I. Born or Bred?
1. Stating the problem
a. Romans 8:5-8 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [mind] the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
2. What is man composed of?
a. Genesis 2:7 “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” 3. What does the word ‘soul’ mean?
a. 1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
b. James 3:15 “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” 4. What did the Lord provide give man, in order to keep his soul in balance?
a. Genesis 2:8a, 15 “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; . . . And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” i. Ed, p. 21.2 “Useful occupation was appointed them as a blessing, to strengthen the
body, to expand the mind, and to develop the character.”
◦ Lt22c-1890.9 “No single action makes a man’s character; it is through the repetition of actions that the character is formed; for repeated action form habits, and habits become character.”
◦ COL, 356.2 “Thus actions repeated form habits, habits form character, and by the character our destiny for time and for eternity is decided.”
II. Whom mindest thou?
1. What was man’s estate in Eden?
a. PP, p. 53.1 “Like the angels, the dwellers in Eden had been placed upon probation; their happy estate could be retained only on condition of fidelity to the Creator’s law. They could obey and live, or disobey and perish.”
b. James 1:12 “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried [Grk. approved], he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
2. What caused man’s fall?
a. Genesis 3:6 “. . . the woman . . . she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
b. Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
c. James 1:14 “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.”
3. How is the word ‘mind’ (Rom 8:5-8) defined by Scripture?
a. Colossians 3:2 “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”
b. Matthew 16:23 “. . . thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
c. Philippians 3:19 “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”
4. What does it mean to ‘mind’ carnal or earthly things?
a. 2 Timothy 3:2, 4 “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;”
b. John 8:23, 38, 41, 44 “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” “I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.” “Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” “Ye are of your father the devil, . . .”
5. How are we to form righteous characters?
a. PrT Nov. 3, 1885, par. 8 “It is your own efforts, through Christ, which will bring you perfection of Christian character. When a path of duty is opened before you, you are not to consult your own convenience, but by living faith you are to walk in the path of humble obedience. All who enter heaven will do so as conquerors. You will have a battle to fight; you will have to overcome difficulties by strong, determined effort. But eternal life is worth a life-long, persevering effort.”
b. YI Dec. 15, 1886, par. 4 “Let the youth ever remember that there is something to es- cape, evils to shun. God has given his children faculties, the right employment of which would make them happy. The Lord never designed that they should be employed for our destruction. The structure of a strong, well-balanced character is made by a faithful performance of individual acts of duty in little things. . . . Your deportment, the spirit and feel- ings that you cherish, care and thoughtfulness in the things which are least in every-day life, form the true test of character.”
6. How is ‘duty’ defined by James?
a. James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
III. “Temptation is not sin”
1. How does James describe temptation?
a. James 1:14-15 “But 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.”
2. Is temptation sin?
a. ST, Dec. 10, 1902 par. 8 “Temptation is not sin; the sin lies in yielding. To the soul that
trusts in Jesus, temptation means victory and greater strength.”
b. Ms70-1894.4 “Remember that however trying the circumstances in which a man may be placed, nothing can really weaken his soul so long as he does not yield to temptation, but maintains his own integrity. The interests most vital to you individually are in your own keeping. No one can damage them without your consent. All the satanic legions cannot injure you unless you open your soul to the arrows of Satan. As long as you are firm to do right, your ruin can never take place. If there is not pollution of mind in your- self, all the surrounding pollution cannot taint and defile you.”
3. Does the flesh tempt us?
a. Romans 7:21-23 “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
4. Wherein lies our strength against temptation & sin?
a. SC.47.1 “What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise.”
b. AA.482.1-2 “Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man, who must draw his power from God. On the one side there is infinite wisdom, compassion, and power; on the other, weakness, sinfulness, absolute helplessness.”
IV. The Way of escape
1. Is there a way of escape?
a. 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.”
b. 2 Peter 2:9 “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, . . .” 2. How is this ‘way of escape’ described to us?
a. Romans 7:24-25 “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
b. Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
c. 4SP.324-325 “God declares, ‘I will put enmity.’ This enmity is not naturally entertained. When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin.
