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That Which






There is some confusion in the minds of many people in the understanding of certain Scriptures, which on the surface at least, appear to be contradictory.  Let us now examine these for a few moments, reading first of all from Romans 6:1-14:

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know you 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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection;

"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. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin ONCE: but in that He lives, He lives unto God. LIKEWISE reckon you ALSO yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you,"

Notice what Paul says in verse 6 about the "old man" - it is crucified.

Alongside this, we will now read Galatians 2:20:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives 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."

Paul is here testifying to an abiding experience of crucifixion with Christ. In other words, the old Saul who once destroyed Christians, who once was full of malice, hate, revenge, etc., is dead and buried, crucified with Christ! The new Paul is a man of compassion, tender sympathy, love, etc., and filled with reverence for his Saviour. They are two different individuals altogether.

But when we teach this truth to people, often this objection is raised -"But doesn't Paul say, 'I die daily'? Every day his old carnal nature had to be crucified again." Let us then read what Paul actually does say in 1 Corinthians 15: 30-32:

"And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantages it me, if the dead rise not? Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die."

Before going any further, we need to notice two statements from the apostle John on the Christian life. First, 1 John 3:9, 10; then 1 John 5:18:

"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil." "We know that whosoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not."

We can be sure that Paul's obedience was just such as described in those words, for Paul was truly a Christian and obedient. All true obedience comes from the heart, and if we consent, God will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him, we shall be but carrying out our own heart impulses, and in this way we shall sin not! It is truly the outcome of a deep love, the same principle which makes it impossible for a woman to commit adultery while she loves her husband.

As God says in another place:

"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 a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and he shall keep My judgments, and do them." Ezekiel 36: 26, 27.

This being so, how can we understand the statement made in Hebrews where we are told that sin will always be fighting us and that to resist it will take such an effort as may draw blood? Such is not the experience of a loving wife!

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself [enduring all that sinful men could say against Him,-J. B. Phillips' translation], lest you -be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not yet resisted unto blood. striving against sin." Hebrews 12:1-4.

And how about this statement in Galatians 5:11?

"For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would."

A correct understanding of these two points will reveal them to be in perfect harmony, and that the second does not deny the truth that, when he was obeying God, Paul was simply carrying out his own heart impulses. The same Paul, at the same time, found that every day his will and desires did conflict with duty and the will of God; but instead of following inclination, he did the will of God, however unpleasant and crucifying to his nature!

In order to understand this, we must again remember that in the Bible we often have two things which are called by the same name, but which are, in fact, vastly different. For example, in the Old Testament the prophets simply spoke of the coming of Christ and did not identify which, the first or the second advent, it was left for the Bible student to do that. The Jews failed to do so - to their own eternal loss! And, likewise, we must understand and know the difference between two things here that are called by the same name, but which are quite different, revealing these Scriptures to be in perfect harmony.


Study to show yourself

approved unto God,

a workman that needs not to be ashamed,

rightly dividing

the word of truth.


Let us look at the nature of man as described to us in 1 Thessalonians 6:23, and see in the diagram these three aspects of man.





















Carnal OR

Spiritual nature











In the Christian at rebirth the carnal nature is crucified to death, and the spiritual nature takes its place (see previous pamphlets for proof), and when we receive that divine spiritual nature, we become the sons of God. The incarnation is repeated, in a sense. Jesus asked, "Whom do you say that I, the Son of man, am?" And Peter said, "You [the Son of man] are the Son of the living God." Christ was the Son of God; Christ was also the Son of man; divinity was tabernacled in humanity!

And to us also are given "Exceeding great and precious promises: that by these YOU MIGHT BE PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE." 2 Peter 1:4. We are given this gift through the love of God that we may have Christ in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27) for salvation is a free gift. And yet it can be bought and sold, for in the parable of the pearl of great price, (Matthew 13:45, 46), the merchant man bought it at the cost of all that he had. Christ is a gift, but only to those who give themselves, body, soul, and spirit, to Him without reserve. To possess this treasure we are to give ourselves to Christ, to live a life of willing obedience to all His requirements, as His purchased possession. We cannot earn salvation, but we are to seek for it with as much interest and perseverance as though we would abandon everything in the world for it.

