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Old 05-23-2002, 12:02 PM   #1
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Question for Christians: One Nature or Two?

I thought I would take a poll amongst my fellow Christians of this forum. As a Christian, saved by God's grace via the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you have been "crucified" with Christ.

Some would say that when a person becomes "born again" "saved", etc., that they have a new nature that is now in conflict with the old nature, and that is what causes the struggle between sinning and living for Christ.

Others believe that when the Bible speaks about "crucified with Christ", being "baptized" in the spirit of Christ, and being a "new creation" in Christ, that means that when you become a Christian, your old sin nature is completely destroyed, and the only nature you have now is your new nature; that of Christ. People of this belief might say that what influences a Christian to sin could be (1)The sinful desires of the flesh and mind (as opposed to the nature -spirit), which were not regenerated at rebirth, or (2)direct temptation from the demons of Satan.

Personally, I fall in the second group, those who believe that the sin nature was completely destroyed at the cross.

What do ya'll think?
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Old 05-23-2002, 01:42 PM   #2
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I'm not sure that I can give you a definite answer as to what I believe on this issue. But an interesting passage to read is Romans chapter 7. In this passage, Paul seems to speak of his mind and his sinful nature co-existing in conflict. That sounds like option #1 (above). But if you translate the term "sinful nature" as "flesh", which some translations do, then it sounds like option #2. Is is just semantics? I believe that our spirit is transformed by Christ, and we cannot have two spirits within us. Paul seems to be saying that the conflict is between the sin nature residing in "the flesh" and our changed mind/spirit which is a "slave to God's law." Here's Romans 7:14-25 (from the NIV...sorry melon):

"14We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God's law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin."


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Old 05-23-2002, 02:21 PM   #3
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Spiral,
I think it may indeed be semantics. I hink what I refer to as "the flesh" may be what others refer to as "nature". What I am most sure of is that the "nature" is definitely not spirit. We are new creations, with a new spirit.

But there are definitely Bible verses that say we are "new creations" and that the "sin nature" has been crucified. That's what makes me think that the desires of the flesh are not the same as our old "sin nature".

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Old 05-23-2002, 02:54 PM   #4
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I believe option one. I have been leading a study at my college group through Romans and there seems to be many verses that would support the idea that while our spirits have been reunified with God, our physical bodies are still in their fallen state.

I once heard it described as having a rotten corpse chained to your living body. The corpse restrics your ability to live life to the fullest because it physically limits your movements and its stench and corruption are with everywhere you go.

[This message has been edited by dano (edited 05-23-2002).]

[This message has been edited by dano (edited 05-23-2002).]
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Old 05-23-2002, 05:46 PM   #5
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I believe we are overly obsessed with ideas of perfection. "Sin," mind you, comes from the Hebrew word for "imperfection." I think most of the time, the human idea of "perfection" and the divine idea of "perfection" are two different ideas. I think that the former is too hard on ourselves, while much that we have determined as "imperfect" actually is in keeping with God's original idea of "perfection."

I find Christian stoicism to be too much of a burden; far more than was expected from God in the first place.

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Old 05-24-2002, 03:31 AM   #6
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by dano:
[B]
I once heard it described as having a rotten corpse chained to your living body. The corpse restrics your ability to live life to the fullest because it physically limits your movements and its stench and corruption are with everywhere you go.
[This message has been edited by dano (edited 05-23-2002).]

Dano, that's very good..I hadn't thought of that.
When you say that "while our spirits have been reunified with God, our physical bodies are still in their fallen state", are you saying that the desires of the flesh and not the sinful "nature" is what influences Christians to sin"?

In my mind, spirit = nature. Maybe I don't understand what others mean when they say "nature".

I am also of the opinion that Satan's demons tempt Christians, also.
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Old 05-24-2002, 09:22 AM   #7
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I'm about to go on a 3 or 4 day holiday, but I wanted to add a quote I read in a book last night. This quote pertains specifically to Christians and impurity, but I think it also addredsees this topic, generally speaking.

"You aren't possessed by the devil when impurity runs rampant in your life, and you don't need an exorcism. Although it sometimes feels like an evil gremlin inside you is driving you to sin, these are merely the compulsions of your bad habits and hormones. You're simply out of control and must bring them all back under the control of your regenerated spirit."
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Old 05-24-2002, 09:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon:
I believe we are overly obsessed with ideas of perfection. "Sin," mind you, comes from the Hebrew word for "imperfection." I think most of the time, the human idea of "perfection" and the divine idea of "perfection" are two different ideas. I think that the former is too hard on ourselves, while much that we have determined as "imperfect" actually is in keeping with God's original idea of "perfection."

I find Christian stoicism to be too much of a burden; far more than was expected from God in the first place.

