Why do Christians fail? Why is it there are no perfect Christians? Why did some of God's most dedicated men falter, and sometimes horribly? After the flood experience, Noah got drunk; after being the friend of God, Abraham lied more than once; David committed adultery and murder after close communion with His Lord; Peter, after great experiences with Christ, denied Him, not once or twice, but three times! Paul was drawn back into the shackles of Judaism after rebuking Peter for the same offense.
We are all fully aware that many who claim to be God's children are not (Matthew 7:21-23.) The lost are not our subject here. We are not discussing the "tares" but the "wheat" (Matthew 13:24-30.)
The Bible teaches that every Christian has two natures…the old nature and the new nature. Jesus referred to man's salvation as being "born again" (John 3:3,7.) Paul called the saved man a "new creature." John said the new nature was sinless (1 John 3:9.)
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17
In Ephesians 4:24, Paul called the new creature a "new man;" he does the same thing in Colossians 3:10. In Galatians, Paul relates the new man to "the Spirit."
"For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." Galatians 5:17
Man's old nature is referred to as "the flesh" (Galatians 5:17;) the "old man" in Ephesians 4:22 and Colossians 3:10.
Please observe that the old nature is not dead, abolished or gone forever. In Galatians 5:17, the "flesh" fights against the "Spirit." Ephesians 4:22 says the "old man is corrupt," not WAS corrupt! Colossians 3:9 reminds us that the "old man" still has "his deeds."
The apostle Paul was probably the greatest Christian who ever lived; he wrote over half of the New Testament and was given "visions and revelations of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 12:1.) It was to Paul alone that God revealed the "mystery" to the Gentiles (Ephesians 3:8-9; Colossians 1:25-27.) With all his experiences and knowledge, he went through the doubt and fears that all of us do. If you want to see the two natures at work in one of God's children, read Romans 7:14-24:
"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 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?"
Those of the Pharisaical mind-set cannot bear to admit their common frailties and deny that Paul wrote this after he was saved. If Paul was lost when he wrote Romans 7, was he lost when he wrote Romans 1-6? These are the "growing pains" of every child of God. What lost man in any generation could say "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man?" (Romans 7:22.)
Believe me, the old nature is alive and well. Paul said we are to "reckon" ourselves "to be dead indeed unto sin" (Romans 6:11.) If it were dead, there would be no need to "reckon" it such. It is true that our "old man is crucified with Him," (Romans 6:6,) but our unqualified acquittal and our walk are not to be confused with each other. We live in the "power of the resurrection" (Philippians 3:10,) not the actuality. In Ephesians 2:5-6, three of the things that Christ has accomplished for us are listed, yet only one of them has actually occurred.
"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
Our resurrection and glorification still awaits us.
Paul found that the key to his depression in Romans 7 was learning what Christ had already accomplished for him in Romans 8, not what Paul had accomplished or would accomplish.
Let us not quit studying before God quits teaching!
Keep Looking Up!
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