, does this mean that there is not, was not, and never will be a single person that is righteous on the face of the earth? Absolutely not! What about Jesus? Jesus was righteous and God's call is for all of His people to be righteous likewise. Titus 2:11-12 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world". As we can clearly see, taking Rom 3:10 out of it's original context and applying it to all mankind would lead to a significant erroneous conclusion. The same is true in applying David's condition in Psalm 51:5 to all of mankind.

Reading the first four verses of Psalm 51 reveals the context surrounding this scripture as well as David's frame of mind at the time that he wrote this passage. Remember that he had just committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed. In this entire Psalm, he was calling on God to have mercy on him. Psalm 51:1-4 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. At no time was David trying to blame his mother for his sinful condition. At no time do we read of David even attempting to blame Bathsheba for his sin of adultery, although she was directly involved in it. Certainly, we see no evidence of David putting the blame for his sinful condition on Adam or Eve. He didn't even mention them. He was accepting the total responsibility for his actions and was trying to seek forgiveness for his own sin. In these four scriptures alone, David claims ownership of his sinful condition no less than ten times. He was humbly calling upon God and he clearly was putting the blame for his sinful condition right where it belonged, on himself. In humbling himself, he mentions the fact, in so many words, that he was a sinner through and through and that there was absolutely no excuse for what he had done. He was describing his lowly sinful position before an Almighty Holy God. As did the Prophet Isaiah when he came into the presence of the Lord and His great Holiness (Isaiah 6:1-5), David, after committing such horrible sinful acts, saw himself and acknowledged his lowly sinful condition.

As sincere Bible students and seekers of truth, we should keep in mind that Psalm 51:5 is in the Old Testament. In general, the people that we read about in the Old Testament did not have the power to consistently live free from sin. With very few exceptions, we read of where great men failed God on many occasions. David, his mother, his father, his grandmother, his grandfather, and nearly every Old Testament person one for that matter, had serious failures in their lives, yes even sins that they committed. Indeed, David was shaped in iniquity and he was conceived in sin. At the time when this scripture was written, David was in pitiful shape. In fact, mankind as a whole was in pitiful shape until Jesus came and offered a way out. This scripture, when kept in it's proper context, does not teach that sin is inherited at all. It could not and remain consistent with the rest of the Bible.

If everyone who is born of a woman inherits sin as some teach, then again we must ask ourselves; What about Jesus? He too was born of a woman. Did he inherit Adam's Sin? If not, why not? Why did He not inherit Adam's sin since everyone else supposedly does? According to Philippians 2:5-7, Jesus was "made in the likeness of men". Where are the scriptures that answer these questions? These are additional difficult questions for those who teach inherited sin, and usually are just explained away. The truth is that Jesus did not inherit sin from Adam or anyone else. The Bible says: 1 John 3:5 And ye know that he (Jesus) was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Jesus didn't inherit Adam's sin and neither do we.

Fearfully And Wonderfully Made.

After David repented of his sins and found peace with God, he had this to say about his condition while in his mother's womb: Psalm 139:13-14 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully (reverently) and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Must we believe that God wonderfully, marvelously, and reverently created David a sinner? Are we to believe that the Spirit of God led David to contradict himself from one place in scripture to another? I don't believe so, and I think most would agree as 2 Peter 1:21 clearly teaches that the scriptures "came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost". The psalmist David in another place said: Psalm 22:10 "I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly". Our God is the one who we are in subjection to. We either serve God or we serve the devil, plain and simple. We manifest our subjection to one of these two by being servants of either righteousness or sin. This scripture reveals that David's God (while in his mother's womb) was the Almighty God, not the devil, so hence he could not have been born a servant to sin or a sinner or else his god (or master) would have been Satan. No servant can serve two masters (Luke 16:13). When we accept the Word of God as it's written, with the Spirit leading and giving us the understanding, confusion is always swept away.

God Made Man Upright.

Solomon, the wisest man on the face of the earth, proclaimed that man was made upright, not created sinners. Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. The problem with sin is not found in our physical birth, but with our subsequent "many inventions". We are individually created by God and the Bible says that "his work is perfect" Deuteronomy 32:4.

Saved, Sanctified, Set Apart And Filled With The Holy Ghost At Birth?

If we chose to baseline mankind's moral state upon the spiritual condition of selected men of God at their birth, we could convince ourselves that we are born saved, sanctified, set apart and filled with the Holy Ghost because other people in the Bible were born that way. However, we would have to again isolate and take these scriptures out of their original context to do so, just as some people do with Psalms 51:5. To illustrate this, the following scriptures describe the Prophet Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Paul's spiritual condition at birth:

Jeremiah was sanctified in the womb. Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost at birth. Luke 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

Paul was set apart and called to preach the Gospel from his mother's womb. Galatians 1:15-16 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen.

Isaiah 43:7 records "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him." If we were to take a more optimistic view of mankind's spiritual condition at birth, the same reasoning that says all men are born sinners because of a symbolic scripture about David in the womb, would equally have to conclude that all men are born saved, sanctified, set apart, filled with the Holy Ghost and called to preach because Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and Paul were! Obviously, anyone who rightly divides the Word of God should not come to either conclusion based on these four selected persons and single isolated scriptures about them. However, we can conclude from this illustration that a single individual's supposed spiritual condition at birth cannot be applied to all of mankind.

Pharisee Talk: Born In Sin.

The only reference to a person being born in sins in the New Testament was made by truth fighters; the old self righteous Pharisees. John 9:34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

In this instance, the Pharisees were trying to find fault with Christ and tried to discredit the testimony of a healed blind man by claiming that he had been blind because he inherited his parents sins. If one chooses to believe Pharisee talk over the Word of God then one could justify the teaching of inherited sin by the scripture. I doubt that any honest individual who rightly divides the Word of God would intentionally do this and I certainly don't mean to imply that all who honestly believe in inherited sin are Pharisees!

Hidden Sins?

