SHEPHERD’S ROD VOLUME 2 TIMELY GREETINGS NO. 23
KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS
THE STONY HEART AND THE CARNAL MIND
Vol. 2 Timely Greetings Nos. 23, 24
THE ONLY PEACE OF MIND
Numbers 23, 24
Copyright, 1948, 1953 Reprint
All rights reserved V.T. HOUTEFF
KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS
THE STONY HEART AND THE CARNAL MIND
THE PEOPLE THAT HARDLY STAND A CHANCE
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TEXT FOR PRAYER
Sowers Of The Seed
I shall read from Christ's Object Lessons, beginning on page 57.
"The sowers of the seed have a work to do in the preparing hearts to receive the
gospel. In the ministry of the world there is too much sermonizing, and too little
of real heart-
We are to pray that we shall realize that we are not saved merely by the sacrifice
of Christ but that we are to strive to be like Him in life and character, and as
we interest ourselves in the salvation of others, our own lives will be refreshed;
that we shall do more heart-
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KEEPING THE COMMANDMENTS,
THE STONY HEART AND THE CARNAL MIND
TEXT OF ADDRESS BY V.T. HOUTEFF,
MINISTER OF D. SEVENTH-
SABBATH, JANUARY 17, 1948
MT. CARMEL CHAPEL
Our text of Scripture is found in Revelation 22:14, 15.
Rev. 22:14, 15 -
Here we see that only those who do His commandments have the right to enter the City. When the work of salvation is finished and the people gathered home, they will be those who will still keep the commandments of God, even after sin is eradicated. Sin nevertheless cannot be eradicated while the law is transgressed, for the transgression of it is sin. (1 John 3:3, 4.) The Commandments of God, you see, are eternal, and only when Christians begin to live the life which the Word of God advocates, will they find themselves living above the law; then only will they be free from transgression.
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Finally, if the commandments of God are eternal, then they must have always existed. The Sabbath that was made and hallowed in the week of creation, before sin came, is contained in the commandments. And, too, Adam could not have sinned if the commandment, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me," had not then been in existence.
Rom. 7:7 -
Saint Paul's inspired statement places the ten commandments, you see, in the very framework of the Gospel. Without the commandments, he declares, the followers of the Gospel would not know what sin is.
Here we see that the law does not save but it condemns; and that without the law there would be no sin. The law did not save Adam and Eve, but it judged them unworthy of the Tree of Life and of a home in Eden. In fact, it sentenced them to death. The law is only a teacher of righteousness. That is all. It is not a saviour.
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that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin."
The people who obey a state law think it an excellent statute of liberty, but those who delight in sinning, to them the law is anathema. Any murderer who by law has been sentenced to death, naturally does not delight in the law that sentenced him, nor in the people that executed his sentence. If such a one had his own way, he would abolish the law. All criminals would do away with the law of God, too, for the law is spiritual, and they carnal, sold under sin.
What would happen if there were no law in the Kingdom of God, no law against murder and theft, or against envy and jealousy? Who would want to be in the Kingdom even for a time? If such were the case, then, of course, we would be better off in the kingdoms of the world.
The Decalogue, moreover, is not only a moral code, but also a physical one, for sin against the law involves the sinner's descendants, too. It visits the "iniquities of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation." Ex. 20:5.
Then, too, every descendant of Adam is naturally born in sin, is given to sin:
Rom. 7:15 -
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Such being man's lot, the carnal man hates the law of God, and more so because it crosses his will.
Rom. 7:16 -
If one abstains from theft, he consents that the law is good and effective, although by nature he might like the idea of stealing.
Here, you see, we are born with the law of sin within us, and so it is absolutely necessary for the law of God to restrain us from sinning.
Rom. 7:24, 25 -
Yes, God and His law in our minds, which we acquire only by the study of the Word of God
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are our only hope for victory over the law of sin and the flesh.
Rom. 8:1 -
The moment we accept Christ as our Saviour, all of our trespasses against the law are blotted out, and paid for by the death of Christ. Were this not the case we ourselves would have to pay the penalty of death, from which there is no resurrection to eternal life.
