God’s children have two natures. (“Nature” in this study refers to a set of inborn traits and characteristics, unchangeable attributes by which one is identified.) These two natures come from two different births. In the first birth our nature comes from Adam, and in the second birth from Christ. The qualities inherent in the two different natures are diametrically opposed to one another. The presence of both natures in one person causes great conflict.
Although no two people are identical, all mankind (with the exception of Jesus Christ) is from the same genus or kind which began with the original man, Adam. As descendants of Adam, all inherit his nature. This nature, human nature, is passed on from generation to generation via corruptible seed. It has in it the traits of mankind. There is a wide range of manifested behavior, but all humans, being from Adam, still have the same innate nature. In the Word of God this nature from Adam is called, among other things, the nature of wrath.
When a person believes that Jesus Christ is lord and that God raised him from the dead as stated in Romans 10:9, he receives salvation. This means he is born again, born from above of God’s incorruptible seed.1 This incorruptible seed is holy spirit.2 Just as with the first birth, he inherits a nature. The new nature is called in the Word of God the divine nature, and being from God, has in it the traits of God.
All Christians have these two natures. The divine nature from God is all good. The nature from Adam is sinful and evil. The divine nature is called the new man, spirit. The nature from Adam is called the old man, the natural man, flesh. The new nature is so good that it needs no change. The old nature is evil and cannot change.
Ignorance or misunderstanding of these two natures — their origin, characteristics, influence, power — has caused a great deal of confusion, frustration, and defeat for many Christians. Far too many well-intentioned Christians have attempted to change the old nature to the new. This is, in fact, an effort to change the unchangeable, to discipline the unruly, and to reform that which will always be unreformable. Trying to change the old man nature always leads to failure, sin consciousness, and condemnation.
Not understanding the two natures has caused many Christians to give up, and worst of all, blame our loving heavenly Father for their failure. Rather than carrying out the greater works God has ordained for us to do, as stated in John 14:12, and the good works mentioned in Ephesians 2:10, many work at trying to do something God has already accomplished for us in Christ Jesus.
For the flesh [the old nature] lusteth against the Spirit [the new nature], and the Spirit [the new nature] against the flesh [the old nature]: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
This scripture clearly depicts the internal conflict in each child of God because of the presence of these two natures. It is therefore imperative that we have an understanding of both natures, the conflict, and most importantly how to be victorious.
Once we as Christians understand these truths, we can grow to manifest the peaceful, joyful, powerful life Christ came to make available.