How we need to be pedantic and watch our language on this one. Christians do NOT have two natures. Jeremiah predicted that God would make a covenant where He would remove the heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. He talked of the old heart being removed for a new one. Paul said “If any man be in Christ He is a new creation.” So we cannot be partly repaired, we are completely renewed!
But we still have the same body, so he obviously is not referring to being physically renewed at conversion. We still need our minds to be renewed, so it cannot be our souls that were made new at conversion. Logically, Paul must be talking of the human Spirit – the new man. It cannot be that the old man and the new man are fighting it out to see who dominates. The whole analogy of Paul’s language in Romans 6 is a complete replacement of nature. “As many of you as were baptised into Jesus Christ were baptised into His death.” That is not partial in any meaning of the language. To be baptised is to be totally submerged in an element – in this case – the element is death. So the old man is dead. The sinful nature is therefore dead and buried. The Old man has gone. If any man be in Christ he is a new creation! Complete! Absolute! Job finished!
But I hear man screaming, “But that cannot be so! I still sin!” The “point of order!” however is not a “point of order!” I would counteract the “Point of order” with a “Point of fact!” The scripture says that we have died with Christ and are set free from sin and the ruling spirits of the universe.
I draw the analogy from Lazarus in John chapter 11. When Christ approached the grave he was dead and wrapped in grave clothes. Jesus called Him out and Lazarus’s life returned. In body soul and spirit Lazarus was back to his normal self with the sickness, whatever it was that had taken him, utterly reversed. However, Lazarus did not come running and bounding out of the tomb like a Jack-in-the box, or an Olympic runner. His renewal was complete. His life had completely returned and the resuscitation of Lazarus was a done deal. So what was the problem?
Lazarus was ensnared and shrouded with grave clothes. In real terms according to the point I am making, there was an aspect of the well being of Lazarus that could not be improved him and could not be referred to as partial. But Lazarus was still bound. He could not move his arms, his legs were bound together and his eyes were still covered with the face cloth of the death shroud.
It seems that the spectators were in such a state of awe that they were frozen to the spot. Not even Mary or Martha made any move towards their now returned brother. It was such a scene when one realises that Jesus had to snap the crowd out of their amazement and say, “Remove the grave clothes!”
While those grave clothes remained Lazarus could fall, bump into things, and could even do damage to himself. Christ had imparted the facility, the life and the energy for him to run, jump, smile, talk and generally interact with the world and those that live in it. But his perfection of recreation was in one area only – the major area and the most important area that covers all issues of life, yes – but still he was bound.
The grave clothes that binds the Christian are his or her thoughts, habits, mindsets, wrong beliefs and lifelong held lifestyles that inhibit the freedom of movement in God. Grave clothes have to be removed and one has to learn to walk, run and inter-act as the new person in Christ that we are through conversion.
So, in returning to the issue of, “why do I still sin?” the mind of the Christian is the death shroud that comprised the old life before conversion. Habits, attitudes, and straight forward teachings of Christ have to be imbibed and practiced in order to remove those issues that tie us up and make us fall both spiritually and morally.
I have a new nature in Christ. In order to live in the manner that the new nature demands, we have to renew our minds totally. To stretch another analogy, we were submariners prior to conversion. We were under the water of sin, and could breathe under that water as fish can breathe under the surface of water. But now we have ceased being submariners. Now we breathe air. Like children in the womb can live breathe and grow while being submerged in amniotic fluid, we have now come out into God’s fresh air and are learning a new way to breathe.
Our old nature is dead. Your mind and thinking processes have to catch up with the complete job that has been transacted in the human spirit. We are new in Christ. On that rock we need to reckon ourselves dead to sin. God could not ask us to reckon ourselves dead to sin if it was not already a fact.
It is this writer’s conviction that this understanding as a standalone biblical truth would be revolutionary in its impact on millions of Christians.