Lordship salvation, Calvinism and One Naturism: Do Christians Still Possess a Sin Nature?

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I would like to propose a question or two to my readers about One Naturism, so called. Thanks for the suggestion from reader JanH.

Having written extensively about the problems with Lordship Salvation and Reformed/Calvinist teaching, it appears to me that these two false doctrines spawn the further error of “One Naturism.” This teaching (to my best understanding) is that upon “coming to the knowledge of Christ” (whatever that might mean to some) the old sin nature is eradicated or destroyed thus leaving nothing remaining but the new nature provided by Christ which WILL automatically produce good works — or you are not “saved.”

My understanding says that this teaching, however surreptitiously hidden by modernist teachers, is patently and obviously false and totally contrary to God’s Word.

We have some excellent Biblical minds who frequent this Blog and I will appreciate your thoughts whether I have analyzed this teaching correctly.

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54 responses to “Lordship salvation, Calvinism and One Naturism: Do Christians Still Possess a Sin Nature?

  1. “the old sin nature is eradicated or destroyed thus leaving nothing remaining but the new nature provided by Christ which WILL automatically produce good works — or you are not “saved.”

    I’ve never heard anything like this. Boy, my old sin nature is still alive and well…tho less alive and well-er every day, I pray……..yes, our ‘new hearts’ do make good works come easier, but ‘saved’ because of them? I DON’T THINK SO! :-)
    How are you feeling? xxx

  2. http://www.plymouthbrethren.org/article/431

    Interesting –I didn’t even know this idea existed. It will be interesting to ask some of my seminary professors about it, and poke around some through the journals and such to see what I can come up with.

  3. Thanks Z,

    Good to hear from you — I am well, thanks — Content in whatsoever state I am.. Philippians 4:11.

    Thanks for your note.
    The Bible, through the Inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, Paul confirms the believer’s two natures and reports that he was constantly battling his old sinful nature:
    “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:” Romans 7:14-22
    So we are all in good company.. we rely upon God’s Grace to be obedient to God’s Word..
    Saved by God’s Grace, live by God’s Grace and disciplined by God’s Grace.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  4. Hello Russ.. long time.. good to hear from you again.

    That is an interesting link you provide.. and it is interesting that the writer attaches One Naturism to Reformed advocates, Calvinists (just as I have found) and to Lordship Salvationist John MacArthur which we have found in several previous posts.
    Such teaching always seems to be connected with those who often question their own salvation.. finding it difficult to be assured because they honestly know they sin. A previous and pitiful email to me from a reader prompted this post with some very interesting comments on the post:

    https://www.expreacherman.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/lordship-salvation-teaches-confusion-francis-chan/

    Thanks for your input..

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  5. Dear Jack,

    Thank you for the good article and topic. You are certainly correct in your observation. As would be expected, and as an example, John MacArthur, the popular Calvinist and lordship salvation teacher makes it clear that he does not believe that the Christian has two natures.

    In his commentary on Ephesians 4:17-24, he states his position very clearly. His commentary quotes will be in italics. In the commentary he says:

    At the new birth a person becomes “a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor. 5:17). It is not simply that he receives something new but that he becomes someone new “I have been crucified with Christ,” Paul said; “and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me” (Gal. 2:20). The new nature is not added to the old nature but replaces it. The transformed person is a completely new “I.” In contrast to the former love of evil (cf. John 3:19-21; Rom. 1:21-25, 28-32), that new self—the deepest, truest part of the Christian—now loves the law of God, longs to fulfill its righteous demands, hates sin, and longs for deliverance from the unredeemed flesh, which is the house of the eternal new creation until glorification (see Rom. 7:14-25; 8:22-24).

    1. The first alert should go off when he says, “he becomes someone new”. This would be somewhat of an acceptable statement if it wasn’t coming from John MacArthur, seeing that we DO have a new position in Christ. We DO have a new identity in Christ. We ARE children of God. But knowing his frame of reference, we know he means something different, which becomes clear in the next section.

    2. He says: The new nature is not added to the old nature but replaces it. The transformed person is a completely new “I.” This is clearly “One Naturism”. According to him, you do not have two natures but one. This goes hand in hand with the false doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. If he is right, then you will automatically serve and change because all you have is a new nature, not an old one. So, if you don’t change (or change as fast as some people think you should) then you were never truly saved. This produces nothing but uncertainty and undermines any assurance of salvation. God’s will for us is that we would know that we have eternal life.

