The Believer's Two Natures: The Conflict
You would not like to go to a zoo if all the doors of the cages were opened and the lions and tigers and leopards and hyenas were allowed to go loose. They would immediately begin to fight and kill one another and everything else in sight. But when they are in the cages they can do no harm. They are kept from harming anyone by the iron bars of their cages.
In us we have an old nature that is as bad as a tiger. It cannot do anything good, as we have seen. God will have nothing to do with it. But when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and were born again we received a new nature that is all good - and can do nothing wrong, for it is the very life of God which He plants in us. It would be very nice if, when we received the new nature, God should take away the old nature, but He does not. He has a good reason for leaving it in us. Some people have deluded themselves by thinking that the old nature was gone, and have said that they do not sin anymore. This is a lie, for God's Word says that we have an old nature and that it can only sin (1 John 1:8-10). Even Paul had an old nature, all bad (Romans 7:18). In Galatians 5:17, we read about the struggle of the old nature with the new nature. The old nature (the flesh) desires one thing, and the new nature (the Spirit) desires the opposite. Think of the old example of a wagon with horses pulling in opposite directions. The flesh pulls toward the Devil and the Spirit pulls toward God.
Perhaps you thought when you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ all your struggles would be over, and were disappointed when you found out that you still sinned, and that the Devil still tempted you. The struggle has only begun when you are born again, for until that time you have had only the old nature. Now, you have the new nature to fight with the old.
What is going to happen, then? Are we going to go on sinning all our lives, with the old nature coming out of its cage and sinning every day? That is not what God wants. He wants us to have the victory over sin. He wants us to honor Him in everything that we do. How can we, though, with this old sin nature in us, ready to sin any moment?
God has made a way for the new nature to have the victory. That is why the Lord Jesus died. He did not die just to save us from going to hell, but to save us from living a life of sin.
When the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross, God saw all who would ever believe in Him dying there too. So, He says that we are dead with Christ (Romans 6:8). Even though the old nature is still there, God does not look at it as alive, but as on the cross, crucified with the Lord Jesus. What we must do if we do not want to have this old nature sinning, is to let God really keep it dead. We must yield ourselves to God, and ask Him to keep the old in the place of crucifixion. When we are tempted to sin we can pray to God, "Lord, I know that my old nature has been crucified with Christ, now keep it dead; do not let it get off the cross and begin to sin." God will do it if we will let Him.
Everything we do is done either by the old nature or the new. If we want the new nature to grow, we must feed it the milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2), and we must starve the old nature by not giving it the food on which the world grows fat. If we walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfill the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16; Romans 6:6-7; Galatians 2:20; Romans 13:14).
* Why is our "old nature as bad a tiger"?
* Why do we still have an "old nature"?
* Remember the great cost that Christ paid in order to give us a new nature. Praise God through obedience to His word for the great gift of salvation.
* Pray that God would sanctify you and aid you in your fight against sinfulness.