What is the great motivating force of the divine nature? It is love: self-denying, self-sacrificing, self-renouncing love. But what is the greater driving force, the motivating power of the physical human nature? It is self-preservation, self-care.

We must not forget that we have, and keep until death, or translation, the same physical human nature, the flesh and blood body. We do not teach holy flesh, but we do teach holy character. These two natures, which are called by the same name are, in fact, very different. We should always carefully distinguish between the human nature and the moral nature, the hand and the heart, both of which are sometimes called "flesh" in the scriptures.

Now we can turn back to our Bibles and examine the objection and the verse on which it is based, in its context. Most people who raise this objection simply quote, "1 die daily." But what is Paul actually writing about? Is it the carnal nature? Or the physical? Read it again:

"And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."

And now in the New English Bible:

"And we ourselves - why do we face these dangers hour by hour? Every day I die: I swear it by my pride in you, my brothers-for in Christ Jesus our Lord I am proud of you."

Then the Revised Standard Version:

"Why am I in peril every hour? I protest, brethren, by my pride in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day!"

James Moffatt's translation:

"Yes, and why am I myself in danger every hour? (Not a day but I am at death's door! I swear it by my pride in you, brothers, through Christ Jesus our Lord.)"

The Amplified New Testament:

"(For that matter), why do I live (dangerously as I do, running such risks that I am) in peril every hour? (I assure you) by the pride which I have in you in (your fellowship and union with) Christ Jesus our Lord, that I die daily - that is, that I face death every day and die to self."

And finally, J. B. Phillips' translation:

"And why should I live a life of such hourly danger? I assure you, by the certainty of Jesus Christ that we possess, that I face death every day of my life! And if, to use the popular expression, I have 'fought with wild beasts' here in Ephesus, what is the good of an ordeal like that if there is no life after this one? Let us rather eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die!"

When Paul says, "we are in jeopardy" or peril, or risk, what was being threatened? His human life, or his spiritual life? In his second letter to these people Paul explained at greater length' this peril. 2 Corinthians 4:7-12:

"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always [daily] bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway [daily] delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you."

In the Bible, the word "alway" and the word "daily" are translated from the same Greek word, so here in the second letter where Paul says "always", or "continually", or "daily" bearing about in the body the "dying of the Lord Jesus", he is saying the same thing as in the first letter, where he wrote, "I die daily". Paul was reminding his brethren that as Christ's messengers, he and his fellow-labourers were continually in peril. The hardships they endured were wearing away their strength. Suffering PHYSICALLY through privation and toil, these ministers of Christ were conforming to His death. But that which was working death in them was bringing SPIRITUAL life and health to the Corinthians, who by a belief in the truth were being made partakers of life eternal, the divine nature. Again in chapter 11:26-29 - J. B. Phillips' translation:

"In my travels I have been in constant danger from rivers and floods, from bandits, from my own countrymen, and from pagans. I have faced danger in city streets, danger in the desert, danger on the high seas, danger among false Christians. I have known exhaustion, pain, long vigils, hunger and thirst, doing without meals, cold and lack of clothing.

"Apart from all external trials I have the daily burden of responsibility for all the churches. Do you think anyone is weak without my feeling his weakness? Does anyone have his faith upset without my longing to restore him?"

In Romans chapter six we read about being buried with Christ in baptism unto death, and we know that this refers to the carnal nature, or spirit as clearly as can be, not to the human nature, for we are still alive physically after baptism, Galatians 2:20. Similarly, here we can know that it is the human nature which is being referred to, and not the carnal nature, for the moral nature of man does not suffer physical peril.

We can find the same picture in the life of Jesus in His experience the night before the crucifixion in the garden of Gethsemane. Luke 22:41-44.