    1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    3. He goes on: Why, then, do we continue to sin after we become Christians? As Paul explains in Romans 7, “No longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not” (vv. 17-18; cf. 20). Sin is still resident in the flesh, so that we are inhibited and restrained from being able to give full and perfect expression to the new nature. Possessing the fullness of the divine nature without the corruption of our unredeemed flesh is a promise we will realize only in the future (cf. Rom. 8:23; Phil. 3:20-21; 2 Pet. 1:3-4).

    4. His idea of sin dwelling in us should clearly be seen as our old sin nature and its fruit-sin. But he does not see it that way. It does not seem like he sees sin as something being produced, but as a leftover “garment” from before we are saved. Why do I say that? He goes on with some of the most startling statements:

    Biblical terminology, then, does not say that a Christian has two different natures. He has but one nature, the new nature in Christ. The old self dies and the new self lives; they do not coexist. It is not a remaining old nature but the remaining garment of sinful flesh that causes Christians to sin.

    5. This is an incredible statement! If I only have one nature, then where is the sin coming from? Certainly not the new nature! While not actually using the words, he is teaching the eradication of the old nature. This is clearly false.

    6. He says the two natures do not co-exist. If they do not co-exist, then why do we have the battle that we do, as it says in Romans 7?

    Romans 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
    16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
    17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
    18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
    19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.

    By the way, the last word in v.19 “do” is the word prasso, which means to practice. This differs from the word “do” poieo which simply means to do something. It is clear that while Christians should not sin or even practice sin, they do! Look at the following verses. John had been saved about 60 years when he wrote these truths about the presence of sin:

    1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
    9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

    7. John MacArthur says: It is not a remaining old nature but the remaining garment of sinful flesh that causes Christians to sin. A “garment” of sinful flesh? This is simply “make believe” theology. It has no biblical basis whatsoever and is his invention.

    8. He says: The Christian is a single new person, a totally new creation, not a spiritual schizophrenic. “A spiritual schizophrenic” is a straw man, and MacArthur has been taken to task on this clearly in Charles Ryrie’s book, So Great Salvation. (Please read). Another good article on this issue of “straw men” is Grace Baiting, by Bruce Bauer. You can read it at: http://www.freegracealliance.com/pdf/baiting.pdf

    MacArthur continues:
    It is the filthy coat of remaining humanness in which the new creation dwells that continues to hinder and contaminate his living. The believer as a total person is transformed but not yet wholly perfect. He has residing sin but no longer reigning sin (cf. Rom. 6:14). He is no longer the old man corrupted but is now the new man created in righteousness and holiness, awaiting full salvation (cf. Rom. 13:11). MacArthur New Testament Commentary, The – MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Ephesians.

    9. He says we have sin but no longer reigning sin. Well then, why did Paul write to the Roman church, which were “saints” (1:7), that they should no longer serve sin and no longer let sin reign?

    Romans 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
    13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

    Why did Paul tell them to not let sin reign in their bodies if it were not possible? Yet according to John MacArthur, it is not possible. But the Bible says clearly that it is. Who will you believe? The truth is: We can let sin reign, but we shouldn’t. It is a matter of choice.

    Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    10. If Calvinism is true and the doctrine of perseverance is true, then there is no choice. Calvinism says that if you are one of the elect, you WILL believe, and if you are one of the saved, you automatically WILL serve, and you WILL NOT die in a backslidden condition. (See the book Secure Forever! God’s Promise or Our Perseverance? for a further rebuttal of these things [side panel this blog]).

    From a Calvinistic/lordship salvation/perseverance perspective, One Naturism makes total sense. But from a Biblical perspective, none of these false ideas make sense.

    In conclusion, One Naturism IS often times the fruit of Calvinism, lordship salvation, and the perseverance of the saints. But more importantly, One Naturism is a false doctrine.

    Dr. Tom Cucuzza

  6. Dear Tom,

    Thanks so much for your comment and analysis. It is enlightening and, with scripture, certainly confirms my studies and posts of the past.

