Last week we introduced the subject of the works of the flesh. These works spring forth from what the Bible calls the flesh, meaning the fleshly nature abiding in every unsanctified person. This is sometimes referred to as the carnal nature and also the Adamic nature. We will attempt to show the difference in this nature and the spiritual nature.
From the beginning, man was created pure and holy. His nature was singular being a pure nature. When the first man Adam, chose to sin his nature became corrupted by sin and the spiritual nature died. This spiritual death along with the natural death was the result of his disobedience to the command or law of God. Since that time every human being born into the world has been born with a sinful or fleshly nature which was inherited from the original father of the human race, Adam.
When Christ came into the world He brought forth the remedy for this spiritually dead condition. By faith in His substitutionery death we become regenerated by justification. (See Matthew 19:28 and Titus 3:5.) Regeneration means the renewing of the spiritual life that was lost when Adam sinned. It is an instantaneous work of grace performed in the heart simultaneous with the born again experience making us children of God.
Since we can only be forgiven for our own individual sins and not the sins of another, when we are born again we therefore still have the fallen nature or the fleshly nature. At the same time the new spiritual nature has been introduced into our hearts. There is therefore a constant war going on with the two natures, each vying for pre-eminence of our hearts and actions. The spiritual nature usually wins this battle because we are so in love with our new found Lord, Jesus Christ.
When the fleshly nature gains the upper hand we must immediately ask God’s forgiveness if we intend to maintain our Christian walk with Him. This is no doubt why some believe that there are sinning Christians. But that is not the case because one cancels out the other. The fact of the matter is that when we fail to seek forgiveness we revert back into sin and are no longer a child of God. (See First John 3:9.)
Pertaining to the two natures, consider this scripture from 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The forgiving part is when God forgives us of the actual sins we committed. The cleansing part is when God through the blood of Christ eradicates the sinful nature and destroys it from our heart. After this experience which is known as sanctification, we are freed from the desire to sin and can then live a holy and clean life in Christ. There will be more said about this wonderful experience in upcoming discussions.
Walter Lofton is a local pastor at the Church of God in Seth and can be reached by email at [email protected]