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Chapter 2 - The Sin Nature
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. - 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Man was created in the image of God and God gave him the breath of life. The Christian has received new life from God re-constituting him to the condition in which man was originally created, having body soul and spirit.
The body can be thought of as the means we have of interacting with the physical environment. The soul can be thought of as the means we have to interact with each other. The spirit can be thought of as the means we have to interact with God. Satan approached Eve at the level of her soul.
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden? - Genesis 3:1
This one incident is interesting because so much flows from it. While there are many other aspects to consider, our main focus is on how an appeal to the soul can result in a decision to either call on God for help (which would have produced a much different result) or use our own judgment. Adam was warned that he would 'die' the day he in effect turned from God.
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. - Genesis 2:17
We can see at that moment Adam lost his connection with God. If we consider that the spirit component of man became dead, we can begin to see that what was left was condemned to exist in a state of seeking after self.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of Jehovah God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of Jehovah God amongst the trees of the garden. - Genesis 3:7-8
We are all biologically connected to Adam and Eve. It is through this connection that we inherit what is called the sin nature, the flesh, or the 'old man'
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. - 1 Corinthians 15:45-47
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.- 1 Corinthians 15:22
Paul wrote about his own struggles with the flesh in Romans chapter seven.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. - Romans 7:24-25
Prior to salvation we all were captive to the sinful impulses of the flesh. After salvation these impulses are still present, but we have the opportunity to overcome them.
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. - Romans 6:6
However, not all Christians make progress overcoming the fleshly (carnal) nature.
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? - 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
Some even mistakenly attempt to regulate their inclination to sin with prohibitions and ironically, fleshly efforts.
But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. - Galatians 4:9-10
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? - Galatians 3:1-3
If then you have died with Christ to material ways of looking at things and have escaped from the world's crude and elemental notions and teachings of externalism, why do you live as if you still belong to the world? [Why do you submit to rules and regulations?--such as] Do not handle [this], Do not taste [that], Do not even touch [them], Referring to things all of which perish with being used. To do this is to follow human precepts and doctrines. Such [practices] have indeed the outward appearance [that popularly passes] for wisdom, in promoting self-imposed rigor of devotion and delight in self-humiliation and severity of discipline of the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh (the lower nature). [Instead, they do not honor God but serve only to indulge the flesh.] - Colossians 2:20-23 AMP
Our sinful nature, the flesh, or the old man is essentially that within us that seeks after the world and selfishness. While the new life we receive in Jesus when we get saved frees us from the compelling influence, we still struggle with the legacy of its lusts and desires. It is not conquered by strength, but by indifference. As we grow to be more led by the Spirit, the influence of the flesh fades away as it starves to death.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. - Galatians 6:8
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