It's His Nature
By Eli Stutzman
August 29, 2014
The Bible says that we are sinners by nature. What does that mean? Could we stop sinning if we tried hard enough? Make the penalty very severe and people will not dare to break the law. Is that even possible?
A neighbor of ours has a cat. It is friendly and most of us all love to hear cats purr and snuggle up to you when you pet them. His fur is soft and smooth. The cat is very friendly and comes up to anyone. Everyone likes to pet him but he is by nature a hunter. That is a problem at times.
We also have many types of songbirds that we love to have around. We may put out birdseed and oranges to attract Orioles and Grosbeaks. Every so often, the cat, hunter that he is, catches and kills one. This makes his master very angry. I will only say that I would not like to be the cat when this occurs. If severe punishment could change his nature, he would never, never repeat his evil deeds; but he always does. No matter what you do, he repeats the crouching and the sneaking up on an unwary bird. It is safe to say that you cannot change his nature. So it is with people. What shall we do?
Luke 4:18-19 says: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
After Jesus quoted the above Scripture from Isaiah 61 of the deliverance of captives, it so enraged his audience that they tried to kill him right then by throwing him over a cliff. Read the story for yourself.
What was He then talking about? You may say that you live in America and that you are free; but are you? In every society there are people who are addicted to destructive or annoying behavior. Try as they will, they cannot break the hold. Even my great-grandfather was an alcoholic. Today we might call it substance abuse, but he could not set himself free. No one can. Addiction is so powerful, that even if you know it will kill you, you cannot quit. It gets into your inner nature.
Sin is like that. Sin is not a substance, yet it can only be defeated through the deliverance of which Jesus spoke. Sin actually is part of our inborn nature. Without Jesus intervening, we remain captive until we are delivered. We cannot defeat sin and then become worthy of the kingdom of God. Oh, we could fool ourselves and think we can. We may even think we are doing pretty well, finding nothing in which to fault ourselves.
Therein lies the good news of the gospel. God knew how much trouble we were in. Mankind had to be more than just reformed; man had to be born anew. That is why Jesus came to earth. You can perhaps be trained to reform your ways, but peace with God will still be missing.
For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin (Romans 6:5-6).
It now makes sense that the apostle Paul wrote, Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be (Romans 8:7). Just as the cat cannot be trained to abstain from hunting, you and I cannot obey God without a new nature.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ephesians 2:1-3).
That is why it was necessary for Jesus to offer the new birth. The inner man must die and a new man born. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3).