Bible Proof Of Inbred Sin I
The Two Sin Offerings The Twofold Presentation Of The Blood The Fountain Of Cleansing The Purging Fire “The Stony Heart.”
Some writers have said that, while there is no a verse or passage of Scripture that teaches by direct statement a second work of grace, yet that the books of the New Testament are written in recognition of such a work; and, taken as a whole, are an exhortation to the believer to press on and obtain the grace.
We believe that the second work is taught in both ways: laid down in a general way, as just mentioned, but also taught specifically in verse and passage.
In like manner inbred sin is taught in both ways. It is shown up in the different books of the Bible by a recognition and admission of the evil, and by exhortations and directions in regard to its removal.
We marvel that a man can read the New Testament and not see the distinct recognition of the evil nature left in the believer, and be impressed with the urgent appeals and commands to press on to a certain and blessed deliverance.
No goal was ever plainer before the eyes of the racer than the possibility of the obtainment of purity and perfect love in this life is made to shine before the gaze of the regenerated man.
With these prefatory remarks, let us see where we can find the “remainder of iniquity” taught in the Bible.
Inbred sin is first recognized in the Levitical rites of the Old Testament, in the requirement of two different kinds of animals in the sacrifice for sin–viz., the bullock and the goat. The goat is a coarser and ranker animal than the bullock. In this way God is pleased to call attention to and illustrate a deeper, darker, ranker nature of sin than is seen in the life of personal transgression. There is a stratum of evil underlying one’s actual sins, concerning the existence of which the man is again and again admonished in his own consciousness. The bullock stands for personal sins and guilt; the goat represents that darker something called depravity or original sin.
Again inbred sin is recognized in the twofold presentation of “the blood.”
Let the reader turn to Leviticus v. 9, and ask why is it that part of the blood of the sacrifice was poured out at the side of the altar and part at the bottom of the altar? The verse quoted reads: “And he shall sprinkle of the blood of the sin offering upon the side of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall be wrung out at the bottom of the altar; it is a sin offering.” All this is significant, and means what countless millions have found out in their experience: that the blood of Christ is presented and used twice for the full cleansing of the soul.
Let the reader also note this truth taught again by observing that the priest entered the Holy Place with blood, and when once a year he entered the Holy of Holies beyond the veil, he had to go back to the altar and get blood again and fire. Here was a twofold presentation of the typical blood in the tabernacle or temple, one in the outer and the other in the inner sanctuary.
What is all this but the truth shadowed forth that the blood of Christ is needed and has to be offered or appropriated twice? It was in the Holy of Holies that the second presentation of the blood took place, and then and there the coals of fire brought in at the same time. It is when the blood of Christ is trusted for the second work of purifying or sanctifying that we get the fire upon the soul.
Inbred sin is recognized again in the double work done by the fountain opened up in the house of David, as described by Zechariah xiii. 1: “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.”
The word “and,” which we have Italicized, is a copulative conjunction, and means that something else is done. The fountain of Christ’s blood does a double work. It cleanses our personal sins, and it can remove the uncleanness of an inherited depravity. This uncleanness is felt to be left in every converted man, manifesting itself in thoughts, desires, imaginations, inclinations, selfishness, irritability, intolerance, and in many other ways.
Again inbred sin is taught clearly in the experience of Isaiah. In the first eight verses of the sixth chapter of the book called by his name, nothing could be clearer. Isaiah at the time was the prophet of God, and while in the temple God revealed the heart-plague in him, which Isaiah called “uncleanness,” but God termed “sin” and “iniquity.”
That it was not personal transgression is seen in the declaration that it was “purged” and “taken away.” Personal sins have to be forgiven, and the soul is cleansed by the washing of regeneration; but inbred sin is purged away by the baptism of fire, which was the very element God used in this case. The coal of fire from the altar touched him, the flame flew through him, and the thrilling announcement of deliverance was instantly made: “Lo, thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.”
Inbred sin appears again in Ezekiel xxxvi. 26: “I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh.”
Let the reader turn to this passage and read the entire paragraph, verses 23-28. Several things will at once impress the thoughtful mind; one is that the prophet was not speaking of regeneration at all, but describing a blessing that God was going to give his people in the future. There has not been a time that men have not been justified and regenerated. The patriarchs and prophets were men of God. Ezekiel himself was a servant of the Lord of the profoundest spirituality, as can be seen in his writings. Yet here he is speaking of a great coming blessing.
The twenty-third verse shows conclusively that not regeneration but sanctification was in the mind of the prophet when he spoke of the cleansing from all filthiness, and the removal of the stony heart. The verse reads: “And the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” This is the trouble today in regard to the mission work, the Church before the eyes of the heathen is not sanctified. The reason that God does not project us in great bodies into the heart of Asia and Africa is that we are not sanctified, and he does not want the heathen to see the feeble type of piety we possess. It is well known how our type of Christianity impressed the visiting Asiatics during the late great Exposition.
Besides this the very terms used in the passage, “all filthiness” cleansed, “all idols” taken out, all show that regeneration is not spoken of; for Paul distinctly says that filthiness of flesh and spirit is left in the regenerated; and we all recognize plainly in the converted man the idols of family, self, reputation, position, ambition, etc.
The crowning proof is seen in the expression, “stony heart.” This is felt to be left in the regenerated. There is a universal witness to this.
What is meant by the stony heart? The Bible, of course, does not teach that there is an actual rock in the breast, but is speaking figuratively. A stone is something cold, hard, and heavy. Has the converted man at times a cold, hard, heavy feelings in his soul? Who will dare to deny it?
It is not felt all the time. Some days the heart is light, tender, and warm. But suddenly, and at the most unexpected and undesirable of times, the stone is felt inside. The very gladness of others may bring it about. It is realized under some proposition from the pulpit. It leaps into being while kneeling at the altar. It has been strangely observed at the communion table just when one wanted to feel deeply. It arises at other times in the breast without any known cause.
A leading member and steward of a large city church said once to the author: “Your sermon greatly touched me, but when you invited us to the altar my heart turned as cold as a stone!” O, the stony heart!
One of the most prominent women in a Kentucky city withstood the power of a great revival meeting for eight days, but on the ninth day she flung herself at the altar with a loud, bitter cry that those who heard it will never forget: “O, my God I take out of me this stony heart!”
The regenerated man who reads these lines knows that he has that stony heart. Child of God as he is, yet a hard nature is left in him or his own consciousness, and the experience of the Christian world amounts to nothing.
Ezekiel says that there is a blessed work of grace in which that “stony heart” shall be taken out. If God’s children still feel it remaining, then is there a blessing to be had that they have not yet obtained; for the prophet says that it shall be taken out.
Notice that the stony heart is to be ” taken out,” not suppressed or kept under. If taken out, we will certainly know it. Observe also that it is God who removes the trouble from the soul; not growth, not death, not purgatory. Listen! it is God speaking: “I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh.”