Rom. 8:2 -
Here the apostle introduces another law, the law of the Spirit of life -
"Because the carnal mind is enmity against
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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. 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. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 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."
It is our privilege to have the same Spirit that was in Christ. In fact, we must have this Spirit if we are to walk in newness of life, and if we are to have a part in the resurrection of the just.
From Paul's discourse you see that to be a Christian means to watch every step you make, and to war against your own flesh, lest you willfully fall into the pit from which there is no escape. The Christian, moreover, cannot sin; his righteousness in Christ is absolutely secured, for Christ has paid the penalty for his past sins. Moreover, if he should accidentally sin again, he has an Advocate to plead his case, even Jesus Christ, the righteous. Thus it is that though a righteous man fall seven times a day, he rises up, still continues the race and finally wins.
But suppose that you should have to struggle to keep the commandments of God in
the Kingdom of God throughout eternity, should have to struggle as you struggle now?
Suppose the law of the flesh should stay with you forever? -
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then? Would you then be as anxious as you are now for a place in the Kingdom? God tells us what to expect.
Here is a promise of a new contract, a new covenant. It is not the kind God made with our predecessors in the day they came up out of Egypt, the day He wrote the commandments on tables of stone and thus to keep them. Instead He makes a new covenant, a covenant to write them on our very hearts. Then every one of us will consequently know Him without having to be taught.
Take notice, though, He is not to make a new law, but a new covenant, a new contract for keeping the law. The difference is that rather than His writing the law on tables of stone, He will write it on the fleshly tables of the
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heart, the seat which the law of sin now occupies.
This covenant, you see, is to be made with both the house of Israel and the house
of Judah, -
The scripture, remember, does not say that we cannot keep the law while it is written on the tables of stone, but it definitely says that we can, for those who broke the law are reproved for so doing. We can, therefore, even now inconveniently keep the commandments though they be still written on stones. For convenience sake most Christians wish the law were abolished, and some make themselves believe that it has been abolished, although the only law that has been abolished is the ceremonial, sacrificial law, the shadow of the Lamb of God.
What difference would there be whether the law be written on stone, or on our
Had the king by force been made to live with the cattle, in a stable or in a field, he would have committed suicide if possible. But as soon as God took his human heart away from him, and put the heart of an ox in him, the king was perfectly contented to be with the cattle, and altogether discontented to live in his palace.
Were the same thing done to anyone of us, our desires would be the same as the king's. In like manner, when the stony heart is taken away from us, and the heart of flesh with the
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law of God written on it put in us, we shall then find it altogether too inconvenient to sin, and most delightful to keep the commandments of God. And so you need not fear having to struggle to keep the law of God in the Kingdom, as you do here. You will then be perfectly contented to live a sinless life. In fact you will want to sin no more than you would now want to die.
Wonderful indeed! but when may we expect this miracle to take place? To find the answer to this question, we need connect Jeremiah's prophecy with Ezekiel's prophecy of the same event:
Jer. 31:8 -
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The records from both prophets clearly point out the time in which this miracle will be performed on the hearts of all God's people. Both prophets make it as clear as can be made, that this change of heart takes place in the Holy Land, Palestine, at the beginning of the kingdom which God promises to set up "in that days of these kings" (Dan. 2:44), not after their days. He moreover says that He will take us from among the heathen and gather us from all countries, and take us into our own land (Ezek. 36:24), the land in which our fathers dwelt (Ezek. 36:28). "Then," at that time, says Inspiration, not before, will He sprinkle clean water upon us, cleanse us from all filthiness, and from all idols. Also, a new heart will He then put in us (Ezek. 36:26). He will give us His Spirit and cause us to comply with His statutes, and to keep His judgments (Ezek. 36:27). Read these scriptures for yourself and see if they say all I am trying to tell you they say.
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and shall compass about to Goath. And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever."
People can believe anything they wish to believe, but we will believe the Bible. I know that this is what the Bible teaches, and that this is God's schedule for these events. And since this is God's program for the cleansing of His people, and for their receiving the new heart, our message becomes exceedingly important to all who wish to be in the Kingdom. We can but put our heart and soul in the work, though, and leave the results to God. If we ever had to be all out for God and none for self, it is now.
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