“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17)
We need to realize that we have two natures within. First is the Old Man (also referred to as sin nature or flesh nature or old self) which has its source in the fallen first Adam and causes us to do the very thing we do not want to do – Sin! (Rom 7:15). All temptations to sin make their appeal to this corrupted flesh nature called the old man. Unfortunately, for a long time we have believed the lie that it was Satan who was the cause of our sin. While he may be an instrument, he is not the source. Thus we have been overly occupied with him, rather than the true source of the problem, our sin / flesh nature. Consider (James 1:14-15) – “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire, when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death”. Jesus explained it best in (Mt. 15:18-20) by saying: “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man….”
Our flesh is so corrupted that it cannot be repaired, nor redeemed, nor changed (see Jer 17:9 NIV). God has only one remedy for this old man or flesh nature and that is the Cross. Hence Paul points out this all important remedy for the Christian in (Rom 6:6-7) – “We know that our old self (old man) was crucified with Him so that the sinful body might be destroyed (Gk: Katargeo – nullified), and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died [to sin] is freed from sin”. Here is a momentous truth that Paul is putting forth. He exhorts us; if we will only recognize and trust God’s Word which instructs us that our old man (sin nature) was crucified with Christ, then half the victory is already won. Once we see this truth, then we need not struggle in the flesh, but all we need to do is simply reckon (consider) ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus (Rom 6:11). What a blessed relief, no more struggle, no more strain, just resting upon the finished work that Christ accomplished for us through the Cross. In one dual blow He put paid to sin and sinner.
This brings us to the other nature dwelling within and that is the freshly created New Man which has its source in the Last Adam – The Lord Jesus Christ! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old [nature] has passed away, behold, the new [nature] has come” (2 Cor 5:17). “No one born of God (new man) commits sin; for God’s [new] nature abides in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9; brackets mine).
What an amazing solution designed by God. At the Cross, he put away the Old Nature by crucifying it together with Christ and created a New Nature in us through His Son. I can almost hear someone asking: If that is so, then why is it that we still sin? The mystery is solved when we realize that both the natures (old and new) co-exist within our being. That is the way the heavenly Father has designed it to be. When He says that the old nature was destroyed, the original Greek word shown above means “nullified” or “loosed of its power” and not eradicated. In short, the old man will always be around together with the new as both are allowed to co-exist while we are here on this earth. So how do we resolve this dilemma situation that every Christian faces? Paul’s experience of the same perplexing dilemma can be clearly seen in his agonizing question asked in Romans 7:15-20. Paraphrased, it would read thus; “I know what is the right thing I should be doing according to the new nature. But I end up doing what I should not be doing in accordance with the old nature. Woe is me, wretched man that I am”. So daily the Christian is faced with a choice to choose between which of the two natures he will abide by. Here lies the key to the victorious Christian life. If I choose to let the old nature dictate to me, then I will end up walking in the flesh, with sin as its natural product. But instead, if I choose to reckon myself dead to sin (and the old nature) and count myself as being alive to God in Christ Jesus, then I will end up walking in the Spirit, with the fruit of the Spirit as its natural product. In His great wisdom, the heavenly Father has wisely permitted both the natures to co-exist side by side, thereby giving us the daily opportunity to deny our self-life, pick up our cross (by saying no to sin) and follow Christ as true disciples. Only serious genuine study of the Word of God in this matter will give the Christian the much needed insight and revelation to comprehend this truth and walk in the victory of it. It is God’s only Christ-centered-cum-Cross-centered method for deliverance from the dominion of sin. God has no favourites and no special people. But at the same time, He will not cast His pearls before the callous Christian; but will willingly reveal all this and more to the truly hungry heart that truly yearns for victory according to His method.
Application: Beloved, are you tired of sinning? Have you tried and tried and cried and cried and failed and failed? There is good news for you. God must first bring us to the place of utter defeat and He uses failure as His chief instrument to achieve this. When we have come to an end in ourselves in trying to overcome sin by our fleshly methods, then we are ready to appreciate His one and only method – the Cross, as depicted in Romans 6. So take heart beloved, you are in the right place where God wants you to be. Yield yourself up to God and tell Him – “Father I am tired of sinning, repenting, confessing and then sinning again in a vicious cycle”. I am ready to hear more about your Cross and the only method that you have instituted for my victory over sin. Please open the eyes of my understanding and give me a spirit of wisdom and revelation that I might see and understand my victory in Christ Jesus! Amen!