THE SIN NATURE
The sin nature is that part of us that came from Adam. It is also called:
Adamic nature, Inborn sin, Original sin, and Old man.
Calvin held that God created Adam perfectly and that his nature was
perfect. Adam sinned, becoming another nature which was a corruption of
his original nature. Thus he would have held that we only have one nature
pre-salvation. I do not know if he held to one or two after salvation.
To be consistent with what has been said, it would seem that even after
salvation, the nature of man would be singular - a new nature.
As the normal two nature thinking goes the Bible deals with the cause
of our outward sin, and that cause being our inward nature, or Adamic nature.
In short, if we as believers have sin, it is because we have a new and
an old nature that war. When we don't war properly the old wins out and
we sin. On the other hand is we war correctly, the new nature will win
out and we will not sin.
Now, to some that makes God a God that gives us a new nature that is
barely able to cope with our old nature, and that He may not be the powerful
God that He claims to be. On the other hand, if he has given us a new nature
that is consistent with Himself, and has changed our very being into something
new, then we have the power to say no to sin. That is a God that I can
There are systems of religion that function to control and eradicate
the outward sin, but never deal with the inner problem. Any system of works
usually is dealing with the outward sin, and not the inner problem.
To a point some past fundamentalists did this, in that they mean mouth
the outward on a regular basis, but never concentrate on the inward. This
is changing and is not very common anymore.
The liberal movements also deal with the way you live your life and
seldom deal with the inner man. A friend of mine witnessed to a Methodist
pastor one time and mentioned being born again. The minister stated, "Don't
try to talk to me about that deep stuff. I don't understand that stuff!"
Let us consider some questions concerning the natures.
Can the Adamic nature be eradicated? Chafer mentions that it cannot
be. Others believe that it can be put down on a daily, moment by moment
basis. Others believe that the believer has only one nature and that, being
the new nature, from God. We will consider some of these thoughts.
There are some in our day that feel that we need to kill the old nature
daily - that it is a daily duty of a believer to see to it that God put's
down the insurrection that comes up every single day. I was once told of
a president at a Canadian Bible Institute that felt this way, and one day
in chapel the speaker had just stepped to the pulpit and the president
yelled as loud as he could - "KILL HIM LORD!" In short put that old nature
to rest so he can preach properly. At times this thought has been affectionately
termed "slain in the spirit."
Because we are totally depraved and because all believers tend toward
evil naturally, Chafer seems to draw the conclusion that the old nature
cannot be eradicated.
Let's consider the idea that the nature of man was injured in the fall
and that his nature is similar to Adam's post-fall.
This position would hold that Adam's understanding and conscience were
perfect prior to sin, yet after sin they are injured. I am sure the Calvinist
would say that the injury was total and that man was left with no understanding,
and that his conscience is useless. They would also feel that man's will
was turned COMPLETELY away from God and toward sin. The result of the three
changes is that man is totally void of any proper thoughts toward God.
The question is this. Can you buy all three of these? The understanding
of man seems to have been affected, we could agree. The Scriptures tell
us that the lost cannot understand the things of the Lord. Indeed, the
conscience and will are damaged in lost man as well. So, yes, we can go
along with this definition of man post-fall. Some might question the COMPLETENESS
of this injury. They might suggest that our understanding is injured, but
not so badly that we can't respond to the natural and inward revelation
of God to man.
It seems that if man is responsible to God for the revelation given,
then there must be some amount of understanding left. This does not detract
from the thought of total depravity. Man is always, in his lost state,
completely without help, and completely bent on wrong.
This should not surprise anyone, for we have already mentioned that
man is totally depraved. Not partially depraved but totally depraved. All
parts of man were affected by the fall.
FOR YOUR REVIEW, READ THE FOLLOWING ON TOTAL DEPRAVITY: Gen. 8:21, Ps.
14:2-3, Ps. 51:5, Isa 42:7, Jer. 17:9, Jn 3:6, Rom. 1:28-29, Rom. 5:12,
Gal 5:17-21, Eph. 2:3, and I Tim. 4:2.
