Wednesday, March 05, 2014

THE CHRISTIAN'S NATURE

"Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians, 5:17.

I read someone who said, "Just like a lost person’s 'good' actions cannot change their sin nature before conversion, neither can a born-again believer’s 'sinful actions' change their righteous nature after conversion."

While many Christians have accepted one side of this truth, the flip side is not seen for what it is really worth. The believer's new nature doesn’t become corrupted every time they sin any more than their fallen nature became righteous every time they do something supposedly holy before they were born again.

Well then, what DOES happen when Christians sin? The answer to that is they play havoc with their ability to enjoy the relationship they have with their redeemer and they will “hide,” much as Adam did in the garden, as they become fearful, experience a loss of rest, and, because they are truly a believer in nature and not name only, they will certainly grieve over what they’ve done, as the Holy Spirit does His gracious work in them.

But “agreeing with God about it all," [confession] restores, not their nature, but their peace, rest, and enjoyment of a REAL relationship that they’ve always had with God since they were born again. He doesn't change and neither does the nature of a true believer.

Since the new birth, as Spurgeon says,

“The believer is a creation nearer to the heart of God than the first creation was. For when He made the world He simply said it was good. But when He makes the new creation, [a believer] it is written,  “He shall rest in his love; He shall rejoice over you with singing.” So gladdening to His heart is the sight of the new creature which His Grace has made, that He sings a joyful hymn over them!”

Our confession of sin doesn’t do anything with God [since He settled His problem with sin at the Cross] except please Him since we are "faithing" [believing] what He’s done to be true. It’s our faith that pleases Him and our confession gets US right in this whole business of relationships and restores our enjoyment of Him.

19 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

I get a kick out of it when people say "It's just my old nature". I tell them they don't have that any more .. we have a new nature. Our problem is with the old flesh, and we won't get new flesh until the resurrection.

Obvious thought: people can't control their nature but they can control their flesh, so who wouldn't want to blame their nature instead?

Paul Burleson said...

Bob,

Point well made and clear. Thanks for getting it.

Aussie John said...

Paul,

A message so simple, yet profound!

It's that word "new". It takes us a long time sifting through the detritus of what we have been taught by a multiple of teachers (?).

Pity we don't take the word at face value and read/listen to what Scripture actually says when it speaks of something NEW, especially the NEW Testament, which speaks of the NEW birth, when we receive the promised NEW heart in the time of the NEW Covenant which offers NEW life in Christ who gave a NEW commandment to those who are a NEW self(human),who will receive a NEW name.

Paul, thats enough to make a man sing a NEW song which you obviously do!



Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

You and I could do a duet on this one, could we not! LOL

Steve Miller said...

Thanks Paul,

I really appreciate the comments from Bob and Aussie J as well. This blog highlights a point you made many years ago of the importance of daily dealing with the Father and keeping short lists of confession.

I would love to hear the duet; I have heard you sing.

Steve

Paul Burleson said...

Steve,

I remember back in the day teaching on this as well. I think I would say the only difference between now and then is the slightly different motive.

Back then it was more of a thinking that God was ticked off when we did bad and we needed to be sure and get right to appease His being upset with us for sins done.

Now I know, as shown in the post, I need to deal with what's wrong to keep me from hiding from Him in shame and fear. Sin causes the one who does it to hide. [Ask Adam] And what a tragedy it is to hide from the One who loves unconditionally all based on the perfect doing and dying of the Lord Jesus. The difference is motive while the need to deal with sins remains.

By the way, I'm betting Aussie J could hold his own in a duet but I'm afraid I'd mess it all up. ;)

Grandpa said...

Paul,
A great post; very succinct.
Most folks, me included, are "fuzzy" on our nature.

I enjoy your posts & I learn a great deal from the comments.
Carl

Paul Burleson said...

Carl,

Thanks for commenting. I like your handle. I'm one fifteen times over.

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

I REALLY liked your paragraph on all things "NEW." I'm posting it on FB for all my friends there to see . Good stuff.

