446. GOOD NEWS FOR HUMANS. WE CAN BE DIFFERENT. Core Teaching Stage 3 Topic 2.

We have to face the facts about our human situation. Humans are made in the image of God, but that image has been defaced to some extent. We are no longer perfect in any area of our lives. We need God’s help to be whole.  We will see why even very senior Christians can behave in non-Christian ways. They don’t need to! They shouldn’t! But praise God they can be forgiven by His grace if they respond to Him in repentance, faith and obedience!


What God said in the Old Testament through the prophet Jeremiah, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9. There are many people in our world who have been deeply hurt by others who would say, ”AMEN!” to that truth. There are times when the behaviour of some people surprises us, but when we understand our human makeup and the deceitfulness of the human heart, it becomes more understandable.

An Old Testament passage quoted in the NT. Psalm 5:9 “For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.” This is quoted by St Paul in Romans but he adds other truths about humans to it,  “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11  no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13  “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14  “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15  “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16  in their paths are ruin and misery, 17  and the way of peace they have not known.” 18  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-18. Paul uses various parts of the human body to show how deep is corruption in humans.

Jesus taught that sin came from deep within a person, What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22  coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” Mark 7:20-23. There may be outward temptations but the human response come from within to yield to those temptations. Humans are accountable to God for yielding to those temptations.

What Paul wrote. 

  • In summing up the whole case against all humans, He said, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. They have missed the mark of perfection.
  • St Paul in reflecting on his own life wrote, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19  For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.” Romans 7:18-20. His old nature he was born with, motivated him to do the wrong thing even when he wanted to do the right thing.
  • Paul wrote 3 things about fallen human nature. It is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s laws and those who are motivated by it can never please God, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:7-8.


Jesus spoke to a religious man, John 3:3ff. John 3:3 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4  Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The only way to enter the kingdom of God was to be born again of the Holy Spirit. 

Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (Rom 8:9). Paul states 2 important truths in this verse. The first is that it is only those who have received the Spirit of Christ who actually belong to Christ. The second is that those who have received the Spirit can and should be controlled by the new nature imparted by the Spirit and not controlled by their old sinful nature. 

The same point is made by Paul in his letter to the Galatians. Believers have 2 natures, one through their natural birth and the other [their new nature] through their new birth. “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.“ (Galatians 5:16-17). These 2 natures are opposed to one another but if believers continued to live by responding to the dictates of their Spirit nature, then they would have victory over the impulses of their lower natures. 

Peter. In 2 Peter1:4, Peter wrote about the promises of God that could lead to people sharing the divine nature and having victory over their sinful natures,  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.“ 

The truth is that when we are born, we are born with a nature that is prone to sin and when we are born again through faith in Christ, we receive a new additional nature imparted to us by God’s Holy Spirit who has come to indwell us. Victorious Christian living is obtained by yielding to our new nature and by resisting the urges that come from our lower sinful nature.


It is absolutely necessary that we understand the differences between the two natures.

The nature we are born with [the flesh] shows itself in the works of the flesh (Gal 5:19-20)  “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.“ 

These come naturally to us. This fallen nature has been in all peoples in the world throughout history. 

There are other verses which describe the old nature; also called the flesh; the old man; the sinful nature; the earthly nature. 

  • “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.” Rom 7:25.
  • “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.”   (Rom 8:13)
  • “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”    (Ephesians 2:3)
  • “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians3:5). But he added,“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:12-13.

By contrast the manifestation of the Spirit (the fruit of the Spirit)  is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,, gentleness and self-control.  This is the outward fruit of the new life within. These were the characteristics of the life of Christ. This is God’s divine nature in us by His Spirit. Believers become partakers of His nature,  “by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”2 Peter 1:4.

NOTE: This old nature remains in us until we die or until Jesus returns in glory to transform us. As Article 9 of the 39 Articles of the Church of England / Anglican/ Episcopal churches [dealing with Original or Birth-Sin]  puts it, “And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated.”  The bad news is that we will have our sinful natures throughout the remainder of our lives. But the greater good news is that because of the grace of God in imparting to us His Holy Spirit, we can live victorious Christian lives as we walk by the Spirit.  


Since conversion we can choose to walk according to our old nature or by this new nature. . 

  • Living according to the dictates of our old nature is unprofitable and deadly, “For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.” Romans  7:5.
  • Humans have a choice, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” Rom 8:5
  • Humans can choose what clothes [characteristics ] to wear moment by moment, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Rom 13:14. It is allowing the indwelling Christ to manifest His life through us so that we are clothed in His righteous nature and not in our own fallen “habits”. 
  • Believers have freedom to choose, “But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. “  (Gal 5:13). Christian living is to be motivated by responding to the new Spirit nature and not by simply giving in to the old nature. 
  • St Paul wanted his readers to recognise that they had died to their old lives through their faith union with Christ, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful naturewith its passions and desires.” (Gal 5:24). They are now new creatures in Christ, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. “ (2 Corinthians 5:17).  
  • Our choices as believers have eternal consequences, “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit,from the Spirit will reap eternal life.“ (Gal 6:8) 

We are accountable to God. We cannot blame others for our sin. Nor can we simply blame an evil spirit for our sin. Many people want a “quick fix” and want to be delivered from a demon to have victory. However there is no ongoing victory in the Christian life without repentance, submission to the Lordship of Christ and a willingness to die to sin and to the flesh. It is as we yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit and live by the word of God that we are victorious. 

IN BRIEF: It is natural to sin. It is our human nature to do so. We need supernatural strength from God not to sin. Such strength is available in Christ. 

St Paul wrote of his Christian experience, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) meaning of course he could do the things God wanted him to do.

Our God is able to supply every need we have, as we live for Him, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. 

Good news for humans! We can be different!

Blog No.446 posted on Tuesday 22 November 2022.

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Glorification, Healing, HEALING MINISTRY Core Teaching, Holy Spirit, Judgement, Justification, Mental Health, New Covenant, Politics, Prayer, Real Life Stories, Salvation, Sanctification, Second coming of Jesus, spiritual warfare, Temptations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s