The blood shed, and death of Jesus on the cross of Calvary, did way more than just wash away our sins. If you look closely you will discover it also severed our union with the “god of this world” and joined us to the One True God.
God told Adam not to eat of the “Tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” He said, “The day you eat of it you will surely die.” Of course we know he did eat and yet he didn’t seem to have died because immediately he saw that he was naked and ran to hide. So what really happened that day? There is a sense in which the Serpent was truthful, he said, “The day you eat of this your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” It seems Adam’s eyes were opened that day but being opened to this world they were actually closed to the Spirit realm. This is why later on in chapter 3 of the Gospel of John we read where Jesus is telling Nicodemus “unless you are born-again you cannot see the kingdom.”
While Adam, and subsequently all of us born from him, were born with our eyes open to this world we were born blind to the kingdom from which we fell. This of course is why Jesus had to be born of a virgin. His birth bypassed the blind, sinfulness passed down by our earthly fathers. This is also a clue as to what our new birth is all about because we too must be born from a virgin womb, or should I say born from above, but that’s a subject for another time.
What is the root cause of this blindness we have all inherited? The root cause of disobedience to God is unbelief. The Apostle Paul told us in 2 Corinthians 4:4 “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” According to Ephesians 2:1&2 we all were dead in trespasses and sins, we all used to live according to the world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. In other words, Adam not only disobeyed God he actually joined himself to a deceiving spirit which he then passed on to all that would come after him. 1 John 4 calls it the “spirit of error.” It is this spirit which has blinded us, and our union with this spirit is what is severed at the cross of Calvary for those of us who have been born-again by placing our faith in Christ’s sacrifice. Now we can look at what baptism is really all about.
In Romans 6 we find out real baptism isn’t about water at all it’s about being baptized into a person. Those of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death. If we have been joined with him in His death then we are also joined with him in His burial and resurrection. You see on the cross Jesus became sin. He, being sinless, took sin into Himself and died. His body was truly dead which is evidenced by His being buried for three days. A spirit needs a body so when Jesus, and us in him, died, the “god of this world” had to go out. The “Good News” is that after those three days God raised Him back up, and us in Him, by His very own Holy Spirit. So now we are no longer a slave to “Sin” or the “god of this world” the “spirit of error.” The cross breaks our union with the one in order to join us to the other and this is what really happened at the cross.
The Bible teaches us that mankind is never his own. Part of the lie we have believed about ourselves is that we are independent beings living our own lives. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and once we really start to see the deeper meaning of the cross we’ll finally be set free to be who God always intended us to be.
Many are walking around in bondage to the enemy and don’t even know it yet. This is why Jesus told His disciples, which includes all of us, to “go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” God’s plan is to reunite His creation to His Son Jesus Christ. This is what being baptized into the Father, Son and Spirit really means. This means we are once again in union with God never to be severed again.
“He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:17).
Does a Christian continue to have a sinful nature?
When someone teaches a Christian doesn’t have a sinful nature they will inevitably be met with the question, “If we don’t have a sinful nature anymore why do we still sin?” This question presupposes the need of a sinful nature in order to commit a sin, but what about the first Adam? When Adam was created he didn’t have a sinful nature. Yet we know he partook of the forbidden tree which was a direct violation of God’s one and only prohibition. In other words, Adam committed a sin even though his nature wasn’t sinful.
There is no question in my mind that we are all born sinners in Adam. If someone wants to make the argument we are born with a sinful nature I wouldn’t disagree. The problem occurs when people think we carry that nature with us even after being born again.
In the New Testament there are really only two places where the word “nature” is used in this sense. The first one tells us we used to be “dead in our trespasses and sins.” We use to walk according to the “Prince of the power of the air”, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. We were by nature “Children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3). In other words, we are not only born sinners we are indwelt by the “spirit of error” (1 John 4:6), hence the sinful nature.
Upon being born again the spirit of error has been replaced by the Holy Spirit. According to 2 Peter we “become a partaker of his divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, isn’t going to be a roommate with the spirit of error. Jesus told us we can’t serve two masters. He also told the Pharisees they were of “their father the devil” (John 8:44). Jesus had clearly come from the Heavenly Father, but those religious leaders had another father and it was his lusts they were doing. You’ve heard the old saying, “You act just like your father” haven’t you? It’s true and we can only have one either God or Satan.
God created human beings to be expressions of him. Don’t you remember? He said, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis 1:26). We were designed to have the Spirit of God living in us so we would be an expression of his character (nature) manifested for all of creation to see. At the cross He accomplished all that was required for us to fulfill this original purpose.
According to Romans six we were “crucified with Christ and our old man, or self, died with him, in order that our old body of sin might be done away with, and we would no longer be slaves to sin.” Did you catch that? Our old self died. Wouldn’t this mean our old “sinful” nature died?
If we need a few more verses to show us our old man has died lets look at Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” The Apostle Paul tells us plainly it is no longer I but Christ! What part of Christ has a sinful nature? Another tells us, in Christ we have “put off the body of the sins of the flesh…” (Colossians 2:11) The old man really is dead!
