Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Is the Christian Dual Natured? (part 3)

It seems that everyone who has read and participated here would agree with one of two views of the situation that the born-again Christian finds himself in. Either A) we are dual natured … the person we were before salvation is still around, but there is a new creation beside him that is a spiritual creature with the divine nature as its source. Or … B) The person that we were before we were born again is truly dead ... dead as a doornail ... and all that remains of him is the body, the flesh. This “flesh” also consisits of non-material “mind” because we can still have the thoughts that we once did and we can still remember the things that we did and thought etc … before we were saved. (Maybe there isn’t really such a difference between these two views, I am still not sure. It seems like it may be a matter of “semantics.”)

I gave my scriptural support for my belief that the old nature is still there, alive inside of me. I want to also present some scriptures that say that he is dead and that it is only “sin that dwells in the flesh” that causes the imperfection with Christians.

Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me. (Rom 7:17 )

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. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
(Rom 7:23-25)

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.
(Romans 6: 4, 6, 11)


My dear brother likes to say that the old nature is truly dead because, “how can you survive crucifixion?” Well, that is an interesting question. I would say that, no matter what some popular Hollywood movies have tried to suggest, a person can indeed NOT survive that horrible process of execution. I sincerely don’t think the verse is to be taken literally. I believe it is saying that our sins were there with Christ when he died in our place ... not that we were actually crucified. Is this not a literary device? However, I respect the person that sees it the way my brother does. I like the next verse and I think it explains the last passage:

Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6: 11)

Doesn’t the word “reckon” sum it up? We are supposed to think of our old selves as dead to sin. We are to count ourselves as “not made for sin” anymore. Sin is not our life, it is not our purpose as a believer. This is a Christian discipline that Paul is speaking of.

He speaks of this Christian discipline of the mind in other books also:

Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. (Col 3:9-10)

For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
(Gal 6:8)

Then again, this passage could challenge my thinking:

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom 8:6-9)

Let me conclude with this verse:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)

That is such a beautiful verse of Scripture. Christ lives in us, having loved us and sacrificed himself ... having taken our sin out of the way. We should reckon ourselves dead to that which crucified our Savior. Amen. the END

32 Comments:

  • Great series Rose. Luke 9:23 indicates that we take up our cross daily. I could not fully attribute this prophetic verse to indicate the continued existence of our flesh nature but within context it does indicate we must offer ourselves daily in order to follow Him. I suspect it is that flesh nature that is the sacrifice of that offering.

    By Blogger Kc, at 2/24/2006 7:02 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I like what you said:"Sin is not our life, it is not our purpose as a believer."

    Our purpose as a believer is to Know and love Jesus yet more and more...Phil.3:7-14.

    I love your heart in this series. Your love for Jesus realy shines through it.

    Mark

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/24/2006 7:25 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    Nother but the Blood of Jesus..

    Great Post

    Thank You Rose

    Doug

    By Blogger forgiven, at 2/24/2006 11:46 AM  

  • kc,
    Good thought. You are such an open practicer of theology. :~)

    Bluecollar!
    I am glad you like what I said. I truly believe it, too.
    Thanks for saying that about the series. I wasn't looking for controversy.

    forgiven,
    You're welcome, Doug!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/24/2006 1:05 PM  

  • Excellent reasoning.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/24/2006 5:04 PM  

  • Beautiful Rose in heading....
    Your thinking on being born again seems solid to me. Follow the logic of John 3:3, 6:37, 6:44 and you will be a Calvinist before you know it. The TULIP though not a rose fits like a glove with Scripture. Photo Meditations at:
    http://www.brandonpres.com/studyresources/photo_meditations.htm

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/25/2006 12:23 AM  

  • Oh, Jazzycat, I never read those verses before. You guys must be right.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/25/2006 6:16 AM  

  • Sorry.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 2/25/2006 6:16 AM  

  • Hi Jazzycat,
    Neat photos, but is that really you in #35? I can't tell if you're a guy or girl. ;~)

    Matthew,
    Be nice!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/25/2006 8:55 AM  

  • Rose, sorry I haven't kept up with the debate. I understanding your "reasoning" here, but do not believe "nature" is the correct word to use to distinguish what happens at regeneration. As you already know, it depends how you define "nature." Is it an independent agency or desire?

