The Flesh And The Spirit
Believers are men and women with two distinct, separate, warring natures: the flesh and the spirit. When God saves a sinner he does not renovate, repair, and renew the old nature. He creates a new nature in his elect.Our old, Adamic, fallen, sinful nature is not changed. The flesh is subdued by the spirit;but it will never surrender to the spirit. The spirit wars against the flesh; but it will never conquer or improve the flesh. The flesh is sinful. The flesh is cursed. Thank God, the flesh must die! But it will never be improved.
This dual nature of the believer is plainly taught in the Word of God. Carefully study Romans 7, Galatians 5, and I John 3. It is utterly impossible to honestly interpret those portions of Holy Scripture without concluding that both Paul and John teach that there is within every believer, so long as he lives in this world, both an old Adamic nature that can do nothing but sin and a new righteous nature, that which is born of God, that cannot sin,that can only do righteousness. The Holy Spirit's work in sanctification is not the improvement of our old nature, but the maturing of the new, steadily causing the believer to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and bring forth fruit unto God.
Every believer knows the duality of his nature by painful, bitterly painful experience. Ask any child of God what he desires above all things and he will quickly reply, "That I may live without sin in perfect conformity to Christ, perfectly obeying the will of God in all things." But that which he most greatly desires is an utter impossibility in this life. Is it not so with you? Though you delight in the law of God after the inward man, there is another law of evil in your members, warring against you. You would do good, but evil is always present with you, "so that you cannot do the things that you would." Even your best, noblest, most sincere acts of good, when honestly evaluated, are so marred by sin in motive and in execution that you must confess, "All my righteousnesses are filthy rags!"
It is this warfare between the flesh and the spirit,more than anything else, that keeps the believer from being satisfied with life in this world. Blessed be God, we shall soon be free! When we have dropped this robe of flesh we shall be perfectly conformed to the image of him who loved us and gave himself for us!