    Readers:
    (I have a link to Tom’s book on the right margin above: “Secure Forever! God’s Promise or Our Perseverance?”).

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  7. Dr. Tom, that was excellent. Thanks!

    JanH

  8. “In contrast to the former love of evil…, that new self—the deepest, truest part of the Christian—now loves the law of God, longs to fulfill its righteous demands, hates sin, and longs for deliverance from the unredeemed flesh, which is the house of the eternal new creation until glorification….”

    He seems to think it is the body itself, that is the physical body, that is the origin of sin. (?) But then, how can we be resurrected in these same bodies, if they are the origin of sin? (I can’t think of an other way to put that than “origin of sin” and I don’t really know what MacArthur means here. So, sorry if I sound wacky.) It is certainly true that our sin nature does dwell in our bodies, but so does our new nature. But I’m not really seeing a differentiation here between the body and the sin. Or else, he really does think we have a sin nature, but not really? Or, oh, I don’t know. :(

    I’m just totally lost on this one.

    JanH

    JanH

  9. JanH,

    Great comments. No, you are not “totally lost” but reading quotes from a very confused perpetrator of lies, John MacArthur. One would almost think Mac is anxious to make people doubt their salvation in order to get them to work harder and live better to prove to him or someone they are really, really, really saved. Certainly, God does not look at one’s works to confirm their salvation. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done…” Titus 3:5
    Pure and simple, Mac distorts and dishonors God’s Word.

    In Jesus Christ eternally Jack

  10. Very astute observation JanH. Bro. Jack, you are so right that to have sin, there must be a source, & Paul so clearly tells us in Romans 7, as of course elsewhere as well. The fact of our position vs. our condition, or standing vs. state as new creations is so often forgotten, but so vital in our learning to live the Christian life. Anyway, you both are a blessing to me in this discussion. May the Lord bless you, & oh, Dr. Tom as well!

  11. Thanks David. You are always an encouragement!

    I still don’t get it, though. If it is sin that resides IN our bodies, then, how is that not a sin nature? But if the sin nature IS our body, how can the body be resurrected? Here I sit scratching my (sinful?) head….

    JanH

  12. Jan,

    Since there can’t be something with0ut a source, then you got me scratching my ever-balding, (sinful) head right along with you! But seriously I truly believe there are people who thrive on getting believers to doubt their salvation through JMac-type preaching/teaching. I don’t get it, but it seems to be the case. I have sat through much of it in my earlier years. God Bless you.

  13. Since there can’t be something with0ut a source, then you got me scratching my ever-balding, (sinful) head right along with you!

    Yeah, really! Is it gone or not? (The sin nature, not your hair. :))

    And if it’s gone, how can ANYthing of it remain? But if it isn’t, why isn’t it still the same thing it was before we were saved? And how can we have an unredeemed body with no sin nature in it, and then to make it worse, the sin that the sin nature produced remains?

    All of this to avoid the charge of schizophrenia?

    It would be far easier if they would just admit the difference between position and condition.

    JanH

  14. I’m getting dizzy!

  15. Thanks for a great post Pastor Jack. Pastor Tom’s explantion of “one naturism” was very educational and helpful. Pastors Jack and Tom have been great online friends and mentors of mine for the past couple of years—thanks to you both! I am reading with much interest the book that Jan and Jack recommended, “What Love is This? Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God,” by Dave Hunt. I was quite heartened to see some of the well-known Christian men who have heartily endorsed Dave Hunt’s book. Here are a few: Tim LaHaye, Chuck Smith, Elmer Towns (Liberty Univ.), and Dr. Chuck Missler.

  16. Jan,
    Once again you nailed it! “It would be far easier if they would just admit the difference between position and condition.”

  17. According to Miles Stanford, one-naturism is not limited to Calvinism. It’s alive and well in the Arminian-Wesleyan camp as well. Even Warren Wiersbe taught it. I googled more info on Wiersbe and one-naturism, but only Stanford’s site came up with results. I think this teaching is something that has been so subtle, most of us have heard the sermons, perhaps even nodded our heads in agreement, without recognizing the error! I know I have.

