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The Two Natures and Abiding

1. THE FOLLOWING DIAGRAMS DEPICT FOUR SPIRITUAL CONDITIONS.

Adam and Jesus  

Gen1:27  So God created man in His own image; …

Gen2:7  Then the Lord God … breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being. (only said of man)

Gen1:31  God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. … (no imperfections, nothing lacking)

Rom5:14  …He (Adam) is a prototype of the Coming One.

1 Cor 15:45  …The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving Spirit.

Phil2:5-7  … Christ Jesus, …emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men.

Heb4:15 (Jesus) ...One who has been tested in everyway as we are, yet without sin.

All unbelievers Rom3:23  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Rom3:10-12  … There is no one righteous, not even one. … there is no one who seeks God. … There is no one who does what is good, not even one.

1 Cor 15:22  For as in Adam all die, …

Eph2:12  …without hope and without God in the world.

Thought:  God can only accept that which is perfect (100%, without blemish).  Nothing that originates from the human nature has that quality.  The unbeliever is devoid of His life.  Only God alone can produce anything of eternal value.


The condition of abiding in fellowship with the Holy Spirit  Gal5:16  …walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Gal5:22-23  … the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.


The condition of not abiding with the Holy Spirit  Gal5:17  For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other.

John15:4-5  … Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. … because you can do nothing without Me (i.e. nothing of eternal value).

Rom8:8  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.


Thoughts:

Even though I am walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit (#C), and have no unresolved issues, not all that I do is motivated by Him, or is even pleasing to Him.  As I allow Him to grow and mature me, He will increasingly have more freedom to bear His fruit.  If I find myself out of fellowship with the Holy Spirit (#D), it is by my choiceI do not need to be out of fellowship with the Holy Spirit any longer than I choose to be. Restoration to the condition of abiding fellowship (#C) will take place immediately upon confession of the offense(s) for which the Holy Spirit is holding me accountable.  We have freedom in Christ ... not independence.

How can I know if I’m out of fellowship with the Holy Spirit (#D)?  Usually symptoms indicate an ailing body.  Similarly look for “on-going” spiritual symptoms of the sinful nature, such as: Stumbling, Striving, Impatience, Lack of peace, Frustration, Sense of defeat, Dissatisfaction, Complaining, Worry, Anxiety, Anger, Irritability, Addictive behavior, Critical or Judgmental attitude, etc.

2. GOD USES TREES AND PLANTS TO CONTRAST THE TWO NATURES.

The Divine Nature in the Person of the Holy Spirit

Jer 17:7-8 The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.

Psa 1:3 He (a righteous man) is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Matt 7:17-18 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, … A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; …

Gal 5:17-23 … But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

2 Pet 1:4 … He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, …


The corrupted sinful human nature from the 1st Adam

Jer 17:7-8 The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends its roots out toward a stream, it doesn’t fear when heat comes, and its foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought or cease producing fruit.

Psa 1:3 He (a righteous man) is like a tree planted beside streams of water that bears its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

Matt 7:17-18 In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, … A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; …

Gal 5:17-23 … But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

2 Pet 1:4 … He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, …

3. JAMES COMPARES THE HUMAN NATURE TO A “SALT WATER” SPRING AND THE DIVINE NATURE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO A SPRING OF “LIVING WATER”

James 3:9-12 … Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way. Does a spring pour out sweet and bitter water from the same opening? Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a saltwater spring yield fresh water.

John 7:37-39 … Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, he should come to Me and drink! The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” He said this about the Spirit. … (See John 4:13-14)

4. THE HUMAN NATURE IS SINFUL, INDEPENDENT, AND BEYOND REPAIR.

Jer 17:9 The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable, …

John 6:63 The Spirit is the One who gives life. The flesh doesn’t help at all. …

Rom 3:10-12 as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one. … there is no one who seeks God. … All alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one.

Rom 7:18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. …

Rom 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Gal 5:17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.

5. MAN ATTEMPTS TO IMPROVE OUTWARD BEHAVIOR, BUT GOD FOCUSES OUR ATTENTION ON THE ROOT PROBLEM - THE SINFUL HUMAN NATURE. OUTWARD BEHAVIOR IS SIMPLY THE EVIDENCE OF THE REAL PROBLEM.

Matt 5:21-22 (Jesus said)... “You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.

