Resources to aid your Understanding
SINFUL HUMAN NATURE
Subtitle: The Achilles' Heel Of Mankind
One of the more interesting tales concerning the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome was that of Achilles. It was said that when he was born, his mother, Thetis, tried to make him immortal by dipping him in the river Styx. But when she placed him in the water, she held him by one of his heels and forgot to dip him a second time, thereby leaving that particular heel mortal and vulnerable--untouched by the magic waters of the Styx. This oversight ultimately led to his death, because the unprotected heel was pierced by a poisoned arrow from the bow of Paris and guided to its mark by Apollo the sun god.
It appears this myth was an early attempt to explain the obvious vulnerability of mere mortals. And this frailty of the flesh was addressed by the Lord when He said
"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak" Matthew 26:41 (KJV, emphasis mine).
Because of human depravity--our sinful nature--we behave quite predictably and those who study such things have learned that under certain conditions the odds are very good the majority will react in a certain way. And this innate vulnerability continues to be exploited by modern marketing techniques that tempt an unwary public to purchase everything from toothpaste to condominiums.
A former coworker who was a partner in a grocery store at the time, told me of an incident that illustrates this point perfectly. He said that someone putting up stock asked him about what should be done with a stack of 50 pound bags of dry dog food. It was an off-brand displayed near the back of the store and only a few had been sold. The stack had become dusty and it was obvious they were just taking up space--another product needed to be placed there. But in a reply that surprised the stock boy, he was told to dust off the bags and stack them near the front entrance to the store. Furthermore, he was to raise the price 10% and place a sign on them saying, "On Sale!" Needless to say, bargain hunters swallowed the bait and the stack quickly disappeared into shopping carts the very next day! The quality of the dog food had not changed one iota, but public perception of that quality and desirability had been cleverly manipulated. As the circus magnate P.T. Barnum is often quoted as saying, "A sucker is born every minute."
Have you noticed the growing number of advertisements that contain the phrase, "You deserve"? The first time it caught my attention was several years ago when the McDonald's Hamburger chain aired a TV commercial that said in part, "You deserve a break today..." No doubt there were probably other expressions prior to that ad that were similar, but the sentiment continues to be used as a psychological ploy designed to play upon human emotions. And we need to understand that those who specialize in marketing make every effort to appeal to our baser instincts. So what better temptation could possibly be devised than that which satisfies and gratifies self? They almost whisper in our ear, "Go ahead and buy that expensive item, even if you cannot afford it--because you deserve it!" My friends, that particular appeal to our sinful ego will usually do the trick because each and every one of us were born loving ourselves! How dare the circumstances of life deprive us of anything? We are the most wonderful and deserving creatures God ever put breath in, so all the good things of life are our due. Yeah, right! (with a big roll of the eyes).
The truth of the matter is that the only thing we deserve is eternal punishment in the flames of hell.
We are sinners--we do wrong constantly and violate God's standards of behavior. And those standards are reflected to some degree in every culture on earth, regardless of how primitive or refined it may be. Man innately knows right from wrong and his legal systems reflect that knowledge--with only the most obstinate and hardheaded among us denying that wrongdoing is the most common malady of all. The principle of punishment for those who violate man's law is universally accepted, so why should anyone think God will not punish? The Bible clearly states His holiness and righteousness are the standards by which we we will be judged and anything less than absolute perfection is unacceptable! So if you have ever done anything wrong, (and we all have), then you are guilty of breaking God's standard of perfection and are a condemned criminal. The sentence is eternal spiritual death in a place of torment originally prepared for the devil and his angels.
What is the precise meaning of spiritual death? The following Scripture references define it:
• It is alienation from God:. Ephes. 4:18
• It is carnal-mindedness. Romans 8:6
• It is walking in trespasses and sins. Ephes. 2:1; Col. 2:13
• It is spiritual ignorance. Isaiah 9:2; Matthew 4:16; Luke 1:79; Ephes. 4:18
• It is unbelief. John 3:36; 1 John 5:12
• It is living in pleasure. 1 Tim. 5:6
• It is hypocrisy. Rev. 3:1-2
• It is a consequence of the fall. Romans 5:15
• It is the state of all men by nature. Romans 6:13; Romans 8:6
To whom does it apply?
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 (KJV, emphasis mine).
"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" Romans 5:12 (KJV, emphasis mine).
Every human, without exception, is born into this world spiritually dead and alienated from God.
