Our Sinful Nature
Greetings Narrow Gate,
I continue to pray for your well being and look forward to when we can meet again in fellowship. This pandemic seems to be slowing. Let's pray that it is. If you can and are able, get vaccinated and move on with what other things God has in store for you.
I have been led again to the book of Romans, this time chapter 8:3-9. Then we will finish with 1 John 2:1-2. Again, as I have been saying all through the Lenten season, we'll filter these scriptures today through these three questions:
1) Why do we need Jesus? Why Jesus?
2) What happened on the cross that is revealed to us through the scripture?
3) What does our scripture tell us about who Jesus is? Who is Jesus?
Romans 8:3-4, Phillips' Translation of the NT,
"The Law never succeeded in producing righteousness--the failure was always the weakness of human nature. But God has met this by sending his own Son Jesus Christ to live in that nature which causes the trouble. And, while Christ was actually taking upon himself the sins of (men and women), God condemned that sinful nature."
God's law, the Law of Moses, as in the Pentateuch, was not capable of overcoming sin. What separates us from God is our sin. The law does not rid us of our sin. The law only reveals our sin. The law shows us how sinful we are.
The law also reveals how powerless we all are in trying to rid ourselves our of own sin. We are stuck in sin, slaves to sin, addicted to sin, and the fact that there is this law does nothing to help us in getting rid of our sin. The law cannot make us righteous. This is our human nature, our sinful nature, our flesh, to use a good OT word.
God sent Jesus, to live in this same sinful nature without sin. This same sinful nature that you and I live in with sin, Jesus lived in without sin. The law and all of mankind are powerless against sin. Jesus is not. The only chance any human has against their sinfulness is Jesus.
Now, don't make the mistake that the law is bad. The law does serve a purpose, an important one. It is a moral and ethical guide that we need to see. By comparing ourselves to the law we can see how sinful we are. People who deny that they are sinful, and there are many of these people who are our neighbors, when they honestly evaluate their behavior with the law, they can see their sinfulness. The Holy Spirit then can use the law to convict the hearts of people of their sin and to turn them to Christ. The law is still important.
However, the law is not a means of salvation, it cannot make one righteous. But with the guidance of God's Spirit one can live in the true and full intention of the law. This is where we let go of the sinful nature and live a life in the Spirit of God. God takes away our sinful nature and the vacuum left is filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
This is very important, God condemned the sinful nature, the nature that causes all of the problems. But he did not condemn mankind. You and I are not condemned, no human is condemned. It's the sinful nature that is condemned. Jesus, when we accept him as our Savior, he takes from us all our sins and our sinful nature and then he forgives us, but that's not all. He then gives to us his righteousness. We are no longer sinful. The problem for many is that they reject Jesus, and because of this their sinful nature is still present within them. Because of this sinful nature they are condemned. Not because they are humans, but because of the sinful nature. God condemned the sinful nature, not mankind. God loves us all and wishes for all of us to be saved.
"So that we are able to meet the Law's requirements, so long as we are living no longer by the dictates of our sinful nature, but in obedience to the promptings of the Spirit."
By living according to God's Holy Spirit we can then live a life that measures up to the Law. This means that we must yield to the Spirit. The Spirit will nudge us, guide us, and direct us as long as we listen to and follow the Spirit. Romans 8:6-8,
"The carnal attitude sees no further than natural things. But the spiritual attitude reaches out after the things of the Spirit. The former (carnal) attitude means, bluntly, death: the latter (spiritual) means life and inward peace. And this is to be expected, for the carnal attitude is inevitably opposed to the purpose of God, and neither can nor will follow (God's) laws for living. (People with the carnal) attitude cannot possibly please God."
This is exactly why God condemns the carnal nature and not mankind. It is the sinful nature that is at war with God, not mankind. But while that nature lives in us, we are at odds with God, no matter what we do. Jesus came to take away our sinful nature and clothe us in his righteousness. The sinful nature is always hostile to God, insubordinate, obstinate, and it always, always leads to death. The Spirit led life in Christ leads to inner peace and eternal life. 1 John 2:1-2,
"I write these things to you (my children), to help you to avoid sin. But if a man or a woman are to sin, remember that our advocate before the Father is Jesus Christ The Righteous, the one who made personal atonement for our sins ( and for the rest of the world as well)."
God's holiness demands punishment for our sins, all of them. God loves us and wants us to be with him, not estranged from him, no matter what we have done. Because of this love, God sent Jesus to make a substitutionary atonement for our sin. God punishes Jesus for the sins of our sinful nature. This is the punishment that brought us peace (Isaiah 53). God also takes away our sinful nature and gives us his Holy Spirit to help us live a godly life. This offer is for all of mankind. What a deal.
Why Jesus? Why do we need Jesus? Because he is the only one who could live with the sin nature and not sin.
What happened while Jesus was on the cross? Jesus took more than our sins, he also took our very sin nature upon himself. The wrath that was due for us, then instead, went to Jesus. Jesus took our wrath from God. Jesus also gave us his righteousness to live out our days on earth along with the Holy Spirit. When those days are gone, we then have eternal life with the Father and Son in heaven.
Who is Jesus? He is the Righteous One. He is also our Advocate and our Defender before God.
My prayer today is this: If you do not know Jesus, consider these written words carefully. Admit your sinfulness, ask for forgiveness from God and ask Jesus into your heart.
If you do know Jesus: Pray for those who you know that do not believe. Send them this email. Continue to pray for them. Love them as you would your own family. Because one day, prayerfully, they will be a part of your Christian family.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God. Blessings,
and Harmony UMC