Home > Uncategorized > Sin Nature or Divine Nature? part 2

Sin Nature or Divine Nature? part 2

In my previous blog I showed that for Christians, our continuing sinful desires are attributable, not to a sinful nature, but an unrenewed mind. That is, we do not have two equal forces within us battling for control – one that desires evil, the other good. Instead, we have the righteousness of Christ in all its perfection, but a mind that is struggling to catch up with the spiritual reality of our righteousness.

I am aware that many will still struggle with this concept, but I urge you to take seriously the scriptures which clearly show our freedom from sin, primarily in Romans 6. If you continue to believe in your heart that you are still a captive of sin, then you will continue to live as if this is true. It reminds me of a memorable scene from Shawshank Redemption, one of my favorite movies. The movie is about a group of prisoners in Shawshank Penitentiary. In a pivotal scene, the character Red (played by Morgan Freeman) says the following:

These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, it gets so you depend on ’em. That’s institutionalized.

There are a lot of “institutionalized” Christians out there. They’ve become so used to the walls and bars that keep them imprisoned, that they can’t imagine life without them. Even though Jesus’ sacrifice has broken the chains that kept us bound, and flung open the prison doors that kept us restrained, many of us have chosen to remain in our prison cells, sleeping in confinement rather than living in the freedom that has been purchased for us.

Yet there is a continuing struggle to get our thoughts into perfect alignment with the spiritual reality that already is, as the previous analogy indicates. The problem is not that we are in need of freedom, the problem is that we need to recognize that we are already free! Let’s delve a little deeper into this:

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Galatians 5:17

Some see this verse  as evidence of a dual nature within us – there is our sin nature (i.e. flesh) and the divine nature (i.e. the Spirit). In fact, this concept is so embedded in many people’s minds, that there are even some translations (namely, the NLT) that use the words “sinful nature” here instead of “flesh.” However, the word “flesh” here is not referring to a sinful nature, but simply sinful desires. Thus our sinful desires are in contradiction to the desires of the Spirit of God who lives in us. Really, the pivotal verse in this passage is the one that comes before this one:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:16

If there were two equal but opposing “natures” in us, then there would be no hope of ever truly overcoming the desires of the sin nature. Yet here, Paul gives a very simple solution – walk by the Spirit. That is, direct your life, guide your steps, give yourself wholly to the divine nature which now exists in you, and it will utterly conquer any sinful desire in you.

This brings up another point. Many assume that their sinful desires are evidence of a continuing sinful nature. Many feel that if there was no continuing sinful nature, then those struggles would not exist. Though this may sound surprising, I believe this struggle is quite possibly the best evidence that your nature has in fact changed! When you were a sinner, there was no struggle at all when you sinned. However, now that you are righteous, your momentary lapse in judgment, your reversion to what was creates a sharp dissonance that is troubling to you. Everything in you screams that this is not right, that you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing and a great sorrow and remorse sets in. If your nature had not changed to desire righteousness instead of sin, you simply would not have this experience.

But again, so many are “institutionalized” to believe that they can never be free, that they can never break loose from the grip of sin on their lives. There is simply nothing sadder than a Christian continuing to live in bondage when such a glorious freedom has been purchased for them and placed at their fingertips.

Whatever sin you are struggling with today, simply lay it down. Acknowledge that God has something far better for you, trust him. You are already free! Whatever you once were, whatever sins you once committed, whatever failures you once endured, know that you are these things no longer.

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
1 Corinthians 6:11

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