Monday, November 16, 2009

The sinful nature - that is why ...

God certainly has a way with us. He knows us fully and comes to us in His own good timing.

I had directed many questions to him, particularly over the weekend. His word came to me very clearly yesterday via Calvin's Sunday School artwork, which carried the verse I posted here yesterday - Matthew 28:20b. God tells me surely he is with me always.

This morning, his word came to me again, and this time it is pretty loud and long. I need to spend much time reading through this passage and working it out.

Basically, I had asked him why is that while I know I trust in him, I cannot feel or experience the peace that is from him. I began to wonder if peace is only a feeling. But I am quite sure peace is either there or is not there. I can't orchestrate it. So something is not right since I did not have the peace that God is so willing to give.

He gave me the answer here in this passage from Romans.

From 7:25b, it is clearly stated that in my mind I am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature, I am a slave to the law of sin. At this present time until the Last Day when all is made perfect in Christ, we will have both this mind in Christ controlled by the Spirit and the sinful nature in us. Until and unless I release myself to the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, I will be living in my sinful nature who will be narrating what I should think or do or feel. And I will not be with peace, the peace that only Christ can give (John 14:27) because, "the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God." (v.7-8)

There's more:

Romans 7:25b-8:17
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.



  1. There's this book by John Flavel, The Mystery of Providence ... might be of interest. I'll see if I can snap photos on the particular passages that might be of help. :)

  2. Sin nature or just the flesh? Seems like this idea of natures is a bit vague even if it is embraced by some theologians.

  3. KB,
    Both sinful nature and flesh are used in the different translations. I get your reservations on "nature" being vague but flesh does not quite hit it for me. I think as long as I do not regard the "sinful nature" as an id or psyche but sinful nature = me, then the passage speaks very loudly to me.

  4. The word nature seems strange to me Pearlie. The idea of having two natures paints a schizophrenic picture to me.

    Maybe a better terminology is innermost and outermost being? I think that our goal in life should be to do the things that strengthen our innermost being.. our outermost being can only be defeated when our innermost being is stronger than our outermost being.

    On the flip-side it seems that a 'nature' is something that is doesn't get stronger or weaker.. it just is.

    Not sure that this makes sense.. I guess it goes to the idea that many hold that we are just poor old sinners battling this overwhelming sin nature.

    Thanks for the ear.

  5. Yes, I do understand you on "nature", but I suppose the usage of English is also contextual, you think? That you may have a nuance of the word that I may not identify so much with, but I think I do get you.