Is man lost by nature? We will see some verses that would indicate that
man is not lost eternally because of his nature. In Adam we were a race
that were lost by nature, however Christ corrected that problem, and we
will see that the lost are now lost because of their rejection of Christ's
work on their behalf. He nailed all sin to the cross, and made us as if
Adam had never sinned. We are as Adam was before the fall in our post-salvation
Remember II Pet 1:3-4? It mentioned that he gave us all things pertaining
to life and godliness. ALL things are available for salvation. The sin
nature of all of mankind was cared for at the cross.
This may sound strange, however if you take most of the thinking current
today about the work of the cross to its logical end, you will have to
agree with the statement.
Is man lost because he has sinned? No. He is lost because he has rejected
Christ, not because I stole that penny tootsie roll from the dime store
What did Christ die on the cross for? The sins of the world. What sin
is involved in this death for the sins of the world? Jn. 1:29, "The next
day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God,
which taketh away the sin of the world." Notice the singular "sin." Both
the New American Standard Bible and the New International Version follow
this translation. Even the Living Bible uses the singular sin.
Just what "sin" means is up for the person to decide. I would agree
with Chafer that this is speaking of sin personal, sin nature and any other
type of sin you want to include. Let me quote Chafer, "The sin of the world
is taken away in the sense that by Christ's threefold accomplishment in
His death every hindrance is removed which restrained God from the saving
of even the chief of sinners." (Chafer, Lewis Sperry; "SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY";
Dallas, TX: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947, Vol V, p 191.)
His threefold work involved Redemption, Reconciliation, and Propitiation.
Jot that down for now and we will explain those terms fully in coming sessions.
Let it suffice the mind at this point, to say that Christ died for all
of the sin in the world, indeed, all types of the sin of the world.
Take Chafer's quote to its logical end and you find that the person
that goes to hell does so because he rejected Christ, or in the case of
those that have never heard of Christ - rejected the revelation that they
had. Thus, we can take one step further and say that Christ's work on the
cross makes the believer as Adam was before he sinned.
Christ died for the sin nature as well as for personal sin. He removed
all barriers between The Father and the sinner. The sinner has only to
accept that work on the cross as payment for all that is owed! Salvation
is free in all areas for the receiving.
If a person is lost it is because he refuses the free salvation that
is offered to him by God. Jn 1:29, "...the Lamb of God, who taketh away
the sin of the world." Jn 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life." Heb 2:9, "But we see Jesus, who was made a
little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory
and honor, that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man."
I Jn 2:2, "And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not for us only,
but also for the sins of the whole world."
The entire human family can be saved. II Cor. 5:19, "To wit, that God
was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses
unto them, and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." Isa
61:1, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed
me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the
brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of
the prison to those who are bound;" Col 2:14-15, "Blotting out the handwriting
of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it
out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And, having spoiled principalities
and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
It has been suggested that we still have the sin nature, but that God
gave us the Holy Spirit so that we can live a holy life. In effect the
teaching holds that the Holy Spirit allows us to win the battle between
the old and new natures. I find a problem in this thinking.
If under this case I sin, I am left to understand that the Holy Spirit
did not do His work properly and the fault of my sin was His. The thought
set forth - that the Holy Spirit controls the sin nature, and that this
is our hope for living a good life as a believer - is illogical.
Secondly, this tells us that the Old Testament saint could not have
lived a righteous life, for he did not have the Indwelling Spirit as we
do. Thus the Old Testament saint had no possibility of pleasing God. NOT
LOGICAL! INDEED, UNSCRIPTURAL, FOR DAVID PLEASED GOD.
How did the Old Testament saint keep from bringing three thousand lambs
per day for sacrifice? He had to have sinned continually if the New Testament
person has a struggle. This teaching is not acceptable!
Chafer mentions, "...the gift of the indwelling Spirit as One who is
able to give victory over every evil disposition." (SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY,
p 293) This implies that he agrees with what has been previously set forth,
with the exception that it is not the Holy Spirit that controls whether
the person sins or not, but that the individual controls it by being filled
with the Spirit.