"And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if You be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done. And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

J. B. Phillips' translation of Matthew 26:36-44 reveals even more fully the terrible anguish and despair of that experience:

"Then Jesus came with the disciples to a place called Gethsemane and said to them, 'Sit down here while I go over there and pray.' Then He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be in terrible distress and misery. 'My heart is nearly breaking,' He told them, 'stay here and keep watch with Me.' Then He walked on a little way and fell on His face and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from Me - yet it must not be what I want, but what you want.' Then He came back to the disciples and found them fast asleep. He spoke to Peter, 'Couldn't you three keep awake with Me for a single hour? Watch and pray, all of you, that you may not have to face temptation. Your spirit is willing, but human nature is weak.' "Then He went away a second time and prayed, 'My Father if it is not possible for this cup to pass from Me without My drinking it, then your will must be done.' And He came and found them asleep again, for they could not keep their eyes open. So He left them and went away again for the third time using the same words as before."

Then verse 45 in the Amplified translation:

"Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of especially wicked sinners whose way or nature it is to act in opposition to God'."

Was it the disciples' carnal nature that made them sleep? Was it Jesus' divine heart of love that shrank back from that experience? Never! What was the great impulse of His spiritual nature? Even when He saw what it would cost His human nature, His heart said, "Go on, even unto death." But what did His human nature do, that humanity which He had in common with us? It shrank back, tried to draw Him away from the pathway, and what did Jesus have to do? The same as we have said of Paul; instead of following inclination, He did the will of God, however unpleasant and crucifying to His nature-His human nature. "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (desires)." Galatians 5:24.

But we know that His great heart of love, in its very impulse to go on - His own desire - was in complete harmony with the will of His Father. Thus it was in the garden of Gethsemane, and so it may be with us! The spirit may be willing, but the flesh can indeed be weak.

Now let us see in what sense it is, that this is a crucifixion, a death.

Whenever God calls upon you to do some act of service, it is going to cost you something. It will cost you time. It will cost you energy at the least. It may cost you money as well; more than that, it may cost you friends; it may even go so far as to cost you your home, your country, and in the end it may even cost you your life. So when God calls upon you to make a sacrifice, you know that it is going to involve "so much," that is, a certain price. And when He asks for "so much" of your existence, how much does He expect to get of what He has asked? All of it! Then when you give all, you thereby declare that you have submitted your human nature to the point where, if God had asked "that much" and then "some more", you would still have given "all" that was asked. And what is the possible end of such a course? Just this-it can come to the place where God asks for all, even to the giving up of life itself, and what would you do? You would give it! Not to obtain salvation of course, for that is the gift of God which you already have, but as an act of obedience, your reasonable service.

In the Bible it is written that if a man hates his brother in his heart, he is a murderer. Matthew 5:21, 22. And this is so in fact, because when you hate your brother in your heart, you are venting against him all that the situation has drawn out of you so far. And if the hate is developed to its ultimate, what would you do? You would murder him! The oak is in the acorn! The full deed is in the seed!

In like manner, every time that you give all of your life which God has asked for at that particular point of time, God counts that as if you had given your whole life. It is a death. You have died. And every day, God is going to call upon you to make those kind of sacrifices!

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1. "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name. But to do good and to communicate (do good and to share our good things - J. B. Phillips' translation) forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." Hebrews 13: 15, 16.

But when God calls on you, what is your human nature going to do about it? Protest! It is going to rise up and say, "No! This is going to cost you something. Be careful, you cannot afford to give that money; you cannot afford to help those people; you cannot afford the ridicule which will come; you cannot afford to lose your work - you have got to live." And so your human nature rises up, a powerful surging force of self-preservation urging you to draw back from this sacrifice.