    So, for those of you who would like to read up on one-naturism and where it’s found, here’s that link: http://withchrist.org/MJS/index.htm

    Here’s the link that briefly mentions Wiersbe as being a negative influence in another ministry. I really wish there was more on him, but it’s not currently available: http://withchrist.org/MJS/index.htm

  18. JanH, David and all…

    Great!
    Position vs Condition
    Standing vs State
    The New vs The Old

    If believers could understand, believe and apply these simple principles of the two natures as an integral part of every believer, they will not likely fall for the lie of Calvinism and lordship salvation, etc.
    Notice I say, “not likely” because the old nature will continue to tempt believers to believe the lie.

    * Believers, Strengthen the blessings of the New Nature with: Bible study, Prayer, Sharing your faith, Fellowship with like believers, etc.
    “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth:..” John 16:13

    * And Believers, shun the Old Nature with: Bible Study, Prayer, Sharing your faith, Fellowship with like believers, etc.

    “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” 1 Timothy 6:11

    His Holy Spirit guides 24/7 — we SHOULD follow for a Biblical Christian life. However, LS folks say “You MUST follow, or else….. you are obviously not saved.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  19. However, LS folks say “You MUST follow, or else….. you are obviously not saved.

    And when they believe we only have one nature, it is easy to see how they can come to this conclusion. And it is no wonder that so many Christians become discouraged and burdened about their salvation, since this teaching conflicts with the reality that we still do struggle with sin and sometimes even have patterns of sin in our lives for years after we are saved. But MacArthur will not allow for a pattern of sin in a believer. If there is a pattern of sin in your life, you are not saved. End of discussion.

    I have no idea what he does about addictions of various sorts, or people from abusive homes–sometimes very severely abusive– who don’t know how to deal well with life or don’t ever really get to the point where they do it well. I would think the very least that would go wrong there is that they would be constantly trying and failing to fix the wrong problem, thinking if they can just get God to save them it will all go away and the reason it is still there is because they haven’t been saved. That is how I would think if I were in that position.

    JanH

  20. JanH,

    Thanks. Good observation.. OneNaturism is indeed a severe problem and must be exposed and defeated with the Gospel of God’s Grace.

    Your statement that they are constantly “trying and failing to fix the wrong problem, thinking if they can just get God to save them it will all go away and the reason it is still there is because they haven’t been saved.

    It is no wonder LS folks doubt their eternity — and keep trying over and over to be saved – hoping their life or works will appear good enough to their God or others to be saved. What a miserable existence that must be.. and thankfully some readers of this blog have been delivered from that LS monstrosity.

    One Naturists are, in effect, trying to save themselves instead of trusting Jesus Christ’s finished work on the Cross to save them — once for all eternity.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  21. Good observations once again bro. Jack, & Jan. I remember distinctly hearing a younger preacher say that if there is a sin in your life that you can’t get victory over, then you’re lost. Not maybe, or could be, but ARE. I was stunned. I heard it with my own ears. What false teaching. How could this possibly be Gospel preaching? Yes, we can have victory in Christ & we will one day be delivered totally, but in the Christian life there can be struggles & will be til we’re Home. yet we’re secure in Christ & the more we look to Him & the less at our own flesh & sin, the more like Him the indwelling Holy Spirit will make us. (2 Co.3:18). But all this preaching that we are lost if we still struggle with sin, focusing on sin rather than the finished work of Christ will keep us in turmoil. It is self-defeating. I speak from hard experience. Thank GOD for Jesus & His grace! Thank Him also for you bro. Jack!

  22. This “one naturism” sounds very similar to sinless perfectionism. Is there a connection between the two?

  23. Hi all,

    I left a comment earlier this afternoon (02/25 @ 11:25) which had two links so it ended up in Jack’s spam folder. Now that it’s up, I’m afraid it got buried due to comments being in chronological order. Anyhow, just wanted folks to be aware that this teaching is not isolated to John Mac & Calvinism.

    Very disturbing, since I’ve admired the teachings of a few who are listed as having taught it (A.B. Simpson, J. Sidlow Baxter, and my husband really likes Warren Wiersbe). :sad:

  24. I did a search on your blog but could not find a reference explaining John 15:6 . Does this not clearly show that you can fall out of salvation? Please explain this as I have enjoyed many of your blog posts but feel that you may be missing something here?

    Much appreciated.

