Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: What Makes the Difference Between “A Pure Heart” and a Heart That Sins?

Dear Friends of “Dial Daily Bread,”

What makes the difference between “a pure heart” and a heart that sins? We answer glibly, “Jesus.” Yes, of course; but why does He purify some people’s hearts and not everybody’s? What is the anatomy of sin? When we want “a pure heart” but end up again committing the horrible sin that we hate, what’s gone wrong? “If, while we seek to be justified by Christ we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin?” (Gal. 2:17). Is there some fine print in the “contract” we haven’t noticed?

A thoughtful writer said something way back in 1900 that we can’t say any better: We “are not saved by being delivered utterly from the flesh, but by receiving power to conquer and rule over all the evil tendencies and the desires of the flesh. ... If [we] were to be saved by being delivered from all temptation, and set in a realm of no temptation, then Jesus need not have come into the world. But never, by any such deliverance as that, could [we] have developed character. Therefore ... Jesus came to the world, and put Himself in the flesh just where [we] are; and met that flesh just as it is, with all its tendencies and desires; and by the divine power which He brought by faith, He ‘conquered sin in the flesh,’ and thus brought to all mankind that divine faith which brings the divine power ... to deliver ... from the power of the flesh. ... Instead of Jesus’ trying to save men in a way in which they would be limp and characterless, by setting them in a realm of no temptation, He came to man ... in the midst of all his temptations, ... and by that conquest brought victory to every soul in the world. ...

“Adultery begins in the unclean thought, the lascivious desire. ... [Jesus] was ‘touched with the feeling of our infirmities’ because He ‘was in all points tempted like as we are.’ ... ‘Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts [his own desires and inclinations of the flesh] and enticed’ (James 1:14). All this Jesus could experience without sin, because to be tempted is not sin. It is only ‘when lust hath conceived,’ when the desire is cherished, when the inclination is sanctioned,--only then it is that ‘it bringeth forth sin.’ And Jesus never even in a thought cherished a desire, or sanctioned an inclination, of the flesh. ... In so doing, He brought complete victory, and divine power to maintain it, to every soul in the world.” *

If the 1900 language bothers you, here is the point: Now receive what He has given you.

--Robert J. Wieland

* Alonzo T. Jones, Review and Herald, Sept. 18, Oct. 2, 1900.

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 15, 2003.
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