What’s the “Nature” of Man?
The bible tells us that a human being is made up of two “natures”. We have a physical nature, and we have a spiritual nature. Genesis 2, verse 7 tells us; Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, (that’s our physical nature) and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life..” (that’s our spiritual nature)
Genesis 1:27 says; “And God created man in His own image; In the image of God, He created him; Male and female He created them.” “Male and female”, is our physical nature; “In the image of God” is our spiritual nature.
In Romans 7, verse 22, Paul refers to his spiritual nature, as “the inner man”. And in verse 23, he refers to his physical nature, as “my members”. In other words, the members of his body.
I wonder why God created us with two natures? Why not just one? Why did God not simply create us with a spiritual nature? After all, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 15:50) So then, why did God give us flesh, in the first place?
And not only that, but “The flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another..” (Galatians 5:17)
And so if that be the case, and the bible says that it IS the case, then why would God do that? Why would God create us with two natures, which are in opposition to one another? I’m not even going to presume to have the answer to that, but I just want you to be aware of our situation. And God wants us to be aware of it also.
God Explains our Dilemma
Actually, God Himself explains our situation to us, through the words that He inspired the apostle Paul to write, in Romans 7:14 thru 25; Listen to the explanation that God gives us..
“For we know that the law is spiritual..” Paul is talking about the law of Christ, not the old law of Moses. The law of Moses was in itself, a “fleshly law”. But the law of Christ is a “spiritual law”. So then “We know that the law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold under sin.”
Now, there’s an important point to make here. When Paul says “I am of flesh, sold under sin”, who is he suggesting has “sold us under sin”? What Paul is saying, is that because of his fleshly nature, and it’s inherent propensity to sin, that he (as well as all of the rest of us) have sold OURSELVES, into the bondage of sin. Make no mistake about it, we’re the ones who sell ourselves to sin, when we fail to control our lusts, for fleshly things. God hasn’t sold us into sin, by giving us a fleshly body. WE have sold OURSELVES into sin, by obeying the lusts of the fleshly body.
Don’t forget what God tells us through the writings of James, in James 1, verses 13 thru 15; “Let no one say when he is tempted; I am being tempted by God; For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone! But each one is tempted, when he (or she) is enticed, and carried away, by their OWN lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” And when that happens, you have sold yourself under the bondage of sin.
So Paul says that “I am of flesh, sold under sin. For, that which I am doing, I don’t understand; For I am not practicing what I like to, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” Paul had learned to hate sin, but yet he finds himself sinning anyway! He wants to do the things that God has told him to do, but he says; “That which I’m doing, I don’t understand, for I am not doing what I like to, but I am doing the very thing I hate!”
Why do We Continue to Sin ?
It was hard for the apostle Paul to even understand, how he could still be falling victim to the temptation to sin, even when, in his spirit, he hates sin! But still he sins! And that IS hard to understand, why do we do that? Why is it so hard for us to control our lusts? Certainly you would think that the apostle Paul, would have had the inner strength, to control those fleshly desires. But listen to the rest of what he wrote.
We’re still in Romans chapter 7, beginning with verse 16; “But if I now do, what I do not want to do, I consent that the law is good.” In other words, the desire within Paul, was proof that he does agree with the law of God. He simply could not always control himself, to obey that law. So then yes, even the apostle Paul was guilty of sinning! Just like we are guilty of sinning, from time to time.
So here’s what Paul says; “So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me.” I thought the Spirit of God was supposed to be dwelling in us? Isn’t that what the scripture says? It says in Romans chapter 8, verse 9; “However, you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.”
But now Paul is saying that sin “indwells me”. How can that be? Surely the spirit of Christ was dwelling in the apostle Paul, but yet he says; “but sin indwells me”. How could the Spirit of Christ dwell in him, but at the same time say that “sin indwells me”? How can they both dwell in a person, at the same time?
Paul is going to explain this what’s going on here. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” You see, the Spirit IS dwelling within Paul’s spirit, but sin is dwelling in his flesh! To put it another way; The flesh has it’s own agenda. An agenda that’s different from your spirit’s agenda. And that’s exactly what Paul wrote in Galatians 5:17; “The flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; For these are in opposition to one another.”
Back to Romans 7:18; “For the desire is present in me, but the doing of the good, is not.” Now verses 19 & 20; “For the good that I desire, I do not do; But I practice the very evil that I do not desire. But if I am doing the very thing I do not desire, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.”
