TWO NATURES IN CONFLICT
Romans 8:6-8 – 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, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Galatians 5:17 – For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Obviously we are talking about the nature and character of God as it compares to the fallen nature and character of man. In this study we will compare the two, consider the source of each and look at God’s provision and method He set in motion to restore what He originally intended. We must begin at the beginning of man on earth as God made him.
Genesis 1:26-27 – Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
When God made man in His image and likeness He was referring to that nature and character that God placed in man. God placed His own nature and character in Adam. God made man in a fashion that God could relate to on a close and intimate basis; a being the God could shed His love on and who, in turn, would love Him back. And so it was in the beginning.
Genesis 1:31 – Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.
So Adam and Eve, (Mrs. Adam) possessed all the character and nature of God, but mankind did not have God’s divine powers, just His nature and character, (likeness and image). This means that man was absolutely righteous, showing all godliness, fashioned as a true and pure son of God. However, whenever we think of Adam, we never consider what he was like before the fall – thus we cannot really appreciate what God really made when he formed man from the dust of the earth.
God gave Adam the task of ruling over the earth, and so he did at first; that is, until the enemy came on the scene with a diabolical plan to gain control of the earth for his own agenda. The devil used the attributes of his own fallen nature to temp the wife of Adam into defying God. She succumbs to the temptation and gives the enemy the means to destroy what God has made.
Strangely, we all attribute the fall of mankind into sin to Adam, the man. However, we fail to see the truth of scripture in recognizing that the fall was attributed to the woman – it was she who sinned and not her husband, Adam.
I Timothy 2:13-14 – For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
You need to understand that she is the one who was tempted and who yielded in defiance to God’s command. Sin is the result of temptation that is yielded to.
James 1:14-15 – But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
What you probably have never been told is that Adam did not eat the forbidden fruit as a result of temptation and lust which is sin, as Eve did. Adam was not going to go back to God and ask for another wife because Eve “blew it”. Adam ate as a result of his love for his wife knowing that God had a plan of redemption already prepared from before the time man was formed. Adam ate initiate God’s plan of redemption for his wife. This is why Adam was a foreshadow of Jesus.
Romans 5:14 - Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
It may be surprising to you to see that scripture calls Eve – Adam also, so all references to Adam are not necessarily about him but also includes HER:
Genesis 5:1-2 - This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called their name Adam in the day when they were created.
Adam had God’s love in him at that time because he had all of God’s character and nature, first and foremost of which is LOVE. However, that nature was totally lost when he ate the fruit also and became sin with Eve’s sin; (just like Jesus became sin with our sin when he went to the cross).
So we now find that the devil has become the ruler of the earth since mankind submitted to him and thus yielded up what they had under their control to him.
Luke 4:5-6 – Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
It is amazing that people still blame God for all the evil things that happen in this world. They fail to realize the devil is now the god of this world and the cause of all the misery and chaos.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Since that event in the garden, mankind has had Satan’s character and nature, the nature of the one who they (she) yielded to. God’s character and nature that man originally has was completely lost; all the love, righteousness and eternal life was now gone. We see the evidence of this recorded in Genesis 3 when Adam and Eve hid from God, whom they previously had a loving fellowship with. Then when God confronts Adam he now blames God and then the woman for what happened. He totally forgot that he willingly accepted the penalty due to his love for his wife - that God kind of love was now gone.
From that time on we see mankind manifesting the fallen nature that he acquired from the enemy.
John 8:44 – You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
That nature focuses primarily on selfishness and pride and produces the works of the flesh which is according to the working of Satan.
John 10:10 – The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
What the flesh produces is has been well documented throughout history and is the reason that laws had to be made beginning with God’s law. Laws are established to regulate human behavior – the works of the flesh. The Bible gives us a listing of such:
Galatians 5:19-21 – Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred,
A closer look at each of these items is needed to help recognize the seriousness of these wicked behaviors that is so common among mankind today.
ADULTERY – (a sex offense), infidelity, unfaithfulness in marriage
FORNICATION – (a sex offense), sexual uncleanness; also an ancient term for false worship.