This line of thinking tells us that the believer has an old nature,
and a new nature. The Holy Spirit, if in control, will see to it that the
new nature has victory over the old nature. The emphasis is on the control
of the Spirit. I have always wondered how this teaching relates to James
when it tells us that sin comes from lust. The James text seems to indicate
a choice of the will. If what has been set forth is true, the believer
that is not controlled by the Spirit will automatically sin. If sin is
automatic, then what is James speaking of? James 1:14-15 "But every man
is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when
lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished,
bringeth forth death." If sin is automatic why does James say it comes
On the other hand if the believer has only one nature, and that being
the new creation of God, and if we are as Adam was before the fall, then
we have this choice of the will which James indicates. The main objection
to this thought is that we still sin. Yes, we still sin, because we are
humans, descended in the image of Adam. We choose to do our own thing,
rather than follow God.
This is not hard to understand. Given the choice of a life of ease or
a life of tribulation, we naturally want to go the easy way. It takes a
choice of the will to do either. Those that want to follow God, will choose
the life that He shows them, rather than what they would naturally desire.
To sin or not to sin, then is the choice to do it God's way or our own
way. The committed Christian will choose the way of God and the non-committed
Christian will choose his own way.
No one disagrees that man has a bent toward evil. Christianity has taught
the mediate transferral of the sin nature. Chafer lists three proofs that
the sin nature is received mediately from Adam. In other words because
of Adam we received a sin nature. First, Scripture says it, that finishes
it. Secondly, it is observable in all of history - war, Hitler, hateful
things man does to man, etc. Man shows his true, sinful, colors when he
opens his mouth or acts. Finally, the fact that man is consciousness of
God. Most every civilization recognizes man is not a perfect creature.
Why else would they work for merit. We all work to improve our perception
before man. There is always a concept of right and wrong.
Most agree that in Adam, all of mankind sinned. We are all in our earthly
THE NATURE, OR NATURES OF MAN
We have already hinted at the fact that there is discussion as to the
number of natures of man. This question has been around for some time.
There are two views as to the nature, or natures of saved man. Both
views would see lost man as having one nature, and that being an old nature,
or possibly better termed Adamic nature.
The difficulty comes in whether the old nature, which by the way is
not a Scriptural term, so let us say whether the Adamic nature, is eradicated,
or if it is present along side the new creation of God.
As you read the texts that supposedly prove that we have two separate
and distinct natures, read them carefully and examine them within their
context. Many verses used to prove this point are poorly if not wrongly
I don't think anyone would dispute the fact that the saved man has an
inner man. What is the inner man? The Spirit? The nature? The soul? I'd
say soul, and this would require the lost also have an inner man.
The two nature people use Rom. 7:25 to prove the struggle between the
old nature and the new nature. "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." One must determine if this is Paul speaking from his lost
state, or his saved state. I wonder at a statement of Paul that mentions
that he serves the law, being tied to his saved state. I doubt that after
his conversion he followed the Old Testament law. If he did, it was only
until Christ taught him that he didn't need to.
Cambron states that this new nature is a "Christly Nature...an Imparted
Nature...a Holy Nature...an Unchangeable Nature...a Non-forfeited Nature."
"Its End is Resurrection and Rapture" "Every child of God has two natures;
the unsaved man has only one nature. The old nature cannot be eradicated
while the believer lives in the flesh; therefore, we have the fight between
the old and new natures." (Cambron, Mark G., D.D.; "BIBLE DOCTRINES"; Grand
Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1954)
He also mentions that Rom. 7:22 is speaking definitely of Paul as a
saved man. No unsaved ever delights after the law of God. He also mentions
that "...only the saved man has the inward man, which is the new nature."
He offers no proof of this.
The two nature thought requires that the one nature system, eradicate
the old nature. Eradicate is the wrong term. Eradicate has the idea of
doing away with - getting rid of - destroying. The thought of the one nature
person is more along the line that the lost person has a sin nature which
is a nature of man that is injured by the fall. (We have shown that the
two nature people hold to this.) The work of the cross transforms that
injured nature, back into the nature that it should have been had Adam
We are a new creation according to Scripture. We are not a depraved
person that is given a new creation - the new nature, we are a depraved
person that is transformed into what we should be! If this is not true
how do you deal with the meaning of rebirth.