Victorious said...

Is there any point at which a long-time saved person becomes "unsaved?"

Mary Ann

Paul Burleson said...

Victorious,

I'm thinking the scriptures seem to indicate that if it is, in fact, God who is doing the saving, and when the relationship or process has actually begun in a person, He that hath begun that good work will accomplish it. That's what Paul said when complimenting his co-workers and describing what God was doing through them.

So, in keeping with the nature of God, I would say being "unsaved" is as likely as being "unborn." It is a relationship that is in union with His Spirit and God has begun a work in a believer that only He can do. It will be accomplished.

Aussie John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aussie John said...

Paul,

As an aside to Victorious,and realising you have already used the passage at the head of your article, but what a meaning filled statement: "a NEW creation....the NEW has come"!

Victorious said...

Thank you, gentlemen. If I'm understanding this then, the new birth and new creation is of a spiritual nature. The flesh and it's temptations, desires, etc. is still setting itself against the spiritual nature. If so, this leads to a continual "battle" for lack of a better word. It's a never-ending struggle then. Is that what Jesus meant, perhaps, when He said the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak?

Paul Burleson said...

Victorious,

Bingo!

Even then, our journey is a "faith" walk as we walk by or through [dia] the Spirit and not the flesh. But it is a war we're in but our victory is already won and our faith is our victory. Faith doesn't bring the victory, our faith walk IS our victory.

1 John 5:4, "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith." [ESV]

Paul Burleson said...

All,

I just had a thought that I decided to share with you all. I'm thinking that it is a sad mistake to think of "victory" in the Christian life in terms of the "absence" of things like struggles, failures, pain and even injuries from others, or even the "presence" of things like a great amount of faith, joy, comfort, or even a lot of prayer times.

Our victory is our willingness to trust or faith God [even a mustard seed size faith] as we live life where we might daily find ourselves in the MIDDLE of those things we wish were gone [the former] or in a LACK of those things we wish were present. [The latter]

Since "faith" is the victory, those "things," good or bad, don't get to define whether or not we are living victoriously.

Does this make any sense at all?

Victorious said...

Excellent thoughts about faith being the victory, Paul. I have always thought the word faith was so ambiguous. It's difficult to define so it isn't confused with "blind faith."

Years ago when my father died, I asked my mother where he was now. (This was during a time I didn't know if God was real or not.) She said very matter of factly, "He's in heaven." I asked how she knew this. Her reply was, "You have to have faith." Well, I wanted to have that kind of faith, so I asked, "where do you get it?" Of course, that ended the conversation since she perceived my question as confrontational rather than a genuine hunger for that kind of faith.

All that's to say that many times I hear Christians use the word faith as some kind of ethereal, mysterious commodity that just drops from the sky at some time following conversion.

But is that really how we get even a "mustard-seed-size" faith? Does it just appear out of nowhere and just as mysteriously begin to grow? What makes it grow so it is strong enough to endure sorrow, tribulation, temptation, etc. and most of all to stand firmly on the truth that we are forgiven of all our sins?

Forgive my rambling. I want to share a bit more, but it's late and I'm tired.

I'd like to say how much I appreciate your posts, Paul, and the very logical, reasonable, down-to-earth way you convey your thoughts about a variety of topics.

Thank you!

Aussie John said...

Paul,

"Does this make any sense at all?"

Well!It does to me, and,it made sense to the other Paul. You know. The Apostle!

Romans Ch.s 7-8

Anonymous said...

Paul,
I find that the tensions between the old and new natures seem to become less evident when I concentrate more on the condition of 'being in Christ'. This is a present , continuous experience. We come into Christ by believing in His Divine person and Atoning work, and this trust in Him must continue daily to the end of our lives. It is not a 'once and done' response. 1 COR 10, and in Hebrews Ch 6 and Ch 10 warn the elect, and even Angels, against falling away through unbelief, idolatry and wilful sinning. God's grace will cleanse and keep us as we continue being in Christ Jesus.

Gordon