Before a Christian “repented” and was “baptized” to have sins forgiven, he or she lived according to the dictates of the flesh. The Apostle John wrote an interesting scripture: I John 2: 15-17: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that DOES the will of God abides for ever.”
It is apparent that John is not talking about the beauty of the world. He is talking about lust and pride that is built into us. It is called human nature as opposed to God’s divine nature.
There is a war that is raging between human nature and God’s divine nature. We are given the holy Spirit as a down payment on a new spirit composed body. Note: Ephesians 1: 13-14: “In whom [Christ v. 13] you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which IS the earnest of our inheritance UNTIL the redemption of the purchased possession …”
We have been given a small amount of the holy Spirit UNTIL we receive a fully composed spirit body. The holy Spirit is to guide us into ALL truth (John 16: 13). We are to be led of the holy Spirit.
Having the down payment toward our new body does not mean that sinning human nature suddenly disappears. A war begins in our mind whether we give into the flesh or overcome the flesh to prevent sin.
Paul wrote a chapter in Romans to describe this war. He said that once he learned of God’s spiritual Law – the Ten Commandments – and realized it was a sin to violate them, that is when the war began to rage. Before, he was religious. He did not struggle against sin with the mind, so we could develop God’s divine nature. He went so far as to say: “… No, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known LUST, except the law had said, THOU SHALL NOT COVET” (Romans 7: 7).
He went on to describe that he was alive without the knowledge of the law, thus sin; but it was only a physical existence. He was not fighting against sin, so he could become perfect in God’s eyes. Paul made it plainer in Romans 7: 14: “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal [still have human nature], sold [born] under sin.” The human race is born with this carnal, natural, human nature that leans toward lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and pride of life. Once we receive God’s holy Spirit, we are now expected to be aware that these fleshly appetites must come under our control. We are to resist giving into them and becoming a sinner all over again.
The holy Spirit will convict us of sin if we give into the flesh. That is, if we are being led by it and not quenching it (I Thessalonians 5: 21). We all must recognize that it is our human nature that we have not yet brought into subjection that causes us to sin. If we follow the lead of the holy Spirit, we will not sin. It is when we get out of control and allow our human nature to quench the holy Spirit temporarily that we sin.
One segment of the “fruit of the Spirit” is temperance – SELF-CONTROL!!! When a Christian gets out of control is when they sin. Staying IN control prevents sin. Every true Christian must eventually abandon sin. It must become a thing of the past!!!
Paul continued to explain: “I find then a law, that, when I would [want to] do good, evil [human nature] is present with me” (Romans 7: 21). Paul said he delighted in the law of God with his mind. “BUT I see another law in my members, WARRING against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is IN my members. 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 [I serve] the law of sin” (Romans 7: 23-25).
Jesus has redeemed us from the death penalty that is caused by our sins of the flesh. He has given us His holy Spirit, so that we can fight for control of our bodies – thus resist sin. “There is therefore now NO condemnation to them which are IN Christ Jesus, who WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT” (Romans 8: 1).
Jesus, our Redeemer from the death penalty for sinning, calls upon each one of us to abandon sin. He inspired John to write to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3. Jesus inspired: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes…” (2:7). “He that overcomes shall NOT be hurt of the second death” (2: 11, last). Do we hear?