Nature vs. Nature

1 John 3:9

People conceived and brought into life by God don’t make a practice of sin. How could they? God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It’s not in the nature of the God-begotten to practice and parade sin.

~The Message

When you believe in and put your trust in Jesus Christ, surrendering your life to him, you are given a new nature.

Without this new nature, you are unable to live out the Christian life.

With this new nature, you are unable to live a life in habitual sin. It simply won’t allow it.

How do we sin at all with this new nature?

The old nature is still there and wars against it.

Dallas Willard’s description of the flesh has been very helpful for me in my thinking through all of this:

Simply stated, the flesh is merely the natural powers of the human being, based in the human body—our capabilities, wants, and desires as they are in themselves, unaided by divine assistance or guidance.

It’s not identical to our human nature, but one aspect of it.

The problem is when the flesh is uncoupled from God’s Spirit. Then our desires are in charge, and we operate only out of what we want, because we can’t override them (our overwhelming desires) on our own.

But if we tend to our new divine nature, feeding it consistently, it will be God’s nature in charge of our daily decisions and living.

A converted Native American explained, “I have two dogs living in me—a mean dog and a good dog. They are always fighting. The mean dog wants me to do bad things, the good dog wants me to do good things. Do you want to know which dog wins? The one I feed the most!”

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