There is a popular religious song that contains the following words:

My heart is like a house. One day I let the Savior in.
And there are many rooms where we would visit now and then.
But one day He saw that door, I knew the day had come too soon.
And I said "Jesus I'm not ready for us to visit in that room".

"That's a place in my heart where even I don't go.
I have some things hidden there, I don't want no one to know".
But He handed me the key with tears of love on His face.
He said "I want to make you clean, just let me in your secret place".

So then I opened up the door and the two of us walked in.
I was so ashamed that room revealed my hidden sins.
But when I think about that room now, I'm not ashamed anymore.
Because I know my hidden sin no longer hides behind that door."

It is supposed in this song that Jesus comes in the heart of a believer and "discovers" that there is still "hidden sin" present that He must have overlooked and hence forgot to cleanse. The two cleansing teachers believe that the "hidden sin" mentioned in this song is inherited Adamic sin which needs to be sanctified out sometime after salvation, or after Jesus comes into the heart and life of a believer. Such is not the case. My friend, as nicely composed as this song may be, and as beautiful as it may sound to the listening ear, this song does not truly represent the life of a born again believer. Saints don't sin and certainly there is no room for "hidden sins" among the holy! At best, this song typifies the state of an out-and-out sinner in need of salvation. Jesus' blood cleanses from all sin, even in the supposed hidden rooms of one's life! In my humble opinion, songs relaying the message of hidden, unforgiven sin in the heart and life of a believer have no place in the church of God. I would much rather sing the old time evening light songs of Zion declaring victory and complete deliverance from sin, for these are the songs that bring glory to God and typify the life of a truly born again, saved, and sanctified believer. We need not lower the standard of true holiness to accommodate sin, hidden or otherwise.

Inherited Sin: A Roman Catholic Money Making Doctrine.

When did the doctrine of original inherited sin get popularized? Although proponents of the teaching of Inherited Sin most often use selected scriptures from the Old Testament to support this doctrine, the teaching of Inherited Sin is not and has not been taught in Judaism, neither ancient nor modern. Jews are considered by many to be scholars of the Old Testament, as they acknowledge only the Old Testament of the Bible to be inspired, but they solidly and historically have rejected the teaching of Inherited Sin. Jesus and His disciples did not teach the doctrine of Original Sin, hence, it's notable absence in the New Testament. The early morning apostolic church of God did not teach this doctrine. The Eastern Orthodox Church, which began to break away in 330 AD from what would later become the Roman Catholic Church, does not believe in the doctrine of Original Sin.

The doctrine of Original Sin was first openly taught by Saint Augustine (354-430 AD) of Hippo, N. Africa. A short study on his life from any good encyclopedia will validate this fact. This prominent church father is considered to be one of the greatest leaders of modern day Christendom, including the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches. He gained his prominence during the time when the early morning church of God was apostatizing and drifting away from the original truth as taught by Jesus Christ and His true followers. This time period, between the years 270-530 AD, is better known by church of God people, as the "second seal" as outlined in the book of Revelation. Saint Augustine is also the founder of the teachings of absolute predestination, Just War (the justified killing of those persons who were thought to be church heretics), and many other false doctrines that are still widely taught out in spiritual Babylon today. If nothing else, this fact alone should cause us as evening light church of God people to at least question the truth of the doctrine of original inherited sin.

Later, during the Dark Ages, the doctrine of original inherited sin was strictly taught in the Roman Catholic Church as a money making doctrine. Since children were not "born right", i.e. were born sinners, the Catholic Church seized the opportunity to compensate for it and make lots of money at the same time. In the words of the Catholic Trent Catechism: "Infants, unless regenerated unto God through the grace of baptism, whether their parents be Christian or infidel, are born to eternal misery and perdition". If a faithful Roman Catholic, or anyone for that manner, wanted the inherited sins of their newborn baby to be forgiven, he would have to come to the "Church" and be charged a very large sum of money by the priests to have the infant baptized (sprinkled). This priestly act would ensure that the child would go to heaven in case he died before he was formally "confirmed" later on by the Catholic Church. This act by the priests would correct for being "born wrong". This was especially true if the child died in infancy. The priests would sprinkle the child even after it was dead! This ensured that the dead child would be delivered from "eternal misery" and would gain access into heaven. This doctrine and practice is still taught in the Catholic Church today. Even some of her harlot daughters or "main-stream Protestant denominations" teach and practice this doctrine. It was this teaching of inherited sin that led to infant baptism. The Catholic Church is at the very root of the popularity of the original inherited sin doctrine.

How sad. Even sadder is the fact that some well meaning people have invented a way to "cleanse" or "work" away a sin that according to the Bible clearly doesn't even exist. Due to a lack of understanding surrounding this doctrine, some Christians have promoted this Roman Catholic teaching and have unknowingly provided the world with an excuse to justify all kinds of wickedness and ungodliness. In the secular world today, we now have people claiming to "discover" how some men and women are supposedly born alcoholics, homosexuals and even murderers. "It's in your genes, it's not your fault. You are not responsible" is their cry. "You were born that way". The modern social scientists, psychiatrists and psychologists, backed by the devil himself, are attempting to take away the personal responsibility of man's actions and are trying to replace it by accusing God of creating them that way or by blaming Adam. However, sin is still a choice and not a genetic substance or condition. Sadly, some Christians, and even some professed church of God people, are sitting in the background urging them on by continuing to promote the false doctrine of original inherited sin. We really need to get back to the basic truth found in the Word of God. "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump." Galatians 5:9 The teaching of inherited sin alone has led to many other false kindred doctrines and practices that are widely taught by spiritual Babylon today. Infant baptism, baptism by sprinkling, Baptismal Regeneration, and the sin-you-will sin-you-must doctrine are just a few samples of false teachings resulting from this errant doctrine. John 10:1 says "He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber." God hates every false way and we, as God's people, ought to hate them as well. While we love the people who are caught up in falseness, we hate all false teachings being advocated by man today.

Man's Nature.