Okay, you say that sounds pretty good, but let’s get back to why we still sin then. Fair enough. My answer is twofold. One reason I believe born again people sin is because they are living with an unrenewed mind. The other reason is simply because of outside temptations. If we are living with an unrenewed mind, in a world full of temptations, we are bound to fall. In Romans 12:2 we are told “Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” When I was born again I was 31yrs old. Believe me God had to rearrange a few things in my thinking. If we are born again in our spirit but our minds haven’t quite caught on yet we may discover parts of our lives to be the same as before. This is, I believe, why people come to the conclusion we still have a sinful nature.
The conclusion then is our nature is determined by the spirit we are in union with. Either we are in union with the spirit of error, and have a sinful nature, or we are joined to the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of truth), and we are partaking of his divine nature.
The biggest part of renewing our minds involves learning to see ourselves from God’s perspective. When we look at ourselves, or listen to what others say, we will start to believe it. If we determine we have a sinful nature based on our past experience, or how we have always thought of ourselves, it is no wonder we continue in sin. Part of what the Bible does for us is to describe God’s viewpoint on his children. He tells us “In Christ” we are whole, blameless, holy, righteous, sanctified, and justified dare I say perfect? He doesn’t look at us through the same lens the world uses.
Taken from my booklet “Some Things You Need to Know”
Is there really any such thing as human nature? Or does our nature derive from the one we are in union with, either the spirit of error or the Spirit of Truth? Could it be that we humans have no nature of our own?
It seems most of the time when someone messes up one of the excuses is “Well, I’m only human” or “It’s human nature.” These responses come across almost as a way out, as if to say, we’re “only” human what more can you expect? After all nobody’s perfect so don’t blame me; or what did you expect anyway?
I suppose what I’m really getting at is the fact that being human isn’t a bad thing. God created man and said “It is good.” Jesus Christ walked the earth as a human and even now sits at God’s right hand as a human, although he is now in a glorified body. So, please stop talking about humanity as if it is a bad thing, because it isn’t. In fact God thinks mankind is pretty keen.
Back to my first thought about our nature and how it seems to me to be derived from somewhere, or better yet someone else. God created man to be a branch attached to a tree never to be a branch on our own. So if we are indeed a branch that is attached we simply express the nature of the one to whom we are attached.
Because of Adam’s disobedience in the Garden we all are born with a sinful nature. This sinful nature isn’t our nature because we are humans but rather because we are joined to what the Bible calls “the prince of the power of the air…the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” When the fall of Adam took place mankind became indwelt by the “spirit of error” which has been passed down from generation to generation. This is why Jesus says, “You must be born again.” Or maybe you have heard it put this way; we must be regenerated. In other words, we need to be placed into another family which is the way we receive a new nature.
In Christ we become brand new creatures with a brand new nature. In 2 Peter 1:1-4 we discover through God’s “precious promises we may become partakers of the divine nature.” So when Jesus tells us in John 15 “I am the true vine and you are the branches” He is subtly telling us we, as human being’s, are a branch no matter what, but the question is are we attached to the true or false vine? In other words our humanity isn’t the problem but rather an expressor of the one who is the problem.
God looks to the source behind everything. He isn’t looking at us thinking there’s a pretty good one but that one over there is another story. No, he simply sees either humans that have received his Spirit or not. He sees branches attached to two different vines and wants all of them to be cut off from the false one and joined to the true one which is his Son. He knows unless we are joined to Jesus Christ we can do nothing that is of value to him so he patiently waits wanting all to come to repentance.
When the Apostle Paul walks us through his struggle in Romans 7 we discover something invaluable. After he suffers trying and failing to perform up to God’s perfect and holy standard he shares quite an insight with us. He says, “So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.” He goes on just a few verses later to say again, “I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.” This is some of the most remarkable things anyone has ever written.
Paul tried and failed and tried and failed in his own strength until he finally saw the truth. In his humanity alone he could never be pleasing to God and the longer he tried the more he sinned. He then realized that sin was in fact the problem not his humanity. He said, “Nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” He didn’t say his flesh was no good rather the sin that dwells in it. He began to see where the source of sin in his life really came from and it wasn’t that his humanity, in itself, was the problem but rather the spirit of error or sin dwelling in it. He saw that he had been attached to the false vine.
If you look at Galatians 2:20 you will see the very same thing on the other side. Paul said, “It is no longer I but Christ…” So you see it isn’t about Paul, or you and me, it’s really about who is dwelling in Paul and you and me. If we see ourselves as just human we will have no choice but to blame our humanity. On the other hand if we could just get the revelation that our humanity is joined to another, either sin or Christ, we will have come a long way in discovering being human isn’t the problem.
Written by Louie
Do humans have a nature? I mean one of our own, independent of God. Or is our nature simply one derived from God either in submission to him or in rebellion against him? Could it be that we humans were created to be a vessel that contains the Spirit of God, and we are designed to simply be an expression of him? Maybe the whole lie in the Garden is what gave us the false idea that we are our own independent person apart from God. It seems to me this may be the very root of our problem.
