Galatians 5:16, 17
(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
Galatians chapter 5 is a primary Scripture to understand the two natures in every Christian, the old and the new! We’ll start with Galatians 5:16 and 17:
Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
We are all born with the old nature, which is also called the flesh (see Galatians 5:16 above; and many other Scriptures); sinful flesh (see Romans 8:3); the old man (see Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9); and sin that dwells in me (see Romans 7:17, 20).
How did we acquire this sinful nature?
- According to Genesis chapters 1 and 2, God made man perfect. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to our likeness….So God made man in His own image; in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26, 27).
- Man, perfect but untested, was then tested. Satan tempted him, and he fell! In falling into that first sin, he acquired a sinful nature. Adam, being the Federal Head of the human race passed that sin nature to every human being since!
✡ “Federal headship states that God sovereignly appointed Adam as the representative head of the human race, so that whatever obedience or disobedience Adam chose would be imputed to his posterity” (sharperiron.org/article/fed- eral-and-natural-headship). ✡ Romans 5:12 is the Scripture that lays out the result of Adam’s fall into sin (this is from the Lexham English Bible): “...just as sin en- tered into the world through one man, and death through sin, so also death spread to all people because all sinned.” ✡ So we all are born with a sin nature!
How does this sin nature manifest itself in humanity? Paul describes the manifestation this way in Galatians 5:19-21:
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idol- atry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, out- bursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Did you notice the way Paul finished his list of 18 sins? “…and the like….” There are more manifestations! Paul gives another longer list of 25 manifestations of the sin nature in Romans 1:28 through 32. We should then discern that the sin nature is utterly corrupted and rotten, controlled by Satan!
In God’s eyes, our sin nature is beyond renovation and redemption! That’s why when we accept His Son Jesus into our hearts and lives as our Savior, He creates in us an entirely new nature! As it says in II Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away, all things have become new.”
- Well, the old things, the old nature, is not entirely passed away………yet! It will be someday when we leave our mortal bodies behind at death or the Rapture! (see I Thessalonians 4:13-18; I John 3:2, 3).
- Until then, Christians have both the old sinful nature and a new godly nature!
The new godly nature manifests itself through believers also! But instead of works that manifest through the flesh, the godly nature is designed to produce the fruit of the Spirit! Here is what Paul says in Galatians 5:22 through 25:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
The Christian WILL manifest either the fruit of the Spirit in their life, or the works of the flesh!
- I will again quote our featured Scripture of Galatians 5:15 and 16, but this time from the Easy-to-Read Version :
So I tell you, live the way the Spirit leads you. Then you will not do the evil things your sinful self wants. The sinful self wants what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against the sinful self. They are al- ways fighting against each other, so that you don't do what you really want to do.
We are to subdue the sinful self and pursue what the Spirit lead us to do! It is part of learning Spiritual Warfare! Between May 6 and June 21, 2013, I posted on Gems for Living 21 Gems entitled “Know Your Enemy!” This is a good beginner’s course on Spiritual Warfare! But a good synopsis of subduing the sinful self and pursuing what the Spirit leads us to do follows:
- Starve the old sinful self!
✞ Romans 6:11 through 14: Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of un- righteousness to sin, but present your- selves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of right- eousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you... ✞ Colossians 3:1 through 3: If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. ✞ I John 2:15 through 17: Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
- Feed the new godly self !
✞ Mark 12:29 through 31: Jesus answered...“The first of all the com- mandments is: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
In John 14:15 Jesus also said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” So
the first of all the commandments could read like this: “…you shall OBEY
the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.”
We can’t love and obey the Lord perfectly, but we can ask Him for His help
as we try! (see Galatians 2:20; Philippians 2:12, 13).
✞ Philippians 4:8: ...whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise- worthy — meditate on these things. ✞ Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ [the Bible] dwell in you richly....” ✞ I Thessalonians 5:14 through 22: Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but al- ways pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
There is so much more in the Bible concerning those things we should be
doing, and things from which we should abstain! And in it all, the Lord’s
powerful help to live a life pleasing to Him!
The sinful nature or the godly nature:
we WILL manifest one or the other!