The next subject we want to study about is that of the nature of man. The dictionary defines the word "nature" as - the regular ways in which people or things are and act. Instincts or inherent tendencies directing conduct. What a thing really is; quality; character. The basic functions of a living organism; physical being; vital powers. A natural desire or function.

Is the core of man's nature corrupt and sinful? Does "native depravity" force him into sin? For that matter, does he even have a choice in choosing right from wrong? Is man somewhat less accountable for his own actions because of an inherent tendency to sin?

These are basic questions that we have to ask ourselves if we are to resolve the sin question. If we were to survey 100 Christians in the religious world, we would probably get 100 different answers to these questions. Therefore, we must again look to the source of divine inspiration, God's Word, for the answers.

The Difference Between Man's Human And Moral Nature.

Man's nature can be said to have at least two distinct parts; human and moral. Our human nature, or sometimes called our "carnal nature" or fleshly nature, drives our conduct in areas that effect the desires of our physical bodies. An example of an action that is driven by our human nature is that of a newborn baby crying for milk. As those of us who are parents know, babies frequently get hungry and when they do they cry for something or someone to fulfill their hunger. This is a basic instinct and is very natural. God made babies this way and the Apostle Peter referenced this natural desire by comparing it to our spiritual growth and desire for the Word of God (1Pet 2:2). In fact, it would be unnatural if a baby didn't cry when it gets hungry. It would be a clear indication that something was definitely wrong.

Some have concluded that the fleshly or carnal nature is actually sinful. Often times it is referred to as the "sinful nature". However, animals have a fleshly nature as well, yet it is not said to be sinful. Is there any difference in your observation of the pets you possibly may have and the way young children act at times? Sometimes family dogs and cats will respond to you and you will detect play, trickery, selfishness, jealousy and even deceit in them. Because they often do not obey as we had hoped, is this evidence that animals too have a "sinful nature"? In fact, some of the characteristics that are often most associated with what some would call the "sinful nature" are best described by characteristics of certain animals. I'm sure you have heard the expressions "proud as a peacock", "sneaky as a snake", and "sly as a fox". I would ask, if such characteristics and expressions are not reflective of a "sinful nature" in an animal, then why is it said that the very same behavior in a child reflects his "sinful nature" passed on to him through Adam's bloodline? Such teaching is not consistent.

Our moral nature is somewhat more complicated. It starts out pure and innocent, but it is further molded and developed by what we are taught and by our surroundings and upbringing. We learn, primarily from our parents, what is right and what is wrong (sadly, some are forced to learn from society). We are taught morals. Again, this is why it is so important for parents to train up a child in the way he should go (Prov 22:6). Paul said in Rom 7:7 "I had not known sin, but by the law...". Our morals are formed by what we see, feel, experience, learn, and are taught. Our moral nature, or that which motivates our decisions to do right or wrong, is further developed over time and is molded and shaped by our learned morals. Stated otherwise, our moral nature is not instantly created but is a developed result of voluntary choices to either live intelligently according to our moral relationship with God and our fellowman or to live unintelligently in supreme self-interest.

Consider the operating principles of a lie detector test. First of all, the fact that it is called a "lie detector test" and not a "truth detector test" is revealing. It detects when one has told a lie, not when one has spoken truthfully. It is morally wrong to tell a lie. Lying is a violation of one of the Ten Commandments and the Bible says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Rev 21:8). This we all know, but how did we come to know this? Not only is this a learned moral standard that was taught to us by our parents, but it is naturally difficult to tell a lie and not get a reaction from within the confines of our moral nature. Restated, it is against our instinctive moral nature to be able to comfortably tell a lie. Again, lie detector tests do not detect when the truth is being told, only when a lie is being told. Why? Because there is no reaction within by telling the truth. Truth comes naturally, lying comes unnaturally. Consider the natural bodily reactions when a lie is told, i.e., how our inward moral nature causes one to react bodily. The heartbeat becomes more pronounced and the heart rate automatically increases. The palms automatically get sweaty. The arms and legs automatically get twitchy. Certain muscles begin to tighten up. Breathing becomes irregular, and so on…. Did anyone teach our bodies to react in such ways? It is these very natural responses that are measured and recorded by lie detector tests to determine whether a lie has been told. Interesting enough, these natural responses don't happen when the truth is being told, only when a lie is being told. Why? Because God placed within us an upright moral nature that cries out for honesty, purity, integrity and innocence and when a lie is told or a sin is committed, it must be done in violation of that God-given moral nature. However, sin takes you farther than you want to go. When a pattern of sin has been established, it becomes increasing easier to commit the next sin, and the next sin, and so forth…. We see this illustrated by the effects that long-term lying has on lie detector results. Once the conscience becomes hardened and a pattern of dishonesty becomes established, over time these natural bodily responses to lying become more subdued and less noticeable. In fact, one can become so hardened and so deceived that they may eventually believe their own lies, with little evidence of the moral nature upon bodily responses. In the beginning, it was not so. In cases like this, the results of a lie detector test become less reliable or credible. It is for this reason that lie detector test results do not generally hold up in court, and in some cases are not even permissible for evidence.

People often develop such a habitual love and desire for sin that eventually the choice to sin rather then to obey God can become a natural choice. The Apostle Paul reminded the saints in Ephesus that in their sinful past they had so polluted their moral nature and had severed their conscience to the point that they had lived their lives solely in accordance to the lusts of their flesh. He reminded them that during this time they had walked according to the course of this world and according to the prince of the power of the air (the devil), and had developed a "spirit of disobedience". Paul reminded them that during "time past" they had habitually fulfilled the desires of the flesh and of the mind to the point that they had "naturally" disobeyed God and that God's wrath had been against them while they had lived in such a sinful state (see Ephesians 2). He included himself in this number, as is the case of every hardened sinner yet today. However, thank God there was more to the story and he went on to say that "God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Such is the plan of true salvation!