    By Blogger Jonathan Moorhead, at 2/25/2006 10:30 AM  

  • Rose,
    Yes, that is Jazzycat on the left and Cuffy on the right.

    To Matthew, I love to keep it light with humor and your post was good, humorous and I took no offense. I would invite you to look over my Photo Meditations for more explanation on reformed theoloy than just verses. While I made no special effort to highlight TULIP principles, they show up throughout the core doctrines of Christianity.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at 2/25/2006 10:52 AM  

  • Hi Jonathan,
    I never really meant it to be a "debate" ... but alas, some things are just destined to be. When you say:
    I understanding your "reasoning" here,
    Are you referring to this post or did you read all three of them?

    Independant agency vs. desire. Hmmm... That is a good question for me to ponder. Thank you. I guess the reason that I was thinking of it as an independant agency is because Paul seems to in those passages that I list on the first post. Then again, maybe it was a literary device. Can you look at the first post and tell me what you think about those passages ... literary device? I really would like you to tell me what you think.

    Jazzycat,
    I am glad you see the sense of humor of the DF, but I want him to be nice in case someone is sensitive. I am glad you are not overly sensitive. So, I see the cat in the picture, but cats can't type, so I still say "who are you?" Cute. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/25/2006 12:04 PM  

  • Rose,


    I don't understand the logic of the Traditionalist here. If the sin nature (capacity) is completely extinguished from our ontological nature, we should be sinless. The "flesh", as pertaining to our material nature, is amoral. The "flesh" when referencing a capacity "in us" is not our physical, material body. It is something within our ontologial nature.

    Our body is SUBJECT to our ontological desires, whether they are coming from our sin capacity or our regenerate nature empowered by the Holy Spirit.

    Our body does not have a mind of its own!. Our body can either be ruled by our inordinate and sinful desires which spring from our immaterial nature or by our regenerate nature empowered by the Holy Spirit.

    The Calvinist denies much of positional truth as it relates to the Christian life. What we view as "positional" they view as "experientially actual".

    But again, if it is experientially actual we are left with a few incongruent thoughts:

    1) before being born again we have 2 (two) sinful natures: the old man AND the flesh, capacities wherewith sin originates from.
    2) God kills the old man but leaves the other capacity for sin, the "flesh" (how this function pans out, I do not know.)
    3) God's work of experiential and imposed sanctification is only partial, for it only deals with one of the two sources of sin, leaving the "flesh" which is able to sin like before. To this I say, what is the difference? What benefit did crucifying the sin nature (totally AND experientially) if the "flesh" is left which apparantly can sin as bad as the "old nature"?

    It is just bad theology!

    Positinal truth says that the Old Man was crucified positionally within the sphere of our identification in Christ. This is what gives us the potential to ACTUALLY mortify it in experience.

    Well I have written too much and too long.

    I appreciate you grappling with these issues, Rose.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 2/25/2006 1:21 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Here's a thought, actually a take off of your brother's thought. Let me set the stage, then think about this. It begins with a natural division:

    Everything that Jesus accomplished through His death applies to our old man, to settle the score and lay the old record to rest. This includes forgiveness of sins, justification, mortification of our members on the earth, etc. When Jesus died, He took these down into the grave with Him; or through Him, we died to them.

    Three days later, Jesus rose to newness of life; and everything that pertains to our new life comes through His resurrection. A new creation. Salvation. Our own resurrection, etc. Try tracking this down in the Scriptures some time, it's an interesting correlation.

    Now here's the take. How many ministries of 'Christian psychology' have you heard that are still trying to deal with the old man in some way? A past emotional issue? An historical episode of rejection? Or if you're in charismatic circles: a family curse? An iniquity of a forefather? or demon possession?

    Jesus Christ Himself did not survive the cross. So how can anyone say that these old, personal problems did survive it, and are still troubling us today, in spite of it all?

    Furthermore, if the cross was not the answer but only made a solution possible (see Gal 3:3), then what is this 'further ministry' that succeeds where the gospel fails? (Gal 1:6-7).

    Your thoughts? Or is this too far off topic?