When Adam partook of the forbidden fruit he allowed what the Bible calls the “spirit of error” into his vessel. Since then we have all been born with this illegal indweller that whispers lies into our inner thoughts. He says things such as you can do what you want. You are your own boss you don’t have to listen to them. It’s your life you’re not hurting anyone else anyway. Do you see how this starts to sound like it’s simply our thoughts rather than thoughts injected into us from the deceiver? God created us as vessels and yet Adam, and we, made the choice to disobey him. It’s just that in the process of disobeying we picked up a hitchhiker that took up residence within. Of course if he showed himself openly we would be repulsed and his deception would be foiled, so he is satisfied to manipulate us from under cover of darkness.
Remember Lucifer’s whole trip was he wanted to be like God. He said, “I will exalt myself.” He was also created by God to be an expression of him. He was apparently the first one to decide to become his own boss and it earned him a one way ticket out of heaven. What I would like for you to see though is in the fall of man we are born with that nature. The nature of one made to express God’s glory and yet in rebellion against his very purpose. When something doesn’t operate the way it was intended to it is at odds with itself, and we too will in turn become angry, frustrated, jealous, envious, hateful and etc. Do you see what I’m getting at?
In conclusion let me just say it this way. We human beings don’t really have a nature of our own. We simply are an expression of the nature of the one within us, either the divine nature of Jesus Christ or the sinful nature of the spirit of error himself, a fallen angel, who is forever trapped to live a life at odds with himself and all those around him. Thankfully for us God saw fit to make a way for us to be delivered from the spirit of error and the wheel of anguish that is his life. The deliverance only comes through dying to the self exalting mentality of the enemy. It is through the cross of Christ that we are co-crucified in order to evict the illegal resident. The Bible tells us we that are joined to Christ in his crucifixion are also joined with him in his resurrection; raised to walk in newness of life. Essentially the spirit of error goes out, and the Holy Spirit of God comes into the vessel to change us into the expression of God we were created for in the first place.
Written by Louie
The mind of Satan is defined for us in the 14th chapter of Isaiah. He said in his heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the heights of the clouds; and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” Did you notice that last part? “I will make myself like the Most High.” Does that sound familiar? This is exactly what Adam was promised to receive if he partook of the forbidden fruit. The serpent told him “the day you eat of this you will be as God.” We know what happened next, Adam ate, and sure enough he began to think with the same mind as Satan. He thought he could make himself godlike. He was completely deceived into thinking he could improve himself by doing good and avoiding evil.
From that day forward mankind has been blinded to the fact we weren’t created to improve ourselves but to contain someone. Adam, like all of us, was designed to be indwelt by the Spirit of God. Seeing how we were designed to house another there was the possibility the wrong tenant could move in. This is exactly what took place in the Garden. Adam gave entryway to the “spirit of error” himself and took on his mindset of “me first, I’m number one and everything is all about me!”
The preaching of the cross in its fullness is the only thing that will rid us of this nasty tenant. He will not go out with reason or good moral behavior. The only thing that will evict this spirit is the truth. The spirit of error will only come out by the Spirit of Truth, and we know that is the Holy Spirit himself. The only problem is most of us want to try everything else before we give the Holy Spirit a turn. I mean we will do our best to clean up our act. We’ll stop drinking, smoking, cussing, cheating and fighting for a while. Then all of these things tend to come back in full force. Sometimes they come back and they are worse then they were before. You know what? That’s how it is supposed to be. What? You say that’s how it’s supposed to be. What are you talking about?
Before we can truly see and know our need of God we have to try everything else first. Whether it is education, money, drugs and alcohol, sex, gambling etc. there has to be a final decision made on our part that those things can’t help. We are so stubborn and God is so patient. He’s patient because he wants us to love him. He doesn’t want just obedience from a rebellious people he wants us to fall in love with him and his ways. If our hearts were linked with his we would love what he loved and hate what he hates. Living with the Holy Spirit in us and guiding us would be natural and easy.
The great thing is that is exactly what God has done for those of us that have received Christ. He promised to give us a new heart and put his Spirit within us. The Apostle Paul tells us in the 2nd chapter of 1 Corinthians “we have the mind of Christ.” If we have a new heart, his Spirit and the mind of Christ what is our problem?
I believe our problem is we simply do not live from this new mind. We are instructed to have our minds renewed. In other words we have to learn to think God’s thoughts after him. The old mind of Satan said, “I will exalt myself.” This new mind of Christ says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do no merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” You can read the rest of the description of Christ’s mind in Philippians 2. Ultimately the fundamental difference is the lost man, indwelt by the spirit of error, only thinks of himself and how he can exalt himself above others. The born again man, indwelt by the Spirit of God, doesn’t exalt himself but rather thinks of others more highly than his self. It is the mind of love. God is love and love always puts others first.
Written by Louie