Concerning the developing of our moral nature, one can be taught that a sinful act is morally right and will believe it until more knowledge is gained. An example of this is the indigenous women of a few third world countries that sacrifice their children to the pagan "gods". Can anyone question their moral sincerity? These uncivilized women have been taught that it's the right moral thing to do, and that the "gods" are well pleased with their human sacrifices. They seemingly have no moral problem with killing their own offspring, even to the point of overriding their God-given motherly instincts. The same is true of persons who carry out terrorist attacks in which they sacrifice their own lives to take the lives of other innocent people. They are taught that such acts of terror are perfectly good moral deeds and that they will be rewarded in some manner in the afterworld. In these instances, a horrendous act is committed but their moral nature, i.e. what becomes "natural" to them, doesn't condemn them because their moral standards have not properly been developed. The Apostle Paul is another example. Before his conversion, the Bible says that he persecuted and wasted the church of God, even causing the saints to be put to death! (Acts 22:4, Acts 26:10-11, Galatians 1:13) He honestly thought that he was doing what was morally right. He had been taught that way. He sincerely thought that he was doing what God wanted him to do! If our moral nature is not properly developed, even our conscience will not condemn us when we are doing something that is blatantly wrong in the sight of God.

Since our moral nature is initially pure and then developed over a period of time, it is not the source of depravity, i.e...it doesn't inherently cause us to sin when we come to the age of reason and accountability.

The "Carnal Nature".

The word "carnal" is synonymous with the word "flesh". In fact, in the King James Version of the New Testament these two words are used interchangeably and are both translated from the same Greek word "sarkikos". This Greek word was used eleven times in the New Testament. Nine times it is translated "carnal" and two times it is translated "fleshly". It should be also noted here, as with other expressions mentioned previously, the term "carnal nature" is actually not found in the Bible. In using this expression, it is understood to refer to the nature of our flesh, or the natural desires of the flesh.

The Bible teaches that man is a two fold being, flesh and spirit, and that these two components constantly war against each other. This truth is clearly outlined in the scriptures and Paul expounded on this subject many times. Galatians 5:16-17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, 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. In Romans 8:8 Paul said "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God." Why is there a war between these two opposing elements? Because of their source. The flesh is of earthly origin, and the Spirit comes from God and is of divine origin.

Now, if our flesh is driving our conduct and we have no way of keeping it under control, we will inevitably be led into sin. Our flesh continually wants to be pampered, be attended to, and have all of it's needs, wants, and desires met. The Bible says that a fleshly mind, or a carnal mind, is not subject to the law of God, and is in open hostility to God. Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. If a person lives after the flesh, or allows the flesh to be in control of their actions, it is impossible for him or her to please God. Even if our moral nature is developed such that we know not to do wrong, if we are living after the flesh, we simply "cannot do the things that ye would". Such is the state of an unregenerate person. Romans 8:3 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, condemned sin in the flesh. The flesh, if left unrestrained or left unchecked, will always lead to sin. The Spirit and the flesh are always at odds, even after we are saved and sanctified. Herein is the source of the sin problem!

How Does The Reality Of Sinful Flesh Effect Man's Nature?

The whole essence of Romans 8:3 is that God sent Christ in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemning sin in the flesh, thereby making a way of salvation in which we can be made free from sin and live victoriously. We know that prior to Christ's resurrection, He had a physical body that was made of the same type of flesh as ours (originating from the dust of the earth, in other words, earthly). In this sense, He was sent in man's image, the image that was passed down from Adam. It is for this very reason that He can relate to our human infirmities (weaknesses) and temptations. If our nature is inherently sinful, as some people teach, this then begs the question: Was Christ's nature then sinful? Or, if this nature is indicative or equivalent to inherited sin: Was Christ born a sinner by virtue of His natural birth? Clearly, the answer to both of these questions is: No. Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Jesus, while "in the likeness of sinful flesh", was still holy and without sin. Also, Adam had the same type of fleshly body as we do and he was said to have been created "in the image of God".

What happens to the nature of our flesh when we get saved and sanctified? Certainly our very heart's desires change and we no longer live after the flesh. In fact, ALL things are become new upon a genuine born again experience. Even our thinking is changed because we are no longer "carnally minded", but rather we are given the "mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16). In other words, we naturally love the things of God and abhor all sinful things. From the moment of our new birth forward, the Bible says that we "should not serve sin" but should live unto him which died for us (Romans 6:6, 2 Corinthians 5:15). But what about our flesh and it's desires and nature? What happens to it once we are saved? Nothing, it remains the same, with all of it's weaknesses intact. What does happen upon receiving salvation is that God gives us His Holy Spirit to counterbalance the nature of our flesh. When one is truly saved, he puts off the developed perversion of the human nature, but not the human nature itself. Being given the victory to overcome the sinful desires of the flesh is not so much an experience in which something is taken out, but it is an experience in which something is put within. Certainly there is no inherited sin, or sin root, in our nature that is totally "eradicated". The nature of our flesh is simply overridden or overpowered (in biblical terms "crucified") by the Spirit and divine nature of God whereby we were made partakers. If such were not the case, why did Paul consistently warn the sanctified saints of God to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh? Galatians 5:16-17 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil 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. 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. Why would Peter have admonished the saints to"abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul" (1Peter 2:11) if the nature of the flesh were changed and the war with the flesh had ceased? This battle between the Spirit and the flesh will never end as long as we are in our earthly body. But until we get our new bodies, thank God there is continual victory for the child of God! Christ came and "condemned sin in the flesh" bringing about salvation such that we can live a daily victorious holy life in Him. Praise His holy name! 1 Peter 4:1-2 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. How is this accomplished in the life of a Christian? By simply receiving the Living Word daily from God, letting it dwell in you richly, and then living in obedience to it through a moment-by-moment walk in the Spirit. Paul said to "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh". Walking speaks of a measured pace, simply taking one step at a time. That is how true spirituality functions: one step, one moment at a time. Herein is the key to successful Christian living.

