Thursday, January 29, 2009

Two Natures

I've been thinking about something I was taught as a youngster about the Christian having two natures, the old sin nature and the new nature in Christ. I believed it and taught it. I even used the illustration of the Indian (no, not "Bowels no move"!). The one where the Indian tries to explain the two natures by saying it's like having two dogs inside - a good dog and a bad dog. The person asks, "Which dog wins?", and the Indian replies, "Whichever one I feed." So, I was taught to "feed" the new nature by reading the Bible, praying, going to church, etc. I was also told to avoid certain things that would feed the old nature.

The more I think about the concept of the Gospel being about us becoming a new creation and of Jesus restoring creation and oneness with God, the less I believe that there are two natures inside the Christian. The classic passage in Romans 7 is used as a basis for this doctrine. Is it possible that Paul is not writing about the struggle that goes on in the believer between two natures? Could he be talking about the state of a person who tries to earn favor with God by keeping the Law and the despondency that would drive him to. Paul asks, "Who will deliver me from this body of death?" and then answers his own question by giving thanks to God for his deliverance. In the first verse of the next chapter, Paul goes on to say that there is now now longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ. That seems to me to be saying that when we become a follower of Jesus we have a new Spirit-filled nature and are being made into the image of Christ. It takes a lifetime, but it is not a case of us "feeding" one nature or the other.

What do you all think?

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