UNCLEANNESS – (a sex offense), unchaste, immoral sexual activity
LASCIVIOUSNESS – (a sex offense), uncontrolled lustful sex, lewdness
IDOLATRY – False worship or devotion to something other than the true God
WITCHCRAFT – employing evil spirits to manipulate of control others
HATRED – extreme detesting of another person
VARIANCE – dissension or being disagreeable
EMULATIONS – ambitious rivalry or inappropriate opposition to others
WRATH – violent anger, rage
STRIFE – conflict, discord
SEDITIONS – resisting lawful authority, being lawless
HERESIES – opposition to or promoting division of truth
ENVYINGS – resentment and bitterness
MURDERS – unlawful and malicious killing of another
DRUNKENNESS – intoxication, numbness of senses, no control of faculties
REVELINGS – noisy or riotous festiveness
Add to this list the items that Satan is known for: LUST- improper cravings; SELFISHNESS – the opposite of love in being greedy for personal gain; LIES - being deceitful; THEFTS – taking what belongs to another; DESTRUCTION – tearing down or ruining lives of others; PRIDE – self-promotion for recognition or a position above others . All these encompass complete opposition to godliness and the nature and character of God; the image HE purposed for mankind when HE first made him.
The plan of redemption which God prepared before man was placed on earth was for the purpose of restoring what HE knew would be lost.
Luke 19:10 – for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
What was lost was God’s righteousness, character and nature which carries with it eternal life, or life as He himself has it. This plan of redemption requires accepting of God’s sacrificial gift of life that He made for us – Jesus.
1 John 3:8-10 – He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.
Jesus not only gave His life FOR us, but when we believe on Him and accept what He did for us, then He gives His life TO us. We receive His Spirit which regenerates our life back to God. When we receive His Spirit we receive His character and nature - restoring what was lost. This was demonstrated when Jesus appeared to His disciples following his resurrection.
John 20:21-22 – So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
Note that Jesus, God’s Son breathed on them His Spirit just as God did with Adam.
Genesis 2:7 – And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
God’s life was restored to them; they got His righteousness, character and nature and eternal life. They now have the product of what the Spirit of God produces – it’s called the Fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Let’s look more closely at these characteristics that are to be seen in every true believer.
LOVE – God’s kind of love that is also called charity because it is caring for and giving to the benefit of others. (Note: Love is the foundation of the kingdom of God.)
JOY – A sense of happiness and well-being; rejoicing and pleased with life.
PEACE – Being at rest with no fears, worry or concerns about anything.
LONGSUFFERING – Patience and endurance; the ability to go through trials, difficulties and opposing circumstances
GENTLENESS – Kind, polite, gracious, not harsh rough or boisterous.
GOODNESS – Exhibiting a quality of virtue and being kind.
FAITH – Steadfast assurance, confidence and fidelity.
MEEKNESS – Humble, not self-asserting or demanding.
TEMPERANCE – Self-controlled; a restrained disposition.
“Against such there is no law”. If these characteristics are in you then there is no need of law as you will then live the most honorable and lawful life as God intended.
The Fruit of the Spirit listed above is the character and nature of God that is restored to all mankind that receive Jesus Christ as God’s means of restoration to Him. It restores the image and likeness of God to man as it was in the beginning. However, there remains influence or the enemy that still tries to steal, kill and destroy in order to prevent God’s likeness from showing through believers. That old nature that we are all born with, the nature of the devil, is still with us and requires that we “put it off” or die to it.
Ephesians 4:20-22 – But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Colossians 3:5-9 – Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
Romans 8:3-5 – For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
The new nature needs to be allowed to come forth in each of our lives but the old nature hinders it. The old nature, also called the “old man” or the “flesh” is the selfish and prideful character we all have that needs to be denied. This does not come automatically which is why we are told to make every effort to remove it, put it off and die to self – the flesh with its lusts.
Luke 9:23 – hen He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Romans 8:13-14 – For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Colossians 3:9-10 – Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
Galatians 4:19 – My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,
Colossians 1:27 – To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
This is why the message of repentance is so important. Repent means to change; a change that we have to aggressively pursue by putting on the “new man” which is the image of God and Christ. Then we will be seen as true sons of God.
Romans 8:19 – For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
Romans 13:14 – But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
This is not an option, it is a command of God.
1 Peter 1:13-16 – Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Be ye holy (righteous and separated from the world) for I am holy. We are to be as He is.
1 John 3:10 – In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.