Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sin Nature

Dear Friends,

Below is a brief and simple treatise on my understanding of the sin-nature-issue that we’ve opened up, according to Paul’s writings in Romans 6-8. I know that MH is not the par excellence of scholarship, but he was quick and easy to access.

May I challenge your premises that we are bound to the sin-nature until we reach heaven? As I read Paul, I understand that our “sin” may ever be with us, because of the “lie” our flesh or the enemy plies against us. But nonetheless, it is a lie, that we believe to be true, that causes us to be duped into acting according to a dead law that seems to fit with our flesh. As we walk in the Spirit and the Word, we are ever washing and exposing our flesh to the truth that sets us free from the lie. The lie that says (our flesh speaking) “I can’t do anything but yield to the impulse I’m feeling.” (mind you, most people don’t have an actual dialog inside regarding their rational response to their feelings, but for the sake of this narrative). Be it, unholy anger, depression, sexual urges, spending urges, binging urges, pride and power urges, etc. All are responses to feelings, caused by a lie.
Regarding the fact (the argument at hand) that our sin-nature is ever with us may I expound.

Matthew Henry RE: Romans 6:3-10 The apostle is very full in pressing the necessity of holiness. He does not explain away the free grace of the gospel, but he shows that connection between justification and holiness are inseparable. Let the thought be abhorred, of continuing in sin that grace may abound. True believers are dead to sin, therefore they ought not to follow it. No man can at the same time be both dead and alive. He is a fool who, desiring to be dead unto sin, thinks he may live in it. (Emphasis mine)

I interpret the above highlight this way. Either I’m a Genuine Christian, really saved, really born-again and my sin nature is dead and no longer has power over me, or this whole thing falls back into a deadly trap of works. Note the following passages – including my commentary.

NASB Rom 6:6-7 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.

I’m no Greek scholar, but it seems very clear that my “old self” my “body of sin” i.e. the original cause of my sinful, eternal separation from God and the original “Imago Dia” defacement – is “done away with”.

AMP Rom 6:6-7 We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin. 7 For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].

Here again in the AMP, the words used are “old (unrenewed) self was nail to the cross… in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil”. Please bear with me but, this really sounds like a guarantee that my sin-nature is dead and gone.

NASB Col 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

Here, Paul tells us not to “lie” to one another… meaning there will be potential for lies to continue deceiving us. If Paul says, don’t “lie” because the “old self” has been laid aside through death on the cross with Christ… then what alone has any continual sway over us… but a lie. The primary lie Paul battled in the first century was mans need for legalism to keep him in check – so he wouldn’t sin. That’s still a lie we believe to be true – and often preach from our pulpits.

NASB Eph 4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
Here it appears that we have an obligation to cooperate with the cross, and by faith let the “sin-nature” die or suffer death. If not, this old self, like a Zombie becomes animated (not alive – but living a lie) all according to “lusts” or feelings based upon deceit. Hmmm…

NASB Eph 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.

One of the final end results of effective 5 Fold Ministry is causing the Church to mature and become so healthy, that we stop the LIES. We finally come to the place where we “SPEAK TRUTH” and who alone has the Truth? We must speak what He speaks. That is the final and ultimate culmination of our faith here on earth. That is the work we are to “do” as our primary goal (John 6:28-29 we speak what we believe). It’s not programs or methods that set people free, but the experiential NOW Word of God spoken into a feeling, that finds the lie, that will ultimately change everything.

AMP Rom 7:8 But sin, finding opportunity in the commandment [to express itself], got a hold on me and aroused and stimulated all kinds of forbidden desires (lust, covetousness). For without the Law sin is dead [the sense of it is inactive and a lifeless thing].

When law is present, sin finds opportunity. But sin, like a thorn that torments our new-self, is caused by our believing a lie which thereby arouses forbidden feelings. These feelings then cause us to “act” in ungodly ways.

AMP Rom 7:17 However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me.

Sin may find a place to hide or inhabit us, but only because we believe the lie that says it has a right to be there. The entity that Paul calls sin, is a byproduct of a lie we believe to be true about self. But it IS NOT our “old self”, because that “old self” or “sin-nature” is dead.

AMP Rom 7:20 Now if I do what I do not desire to do, it is no longer I doing it [it is not myself that acts], but the sin [principle] which dwells within me [[c]fixed and operating in my soul].

It is “not myself that acts” but a force or principle caused by a lie. Myself, my “new self” is not to blame, but a belief in a lie, which causes my feelings to rise, and I act – not according to my new self, but simply according to a “falsehood”.

AMP Rom 7:22-23 For I endorse and delight in the Law of God in my inmost self [with my new nature]. 23 But I discern in my bodily members [[d]in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh] a different law (rule of action) at war against the law of my mind (my reason) and making me a prisoner to the law of sin that dwells in my bodily organs [[e]in the sensitive appetites and wills of the flesh].

Finally (for now) it again appears that we have a “new nature”. Both the old and new CANNOT be alive together in the same being. One of the lies we believe is that our old nature still exists. It does not. Much like biblical foreshadowing’s of things to come, lies we believe to be true, cause false impressions, misinterpretations or false foreshadowing’s of reality. If faith is partly “the conviction of things not seen”, conversely, doubt (which is a “lie seed”) can become so convincing that we believe it to the very same degree as with genuine faith.

I’m tired now and need to go to bed. I welcome all of your input.


1 comment:

  1. Good post Pastor Kinney! This was all very confusing to me until just recently. It seemed that I was supposed to understand that if we're born again, we don't sin. Therefore if I ever sinned, I must not have been truly born again? What frustration!!
    You are one of the few that I've seen mention the 'sin nature' which is actually what paul was speaking of in Rom 6. Therefore it is my understanding that even as Christians, by virtue that we don't live in our glorified bodies yet, still have a sin nature. But, because we are baptized into Christ, God sees us in Christ. As we maintain our faith in the Cross of Christ the Holy Spirit can work within us and render our old sin nature inactive or "unplugged". However, this is a daily taking up of our cross (by faith in what Christ did at the cross) and NOT faith in what we've done or haven't done. --Phil Hallett