    Loren

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 2/25/2006 3:59 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Paul still had his sin nature so I going to figure that I still have mine. I have the Holy Spirit and will keep my mind set on it as I am asked to. Notice I said I "will" because to do as instructed I have to exercise my "will" constantly. But my sin nature was crucified with Christ in that when I leave this world I will no longer be bound to it or by it and don't have to figure that I need to be bound to it presently either. Thank God for that! And thank God for His scripture saying that in almost so many words. Todd

    Hey, you seem to be doing real well without the word verification, nice going.

    By Blogger Todd, at 2/25/2006 6:16 PM  

  • Wretched man that I am. Things I should do I don't and things I should not do I do.

    I wonder what this says about my old nature?

    By Blogger Joe, at 2/25/2006 7:53 PM  

  • Rose,

    I think that "Cleopas" was on to something on his 3:59 pm comment. I will have to chew on that one myself.

    Oh, and please count me among your rr addicts. I appreciate how you try to work through things with honesty and sincerity. We may not always agree in our conclussions, but I do respect you ,my sister.

    Mark

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/25/2006 8:49 PM  

  • Antonio,
    The word "positionally" is what it is missing in much of the discussion. WE ARE SANCTIFIED IMMEDIATELY when we are born-again, but it has to be worked out. That would be the practical sanctification.

    Reformed readers:
    I would like to ask the Reformed people if these words are part of their theological vocabulary. "positiona; sanctification" and "practical sanctification"? If not, then perhaps that is why we don't see it the same way.

    Antonio says:
    The Calvinist denies much of positional truth as it relates to the Christian life. What we view as "positional" they view as "experientially actual".

    Is this true?

    Cleopas,
    I'm still thinking, I'll get back to that.

    Todd,
    I have had ONE spam,since I turned it off about 2 months ago.

    I read this from 3 blogs today: it is a quote from Martin Luther:

    Instead, faith is God's work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly.

    The part that struck me was the "can't help but doing good works constantly."
    Is this true of all true believers all the time? If I didn't know better, I would almost say, "Maybe I am not a believer." But, I know whom I have believed ....
    I do see that any good I do it is only by God's power, but the selfishness is still there within me and it waxes and wanes. Does anyone else know what I am talking about? Does anyone else have to pray and seek God in His Word to overcome self? I have not arrived at Martin Luther's high description of the Christian experience yet.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/25/2006 10:39 PM  

  • Cleopas,

    Galatians 3:3
    Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?


    I personally think that quotes like the one above from Martin Luther could lead a person into this. I could read that and, maybe even unconsciously start trying to prove to myself that I am saved by "trying harder" which would be the "human effort."

    Isn't it yielding to the Spirit by allowing your mind to be filled with the Word, and fellowship with the saints and prayer that brings good works? I agree with the ML quote in that the works are not a lot of human effort, but by yeilding the self to God the HS in the Word. But doesn't that take some discipline and decision of your mind? (to yield the self)

    you say:
    ... how can anyone say that these old, personal problems did survive it, and are still troubling us today, in spite of it all?

    Wow, that is quite a lot to chew on and I have some experience with it. If I didn't feel like there were people lurking around here who may be looking to accuse me, I could tell you some real personal examples.

    Look, I know I am born-again, I have no doubt that God gave me llife anew, but I am still plagued by some things from childhood. I see God ministering to me, however. I can see how He heals my heart as I go along in this life. {{tears}}
    Sometimes I think I could use a psychologist. I've learned something recently, in the last two years. I can't overcome wounds within me unless I place them at the cross in my mind. Here's another question relating to your question:
    Are we not still reaping the consequence (not eternal) of our past decisions and our parents .. or anyone else's who has acted on our life's stage ... even though positionally we have died with Christ?

    Galatians 1:6-7
    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.


    Did you bring up this verse because you are saying that all our problems are solved by the gospel and if we need some "other help" than that is "another gospel"?

    Don't worry about being careful with your answer, I am not currently seeing a therapist ...
    :~) Really, give me the nitty gritty of what you think about it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/25/2006 11:11 PM  

  • Rose,

    You said,
    "Isn't it yielding to the Spirit by allowing your mind to be filled with the Word, and fellowship with the saints and prayer that brings good works?"