Eve saw the fruit and it looked good to her. She desired and reached out for the fruit, the devil beguiled her, and she yielded to temptation and sinned. There was nothing wrong or sinful with her feeling of hunger. That was natural. Her physical desire was part of her nature that God had given her. Again, there was nothing sinful about this desire. It was how she fulfilled her desire for food and why she did it that brought about sin. She disobeyed God to meet the desires of the flesh. She choose to fulfill this desire in an unlawful way. Sin is the wrong use of what God has given us.

God gave man the power to choose whom he wanted to serve (Joshua 24:15). Every individual is given a free will. God did this to allow us to truly show our love for Him, not by being forced to serve Him, but rather choosing to serve Him. But, there had to be something to choose from. Therefore, he designed a way that we can prove our love to Him. Since God will not tempt man to commit sin (James 1:13), He gave us a body, with all it's carnal (fleshly) passions, natural desires and needs intact. This nature was by design, not by destiny. The desires of our body will continually want to be fulfilled. Most of the time, our fleshly desires will be in conflict with the Spirit of God. However, all is not doom and gloom! The good news today is that God also provided us with a means of obtaining His Spirit to keep those passions, fleshly desires and needs under control and within His approved limitations. The solution to the carnal nature problem is called salvation! God changes our hearts very desires once we are saved. He does this by giving us His divine nature. 2 Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Once we accept His great salvation, God equips us with everything that we will ever need to live holy and godly in this present world, since this way of living is His requirement. Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. God never gives us a job to do without equipping us with the necessary tools that we will need to get the job done properly. When everything is working in it's proper place, we can keep the desires of our flesh under control and live a sin-free holy life. When the Spirit of God is not working in our lives as He would like to, the flesh will take control and we will miserably be led into sin. We must always allow His divine nature to override our carnal nature, and even our moral nature at times, if there is a conflict between the two. We must always choose God's will over our fleshly desires when they are in conflict with each other. As long as divine nature or agape love abides within, we will choose God's will over any contrary desire of the flesh.

Why Does Mankind, Without Exception Sin?

It could be debated whether or not Adam and Eve possessed the Holy Spirit (whether the "breath of life" in Gen 2:7 was the infilling of the Spirit), however, it is clear that in a picture perfect world, with no such thing as "sin", only a minimum number of commandments to keep, and with divine approval and favor of God resting on their lives, both Adam and Eve miserably sinned. Two for two. 100% failure rate. Why? It wasn't because they were not created right. It was because they didn't maintain what it took to keep from sinning. The failure was not on God's part, but was on theirs. Victory was there for the asking, but they apparently failed to consistently ask for it. We must understand that victory comes through our love for God. We will choose what our heart desires, for where our treasure is, there will be our heart also. We must keep ourselves in the love of God by maintaining and cultivating our knowledge of Him and by keeping close relationship with Him. (Jude 18-25)

We have the same choice today, however, the environment is now much worse. As we have shown, mankind is born in an upright moral state but with an active fleshly nature. People today are not born with the Spirit of God indwelling in their hearts (John the Baptist being the only noted exception). The carnal nature is always crying out for constant and instant satisfaction. Sin, and it's influence, is everywhere in the world. It doesn't take a whole lot of spiritual discernment to see that this old sinful world is no Garden of Eden. The devil has been in the sin business for quite a while and now knows how to work in a greater way than he did back in the garden. He also has a lot of help, including many religious leaders and religious systems.

Like a magnet sitting close to a large metal block, human beings, who are accustomed to having their carnal desires met from the time that they are born, are drawn away by their own lusts and when enticed, they miserably fall into sin when they reach the age of accountability; just as the magnet, once it is loosened, will inevitably go crashing into the metal block. When people reach the age of reason and accountability, they have nothing inside of them, i.e. the Holy Spirit, to protect them from sin and it's influences. The odds are too great against them. Just as both Adam and Eve did in the garden, absent of strong parental influence and guidance, mankind falls into sin shortly after reaching the age of reason and accountability. It is of little wonder that the Bible proclaims that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23.

The Old Man.

The next area of our study is that of the old man. Who is he? The old man is that person that is associated with our unregenerated (unsaved) self. It is he who brings us into subjection to sin through his corruptness. Anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy talk, lies, deceitful lusts, are but just a few of his evil deeds or fruit. The old man is who we were or used to be, before we were saved. The following scriptures outline the old man and his associated deeds:

Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Ephesians 4:22-24 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.

Colossians 3:8-10 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds. And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.

What Happened To The Old Man?

As Christians, no one is proud of who they were or what they did before they received the gift of salvation. In fact, all who are truly saved are ashamed of their past no matter how deep into sin they may have gone. Once saved, why don't truly born-again Christians have the same desires to do the old sinful things that they once enjoyed doing? What happened to the old man that motivated them to do those sinful things? Answer: He was crucified and died. How do we know he died?

Once saved:

1.A child of God is no longer in subjection to the old man and his sinful dominion. Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we (the saved) continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

Romans 6:18,22 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

2.A child of God is a new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ (His body, the Church), he is a new creature: old things are passed away (including the old man); behold, all things are become new (including the new man).

3.A child of God no longer lives after the flesh. Romans 8:1,5,9 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For 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. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Again, when did all this happen? We could answer this question by answering the following questions: When are Christians given the power to cease from sin? or When do Christians become new creatures and stop living after the dictates of the flesh? Answer: When we are truly born-again and genuinely converted. When we get saved, we are made free from sin, we become a new person, and we stop living after the flesh. The Bible says that we become new creatures when we are "in Christ". 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. How do we get "in Christ"? We are in Christ when we get baptized into Him. 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. When we are spiritually baptized into Jesus' body, we become members of the church of God. Finally, when do we become members of God's Church? When we get saved. Acts 2:47 ... And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Tying this all together, we can now scripturally answer the question: When does the old man die? When we are "in Christ". When we get saved, we get into Christ and old things (including the old man) pass away. The Bible is clear on this subject. We know, as church of God people, that it is not permissible to continue to live in sin or be knowingly carnal once we are genuinely converted. God does not approve of a professing saved person still doing the same things that he did when he was out in sin. We cannot be a "new creature" and still live the same old sinful life and have the same old desires. We know that once we are saved, it is not permissible in the sight of God to continue to live our lives to please the flesh. We cannot let "the old man" dictate the way that we live our "new life" because he would lead us right back into sin. If we allowed him to lead us back into sin, what would we be saved from? What would we be converted to? God's requirement is for complete holiness; holiness of heart and holiness of life. It all comes down to this: The old man must be crucified at once, when we get saved, and his works must be totally destroyed, or we don't truly get saved! We must die out to sin once and for all. We cannot wait until sometime later in our experience with God to crucify the old man. The old man must be crucified at the time of our conversion!