    God Bless :)

  25. Anon.. Thanks for your note.

    I see you are from Zambia — give our love to all the born again, assured and secure believers in Jesus Christ in Zambia.

    An important thing to remember when studying God’s Word is that “Text without Context is Pretext.. so we study verses in context.

    (1) For a true believer in Jesus Christ, we know from Scripture that the Lord will NEVER cast you out. We are secure forever. John 6:37, John 6:47, John 5:24, John 10:28-29, 1 John 5:13 (See Dr. Tom’s book listed on the right margin above if you have further questions).
    (2) The Bible says that when a person trusts Jesus Christ as his Savior, he has ETERNAL Life (without end). John 3:15-18, etc.
    (3) Salvation is ONLY by God’s Grace through faith in Jesus Christ. He died for you, was buried and rose from the grave so you could believe in Him and have eternal life. So, salvation is NEVER by our good works:

    “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

    “That being justified [declared righteous] by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope [guarantee] of eternal life.” Titus 3:7

    The verse you question, John 15:6 is, in context, speaking of service (bearing fruit), our state/condition (see comments and discussions above), not position/salvation, as we see in the context of the two verses following your question verse: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” John 15:7-8

    Aren’t you happy that your verse does NOT say. “that God will take a believer in Christ and throw him into Hell”?

    Anon, please read the post, Eternal Life is Free on this Blog,

    http://expreacherman.wordpress.com/eternal-life-for-you/

    Thanks for visiting and I pray you will rest eternally in the assurance that is found securely ONLY in Jesus Christ.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  26. This “one naturism” sounds very similar to sinless perfectionism. Is there a connection between the two?

    Bruce-

    Logically there should be as the new nature should not be able to do anything but righteousness. But the one naturists to a man deny the sinless perfection heresy, and that is to their credit. They maintain that the believer will still sin as sin is still indwelling. What they do is what MacArthur does and transfer the cause of sin to the remaining “vestiges of sinful flesh.” I can’t explain that. Trying to understand it gives me a headache. :(

    JanH

  27. I’m new to this blog and am thankful I’ve found it. Actually it is an answer to prayer. I’ve been involved in a Christian Reformed church fir about 10 years and, 3 years ago began to have serious questions about some of their doctrine. So I’ve been on a “truth quest” and the conversations here are confirming what I believe the Holy Spirit has already been teaching me. Thanks!

  28. Kirk,

    Welcome.. Your testimony thrills all of us I am sure and it makes us thankful that the Lord has given us the opportunity to have and participate in a blog like this for you.

    Please, if you have questions, ask away. Someone here will be happy to give it a stab — from God’s Word.

    I particularly like your statement, “the conversations here are confirming what I believe the Holy Spirit has already been teaching me.” Thank the Lord you respond to God’s Holy Spirit and not just blindly follow what you read. He leads believers 24/7 from His Word — our responsibility is to follow.

    We are here for you — anytime.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  29. I know of two Free Grace/Pure Grace believers who believe in eradication and do not teach sinless perfection. Dr Andrew Farley (author of the great book “The Naked Gospel”) and Steve McVey (author of Grace Walk). Both of them claim the reason that we now still sin is because of the flesh (not the sin nature, and the NIV has wrongly translated flesh as sin nature in some places) and sin, as in the power of sin. We are no longer under the dominion of sin, the penalty of sin or the power of sin, but we can still give in to temptations because of the flesh. Andrew Farley has a good chapter on it in his book explaining why he believes the believer only has one nature and that the reason we feel so bad when we sin is because we have acted contrary to our nature. I have in no way done justice to the teaching of those two men, and I would encourage you to get their books and read them.

    However, I think your assessment of how most people view eradication is fairly spot on and it has been abused by Lordship teachers.

  30. Luke,

    Thanks for your interesting note.. I cannot read books because of deteriorating vision..
    Nonetheless, my Scriptural study tells me we have a New nature when we trust Christ as Savior and still retain the old sinful nature. There is that continual battle. Can’t see any other way. I would say from your statement about what they claim that the “flesh” IS the old nature, they just don’t call it that.
    Incidentally, I don’t use or recommend the NIV except to point out the many errors.