The two nature people would view the struggle of old nature versus new
nature as our state, and the fact that we are Spiritual in God's eyes as
They use several verses to prove their point. I would like to list these
verses with some thoughts for you to consider as you consider their position.
If there is a reference with no comments, it is probably because it is
dealt with later in this section.
Col 3:10. " And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge
after the image of him that created him:" I would start at 3:1. Putting
off the old man was a past item of business. We will see this later. The
putting on of the new man is also a past item of business. It is an aorist
tense. (The aorist tense is something that occurred in the past at a point
in time. There is no continuing action.) This has to do with living as
they ought to live, and not as their Adamic nature is forcing them to do.
Rom. 6:13 "Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness
unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the
dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God."
I would add vs. 11 and 12 also. "Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves
to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our
Lord. Let not sin, therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should
obey it in its lusts. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness
unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the
dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." This
is not saying that there is a conflict - only that we can yield ourselves
to serve sin, or serve God. It is our free choice - an act of our will.
Eph. 4:22 "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old
man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;"
Eph. 4:24 "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created
in righteousness and true holiness."
Let us look at the terms involved and see what the Scripture has to
say. (I have included the tenses of some of the verbs in brackets for your
convenience.) We are just listing the references and making observations.
A LOOK AT THE TERMS:
OLD MAN: Rom. 6:6, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with
[him], that the body of sin might be destroyed [aorist], that henceforth
we should not serve sin." The old man is crucified with Christ so that
the body of sin might be destroyed. Three things that need to be noticed:
One is that our old man was crucified - put to death as Christ was. Secondly,
we need to note the term destroy, which would give the impression that
it is no longer around. The body of sin is no longer around. Thirdly, all
this is so that we "should not sin." This does not say we cannot sin, nor
does it say that we do not sin - only that we SHOULD NOT SIN.
II Cor. 5:17, "Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature:
old things are passed away [aorist, active, indicative]; behold [aorist,
middle, imperative], all things are become new [perfect, active, indicative]."
(The perfect is an act in the past that has continuing action into the
future. It is something that is permanent.)
If we are in Christ the text tells us that we are new creatures - that
old things are passed away, and that all things become new. Passed away
indicates "gone." All - ALL becomes new - we are new creatures!
What can we say from all this? All the old ways are gone and they are
replaced by new. Might this be speaking of our life style and way of doing
things? I suspect so. There is also indication that the old is gone and
that we are a "new creature" - singular.
Eph. 4:22, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old
man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;" The old man is
corrupt. Statement of fact. The verb put off is aorist - past. They have
put off the old man which is corrupt. It is done. This is not a command
to put him off! Nor, is it a command to keep putting him off every day.
He was put of in the salvation experience.
Col 3:9, "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old
man with his deeds;" The old man was put off past it would seem from this
text. (Put off is an aorist, middle tense.)
OLD NATURE: There is no listing for old nature in the Scripture.
NEW MAN: Eph. 2:15, "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even]
the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself
of twain one new man, [so] making peace;" The context seems to indicate
to me that this new man is a combining of the Jew and Gentile into one
people for the Lord, and that people, probably referring to the church.
This verse really does not relate to our discussion.
Eph. 4:24, "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created
in righteousness and true holiness." "Put on" is aorist middle, and thus
is a past action that they have done. The term created is also aorist and
a past thing. Not something that the Ephesian people are to do.
Col 3:10, "And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge
after the image of him that created him:" "Have put on" is aorist middle,
and thus something past. Renewed is present passive, thus the renewing
is continuing and it is being done from outside the person. (Created is
an aorist active.) The new man is knowledgeable after the image of our
NEW NATURE: There is no listing in Scripture for this term.
NEW CREATURE: II Cor. 5:17, "Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he
is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are
become new." (See above for comments.)
Gal 6:15, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything,
nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." The new creation availeth for
something, and the context would indicate that salvation is in view. The
new creature evidently comes from the salvation experience.