Now listen to how Paul sums it up, but this really is how God sums it up, because it’s God who inspired Paul to write this.. Paul is going to tell us about the laws of God.
Verses 21 thru 23; “I find then, the law, that while desiring to do good, evil is present in me.” That is a law of nature. It’s a law of man’s nature, that evil is present in me! That’s exactly what Paul said; “I find then the law; That even when I desire to do good, evil is present in me.”
Paul went on to say; “I delight in the law of God, down from the inner man.” Let me stop for a minute; The “inner man” is our spiritual nature. Did you know that our spiritual nature is on a higher plane, than our physical nature? It’s only reasonable that it would be. Our physical nature simply originates from the dust of the ground, but our spiritual nature, well, it originates from the breath of God!
So Paul says; “I delight in the law of God, down from the inner man.” (Down from that higher nature) Our “inner man” should be controlling our “outer man”, or as Paul phrased it “our members”. Our spirit should be controlling what our body does! Remember what the bible says in Romans 12, verse 1? “I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” In other words, demand that your body does what your spirit wants it to do! Demand it from yourself!
Present your body to God. Use your body to accomplish the will of God. Let your spirit, control the actions of your body. Force your body to do what your spirit wants you to do! You’re fighting a war, in case you didn’t realize it. Your spirit is at war with your flesh. That’s what God tells us, in verse 23. Listen..
“I delight in the law of God, down from the inner man; However, I see another law, in my members (in his body) waging war, against the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin, which is in my members.”
There’s two laws at play here. There’s the law of God, and then there’s the law of the flesh. One law dwells in our spirit, and the other law dwells in our flesh. “Wretched man that I am.” Paul says in verse 24; “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” If we could be freed from our bodies, then we could be freed from death.
Living in a physical body, is like a death sentence. Paul calls it, “this body of death.” You cannot overcome the lust of the flesh, all by yourself. It’s a law that God has ordained. Sin dwells in you! And in me! That’s why Paul said; “I see another law in my members.” And that’s why it’s a fact that “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1, verse 8). Because the truth is, there is a law, that God has ordained, that sin lives in our flesh!
And that’s why Paul says in Romans 7, verse 25; “Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Thanks be to God, because without God, your flesh will condemn you, and you’ll suffer eternal death. Paul goes on to say; “So then I myself, indeed serve God’s law with my mind, but with the flesh, the law of sin.” But “thanks be to God”.
Thank You Father, for Jesus
You know why we can thank God so much? Because God Himself, took on a body of sin, in the form of Jesus Christ. “He emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance, as a man.. (He appeared to be a man, but He was God!) So.. “Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:7 & 8)
He took on a “body of death”, and He allowed that body to be put to death! And that’s what we need to do. We need to put our bodies to death, so that our spirits can be alive in Christ. Romans 6, verse 6, says; “Knowing this, that our old man, was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be made of no effect! The body of sin, wherein the law of sin dwells, is made of no effect. It’s nullified, it’s destroyed, it’s put to death! “..that we should no longer be slaves to sin; For he who has died to sin, is freed from sin.” Thanks be to God!
How is our “old man”, and our “body of sin”, “crucified with Him”? Here’s the answer, Romans 6, verses 3 & 4 tells us; “Or do you not know, that all of us who have been baptized into Christ, have been baptized into His death? Therefore, we have been buried with Him, through baptism, into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father, so we too, might walk in newness of life.”
And Romans 8, verse 1 tells us; “There is therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Thanks be to God!
Now, listen to these next two verses, and see how Paul make a reference to the old law of Moses, and how it is likened to the law of the flesh that he’s been talking about..
“For the law of the Spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Paul is contrasting the law of Christ, which frees us from sin, with the law of the flesh, which states that sin dwells in the flesh.
But now listen to the next verse; “Because of the inability of the law, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sent His own Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
Thanks be to God, that we’re not under the old law, but we’re under. And thanks be to God that sin has been condemned in the flesh. And thanks be to God that we have the opportunity to put our sinful body to death, so that we can live with Christ.
Without Jesus Christ, you don’t have a hope in the world. You don’t have a hope or a prayer. But with Christ, well, like the scripture says; “There is therefore, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Thanks be to God, that we can hear His word, and know that Jesus is the Christ. That we can repent of our sins, confessing our faith in Christ, and that we can bury that old man in baptism, and that we can arise to walk in newness of life. And thanks be to God, that “He has granted us everything, pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him”, so that we can remain faithful until death.