“Had not God specially interposed, Satan and man would have entered into an alliance against Heaven; and instead of cherishing enmity against Satan, the whole human family would have been united in opposition to God.
“But when Satan heard the declaration that enmity should exist between himself and the woman, and between his seed and her seed, he knew that his efforts to deprave human nature would be interrupted; that by some means man was to be enabled to resist his power.
“The grace that Christ implants in the soul creates the enmity against Satan. Without this converting grace and renewing power, man would continue the captive of Satan, a servant ever ready to do his bidding.
“But the new principle in the soul creates conflict where hitherto had been peace. The power which Christ imparts, enables man to resist the tyrant and usurper. Whoever is seen to abhor sin instead of loving it, whoever resists and conquers those passions that have held sway within, displays the operation of a principle wholly from above.”
3. Where do we see this enmity perfectly displayed?
a. ST, May 10, 1899, par. 9 “Amid impurity, Christ maintained His purity. Satan could not stain or corrupt it. His character revealed a perfect hatred for sin.”
b. Psalm 40:7-8 “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” 4. How is this enmity implanted into human hearts?
a. Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” 5. What does this new heart create in man?
a. Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: . . .”
b. Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: . . .”
V. The origin of original sin
1. How was sin brought into our world?
a. Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”
2. What is meant by ‘sin’?
a. RH, Apr. 5, 1898, par. 9 “. . . when they [Adam & Eve] accepted the assertions of Satan, which were false, disobedience and transgression were introduced into our world. This disobedience to God’s express command, this belief of Satan’s lie, opened the floodgates of woe upon the world. Satan has continued the work begun in the Garden of Eden.”
3. How was Adam’s sin perpetuated?
a. Genesis 4:8 “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” 4. What do Cain & Abel represent?
a. ST, Sep. 11, 1884, par. 4 “Cain and Abel represent two classes of men that have existed from generation to generation, and will continue to exist to the close of time.”
5. How are the ways of these two sons of Adam contrasted?
a. PP.72.2 “So far as birth and religious instruction were concerned, these brothers were
equal. Both were sinners, and both acknowledged the claims of God to reverence and worship. To outward appearance their religion was the same up to a certain point, but beyond this the difference between the two was great.”
b. Jude 1:11, 19 “. . . the way of Cain, . . . separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”
c. Genesis 4:16 “And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, . . .”
d. Matthew 23:35 “. . . righteous Abel . . .”
e. Hebrews 11:4 “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
f. PP.71.1 “Abel had a spirit of loyalty to God; he saw justice and mercy in the Creator’s dealings with the fallen race, and gratefully accepted the hope of redemption.”
6. Where did original sin originate?
a. Ms8-1888.6 “Well, you say, it was Adam’s sin. You say, I am not guilty of that, and I am not responsible for his guilt and fall. Here all these natural tendencies are in me, and I am not to blame if I act out these natural tendencies. Who is to blame? Is God? Why did God let Satan have this power over human nature? These are accusations against the God of Heaven, and He will give you an opportunity, if you want it, of finally bringing your accusations against Him; then He will bring His accusations against you, when you are brought into His court of judgment.”
b. ST August 29, 1892, par. 2 “There are many who in their hearts murmur against God. They say, ‘We inherit the fallen nature of Adam, and are not responsible for our natural imperfections.’ They find fault with God’s requirements, and complain that he demands what they have no power to give. Satan made the same complaint in heaven, but such thoughts dishonor God.”
7. Did God predestine men to failure & death?
a. PP. 72.4 “Cain had the same opportunity of learning and accepting these truths as had
Abel. He was not the victim of an arbitrary purpose. One brother was not elected to be accepted of God, and the other to be rejected. Abel chose faith and obedience; Cain, unbelief and rebellion. Here the whole matter rested.”
b. SW April 28, 1908, par. 5 “There is no nature so rebellious that Christ cannot subdue it, no temper so stormy that he cannot quell it, if the heart is surrendered to his keeping. Those who are overcome have only themselves to blame.”
VI. What shall we say?
1. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” – US National Archives.
2. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”
3. 2 Timothy 2:14-15 “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the
Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
4. Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”