Do Christians have two natures?

Answering the questions of whether a Christian has two natures must include defining what a person means when he or she speaks of two natures. The Bible speaks of the sin nature or our sinful flesh (Romans 8:3; Colossians 3:5) as well as a new nature that a person receives when coming to faith in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:10).

This sin nature is both something we see in practical experience as well as something within our human nature. The psalmist wrote, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5). This concept, known as original sin, requires a transformation in our lives that takes place through Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-10).

Throughout this life, the Christian will continue to face the challenges of living in a body that is tainted by the fall of sin while also being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The apostle Paul was one of the most devoted Christians of the early church. However, even he wrote:
"For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 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. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me" (Romans 7:15-20).
Paul clearly recognized that the Christian will continue to struggle with human sinful nature as a believer. Yet he also noted that Christians have the ability to win in the struggle against sin: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

When we face sinful temptations, we do not give up or despair. We are to draw near to God and diligently seek to fight against sin. However, we also realize this fight will not end in this life. This is one of the reasons believers can look toward heaven with joy.

In the end, the new heaven includes this scenario: "No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him" (Revelation 22:3). The curse of sin will be broken and all will be made new. While we will continue to face the battle between our sinful nature and God's Spirit at work within us during this life, there will be a time when this battle ends and eternal rest begins.

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