    Yes, yes I think that expresses my thoughts right there! We are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly, Col.3:16. Then, the companion scripture comes into play,"...but be filled with the Spirit" or, "Be Being filled by the Spirit"...Eph.5:18. We must mine the word, long to let it instruct us. 2Tim.3:16-17.Psalm 119:105.

    Mark

    By Blogger bluecollar, at 2/25/2006 11:53 PM  

  • Ah, so the gulf is not so great!
    :~) love to you ECW, BS ... BB

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/26/2006 12:25 AM  

  • Joe,
    Thanks for the visit. I see that you understand me. I have some company down here with my wretched self still lurking there in my mind.

    Bluecollar!
    Thank you for seeing that I am honest and sincere in my reasonings. I am as much as I can be. I do the blog for no other reason than to hash things out for my understanding, and if it helps someone else, then that is good too.

    Not that you are saying this, but just for anyone else that may read here - I never mean to hurt anyone or pull anyone's chains. That is the farthest, farthest thing from my heart and mind ... I have other sins, not that one.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/26/2006 12:34 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Here’s a simple analogy. Let’s say your old life was written on a piece of paper. All of your former thoughts, habits, sorrows and triumphs were there. But then a clean, new sheet of paper was placed over top of the old.

    When pressure is applied to the new sheet, the old sheet may be clearly seen beneath it. Parts of the old story may even be traced to the new sheet if desired, and this can be good or bad. Good because, in some ways, even as a Christian, you want to keep some of those old memories and revitalize them. Since you are in the world but not of it, you still need some of that knowledge to function in life properly, such as job skills. By applying yourself to those areas repeatedly you resort to the old life legitimately, and will soon reconstruct those elements into the new.

    But in other areas, especially your problem areas, you should start writing new things on the clean sheet, to reflect the life of Jesus (Col 3:10). And when you do this, it becomes very hard to look back at the old sheet, beneath those same places.

    Likewise when we become Christians, all things became new (2 Cor 5:17). All things? Yes, all. But beneath the new is the memory of the old in a lifeless, powerless form. But in what sense do I mean it is powerless?

    “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
    (Heb 9:14)

    The memories of our past remain with us, but they are powerless now because our conscience has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. Please think about this connection carefully. Before we were saved, our conscience worked in conjunction with our memories to control our behavior. For example, this memory brought feelings of guilt, so it controlled my actions in this way; this other memory stirred wrath and I justified myself and refused to forgive, etc.

    Those are the areas we should leave behind us now(Phil 3:13). But when we begin to delve into our past issues instead, and we do so repeatedly, we begin to revive them:

    “And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.”
    (Heb 11:15)

    So the true and original conflict really was dealt with through the cross. But in such a manner we begin to ‘trace its image’ back into the new, to re-construct it there. And before long it will begin to gain a new power over us (Gal 4:9)

    Psychology is all about delving into the past to find out what effects you and how. Really, it is a very serious mistake for a Christian to start down this path because the true effect is to re-trace those conflicts, re-energize them, and revive their significance. And just as the law is the strength of sin, our defining those issues and exploring their impact will simply add more weight to them, making the task of re-addressing them all the more formidable.

    In other words, it is all self defeating. Try asking someone who is involved in ‘Christian’ psychology if it has really helped them. They’re likely to answer ‘Yes!’ But what they really mean is that their spirit is buoyed by the prospect of hope, and they feel that their breakthrough is imminent. But if that is so, why does their dependence continue? Why do they keep coming back for more? We can tell they’ve locked into error because they advance no further (2 Tim 3:9). Instead, if they had found the truth that is in Christ, their progress would be evident to all (1 Tim 4:15).

    In answer to another part of your question: Anything that comes through the death, burial or resurrection of Christ is considered a part of the gospel. So if any teaching comes along that offers an alternative means for accomplishing the same things, that alternative method is considered ‘another gospel’.

    Through His resurrection Jesus made us a new creation and so psychology, which is trying to straighten out the old creation, conflicts, and fits that bill.

    I’ll have to save that discussion for later, but let me leave you with this note. The cross is only answer God has ever given for our old man, and the one He is ever going to give. Our natural minds scream at this (1 Cor 1:23), but for those who walk with faith as a little child, this is the power of God and the wisdom of God (v 24).

    Hope this gives you some food for thought.

