Man’s Sin Nature (Flesh) vs. The Holy Spirit

MAN’S SIN NATURE vs. THE HOLY SPIRIT is a ceaseless inner conflict in every believer. Each believer by his/her own volition (personal choice) determines who controls their soul-thinking at any given moment — every step of the way through the details and situations of life.

The nature to sin is inherent in every human being at birth, and passed down from Adam through the father to the children in every generation of man. At physical birth, every baby since the fall of Adam is born spiritually dead (separated) from God. Every person remains separated from God their whole life, until they believe in Christ (John 3:36; Romans 3: 9-12; 22-26). Therefore, the “Virgin Birth” (Matthew 1:21-23) was a necessity if mankind were to be delivered from the penalty (payment) of sin, which is spiritual death (Romans 6:23). Mankind is helpless without a Savior, therefore “God gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Mankind is born in sin — a sinner by birth (Romans 12:1-21). Therefore, because of our position in sin — the result of Adam’s transgression, we are all guilty of sin, and sinners. This is why God the Father sent the Son who volunteered to save us (you).

To accomplish our salvation a man must be born without Adam’s sin-nature and the virgin birth was the only way. Christ the Lord Christ had no human father. His miraculous conception was by the Holy Spirit. Therefore he was born spiritually alive and remained spiritually alive until His Spiritual death (separation, not termination from the Father and the Holy Spirit) on the Cross.   

When our sins were poured out on Christ on the Cross, He cried out these words: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). The first “My God” addressing the Father; the second “My God” addressing the Holy Spirit.

Alright, with these things in mind, you are now better prepared to understand the details of our study.

The Sin Nature (flesh) vs the Holy SpiritThe believer’s walk in life, with God.

Christ said “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the Prophets: I am not come  to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). Christ came to fulfill the Law, by living a life without sin. He fulfilled the Law by Keeping the Law perfectly throughout His earthly life, therefore He was the only human being in history qualified to be our Savior-Redeemer. Christ was pure like the sacrificial lambs of the Old Covenant Law, until our sins were poured out on Him on the Cross.

In eternity past Christ by His own volition, chose to die for us and the Father gave Christ to die in our place. He came to pay our sin debt, because we could not — cannot. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “The wages of sin is (spiritual) death” (Romans 6:23). So, Christ died for sinners (Romans 5:8). God is an awesome God. 

Please turn to Romans Chapter eight, beginning with verse two, which states the new law: “For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” “Of” is a genitive of source, so the source for the New Law is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the New Law. How does this new law work? It operates in Christ Jesus, by the filling of the Holy Spirit, therefore, it is a function for believers only.

Verse 2 again: “Once and for all the Holy Spirit has made me free from the law of sin and death.” This law is the Mosaic Law. Paul calls it the law of sin, because it not only revealed the sinfulness of all men, but our total inability to keep the Law. Then, Paul calls it the law of death, because it could not produce life (see Romans 8:3). God sent Christ into the world as a “sin offering.”  “And for sin” is literally for a sin offering in the Greek. And in verse 8:4 Paul gives the reason: “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit.” This means, because of our human (sin) nature, it is impossible to keep the Mosaic Law by keeping the Mosaic Law. Only one person ever lived a perfect life — Jesus Christ our Savior. Yes, this verse does say that we can fulfill the law, but the way we do that is the new way through the Holy Spirit doing it in us. Therefore, we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Galatians 5:16-23 — Walk by the Spirit is “Experiential Sanctification.” 

Galatians Chapter Five: (16) “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh (17) For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law” (Mosaic Law). 

Then, beginning in verse 19 Paul illustrates the deeds of the Flesh, which are under the Law: immorality, impurity, sensuality, (20) idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger (rage), disputes, dissensions, factions, (21) envying, drunkenness, and carousing. Then beginning in verse 22, Paul gives us an interesting contrast walking in fellowship with Christ, and the result is the fruits produced by the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. 

When we are “filled” with the Spirit we are “occupied with Christ” which produces the “Fruits of the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit produces the fruit in us, for us,  and for the benefit of others — both believers and non believers. The result of Holy Spirit fruit production is God is glorified, man is benefited, and people get saved. Is that awesome or what?

Our sanctification (set apart) is permanent and experiential. It is permanent in that we are set apart (born again) as God’s Children — “sons of God” (John 1:12; Galatians 4:4) by believing in Christ. At the point of faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit baptizes us into union with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27) and permanently indwells us (II Corinthians 5:14-21; 6:16). Both “In Christ” and “God in us” are synonyms referring to our permanent position, our permanent relationship to God. Because God is unchanging we cannot lose our placement in the body of Christ as believers. God doesn’t take back what He gives us in Christ. (Please see our study “Eternal Security/Positional Truth“).