    I’ll have to leave further discussion on those two authors and their concept of eradication to those who know them or have read their books.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  31. Hi Luke:
    Thanks for writing. I read “Grace Walk” some time ago. I agree with Jack’s assesment that the “flesh” is in reality the same thing as the old sin nature. I viewed it as the author’s attempt to take a new or fresh angle on things. McVey makes some good points in the book, however, teaching against a performance-driven, fear-driven Christianity. Instead, he calls out for living a life of peace and joy, based upon Christ’s work on the cross and the daily walking in the Spirit. Although McVey tries to stay out of speaking about the “lordship debate,” his book is nonetheless a pretty good response to both legalism in the church in general and to the rampant lordship salvation’s motivational teaching of a guilt-based, frenzy-based, fear-based Christianity.

  32. Bruce,
    Thanks for your take on McVey’s book.

    Good to hear it is a valid reference — but I would pray that Grace writers simply stick with the clear. It would seem that a reader should have a “two nature” reference point before accepting McVey’s premise. It might confuse — but what do I know since I have not read the book.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  33. Pingback: Is “Lordship” Salvation by MacArthur, Chan, et al Error? | Notes From A Retired Preacher

  34. I think the new nature that is born from God will not or cannot sin at all. The human nature will sin till we die.That’s why there will be a judgment of Christ
    for the saved. To get or loss your rewards.It will not have any thing to do with
    salvation.

  35. Rusty,

    Thanks for dropping in. I think you nailed the answer to the problem of “Lordship Salvation.”

    Two natures, battling until believers are taken home to Heaven., having nothing to do with keeping our salvation which is secure in Christ.

    Stop back by and read our other posts. You are welcome.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  36. Hi Jack:

    I hope that you don’t mind the plug.

    I attended a wonderful Grace Conference recently in Phoenix put on by GraceLine Ministries. The keynote speaker was Dr. Dave Anderson, president of Grace School of Theology in Texas. GraceLine Ministries is doing a great work for the cause of Christ discipling collegians, young pastors and others in a grace perspective of the Bible and Christianity. Their ministries have led many to come out of former bondage to extreme Calvinism and/or lordship salvation teaching and into the light of God’s incredible grace! Over and over the testimonies flood in about their new-found freedom and peace through a grace understanding of Scripture. If anyone would like to support them (they could really use it) or to just to check out their web site, go to:

    http://www.graceline.net/

    Thanks Jack.

    Your friend,
    Bruce

  37. Bruce,

    Great to hear from you. I certainly welcome your “plug” for GraceLine Ministries. I hear great things about them — and your recommendation is good enough for me.. thus I would also recommend the group.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  38. theword4life

    Hi, just come across this…

    Maybe the problem is the location of the debate as in the terms ‘sinful nature,’ ‘old nature’ and ‘new nature.’ It’s not helped by modern versions translating ‘sarx’ as ‘sinful nature,’ which has more to do with a Greek worldview not a Jewish one. Such ideas set up an impossible dualism in the Christian – I know I’ve been there. I’ve lived it and taught it, and I was wrong.

    If we have a nature it is as humans made in the image of God.

    The great problem is we have fallen, and find ourselves alienated from God, but that doesn’t mean we now have a sinful nature. We sin because we are alienated from God, living in the domain or realm of the Flesh, not because our nature has changed – we are still humans made in the image os God, but now that image is marred.

    When a person becomes a Christian they are born again, and transferred from the domain or realm of the Flesh to the domain or realm of the Spirit, and God’s Spirit comes to live within them producing the fruit of the Spirit.

    Are they perfect? No. Do they still sin? Yes, and the reason they sin is not because they still have an old nature but because they still carry old programming, hence Paul says “be transformed by the renewing of your minds…” “Put off the old man (not an inner person but that old humanity – that way of life lived according to the Flesh), and put on the new.” etc.. This does allow for a Biblical and practical view of transformation.

    Regards,
    Richard

  39. Hello Richard,

    Thanks for joining us today.

    If you look back to the earlier comments on this discussion (see, in particular, the comments of Author/Pastor/Radio Bible teacher Dr. Tom Cucuzza), an air-tight case has been made for the reality of the dual nature of the believer—a NEW creature in Christ? Absolutely, but still possessing and wrestling with that old sin nature, as evidenced clearly by Scripture and by current observation and common Christian experience.