Hmmm...interesting idea. Let's assume you're spot-on. Would that change much for us? We're still completely in need Christ for our salvation. As Paul wrote to the Romans, all have sinned and fall short of God's glory. Would you agree?
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Old 05-24-2002, 12:28 PM   #9
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Spiral-

I believe that you are right on the money in your assessment of the human condition. Humanity has three opponents in our quest for a Godly life:

1) The Devil
2) Society "The World"- which is created by the corrupted nature of those around us
3) Our own corrupted nature

It is said that the heart of a person is deciteful above everything else
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Old 05-25-2002, 04:33 AM   #10
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Gal 5:24 -'those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with it's passions and it's lusts'.

This true to in actuality to the extent that YOU BELIEVE IT.

For example Jesus said that with faith we can move mountains - but the power of our prayers is limited by what we actually believe deep down. Some believe more, some believe less. In the same way the crucifixion of the old nature is more evident in some than in others.

The thing that gets in the way is not so much reaching out to God for the strength as still trusting in our old nature.

Why try and run if you like the wheelchair?
But if the wheelchair breaks down and you can't get around then you are likely to test out your decrepit legs.
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Old 05-25-2002, 08:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Spiral_Staircase:
Hmmm...interesting idea. Let's assume you're spot-on. Would that change much for us? We're still completely in need Christ for our salvation. As Paul wrote to the Romans, all have sinned and fall short of God's glory. Would you agree?
First off, this form of "guilt" that I'm talking about is a spin-off of Calvinism, the 16th century Protestant movement noted for its belief in predestination and "fire and brimstone," and has less to do with the Bible.

What I hate the most about Calvinism is that it takes St. Paul and takes everything he says out of context. First off, St. Paul is not Jesus. He is credited within the Catholic Church as the first Christian "theologian" in making up doctrine not necessarily supported by actual sayings of Jesus.

Secondly, the way his writings are interpreted are plain incorrect. His messages, when taken in the context of the world around him at the time, are messages of relief, not burden. He is actally quite liberal for his time period (not liberal for ours, obviously), but, especially when you look closely to his various writings to various different peoples, his messages are often meant to antagonize in the beginning, but to relieve us in the end. I actually like St. Paul, but for much different reasons than everyone else: I enjoy his imperfection.

But I think it is perhaps too late to correct these centuries-old misconceptions...

Melon

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Old 06-04-2002, 01:54 PM   #12
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I don't usually post much in this part of the forum, and less often in the part that I do post in, but I thought I'd venture in here and check this out...

Here's an interesting idea for you all: Now, I don't expect you to agree with me. I'm not asking you too. I'm just asking you to take a moment and consider.

My opinion on this issue would be a simple question: Do you still sin?

Of course. If you lose the sinful nature when you give your life to God, you wouldn't sin anymore. But we do. I do, I admit. Every person, whether they're Christian or not sins. Every day. Not one person can say honestly that since they gave their lives to God they've never sinned.

One nature. The sinful nature.

When we give our lives to God, He doesn't ask us to be perfect. He forgives us for the fact that we're NOT.

So does that give us liscense to sin as we please? NO! Of course not. Coming to Christ is a stumbling block: The thing you trip over that gets you to turn your life around.

When you give your life to God, you turn your life around. One of my pastors put it this way: Being "saved" means taking the whole of your life and putting it into God's hands. THAT'S what it means to be saved. You do not get a new nature when you come to Christ. You get a new Master and a chance to re-establish how you live. And that life should be in accordance with God's will for you individually, and of course in accordance with the Bible.

Btw, good to see some good, deep conversation happening here!

~Bona
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Old 06-04-2002, 03:52 PM   #13
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All Christian denominations agree that in order to be saved we need to turn our lives over to God. But I donít believe itís a once-in-a-lifetime saving event. God does indeed call some people in a dramatic singular event, the way Saint Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, but many people grow up knowing and loving God, and this relationship continues to mature, without any singular watershed event, during the course of their lives.

Most of us experience a number of significant conversions and reconversions. God keeps calling us, again and again, away from sin and to a deeper union with God. Our lives, therefore, are a continual, day by day, journey of conversion.

It takes good works, faith and God's grace to get into heaven. There are so many verses in the Bible stating that entrance into heaven is not as simple as saying, "I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior."

From the resident Catholic Ö my two cents
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Old 06-04-2002, 04:22 PM   #14
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I totally agree.
There's a danger with a lot of people when they start to believe "once in God's grace you can do what you want"

We always have a big responsibility to watch what we do and there is, by no means, any such thing as "once saved always saved"
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Old 06-04-2002, 04:55 PM   #15
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Oh of course... I never said that accepting Christ was all anyone needed to do. Part of the turning your life around that I talked about before is deepening the relationship you have with God. That process never ceases. And that said, I don't thing going to church is enough. In fact, I think it can be more of a hindrance at times...

In fact, I suspect there are a lot of Christians out there who don't really have a real RELATIONSHIP with God. Jesus said so himself in Matthew 7:22. "On judgement day, many will tell me, 'Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.' But I will reply, 'I never knew you. Go away; the things you did were unauthorized.'"

Kind of a scary thought...

Turning your life over to God, putting it into His hands... essentially that's following His way, and that's hard to do if you don't have a very good relationship with Him.
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