Eph. 2:1-3 tells us of our past life that is now gone because of what
salvation has done in our being. "And you hath he made alive, who were
dead in trespasses and sins; In which in times past ye walked according
to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the
air, the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; Among whom
also we all had our manner of life in times past in the lusts of our flesh,
fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature
the children of wrath, even as others." We are no longer this type of person
due to salvation. all this is behind us.
II Pet 1:4 mentions that we partake of the divine nature. The context
is strictly salvation and its benefits. There is no hint of struggle, or
vestige of the old nature left in our being. "Whereby are given unto us
exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers
of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world
I Cor. 2:14, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit
of God; for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because
they are spiritually discerned." This is contrasted with a spiritual man.
This is man in his Adamic fallen, unsaved, unregenerated state.
Gal 5:16-26 contrasts the lost, or life of the flesh, to the saved,
or the life of the Spirit filled man. It is a stark contrast of lost vs.
saved. Verse 24 is of interest to our discussion. "And they that are Christ's
have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts." "have crucified"
is an aorist active, indicative tense, which means that they did it at
a point in the past - point of fact. (Indicative shows a statement of fact.)
If you are to make this a conflict between the flesh and spirit in one
person you have problems with vs. 21 which states that the workers of the
flesh won't be in the kingdom of God. I think that one holding that this
is old vs. new natures must also hold to the insecurity of the believer.
Indeed, Bancroft a two nature man states that the saved person is not in
the flesh, but relates that he still has the flesh within. He bases this
on Gal. 5:16,17. That is a real problem for the doctrine of the security
of the believer!
Rom. 8:12-13, "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh,
to live after the flesh. For if we live after the flesh, ye shall die;
but if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall
To say that the flesh is in us and read this text where it says "if
we live after the flesh, ye shall die" gives some rise to the thought of
eternal security and its truth!!!
Let us move on to consider further the question of one or two natures.
So, if there is no struggle between our new and old nature, why do we sin
as believers? Because we make a choice to. We chose to follow our desire.
Not because some ugly sin nature is pressuring us to, but because we allow
our minds to dwell on things that they ought not dwell on. We allow our
mind to decide to sin. James 1:14-15, "But every man is tempted, when he
is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived,
it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."
There is a sequence involved in our sin in this text, and there is no
mention of our old nature, old man, evil self or any other thing in the
text. Only lust - enticement - sin.
Rom. 6:11-13, "Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed
unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Let not sin,
therefore, reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in its lusts.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin,
but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and
your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
Gal 2:20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not
I, but Christ liveth 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." "live in the flesh" relates to living life, not living with the "flesh"
or the old nature.
We have the choice to do either - sin or serve God. Romans six calls
us to serve God and not sin!
CONCLUSIONS BASED ON THESE REFERENCES:
1. The indication is that the new man is something put on in the past
by some of the recipients of Paul's writings indicating that it is something
that came at salvation. The putting away of our old life.
2. We are told that we SHOULD not serve sin.
3. Our old man was crucified, and is no longer a threat to us, if he
4. All things in the believer are new.
5. The old is passed away. This terminology would indicate that the
old is not going to bother us at all.
If you haven't tumbled to it yet, it should be obvious that the definition
of "nature" is of great importance to us. How can we define nature?
Buswell suggests in the discussion of Christ's nature, a "complex of
attributes" (Ryrie, Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books,
1986, p 250). In other words, the compilation of all the attributes of
a person. This would be the person's nature.
We might make note that a nature cannot sin. A person sins. A nature
is the sum total of all attributes of the being.
If this definition is true then all the attributes of a lost man would
include things like, fallen, vile, evil, against God, etc.
If this definition is true then all the attributes of a saved man would
include things like, saved, holy, regenerated, righteous, etc.
The old attributes have passed away and the new attributes are in place.
What of the saved person that ceases to walk with God? Are his essential
attributes or nature changed? No. He is still saved, righteous, etc. though
he is not walking with God.
In all of my study I see nothing to warrant a doctrine of two natures
in any of the texts that are normally given to prove that we have two.
Nor have I run across any references in my own reading of the Word that
indicate two natures.
It is suggested that Romans seven depicts the struggle between the old
and the new nature. There are several possible settings to this passage.