    The Apostle Paul speaks unmistakeably about wrestling with the old man, the flesh (SARX), the sinful nature which dogged him even into his older years of mature faith in Christ. Romans 7 clearly details Paul’s struggles with the old sin nature: VV. 14-15 “For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not; for what I would, that I do not; but WHAT I HATE, THAT DO I.” VV. 19-25 “For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; 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 the law of sin.”

    Richard, you said in part (possibly you are following the teachings of John MacArthur and others who teach one-naturism), “. . . the reason they sin is not because they still have an old nature but because they still carry old programming . . .”.
    This statement does not jibe with Scripture, as demonstrated above; also, it does not square with two prototypical Christians: First, what about a person who trusted (by faith alone) Christ Jesus as Savior at a very young age, YET, later fell into sins that were never even committed by him in his youth? For such an individual, one could not claim that he was merely following vestiges of old sinful patterns, or as you call it, “old programming.” Second, what about a man like the Apostle Paul? If he truly no longer possessed an old sinful nature, then we would most certainly expect that he would overcome sin almost entirely through the spiritual maturing process of a great life lived for Christ. Yet, in Romans 7, Paul clearly confesses his continuing struggles with the old sinful nature.

  40. Richard,

    Here are a few additional thoughts on the word sarx translated variously as “flesh,” “sinful nature” (consistently in the NIV), “fleshly,” “man or mankind,” “body or bodily,” “life,” “nation,” or “countrymen.” Probably context is the best determinant of meaning. Often (usually) the term soma is used to speak of the human body. Sarx seems often to lean toward some aspect of the person’s nature other than just the body itself and certain uses of the term mandate a noncorporeal meaning. Take, for example, Colossians 2:11 which reads, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh [NIV sinful nature] by the circumcision of Christ.” 2:13 reads, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumsion of your flesh [NIV sinful nature], hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” Other similar texts in which “flesh” clearly has the idea of “the sinful nature” are Romans 7:5 and Romans 8:9.

  41. Bing Stolzen

    I agree with MacArthur. The term “old nature” is never used in the bible. Why not stick to biblical terminology? Paul says that we are no longer “in the flesh” but he does not deny that we can still walk “according to the flesh.”
    Sin no longer defines our identity–which I take to mean our spiritual state. But sin still indwells out bodies, and we can submit to it by failing to walk by faith in the gospel. But we can never go back to being “by nature, children of wrath.” (Eph. 2) Nature is what we “are” not necessarily what we “do.” We are “by nature” children of God, not children of wrath.

  42. Hello Bing. Thanks for joining our discussion today.

    The concept of the old sin nature is certainly well grounded in Scripture. Several commenters have explained this above. Please go back and read the earlier comments (see, in particular, the comments of Author/Pastor/Radio Bible teacher Dr. Tom Cucuzza), who made an air-tight case for the reality of the dual nature of the believer—a NEW creature in Christ? Absolutely, but still possessing and wrestling with that old sin nature, as evidenced clearly by Scripture and by current observation and common Christian experience.

    The Apostle Paul speaks unmistakeably about wrestling with the old man, the flesh (SARX), the sinful nature which dogged him even into his older years of mature faith in Christ. Romans 7 clearly details Paul’s struggles with the old sin nature: VV. 14-15 “For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not; for what I would, that I do not; but WHAT I HATE, THAT DO I.” VV. 19-25 “For the good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do . . . .”

    John MacArthur and others who teach one-naturism [by the way, it it a relatively new position from the later 20th century, and not held by most earlier Reformed theologians] claim that the reason believers sin is not because they still have an old nature but because they still carry old programming. This statement does not jibe with Scripture, as demonstrated above or even with common experience; also, it does not square with two prototypical Christians:
    First, what about a person who trusted (by faith alone) Christ Jesus as Savior at a very young age, YET, later fell into sins that were never even committed by him in his youth? For such an individual, one could not claim that he was merely following vestiges of old sinful patterns, called, “old programming.” Second, what about a man like the Apostle Paul, whom we would almost all agree that he was one of the most mature Christians who ever lived? If he truly no longer possessed an old sinful nature, then we would most certainly expect that he would have overcome sin almost entirely through the spiritual maturing process of a great life lived for Christ. Yet, in Romans 7, a spiritually mature Paul clearly confesses his continuing struggles with the old sinful nature.

