July 6, 2015
I Corinthians 2:12-14
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
My wife and I attended an event in Pittsburgh Thursday evening, a presentation of Andrew Wommack Ministries. We had heard some about him and his work, and we were interested to hear him in person. Although I do not agree with all his teaching, even some of his basic doctrine, he gave me a few insights, so I want to give credit where credit is due. One such insight concerns what Paul discussed in I Corinthians 2:12 through 14:
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from
God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but
which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they
are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually
I had previously read this scripture and applied the last part to an unsaved person. He or she could not understand God’s truths because one has to have the Holy Spirit to discern spiritual things. But when one is born again, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in that person, and he or she can then receive spiritual things.
But every born again Christian still has the old nature as well as the new godly one! And we are challenged to live out of our new nature (see Romans 6:11-14; 8:5-14; Galatians 5:16, 17; Colossians 3:5-17). Why? Because that is the life God has called us to live – the only way to live as God wants!
Let’s look at these two natures:
• The old nature (also called the body of sin – Romans 6:6; the body of this death – Romans 7:24; the carnal mind – Romans 8:7; sinful flesh – Romans 8:3; natural man – I Corinthians 2:14; the body of the sins of the flesh – Colossians 2:11; the old man – Colossians 3:9). This is the nature with which we are born – passed down from our first father (see Romans 5:12). As Paul tells us in Romans 8:7, this nature is “…enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.” It has no capacity to love and obey God!
This nature has all the marks of Satan. As Jesus told the Pharisees in John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.” What desires? There are 17 listed in Galatians 5:19 through 21 – and the list is not exhaustive!
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication,
uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies,
outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders,
drunkenness, revelries, and the like….
Now not everyone will manifest all these characteristics. Most people are held in check by social norms and training, and by God’s restrictive power in the world through His Holy Spirit (see II Thessalonians 2:6-8). But the old nature is totally sinful and unredeemable! That is why God creates in us a new nature when we come to Christ and are born again! (See Ezekiel 36:26; II Corinthians 5:17).
• The new nature (also called the new man – Colossians 3:10; the divine nature – II Peter 1:4; the life…of Jesus…in our body – II Corinthians 4:10). “…we are…created in Christ Jesus…” Paul says in Ephesians 2:10. And this new nature cannot and will not sin! John said it twice in I John – in verses 3:9 and 5:18:
Whoever has been born of God does not sin; for His seed remains in him;
and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God….We know that who-
ever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps
himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.
This does not speak of ‘sinless perfection’ this side of heaven as some teach. It means that what God births in us is pure and holy and never will commit sin! Sin always originates in, and manifests itself out of the old nature, not the new!
But since we have two natures – the old nature and the new nature in one body – there is a struggle between the two. Paul spoke of this in Romans 7 from his own experience – verses 14, 15, 18, 19, and 21through 24:
…we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what
I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice;
but what I hate, that do I….For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) nothing
good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I
do not find. For the good that I will to do I do not do; but the evil I will not to
do, that I practice….I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who
wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man.
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind,
and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O
wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
But Paul found the answer to his dilemma: “I thank God –– through Jesus Christ our Lord…” (Romans 7:25).
God, give us the wisdom and strength to live our lives out of our spiritual new nature rather than our old sinful fleshly nature. In Jesus’ name. Amen.