Part 1 of this 4 part series can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
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“14 For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me: but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Romans 7:14-24
The apostle Paul describes the conflict that takes place in every believer. Even though the believer is a new creation in Christ and is crucified with Christ, he still has the capacity to sin. Because he has a physical body, he will still battle the sinful nature in his body.
In his booklet “Salvation and Rewards”, Clarence M. Keen explains that a believer has two natures. One received from Adam, one from Christ. The old nature is ours through natural generation and our physical birth. The new nature is ours through supernatural generation and our spiritual birth.
He points out that the two natures battle against each other through the entire life of the believer. The “old man” or the “flesh” opposes and fights against the new nature or the Spirit within.
“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:17
The believer wants to do good, but the sinful nature will fight against that desire to do good. It is a choice we all have to make continuously.
This may be an over-simplified example, but I look at it this way:
Before entering a church building, you can tell a child that he can not run or yell in God’s house.
Does this mean that the child ceases to have the ability to run and yell?
The statement of not running or yelling in church is to tell the child how he should behave. It is a rule that should be followed.
The child’s conscience will tell him that it would be wrong to run or yell in church, but he still has the decision to make of whether or not to do it.
Those of us that have accepted Jesus as Savior have the Holy Spirit to tell us what is a sin and point out when we are in error. We have His strength to use to resist that sin, but we still have the decision to make of whether or not to sin. He will also convict us of that sin.
But remember ….
One thing Paul repeatedly emphasizes is that the freedom believers have in Christ does not mean a license to continue in sin. Those who continually follow after fleshly desires do not have fellowship with God.
Next Wednesday … How walking in the Spirit gives us the ability to fight the sinful nature.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2012