The key to understanding the text is to put it in the context of Romans
7:25 and 8:1-2. This can't depict chapter seven as a saved man's view.
Possible settings for Romans seven.
a. Paul reflecting on his lost days and his struggle as a Pharisee with
following the law.
b. Newel suggests it is Paul describing his past struggle with the law
as a believer before he knew he wasn't bound to the law. He did not realize
he did not have to live up to it.
c. Others suggest that he is describing a constant, day to day struggle
between the Adamic nature and the new nature. This requires that Christ
died for only our personal sin and not the sin nature.
Rom. 7:25-8:2 are hard to accept if Chapter seven is a saved man! Indeed
8:1-4 gives the idea that we, because of salvation, don't serve this law
of sin that he has just struggled with, and that we do serve God!
I am not sure I understand all I desire to know about the Romans seven
text, but I see enough to say that this is not stating that we have a struggle
with the flesh and the spirit going on all the time.
Indeed, the overwhelming evidence is that there is no struggle, except
between the lust that we can follow with our minds, and our will. This
is not two natures! This is mind over lust - matters of the will and intellect,
within the recreated soul of man.
I might mention that those that believe in two natures base much of
their position on this Romans text, which is in high dispute. Few can confidently
state, without reservation what it truly means. So why base a doctrine
on a questionable text? Look at the whole of Scripture and see how the
questionable text relates to it, not look at the questionable text and
attempt to relate all of Scripture to your interpretation of the questionable
Our new nature has attributes that make it heavenly and Godly. All our
attributes are our nature.
I realize this goes cross grain with many men. Scofield, Bancroft, Cambron,
Walvoord and I'm sure Chafer and many others. I wonder why Ryrie does not
deal with it (that I have found anyway). Is it because he disagrees with
the boys? I don't know.
Walvoord does not believe the old nature is eradicated but that it is
out of luck as far as controlling the believer. "Though it is impossible
to eradicate the old nature, the exhortation prohibits the old sin nature
from dominating the believer's manner of life. The old nature has lost
its power in view of the crucifixion of Christ, but the victory can be
wrought by God only through the indwelling Holy Spirit."
He goes on to state something that is somewhat eschew of his thinking.
"...Christians continue to contend with the "old self" which is contrary
to the new nature." (Reprinted by permission: Walvoord, John F. Editor;
"LEWIS SPERRY CHAFER SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY VOLUME ONE"; USA: Victor Books,
1988, p 406) If we aren't dominated by it then how can we be constantly
struggling with it?
So, if we do have a left over of the Adamic nature, it is an integrated
part of our one nature. I do not think that this is what we have seen,
but is an option to the person that desires to retain the Adamic nature
within the saved person.
The Adamic nature does not, nor can it ever, force anyone into sin.
It is a collection of spiritual characteristics, and not a force to be
The new creation is also a collection of characteristics which make
up what we are. It cannot, nor can it ever force us to live correctly.
It is not a force.
The individual can, at his will, decide to follow the old ways of the
lost. This is termed carnal, or flesh in the Scripture. This is not something
he is forced to do, but is something that he desires to do. (If we view
him forced to, we must give stock to the world's favorite phrase, "The
Devil made me do it.")
One must then submit that if a believer that was once spiritual, which
is acting as carnal, is acting against his own character - his divine character.
We say man has three parts. Body, soul and spirit. This is pre and post
salvation. Where does the Adamic nature fit in? Is it a forth part? No.
It is the characteristics of the lost being. It is the pollution of the
soul and/or spirit. Which? The spirit is our God consciousness - even in
lost man. It is not clearly seeing God. The soul is polluted by sin.
Now salvation comes on the scene and we are a new creation. How are
the Spirit and soul affected? Are we given a forth part? A new nature?
No. It has to be a changing of the spirit and soul.
Is it a partial changing? How could God call us a new creation or new
creature if we were only partly new? He can't!
It seems from what we have seen that we, as believers, are in Adam's
pre-fall state, and we choose to sin as Adam did. It is a decision, or
act of the will, not a lost struggle with the old nature.
