The Bible Proof Of Inbred Sin IV
“Carnal” “Filthiness of the Spirit” “Sin Which Besets” “Superfluity of Naughtiness”
In this chapter we begin with Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, and find the thing that we are looking for in the very outstart.
In I Corinthians iii. 3 we have the words: “For ye are yet carnal.”
We are not left in doubt about the religious condition of the Corinthian Christians with such expressions in the first and third chapters as follows:
“The church of God which is at Corinth,” “Sanctified in Christ Jesus,” “Called to be saints,” “The grace of God which is given you,” “In everything ye are enriched by him,” “brethren,” “babes in Christ,” etc.
All regenerated people are called “saints” in the Epistles. They are not, as some suppose, “called to be saints.” The two words “to be” are in Italics to show that they are supplied. The true reading is “called saints.” The expression “sanctified in Christ Jesus,” as applied to regenerated people, is perfectly correct according to the Bible and Methodist standards. There is a measure of holiness or sanctification in regeneration. The doctrine that we preach is that of entire sanctification. Paul’s prayer was: “And the God of peace sanctify you wholly.” The term “babes in Christ” settles the fact of the regeneration of the Corinthians. If “babes,” they certainly must have been born of the spirit.
Now concerning these very people, Paul declares in I Corinthians iii. 3 the fact that they are “carnal.” The word in the Greek is “sarkikoi,” and means “carnality,” “the flesh,” or “fleshliness.” One can easily see that it is not the body referred to, for it would be silly to say: “Ye have yet a body.”
So regenerated Corinthians, according to the words of inspiration, have carnality or fleshliness in them. Alas for Zinzendorf and his American followers who claim that regeneration brings a pure heart, utterly failing to distinguish between a new and a pure heart! They are not the same. They are recognized as different in the Bible, and felt to be different things in the moral consciousness.
So the regenerated Corinthians had carnality! And so have regenerated Americans, Englishmen, Frenchmen, and every other kind of men, until they allow the Saviour to burn it out.
This is the sum of general observation, and the testimony of experience, that carnality is left in the regenerated soul.
When we feel it in ourselves, see it in others, and read these plain statements in the Word of God, how is it that men can have the assurance to stand up and deny the fact? We come to another expression in 2 Corinthians vii. 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.”
The spiritual relation of these same Corinthians is still recognized in the words “dearly beloved.” As a church they had done wrong things, just as we see churches doing today. The explanation of these same troubles and aberrations in both cases is to be found in the “filthiness of the spirit” which Paul mentions here.
So there is a “filthiness” left in regenerated people! The Bible here plainly says so. Alas for Zinzendorf and the “makers of another gospel!”
We have only to listen to the prayers of regenerated people to hear them confess to this same filthiness within. They deplore inward uncleanness. They beg for clean hearts, and cannot pray the simplest ordinary prayer without admitting again and again the truth for which we are contending in this book.
It is not a filthiness to be pardoned, but cleansed.
We are told, it is true, to “cleanse ourselves” from this filthiness. This at first glance would seem to indicate that it was a personal transgression after all. But we have only to call attention to kindred phrases like: “Save yourselves,” “Pray without ceasing,” “Be ye holy,” and others. We know that in each instance we are called to a state and experience that no man can bring himself into. No one can “save himself” nor “pray without ceasing” without the sanctifying grace of God, nor “be holy” until the purifying fire of Pentecost descends. We are called to these states, and by complying with certain conditions we instantly find ourselves uplifted by Divine grace and power into the blessing itself.
So here we are to “cleanse ourselves” in the same manner. Who believes that a man can take a “filthiness of spirit” out of himself? If he could, he would be a Saviour. But he aims repeated blows at the external manifestation of the inward uncleanness, separates himself from every appearance of evil, and, placing himself on the altar, believing and praying, suddenly God does the work, and the man filled with joy feels that the foulness is gone and he has a pure heart.
The words “perfecting holiness” show something that has not up to that time been obtained and enjoyed. One meaning of the word “perfecting” in the original is “to bring to an end,” “to finish,” “to complete.” Surely there is a perfecting of holiness, a blessing called entire sanctification; and when it is accomplished, we above all others know it.
Still another recognition of inbred sin is to be found in Hebrews xii. 1: “Lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.”
There is a marked difference in the Scripture between the plural “sins” and “sin” in the singular number. Both Paul and John are very clear in their discrimination between the two. The first are to be forgiven, the second is to be “destroyed,” “put off,” “laid aside,” etc.
It is sin in the singular number that “the Lamb of God taketh away;” it is sin in the singular number that is cleansed by the blood of Christ while we are in the light as he is in the light, and having fellowship one with another; right then while in the light the Blood cleanses away that sin of the singular number. It is that same “sin” as opposed to transgressions or “sins” that the apostle says is to be “laid aside.”
What is this “sin which doth so easily beset us” that is spoken of here but inbred sin. The colored preacher was not so far wrong when he read the verse: “The sin which doth so easily “upset us.” It is the besetting sin of every child of Adam. It is in all, but cannot be forgiven. The words used to describe the manner it is dealt with are “put off,” “taketh away,” “laid aside” and “destroyed.”
In James i. 21 we have another view of inbred sin in the words: “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness.”
That a body of Christians is being written to is evident from the frequently recurring phrases, “brethren,” “beloved brethren,” and the advice given them in regard to the treatment of different classes in the house of God.
There is no rebuke, no instruction given them; but what is delivered to believers today in warnings about the tongue and the way of treating the poor and rich.
To these same “beloved brethren” who have already “the engrafted word,” he says: “Lay apart all superfluity of naughtiness.” This expression has puzzled many, and once mystified the writer. For a long time he supposed that it referred to an abounding in wickedness. But one of the finest Greek scholars in the land informed him that if he would consult the Greek Lexicon he would discover the true meaning to be, “the remainder of iniquity,” or “a residue over and above.” Truly there is a remainder of iniquity, a residuum of sin.
Then here is the word “filthiness” used again. And it is to be laid apart. It is remarkable how invariably the idea of separation is impressed whenever this dark residue of sin is mentioned in the Bible. It is never to be forgiven, but the great fact of removal and separation is always taught.
If some one would say that the filthiness here may be questionable practices and habits, that we see regenerated people at times drifting into; then the other expression “superfluity of naughtiness” or the remainder of iniquity still remains to show up the fact of inbred sin.