A Spiritual Burial.

Where there is a death, a burial is sure to follow. The Bible likens our conversion to a burial. When we are saved, we are actually buried with Christ. Romans 6:3-4 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. The Bible compares our conversion to a burial because there is a death involved. Who dies during this experience? As previously shown, the old man dies and the body of sin is destroyed, and henceforth (from that point on) we no longer serve sin. The Bible is so clear. Thank God for this dying out experience! Also, at this time of death, the new man (Jesus Christ) comes to live within us, making us a new man. My friend, it comes down to this: If you do not cease to sin after conversion, then you are not saved! Paul said in Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. If you are living after the flesh, you are not saved. If you did not become a new creature in Christ, you did not even get saved. In conversion, when we put on the new man, we are empowered to serve God in righteousness and true holiness from that time on. The old man dies, and the new man, Jesus Christ, immediately comes to live within us. To profess otherwise is to stray from the sound teachings of the Bible. As one brother said in regards to the old man, Kill him, and kill him good! How badly this message needs to be proclaimed today!

Renewing The New Man.

The new man, or the new person we become, must be daily nurtured or else he will die. 2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. If the new man is not renewed, the old man will soon make a resurrection. In fact, all throughout our Christian life, the old man will try to raise his ugly head every chance he gets. This is why we must keep him crucified. Luke 9:23 And he (Jesus) said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Paul said that he had to die daily to the flesh (1 Corinthians 15:31) and keep his body under subjection. However, unlike the anti-holiness people claim, Paul did not die out daily to sin. That death was performed only once in Paul's life. But, the Apostle Paul did have to die out to the daily desires and dictates of the flesh. 1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. This daily walk is a repeated and continual walk of consecration and faith. It is "dying daily" to the desires of the flesh by repeated consecration and habitual obedience to the Lord's clearly given directions. It was the indwelling continual presence of the new man, Jesus Christ, which enabled Paul to keep Saul, the old man, dead. The same is true for us today. If we "fall away" by sinning once we are saved, we crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame (Hebrews 6:6). If we crucify the new man, the old man will resurrect and come back to live in our lives again. Our challenge as saints of God is to keep the new man renewed and the old man dead!

Receiving The Spirit Of God.

It is in this area, I believe, that most of the controversy of God's redeeming plan for mankind exists. This is hard for me to personally understand because the Bible is so plain on this subject.
Before we determine when we receive the Holy Spirit, we should know what the Biblical requirements for obtaining the Spirit are, and what the Holy Spirit does for us.

Biblical Requirements For Receiving God's Spirit:

1.Repent and confess our sins: Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

2.A cleansing from all sin and a new heart: Ezekiel 36:25-26 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

3.Forsake our ways: Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

4.Ask God (through His Spirit) to come into our new hearts: Luke 11:13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

If a person will meet these Biblical requirements for salvation, God will give him His Holy Spirit. He will then be born of God's Holy Spirit and adopted into His family.

What Does The Spirit Of God Do For Us?

We could write a complete separate booklet on this subject alone. As saints of God, we are so dependent on the Spirit of God because of what He does for us. The following scriptures just give us an outline of what God sent His Spirit to do for us:

The Spirit brings life: 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

The Spirit causes us to produce Godly fruit: Galatians 5:22-25 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

As Children of God, the Spirit allows us access to the Father: Galatians 4:6-7 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Ephesians 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

The Spirit strengthens the inner man (the new man): Ephesians 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.

The Spirit teaches us about the things of God: 1 Corinthians 2:11-13 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The Spirit brings us under the "Lordship" of God: 1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

The Spirit writes the laws of God on our hearts: 2 Corinthians 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

The Spirit plays a significant role in our cleansing from sin, our sanctification, and our justification: 1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The Spirit translates our body from mere flesh and blood to the temple of God: 1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

The Spirit inhabits every one of God's children: Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

The Spirit quickens us: Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

The Spirit seals us: Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.

The Spirit renews us: Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.

The Spirit makes intercession for us:
Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Being aware of the significance of the Spirit of God in our lives and how dependent we are on Him, it is hard to understand how anyone could claim that a Christian can live a holy life without the Holy Spirit dwelling in their hearts. After all, it is the Spirit of God that initially brings spiritual life to the heart of the believer. He also sustains that spiritual life. Until He abides in our heart, we have no spiritual life (see Rom 8:10, John 6:63, John 14:6, & 2 Cor 3:6).

When Do We Receive The Holy Spirit?

The following scriptures best answer the question about when we receive the Spirit of God:

1) Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Prior to the indwelling of the Spirit of God, the Bible says that we are "in the flesh", i.e. unsaved and unable to please God. Romans 8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

2) We receive the Spirit of God when we become one of God's children, or when we are born into His family. "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba. Father" (Gal. 4:6). Here it is stated that the Holy Spirit has been sent into the hearts of sons of God, those who have been born again, "crying, Abba, Father." Without the spiritual birth, man is outside of the family of God.

3) Furthermore, receiving the Spirit of God must happen prior to entering the Kingdom of God. John 3:5-6 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
4) The Bible also says in Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing (renovation or complete change) of the Holy Ghost. According to the Bible, to be saved, we must first experience:

a) the washing from sin by the blood of Jesus, and

b) the renewing work of the Holy Ghost.