5:27-28 “You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matt 15:19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies.

6. THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW IS TO MAKE EVIDENT THE SINFULNESS OF MY HUMAN NATURE, IN ORDER TO PERSUADE ME NOT TO RELY ON IT, BUT RATHER ON THE HOLY SPIRIT. (See also Galatians 3:1-3)

Rom 3:19-20 Now we know that whatever the law says speaks to those who are subject to the law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment. For no one will be justified in His sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin comes through the law. (See also Heb. 7:18-19)

Rom 5:20 The law came along to multiply the trespass. …

Gal 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Rom 4:15 For the law produces wrath. And where there is no law, there is no transgression.

Rom 5:13 … sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law.

Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Referring back to Point 3 The Law could be pictured as a sign beside a salty spring in the desert, “WARNING! THIS WATER IS CONTAMINATED AND UNHEALTHY TO DRINK.” Salt-water “looks like” fresh water, but it is unable to support human life.

7. IN ROMANS, CHAPTERS 7 - 8, PAUL PRESENTS THE HOPELESSNESS OF THE HUMAN NATURE AND GOD’S PERFECT SOLUTION.

Note: In the following verses, “death” refers to “absence of life”, that is, devoid of life originating from God. (for example, a salt water spring).

  1. From God’s perspective the believer has “died to” (freed from) the sinful nature, and has been joined to Christ.

    Rom 6:18, 22 and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. … you have been liberated from sin and have become enslaved to God, you have your fruit, which results in sanctification—and the end is eternal life!

    Rom 7:4 … you also were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, so that you may belong to another—to Him who was raised from the dead—that we may bear fruit for God.

  2. As an unbeliever I was dominated by my sinful nature, which resides in my physical body.

    Rom 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions operated through the law in every part of us and bore fruit for death (absence of life).

    The fact is, Christians died to sin. The Greek aorist (past) tense for “died” suggests a specific point when the action occurred, at salvation. Death, whether physical or spiritual, means separation, not extinction (cf. vv. 6:6-7, 14). Death to sin is separation from sin’s power, not the extinction of sin. Being dead to sin means being “set free from sin” (vv. 6:18, 22 above). That being true, Paul asked, How can they live in it any longer? Obviously believers cannot live in sin if they died to it.” Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Scripture Press Pub., Inc.) 1983, 1985.

  3. Now, as a believer, I have been freed from bondage to the sinful nature.

    Rom 7:6 But now we have been released from the law, since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old letter of the law.

  4. God never intended the Law to be a means by which humans could make the sinful nature acceptable to Him, but rather He used the Law to demonstrate how “totally unacceptable” the sinful nature is.

    Rom 7:7-13 … I would not have known sin if it were not for the law. For example, I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, Do not covet. … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good. Therefore, did what is good cause my death? Absolutely not! On the contrary, sin, in order to be recognized as sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment, sin might become sinful beyond measure.

  5. Paul experienced what every Christian needs to learn, that the sinful nature is not the least bit improved since I became a Christian. No matter how I try, I cannot make it conform to God’s character.

    Rom 7:14-16 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am made out of flesh, sold into sin’s power. For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

  6. Paul became aware that the sinful nature cannot be changed. It no longer represented his real desires, but what other option did he have?

    Rom 7:17-24 So now I am no longer the one doing it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it. For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do. Now if I do what I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me. So I discover this principle: When I want to do what is good, evil is with me. For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body?

  7. God’s solution for the hopelessness of the sinful human nature was not to repair or overhaul the old nature, but to provide a new nature that is totally compatible with His character. Paul did not reside in Rom. 7, nor should I.

    Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.

    Rom 8:1-4 Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. What the law could not do since it was limited by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in flesh like ours under sin’s domain, and as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be accomplished in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    Rom 8:5-8 For those who live according to the flesh think a bout the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. For the mind-set of the flesh is death (absence of life), but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    Gal 2:19-20 For through the law I have died to the law, so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me

Illustration: The Law of Gravity illustrates how my Human Nature continually attracts me away from God. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, … (Gal. 5:17). My sinful nature influences me spiritually similar to the way gravity influences my physical body. I am always aware of gravity and am continually making adjustments so as not to be overcome by it. If I trip or fall I don’t have to stay down. No baby begins the physical life walking.

... walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16

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