    Loren

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 2/26/2006 2:07 AM  

  • Loren,
    I agree. I think there are some real problems with the "psychology" approach. Reviving and justifying bitterness is one of them. Thanks for your thoughts ... for putting them into words. I like the old/new sheet of paper illustration. I'll be thinking about that today! You are right - all the answers lie at the cross and any "counselor" must use the cross as the source of healing.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/26/2006 7:35 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Yes, a true counselor will take you back to the cross. But we have to make sure they portray it as the total answer. So often, it is more like this:

    "Well, Jesus made it possible for you to receive emotional healing, but you need psychology to 'walk' in what He has 'provided'.

    In this manner, the cross is reduced in it's scope, to be filtered through a mediator. This is why Paul speaks of another gospel that is not another -- but it is a perversion of the gospel (Gal 1:6-7). He later clarifies:

    "Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?"
    (Gal 3:3)

    Jesus made it possible, but further ministry would make it actual? If that's how we think it works, Paul says we've forgotten why Jesus was crucified in the first place (vs 1).

    Gotta get ready for church, hope this helps.

    Loren

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 2/26/2006 9:39 AM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Yes, I do think we are duel natured. Before we come to Christ we are slaves to sin. It rules our life. When we give our life to Christ he fills us up with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is Gods power in us to guide us and to help control our willfull sinful nature. If we allow it to control us then we are less likely to sin.
    We are still flesh and the flesh is a part of the sinful nature. We still have that in us. The Holy spirit is stronger than that, but we still have to make a choice everyday wether we are going to follow the Holy Spirit or our sinful nature.
    We are a new Creation because of the Holy Spirit, but it doesnt mean that the sinful nature is gone.

    Galatians 5:16-18
    "So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you wont be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting eachother, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law."
    I think this scripture makes it pretty clear we are duel natured.

    By Blogger Dorothy, at 2/26/2006 11:02 AM  

  • Dorothy,
    See, that is what I thought. Others think a little differently, but that is OK, too. The only way it would concern me would be if someone said that we must experience complete and sinless perfection while still on this earth in these bodies, or else we are not saved. That would be ludicrous.
    None of us would have any hope.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/26/2006 7:54 PM  

  • Hi rose,
    You just answered my question from your new post on this one. I completely agree with you!

    By Blogger Dorothy, at 2/27/2006 9:48 AM  

  • BTW, Rose the picture of Rose is prettier than even the rose on Rose's blog.

    By Blogger Joe, at 2/27/2006 3:25 PM  

  • Dorothy,
    I am glad we agree on something that is so apparent (that we are not sinless yet)! Thanks for reading.

    Joe,
    That is very sweet of you to say. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/27/2006 3:45 PM  

  • Rose,

    I have had a thought that may or may not be "reasonable" according to Scripture. I am thinking out loud, or on the keyboard. See what you think:

    We are in our position as sinless as Christ. This is what 1 John 3:9 speaks of. In our experience, though, I still have sin to grapple with daily. As I by faith reckon my old man to be crucified with Christ & act on that by the Spirit's power, I actually overcome sin in my experience. But when I get slack (alas as I often do) then my sin nature, if you will, rears its ugly head & gains strength & overcomes. So it actually becoems a matter of which "nature" I feed. The new with the Word, or the old with sinful tendencies.
    Now, here is something I have thought of which I don't know is Scriptural or not. See what you think:
    Why did God not just wipe out our sinful tendencies when we were saved & make us as sinless as Christ in BOTH position AND experience? Of course, I leave that with His wisdom, but an idea I had is this. Just as He did not wipe out the Canaanites, & Jebusites & the remaining "-ites" from the Promised Land when He gave it to the Jews, so He does not wipe out our old nature. One reason I would see is, that it forces me to trust Him for victory over it, & to cling to Him for dear life, because my natural tendency is to run off & "handle it" myself the moment I think I'm in the clear. Does that sound "reasonable" to you?? Thanks, I know I am probably off in a lot there, but there it is!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 2/17/2007 11:31 AM  

  • David,
    That sounds very reasonable. I think it is Scriptural as well.

    Thanks for reading these old posts and commenting. That is fun!
    Sorry it took me so long to come back and comment back at ya!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/25/2007 7:29 AM  

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