We have known a man to take the chills and fever, as they used to call it, and take medicine and break up the chills; and for some two or three weeks he would apparently go on without any chills at all. But you could tell by looking at the man that he still had malaria in his system; and as long as that fearful disease was there, any little change in the weather would cause the chills to return and often much harder that at the beginning. What the man really needs is to be treated, not for the chills, but for the fearful disease we call malaria, and given constitutional treatment and have the poison removed from his system, and the chills and fever will never return.
And it is just so with sin. As long as sin is left in the system, anything that may take place or anything that happens -- a cold snap or too much heat, or for the dry weather to hold on too long, or for the rain to come at the time when the fellow wasn't looking for it -- may actually cause the "old man" to get up in a man and cause him to have a spell and grit his teeth and pull his hair. One week he swears the dry weather is going to ruin his crop; the next week he swears the rain is ruining it.
I remember a brother of mine once. As he and I were walking through the cornfield, the corn was needing rain, and he said if it didn't rain in a week he would make ten bushels of corn to the acre, but we walked on and he growled and complained of the dry weather. By the time he got to the middle of the field he said emphatically if it didn't rain in three days he wouldn't make five bushels of corn to the acre. By the time we got to the back side of the field he was gritting his teeth and pulling his hair and swearing violently and almost cursing God, and he declared that if it didn't rain in fifteen minutes he wouldn't make seed corn. Anybody can see that that was the fruits of carnality.
Just as many have thought that to jail a man would cure him of drunkenness or to tie his hands would cure him of theft, others have thought that the trouble could be removed by what they call "growing in the different graces." They call it "growing in the graces and developing the good that is in man." In fact, they claim he always had a spark of divinity in him, and that all that is needed is to fan it a little and he would finally bloom out into a walking saint by trying to develop the good that is in him and trying to hold down the bad that is in him.
We have all found out that growing carnality out of the heart is never God's plan. It has been declared by men who are in authority that there is no way to cultivate a thistle and transform it into a rose. In fact, the more you cultivate a thistle, the larger it grows, the more seed it produces, the more dangerous it becomes, and the more fearful it looks. Growing will never change the character of the thistle. Neither will it change the character of anything else. The more the hog is cultivated and the larger he grows, the more hog you have. You cannot cultivate the goat and change him into a sheep. A big goat is as far from being a sheep as a little goat.
To talk about transforming sinners into Christians by good behavior is one of the impossibilities of life; and the longer a sinner grows in sin, the more sinful he becomes. The only way that a sinner can grow in grace is to grow in disgrace. Development won't change the human heart, and there is no use in talking about growing in grace anyway until we get into grace. You can't ride on a train until you get aboard the train. You can't swim in water until you get into the water. This makes me feel that much that is being done nowadays to improve the human family is mere child's play. But God's plan is to strike at the very root of the matter, and through the precious blood of Christ, our Heavenly Father has made provisions whereby we can be cleansed from all sin.
But someone may say, "Don't we get rid of sin when we are converted?" If they mean the sins we have committed, we answer, "Yes," but if they mean the innate, inborn, inbred depravity that caused us to commit sin, we answer, "No." For the Book said, Ye are "babes in Christ," and "yet carnal." We must not forget that there lies in the human breast something farther back than the sins which we have committed. God has not only planned to get rid of our wrong doing, but God's method is to straighten up our wrong being, because there is something within man that cannot be forgiven, but must be cleansed.
I might give you a plain, practical illustration that came under my own observation. A mother told her little boy one day that the hall had been freshly painted, and he must not get against the wall or he would get paint all over himself. He promised faithfully he would not. So the mother went about her work, and a few hours later she found that the boy had paint all over his clothes. There was a falsehood in the boy and an act of disobedience. Now we all know the mother could forgive her boy for the falsehood and for the disobedience, and she did lovingly, and yet the paint was all over his clothes. So the boy had to have forgiveness for the thing he had done that was wrong, and then the clothes had to be cleansed. The pardon he received did not remove the paint from his clothes; that was another work of grace.
Thank God, He will forgive our sins, blot them out of His book of remembrance, remember them against us no more forever! But bless His name, He will also go farther back and deeper down than pardon! He will go back to the root of the matter and slay the root and seed of inbred sin. This is the only sure cure for that moth that we have been telling you about. The carnal mind doesn't have to be held down like a jack-in-the-box, and when we move the latch he will jump out every time. But if the thing is killed so dead that the life is taken out of it, that little moth of sin will never ruin another spiritual garment. This destruction of sin must take place in this world, for we read that nothing unholy or unclean or that defileth or maketh a lie or worketh abomination can enter into heaven (Rev. 21:27). Remember how Jesus said, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Matt. 6:20-21).
Thank the Lord, there is no moth in heaven. The climate is so pure that moths cannot enter there, and I can. Amen! For such a climate and for such a country and for such a home, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3).
Robinson, Reuben A. (Bud). The Collected Works of 'Uncle Bud' Robinson (Kindle Locations 3865-4067). Jawbone Digital. Kindle Edition.