When we speak of experiential sanctification, we are referring to our everyday walk in God’s Plan — God wrote the story of each of our lives we then live it with totally free volition. Everything we do requires a decision. Our decisions in life leave our fingerprint or God’s footprint in the sand (Galatians 5:16). Spirituality (filled with the Spirit) is the key to experiential Christianity.  THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR MENTOR!

Each of our lives have many battles … many decisions, but if we will allow God to help us make decisions, we can have victory in our Christian lives, because really, “the battle is the Lord’s” (II Chronicles 20:15). God helps us make decisions based on our understanding of Bible Doctrine. Bible Doctrine gives us FAITH-PERCEPTION TAUGHT TO US BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AS WE WALK WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT IN FELLOWSHIP. God has a Plan for your life and mine as we face life on the job, in relationships and in the details of life. But, God the Holy Spirit must be in control of our mental faculties! To give back control to we simply give Him the authority by confessing our transgressions our sins (2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 John 1:9).

When we confess our sins (acknowledge, name, agree, with God), God restores us to fellowship, meaning: God the indwelling Holy Spirit is back in control. If you really desire an intimate relationship with God, stay current by naming your sins as they occur, but definitely daily. You will feel guilty perhaps, or weak, at first, but just relax and keep on keeping on, and remember, God knows your heart-mind … He is never surprised by your sin failures, in fact, this is why Christ died. So, be patient, keep learning Bible Doctrine and the Holy Spirit will be patient. Alright, let’s move along.

In (I Thessalonians 5:16-24), Paul tells us to: “rejoice evermore” and “pray without ceasing” and “in everything give thanks” for (here is the reason) “this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning each one of us.” Paul says “Quench not the Spirit.” We quench the Spirit when we sin. We must confess sin and God restores us to fellowship.

In verse 20 Paul tells us to look forward (move forward) and keep looking with great anticipation for the Lord’s return … “do not despise prophetic utterances” (cherish the promise of His return).” “Prove all things” (know doctrine — good from false doctrine) and “hold fast to that which is good” (every word that proceeds from the mouth of God — Bible Doctrine). “Abstain from evil.”

“And the very God of peace (filling of the Spirit and Bible doctrine gives us peace) sanctify you wholly” (here is our experiential sanctification – “walking in the Spirit” and “waiting for our Savior’s return” staying in Scripture which keeps us from evil until he returns); “and I pray God your whole spirit and soul (notice Paul distinguishes between soul and spirit as two separate entities here) and body (which means the believer is trichotomous) be preserved blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calls you, who also will do it.” God called us to salvation and set us apart for His service (experiential sanctification). As a result our position (permanent sanctification) is guaranteed by “who will do it” which is God Himself.

From these powerful verses we also learn about our eternal security as we walk in the Spirit. Occupation with Christ is our walk with Christ in the filling of the Spirit. We learn that God has designed a perfect plan for His Children until He comes and/or until we are called home.

You will note that people who practice these things are under the law (still in the flesh — unsaved) which means they are not under Grace. However, even believers out of fellowship (carnal) will do these very things, but the difference is the position of the believer compared to the unbeliever. The believer is in, literally under the Cross, under Christ — crucified with Christ. The unbeliever is in the world under the law — not saved.

We can know when we are in fellowship or out of fellowship by our thinking which produces our actions … is our thinking fleshly or spiritual? We are actually in contradiction to God when we are out of fellowship, thinking and operating in the flesh. There is a relative progression of spiritual growth. We will be spiritually minded at times and “carnal” minded at times. But Spirituality and Carnality are mutually exclusive. You are either spiritually minded (in fellowship controlled by the Holy Spirit, OR Carnal minded — controlled by your flesh. So keep on being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; cf., Matthew 22:6-40; Galatians 5:22-23). This is how we “GROW IN GRACE AND IN KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST” (2 Peter 3:18; cf.,  John 16: 12-15.

Occupation with our Savior and Lord is the most satisfying peace we will ever enjoy this side of heaven. As a matter of (doctrine) we literally “walk” with God when we “walk in the filling of the Spirit.” We need to spend more time in intimacy with our God. When Christ is in control of our faculties. God does the work of Salvation and the work of living the Christian life. 

Your Christian walk with God begins and ends with your thinking. Is God in control, or are you? Does God sit on the throne of self, or do you? The Spirit knows!

Practice the mechanics. Step 1: Study of Scripture. Step 2: Name your sins. Step 3: Apply Bible Doctrine to everyday life.

Be prayerful with thanksgiving as you walk your walk through fields of Grace. 

Happy studying! 

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