  43. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16″ I love this verse. It helps me keep things in perspective throughout my day.

  44. Welcome Loreta,

    Thanks for sharing that wonderful verse which declares the simplicity of the gospel message of believing in Christ Jesus for salvation. For added emphasis, here is the same verse from the King James Version: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

  45. This is what I was speaking about with Jim Floyd, how Calvinist’s like John MacArthur do not believe in the two natures, in fact they believe Romans 7 is sort of a past reflection of Paul’s prior struggle. Hoping Jim will see this.

  46. Hi Holly,

    These are MacArthur’s words himself:
    “Salvation is not a matter of improvement or perfection of what has previously existed. It is total transformation…At the new birth a person becomes `a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come’ (2 Cor. 5:17). It is not simply that he receives something new but that he becomes someone new…The new nature is not added to the old nature but replaces it. The transformed person is a completely new `I.’ Biblical terminology, then, does not say that a Christian has two different natures. He has but one nature, the new nature in Christ. The old self dies and the new self lives; they do not coexist. It is not a remaining old nature but the remaining garment of sinful flesh that causes Christians to sin. The Christian is a single new person, a totally new creation, not a spiritual schizophrenic…The believer as a total person is transformed but not yet wholly perfect. He has residing sin but no longer reigning sin. He is no longer the old man corrupted but is now the new man created in righteousness and holiness, awaiting full salvation.” (The MacArthur New Testament Commentary-EPHESIANS, p. 164)

    He seems to believe that the new nature replaces the old nature, and it’s just the “sinful garment of flesh” that causes us to sin. While that is a popular view today, it is used for the purpose of proving that any saved person will have a new nature that evidences he is a new creature. P of TULIP.

  47. David, I know your message was to Holly, but I wanted to thank you for sharing the sad quote from MacArthur. These guys are really confused!

  48. David, thank you so much… I was searching the site over there briefly today, because I remember a sermon where he said Paul was speaking in the past in Romans 7 of the old man. That is very helpful, I sure appreciate it!

  49. What incredible patience you “regulars” have. Somebody pops in, gives his 2-cents worth, obviously without having read through the entire thread and you bear with that person with extraordinary kindness. Speaking for myself, I have no patience. Never had any, never get better, but when I do manifest any, I know of a surety that it is His grace alone.

    After 36 years, I can say along with Paul – “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh (old nature) the law of sin.”

    Thank you all so very much.

    Diane

  50. Diane :)

    You made me smile. I guess my patience doesn’t come very naturally either, in certain ways, I might be a Peter (ear-lopper). I try to pray because sometimes when you see the hit and runs, or the mischaracterizations, it can be frustrating. I’m learning and hopefully developing some by watching others here.

    The Lord is good.. For that reason, I try to not offend in myself, for His great love for me, He also loves them and I keep that in mind when they don’t seem so lovable, it doesn’t matter, He loves them and desires none should perish. So in my human nature, my old nature, I sure want to ‘win’ at times, or ‘zing’ someone who has been nasty (not so much here), but then He reminds me of the mercy I was shown, and reminds me to do likewise :)

    In Him, thanks for the encouragement!

  51. Greetings to you, Holly,

    Great minds… I was just reading on another thread about all the “fun” pastors in your life on FB :-)

    I’m new here so I’m in catch-up mode. I won’t say that I hope things have changed for the better since then because that’s not how our life in Christ works. Rather “…but we glory in tribulation also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience;…” (Romans 5:3,4)

    Thank you for your nice response!

  52. No, it has not changed :) It gets more intense at times, but it does work patience in me, thank you for the passage. As I get reviled, the human side of me wonders, ”do they not see the lack of love in their response as they tell you how ‘unloving’ you are”? Or when they tell you that you shouldn’t be ‘judging’, they proceed to tell you all the things that are wrong with you. But… I keep trying to remind myself of what we pray and hope is the end result. That we might make a difference with some, and pull some from the fire… I am appreciative, so appreciative, of those who stand for the truth and do not compromise.

    So good to meet you. :)

  53. Good to meet you too, Holly.

    “…be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord”. (I Cor. 15:58)

  54. Thanks Diane, brought to mind another favorite.

    Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:13

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