A Dual Nature * Romans 7

Some believe and teach that when we are born again we still have an old sin nature, the old man or flesh, as well as the new re-created spirit (the new man). In other words they teach that we now have a dual nature. There is no precedent in God’s created order for this. He has not created a bird, fish or other animal with a dual nature much less a human being. To have a dual nature, one good and the other evil, violates the intent and the law of God. In 2 Corinthians 6:14 the Apostle Paul warns believers to “not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” There are many other references in scripture, both Old and New Covenants that convey this same truth. Even in nature, it is not light and dark at the same time.  An apple tree is not also and orange tree. Neither is a bird also a snake. So we see that two natures cannot coexist in the same body simultaneously.

To have a dual nature with two opposing natures warring within us would not be good news. That would leave us in a vulnerable condition that can lead to having more problems than we had before we were born again. It sounds more like something the devil would try to do than God. As a matter of fact this is what a demon-possessed person is like.

For we know that the Law is spiritual; but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not wish to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that it is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.                                                                                                                                                                              Romans 7:14-25 NASB

I used to read this passage of scripture for comfort as I could identify with it. It is one that many Christians reference to prove that we still have a sin nature after being born again. Is that really what the Apostle Paul is saying here? On the surface it sounds like he has two natures that operate by two separate laws within him and that are in a constant state of war. Before he was born again, Paul was a Pharisee. He observed the Law with strict adherence as he says in Philippians 3:4-6. Notice how many times the word “I” is used. You see, Paul is writing this from the perspective of one who is not born again but living by the works of the Law, a legalistic person. In other words he is trying to be obedient and pleasing to God in his own strength and power.

In verse 14 he says that, “but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.” When you are born again you are not sold into bondage to sin. That is the very thing God delivers you from. Then he says that he is doing the very thing he hates and finds that he is no longer the one doing it, but sin that indwells him. When you are born again you are not given a “master of sin” to obey its every lust. Verse 18 says, “for I know that nothing good dwells in me”. Well, if you are born again there is something great and very good in you! “Christ in you the hope of glory”, Colossian 1:27.

In verse 24 he says, “Wretched man that I am”. Once again, a wretched state is not the condition that you are born again into. And, in the same verse he says, “who will set me free from the body of this death”? He is saying who will set me free from this condition he just described. He is not saying this is what happens to us when we are born again. This would not be good news at all. This is not even in line with the character or nature of God.

We see the answer to this wretched condition in verse twenty-five, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Praise the Lord that it is Jesus Christ who delivers us from this wretched condition! Thank God because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we can experience the very same “abundant life” that Jesus experienced and that He said He came to give to us in John 10:10.

If we believe what Paul describes in chapter seven of Romans that we have a dual nature and these two natures are at war with each other within us, then what was written before this chapter in chapter six or what comes after in chapter eight doesn’t make any sense and is actually a contradiction.

Joe Nicola

One thought on “A Dual Nature * Romans 7

  1. Agreed Pastor. We are new creations when we are born again…old things are past away and we become new. We are not at war within ourselves, but are in a constant state of removing and changing the old habits and ways of doing things. When Christ comes into our life, our nature is immediately changed. It’s our mindset and way(s) of thinking that have to be renewed and restructured. It’s just like finding a new job…your work ethics are the same, but your mind has to be reprogrammed for the new job…you must learn new procedures and responsibilities. Having the proper work ethics will help with the transition, but the issue is not with your ethics…it’s with learning the new duties.

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