In Summary

Has the sinful nature been eradicated at the time of the new birth? One cannot answer yes or no without defining terms. If someone asked, "Do you believe that the old man is dead?" the answer is yes. We are no longer in Adam; we are spiritually alive in Christ. If someone asked, "Do you believe that Christians no longer sin and cannot walk or live according to the flesh?" The answer is no. The Christian retains the flesh, which the editors of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible have chosen to interpret as "old nature," and even at times, "sin nature." This has created some semantic problems when discussing the nature or natures of a Christian.

If someone asked, "Do we believe that we have a new nature?" I would answer yes, because God has given me a new heart and my inner man is oriented toward God. I have become a partaker of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), and "I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man" (Rom. 7:22). If they asked, "Are we a sinner or a saint?" I would joyfully respond, "I believe we are saints by the grace of God, and we intend to live our lives as His children in the way He intended us to live by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit."

Don’t forget that our entire being was morally corrupt before we came to Christ. Our minds were oriented to live independently of God and the desires of our flesh are in opposition to the Spirit of God. The flesh (old nature, NIV) has to be crucified by the believer and this is something we have to do on a daily basis. There is no such thing as instant maturity. It will take us the rest of our lives to renew our minds and conform to the image of God. The seed that was sown in us by God is only a beginning. Being a child of God and being free in Christ is positional truth. But how many are living like children of God, and how many are living free in Christ? Nobody can fix our past, but I believe that by the grace of God we can all be free from it.

Dr. Neil

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