On the other hand, the heart of love which God has given to the Christian says, "Come on, give your life in service, count your human life as nothing." And, in between, the mind or will must weigh, and consider, and decide whether to go with the human nature, or with the divine nature; one way or the other. HERE IS THE CHRISTIAN'S BATTLEGROUND. You may not have always understood the true force of the will, but just as soon as a Christian sets his will to obey God's will, and makes the choice to let this decision cost his human nature what it may; to go forward to do the will of God; then the power of God comes in and he can crucify the human nature, to death if need be. An angel from heaven would strengthen us if it was necessary. You must be like Paul and say as he did in his letter:

"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." 1 Corinthians 9:27.

By living faith, we are to know that when we come to God with our sinful carnal nature, the Lord takes it out and destroys it, and in its place He puts a new nature, a spiritual one. Then it is that you may say, "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." Then with Christ working in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same works - works of righteousness, obedience. John 14:12. Then we shall find that when God commands and we obey Him, we shall be but carrying out our own impulses, the impulses of the new nature which He has given to us.

But at the same time we still have this weak, defective flesh, 6,000 years of degeneration from the perfect human nature of Adam before the fall. This flesh which finds itself so easily beset by sin; which loves self-gratification, ease, security, and self-preservation. We are going to have to take up our cross and deny this flesh every single day of our lives, for the inclination of its will and desires will be in conflict with the will of God. There is a device representing a bullock standing between a plough and an altar, with the inscription, "Ready for either" - willing to swelter in the weary furrow or to bleed on the altar of sacrifice. This is the position the child of God should ever be in - willing to go where duty calls, to deny self, and to sacrifice for the cause of truth. The Christian church was founded upon the principle of sacrifice. "If any man will come after Me," says Christ, "Let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." Luke 9:23.

Every day we will have to refuse to pamper and gratify our human nature, as Jesus did to His human nature. We must refuse to give it what it cries for, so that every day we too can say, "1 die daily".

Let us hope that this is now clear, that it has helped you to understand the many statements in the Bible about removal, eradication, taken out of, and away from; for all of these apply to the carnal nature and are the works of God alone. Then when you read about discipline, bringing into subjection, control, education, etc., you will know that this applies to the human nature, for God does not take away appetite, lawful desires, etc., but leaves you free to choose to yield them to Him. You will always become hungry; you will be thirsty; you will prefer an easy bed to a hard one; you will want to avoid sneers and criticism; you will feel love and hate from others as before; these are natural to human nature, and must always be so. Human nature is to be counselled, educated, trained; but you cannot educate, train or bring into subjection the carnal nature, for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be! Romans 8:7. It must be taken clean away, eradicated.

We hope now that you understand the difference between these two things which are different and yet are called by the same name, for if you do not, you will have a confused gospel, and, like the Jews, you may make a shipwreck of your faith, and may fail of entering into the kingdom of God.



Some more applications of the principle:


but called by


Isaiah 53:1-6 Advent in humiliation                                                   Psalm 50:3-6 Advent in glory

John 2:12-17 Cleansing temple at start of ministry                                     Mark 11:12-19 Cleansing temple at end of ministry

Romans 10:21 Israel the visible church of God                               Romans 2:29 Israel the invisible church of God

Galatians 4:25 Jerusalem the earthly city                                       Galatians 4:26 Jerusalem the heavenly city

Hebrews 11:13 Death the first temporary                                  Revelation 20:12-15 Death the second permanent

Revelation 20:4-6 Resurrection of the righteous                          Revelation 20:7-9 Resurrection of the rebels

Daniel 8:13-14 Judgment investigative                                        Matthew 25:31-46 Judgment executive

Daniel 7:9-10 Judgment by the Father                                                       2 Corinthians 5:10 Judgment by the Son

Romans 7:4 Marriage of believer at conversion                                 Revelation 19:7-9 Marriage of the church at end of time

Ephesians 1:13-14 Seal of God at the beginning of purchase                Revelation 7:4 Seal of God at final payment  

Ezekiel 9:4-6 Mark of God                                                         Revelation 14:9-11 Mark of the beast



To ancient SDA's ............ To "What's New?"