What will be the ultimate punishment for all who die in this state? The answer is an eternal existence in a place that the Bible calls "hell." (Translated from "Sheol" in the Hebrew and "Hades" in the Greek). The English word is derived from an old Norse word, "hel," which was used to describe both the abode of the dead and the goddess who ruled over it. And as previously stated, it was apparently created by God to serve as a prison for Satan and those angels who fell from grace when they followed him in rebellion. Then at some point afterwards--as a direct result of the devil's temptation--all of humanity died spiritually and became violators of God's standard (became sinners) when Adam and Eve disobeyed the prohibition placed upon them. At that point their condemnation and destination became the same as that of Satan and the fallen angels.
So we need to understand that from God's point of view, there are only two kinds of men: (1) born-again sinners saved by His mercy and grace and (2) lost sinners still groping about in spiritual darkness--with the only difference between the two categories being their relationship with Jesus Christ.
"For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God's favor, hurrying us toward destruction]" Isaiah 64:6 (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified, emphasis mine).
So believers who think they are in any way superior to those who are "lost"--those who are spiritually dead and alienated from God--are making a grave mistake. The sad fact of the matter is that in some instances unbelievers live on a higher moral plane than their Christian neighbors! Of course this should never be the case, but saved sinners still sin and if those transgressions are not regularly confessed and cleansed by claiming 1 John 1:9--fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ is broken and over time it can lead to a defeated spiritual existence.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" 1 John 1:9 (KJV)
Wayward and unruly sheep still belong to the Great Shepherd, but they will either endure chastening (Heb.12:6) until they return to Him or be removed from this earthly existence by an untimely death (1 John 5:16). Salvation for a child of God is forever once it is bestowed upon them, but their heavenly reward is very much dependent upon obedience.
Deserve salvation? Forget it! On the best day any of us have ever seen (believer and non-believer alike), we violated at least one of God's commandments and thus are worthy of His condemnation. "What might that particular commandment be," you ask? Check it out:
"But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.  Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment" Matthew 22:34-38 (KJV, emphasis mine).
No mere fallen and depraved mortal can possibly love God with all of his/her heart, soul, and mind--because of the fundamental and irrefutable fact that we love self! That innate self-love is as much a part of being a sinful human as is breathing and not even a Christian can overcome it. We love God more and more as we mature in the faith, but that love pales by comparison to the perfect love the first and greatest commandment requires. And to love Him less than 100% is sin! Deserve salvation?
I have pointed out many time that to enter heaven and stand in the presence of a holy and righteous God requires that one be perfect. Anything less than perfection cannot and will not be tolerated. So are you spiritually perfect in every respect? If not, do you really think it is attainable through self-effort? Please bear in mind that if you have ever broken even one of God's commandments (and you do so on a daily basis)--that forever destroys the possibility of achieving perfection.
Our humanity--our "Achilles Heel"--makes a Savior absolutely necessary. Spiritual perfection must be granted because it cannot be earned. And Jesus Christ, God's Son, made that possible by offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice to atone for sin. And all who receive Him as personal Lord and Savior are rendered perfect in God's sight.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" Romans 6:23 (KJV)
Do you want to go to heaven when you die? If so, you must seek the spiritual perfection that can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ. Bow your unworthy head in prayer and ask for it--all the while realizing He is under no obligation to grant that petition--then keep on asking. Confess the fact that you are a sinner and desperately need to be saved. Humble yourself before Him and beg for His mercy and grace. And above all, believe from your heart by entrusting your eternal soul to Him. Genuine belief is what separates the mere professor from the possessor! Claiming to believe is as "easy as falling off a log," but real heart-felt belief will result in the reception of the Holy Spirit and a changed life. Others will see a different "you" because your walk and your talk will take a different direction in everyday life. Why is this so? Simply because the Holy Spirit of God resides within all His genuine children and their lives reflect that blessed fact.
This is not to say believers will never sin again, because the sad fact is that they will. But with salvation their transgressions become those of a child against their heavenly Father and not their Judge. Spiritual "spankings" are meted out to them for sins committed (Heb.12:6) rather than the death penalty--a sentence that is forever cancelled for the redeemed. And when they finally stand before the throne of God, the very perfection of Jesus Christ will be theirs.
If you have been born again and received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never placed your trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior, but have come to sense His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to receive His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you truly believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order—Kingdom of Antichrist—in their daily news.
Return to Pastoral Articles index
Finally, we would love to hear from you. You can write us at:
Cutting Edge Ministries, C/O Pastor Ron Riffe
P.O. Box 26
Gordo, AL 35466
You can also E-Mail Pastor Ronald Riffe regarding questions or comments about this article.
God bless you.