We have one thing that Adam did not have - I John 1:9. We can go before
the throne of grace to confess our sin and be restored to that wonderful
state, anytime we want.
If you study the word nature, you will find that normally it is viewed
as the sum and substance of all that a thing or being is. For example,
let us consider a glass of milk. It, as milk, has certain characteristics.
If you put poison in, and stir it, the overall nature has been changed.
You don't have two natures, you have one that is drastically changed. So,
in our being, God regenerated us, we are born again, we are new, we have
only one nature.
From all of this, we should deduce that nature is the inherent character
or total collection of facts about ones character. The nature of man then
becomes all that the man is.
The question then comes, how many natures does he have? Only one. The
lost man has one, the saved man has one. The lost man's nature is sinful,
and the saved man's is either sinful, or not sinful.
Part of that overall make up needs to have the idea of a self centered,
self willed, self serving, characteristic, but still within only one nature.
We then sin because we decide. We then sin because we desire. We then
sin because we are self willed, self serving and self centered.
Does that put the monkey of sin and its cause on our back? Very definitely!
I trust that as you approach sin, you will realize that if you proceed,
it is because of your decision, and not the old nature, not the Devil,
and not the Spirit. It is because you want to.
The ultimate reality in this question is this. If you believe that you
have a constant struggle going on, as the two nature people believe, and
that you can have victory by relying on the Holy Spirit, as they also believe,
then when the person sins, they feel that they have failed to have the
victory. Allow this to go on for many years, and you will find the many,
totally defeated Christians that we have in our churches. They are totally
discouraged because they can't find the victory that they have been taught
they can have.
Now, on the other hand, if you tell them that the sin of their life
is not due to failing to have the victory, but that it is because they
CHOSE - DECIDED - ACTED - because they wanted to, and you will give them
instant relief from their terrible guilt. They don't have victory because
the choose not to, not because they have failed in some spiritual battle.
They have not failed the Lord because they haven't been able to walk
with Him as closely as they needed to, to have the victory, they have failed
the Lord because they have decided to sin.
There is a vast difference between failing the Lord, because you couldn't
walk close enough to Him, and to fail Him because we decide with the will
to turn against Him. The difference is the terrible guilt.
If we realize we choose to sin, we then realize how important I John
1:9 is to us. We will also realize that confession is that which brings
us to not want to have to confess the same sin again. On the two nature
side, I John 1:9 seems to be a crutch for life. You sin because you can't
walk close enough to the Lord, and this is the way back.
Confession is, in part, agreeing with God about the terribleness of
the sin. If we sin by an act of the will, we are in open rebellion against
God. If we sin because we didn't walk as close to him as we should, the
sin becomes only the slip of the walk, and a slip of the control of the
I see sin, and I John 1:9, as a one nature person, as open rebellion
and restoration. It is a terrible process to have to go through. As a two
nature person, prior to coming to the conclusions I have submitted to you
in this section, I was prone to I John 1:9 my problems away lightly, because,
I was just a little remiss about my walk with the Lord. "Oh, Lord, I forgot
my quiet time where I ask you to control me, and got a little off track.
Sorry. Forgive me. Amen."
To see sin as rebellion, to see sin as my own responsibility, to see
sin as God sees it, as filthy unrighteousness, is to see I John 1:9 as
a serious place to find yourself.
I trust that you have a healthy realization of what sin is. I trust
that you will seriously consider ALL OF THE SCRIPTURES before you decide
on one or two natures.
Remember, the crux of the decision is the definition of "nature." To
have two natures is to do damage to the normal definition of the term.
Are we talking about sinless perfection. No, never. We will sin however
we do not have to. Remember II Peter? "According as his divine power hath
given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through
the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:" (2 Peter
We aren't perfect, yet we don't have to sin. Because we have tried to
get away from the false teaching of sinless perfection, we have over reacted
to the point of saying we sin because it is our nature. It is almost as
if we have to sin - we have no choice. Based on this teaching, we have
allowed sin to become a normal part of the Christian life.
We need not see sin as an integrated part of life, we should see it
as something that is an option. We don't need to sin, we need to not sin!