We are not saved nor are we children of God until the Spirit renews us (purifies our hearts from all that defiles, Acts 15:9) by His indwelling presence.

In the church of God, from the time that we are small children, we are taught that we should ask Jesus to come into our hearts and be saved. This is no doubt the prayer of God-fearing parents for their children. I remember as a child singing this song and feeling the deep compassion and drawing power of Jesus:

Into my heart, Into my heart,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.
Come in today, Come in to stay,
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.

True Bible salvation is in the person Jesus Christ (Luke 2:20, Luke 1:67-77). When we receive Him, we receive salvation, or the very gift of God. We are not truly saved until He dwells in our hearts by faith. The Bible says in Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ (or added to His body, the Church) have put on Christ. In reality, Jesus Himself, in bodily form, doesn't leave His throne on the right hand of the Father to come to dwell in the hearts of individual people. However, when we ask Him to come into our hearts, He does send His Spirit. Jesus said in John 14:18 &20 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. When Jesus comes in and saves us, He also baptizes us into Him (His body or His Church, Acts 2:47 ...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit). With us in Him and He in us, we are truly saved and redeemed! His Spirit is the very witness that we are saved, and in the body of Christ. 1 John 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. Without Christ in us, we are not children of God. Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

When do we receive Jesus? When we receive His Spirit. When do we receive His Spirit? When we meet the Bible requirements, truly get saved, and become a child of God, i.e. when we are born into the family of God. It is this experience that makes us complete. Colossians 2:6&10 says: "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him...And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." It is the indwelling Spirit of God that produces spiritual life and transforms an individual who is "dead in sins" to one who is "alive in Christ". Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Cleansed And Filled Within.

God, in His infinite wisdom, knew it would be crucial to our eternal salvation that He gave us His Spirit when He cleansed us on the inside. Jesus used an illustration (Luke 11:24-26, Matthew 12:43-45) of a man who was delivered of an unclean spirit. The Bible says that this man was inwardly swept and garnished, but remained empty. In other words, the man was forgiven and cleansed from his sin, but he didn't receive the Spirit of God. (Keep in mind that Jesus used this illustration to show us what should not happen in the life of an individual. It illustrates the negative effects of not receiving the indwelling Holy Spirit upon conversion. We might say that this man represents someone who simply is seeking forgiveness, but does not desire the power to live a holy life after being forgiven.) The ungodly spirit that the man was delivered from went away and teamed up with seven other evil spirits that were worse than himself. Together, when they all came back to the man, they found him clean, but empty (without the indwelling Spirit of God), and so they took their liberty and all possessed him. When it was all said and done, the man was much worse off than he was before he started because he was subsequently possessed with eight ungodly spirits. Why? Because even though the inside was swept and garnished and therefore clean, he didn't have the indwelling Holy Ghost to protect him from being overtaken by all of the ungodly spirits. You must have the Greater One inside of you if you are to be protected from the "he that is in the world", namely Satan (1 John 4:4). The Bible says that when the eight ungodly spirits came back to the man, he was "empty". Since the man in this illustration wasn't filled with the Spirit of God, these devilish spirits were able to come right on into the man and make themselves at home. The point that Jesus was making with this illustration was that we receive the indwelling Holy Spirit when we get cleansed inwardly (saved) or we're defeating the purpose of being forgiven or pardoned. Without the protection of the Holy Ghost, the devil would be able to come right back in and he most likely would bring more of his spirits with him. We would be completely powerless without the indwelling Holy Ghost. People promoting the teaching that a person can get saved and wait until sometime later in their walk with God to receive the indwelling of the Holy Ghost are promoting a very dangerous doctrine. If God truly gave them their way, they would most likely end up devil possessed! If this teaching were true, a repentant soul would no more get up from an altar of prayer before the devil would be back to reclaim his place of abode.

What Is The Seal Of Salvation?

The Holy Ghost, or the Spirit of God, is the identifying "trademark" or "seal" that we are members of God's family. It is impossible to be a child of God without the Spirit of God: Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. It takes a new birth to be in the family of God. It also takes a continual departing from iniquity to stay in the family of God. Only those persons who are sealed with the indwelling Holy Spirit have the power to overcome sin and continually depart from iniquity. 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

God's indwelling Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are His children. Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: Without His indwelling Spirit, we wouldn't even know if we are saved or not. We would not know if we are the children of God or the children of the devil. This alone is a strong indicator of how much we need His indwelling presence.

A New Heart And A New Spirit.

As was already noted, before we can clean up our outward lives, we must first have the inside purified (Matthew 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also). A new purified heart and a new Spirit must be placed within. This happens when we are converted, as it did after Pentecost in the days of the early morning Church. Our two cleansing brothers and sisters frequently attempt to use Acts 15:9 to "prove" a second work of entire sanctification, or "heart purification". However, if we read verse 3 of this chapter, we can plainly see that the heart purification of the Gentiles took place at the time of their conversion, as it did with the 120 people in the upper room. Acts 15:3,8-9 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

The Bible teaches that at the time of our conversion, or namely when we are born of the Spirit and initially saved from sin, we are given a new heart and a new Spirit. That Spirit, the Holy Ghost, is placed within us, and then causes us to keep the commandments and statutes of God. He keeps us saved. We cannot be saved and disobey the commandments and statutes of God, therefore we cannot be saved or stay saved without the Holy Ghost! John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Also, our new heart is not an old used sinful heart in need of an additional cleansing or a refurbishment, but it is a brand new pure heart that changes our very desires. When we get this new heart and new Spirit, we depart from sinful living and start living holy. We depart from worldly living, and start living godly. We depart from unrighteous living, and start living right. We are translated from the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of God. In simplest terms, we are transformed from a sinner to a saint! (see Ezek 11:19 & 36:25-27)

Christ Uses The Spirit To Baptize Us Into His Body.

Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

The Spirit of God is the person that Christ uses to place us into His body, the Church, when we get saved. Acts 2:47 ...And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved (also see Gal 3:27). The Bible says in Eph 4:6 that every member of the church of God, the body of Christ, has the Spirit of God. He is above all, through all, and in all of her members. There are no such persons as Spirit-void saints in the body of Christ! There are Spirit-void members out in the man-made churches, but not in the church of God. All saints and members of God's Church possess the same Spirit and are placed in the same body. 1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Paul said in Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. That one Spirit is called by many names in the Bible, such as the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Son, the Spirit of adoption, the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Christ, and the Spirit of God, to name a few.

Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

Romans 8:14-16 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Because we are his sons, or members of His family (born of His Spirit), God gives us His Spirit. It is called the "Spirit of His son" or the Spirit of Christ in Gal 4:6. This same Spirit is called the "Spirit of adoption" and the "Spirit" in Rom 8:15-16. In Romans 8:9, it is called the "Spirit", the "Spirit of God", and the "Spirit of Christ". All of these titles represent the same Spirit because there is only one.

For further clarification, we read where Jesus said that when you saw Him, you saw the Father. John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

Jesus told Phillip that when he saw the Son, he also saw the Father. Jesus was in the Father and the Father was in Him (see John 8:19, John 10:38, and John 14:7-20). Jesus doesn't have His own Spirit, the Holy Ghost another Spirit, and God yet another Spirit. These three are one and the Spirit is one (1 John 5:7). If all these "Spirits" were separate Spirits, there would be more than one and the Bible would contradict itself. The Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God and the Holy Spirit are all the same Spirit. The Apostle Paul summed it up when he said in 2 Cor 3:17 The Lord is that Spirit.

The Bible says that we are saved by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which God sheds on us abundantly (not in increments or in parts or pieces) through Jesus Christ our Savior. Having this abundant shedding of the Holy Ghost on us then justifies us before God.

Titus 3:3-7 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified (after the saving, after the washing of regeneration, and after the renewing of the Holy Ghost) by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Another Man-Made Reversed Way.

Some teach that one must be justified first, then sanctified second before receiving the Holy Ghost. This order, like the previous one about cleansing first the outside and the inside later, is also reversed from God's plan. As we have seen in Titus 3:5-7, the Holy Ghost is shed abundantly first, and then we are justified. The following scriptures also consistently outline God's plan of redemption:

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Notice the order: sanctified and then justified before God. In most every case, sanctification, or a setting apart, begins before one is even saved. (For more information on this subject, read Questions and Answers often related to Sanctification by this same author.)

God's grace is really God's unmerited favor toward us. There is not just one work of grace, nor are there just two or three works of grace, hence the notable absence of these expressions in the Bible. God has many works of grace, and His works of grace cannot be numbered and we, as saints of God, rejoice in this fact. The following scriptures outline just a few of God's works of grace:

Justifying Grace
: Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Saving grace: Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

Suffering, perfecting, establishing, strengthening, and settling grace
: 1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Humbling grace: 1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

Standing grace: Romans 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Keeping grace: John 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

David summed up the question of the number of God's works of grace in Psalm 40:5. "Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered." Also, as Peter said "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord". Peter's desire was that God's people should multiply in the grace of God, not just merely obtain one or two works of grace.

Truth or Tradition?

Webster defines a religious sect as a group of people forming a distinct schismatic unit within a larger group by virtue of certain refinements or distinctions of belief or by religious practice. A sectarian is an individual who strictly adheres to or is confined to the dogmatic limits of a particular group of people, sect or denomination. A sectarian is narrow-minded, steeped in tradition and partisan against all others unlike himself.

In far too many cases, the professing church of God has opposed any change to what has now become "the standard norm" in regard to doctrine and tradition, especially among seventh-seal congregations. It is "business as usual", and as a result not too much of the Lord's business is being carried out across our land today. It is clear that some have preferred and have even willingly chosen to hold to traditions rather than truth. In my dialog with such persons, I have come to conclude that some are opposed to change simply because they fear change itself. Far too many have withdrawn well into their "comfort zones" and anything or anybody outside of this zone must be viewed as "Babylon", opposers of truth, and outsiders worthy of uncharitable judgment. As a result, there is very little hope that God can break through these man-made barriers and bring such persons into a closer relationship with Him, nor can He lead them into any further liberating truth. Such was not the case in earlier days. The pioneers were willing to walk in the light of God's Word, no matter what the consequences would be. May God grant us with more people of this mind and spirit.

Summary

We have studied these subjects and issues and have attempted to resolve them by the infallible Word of God. Truth will stand the test of time because truth is the Word of God (John 17:17). It will stand when this world is on fire. The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Through a lack of understanding, and sometimes an unwillingness to walk in light, men have invented many teachings and doctrines contrary to the Word. Some of these teachings have been handed down from generation to generation with their advocates "earnestly contending for the faith once delivered to the pioneers". Many honest souls are bound by traditional "church" teachings, and I fear that some may never come to a full knowledge and understanding of the truth. Some are even afraid to examine what they believe by the light of God's Word. The Bible says "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty". We can rest assured, when a spirit of fear tries to keep us from studying or discussing with others the eternal truth of God's Word, that spirit is of the devil. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. This type of fear will cause souls to end up in the lake of fire. Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Keeping traditions is not always a bad thing to do (sometimes it is even commanded, 2 Thessalonians 3:6), but when our traditions are inconsistent and in open violation to the Word of God, our traditions must be laid aside, and we must walk in the light of God's Word.

Dear soul, every blessing and work that God performs on us is a work of His grace. Let's not limit Him to just one or two or maybe three. The more He can work in our lives to mold, purge, and shape us, the more we become like His Son Jesus. Please study and pray about this truth and ask God to lead you and give you understanding. It really is this simple! As the people of God, we are often times accused of over-simplifying the plan of salvation. However, God's way of holiness is not complicated and hard to understand. The Bible says: Isaiah 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. My friend, God has made plain His plan of redemption for lost mankind. If you have not already experienced it, will you accept it?


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