Many Christians are often a bit confused about whether we as Christians have two natures.
Some people teach that we have one nature before we became a Christian, and when we are born again we got another, new nature.
This new nature is in conflict with the old one, and often we can still feel that the old nature is most dominant. The solution some preachers give is that you have to feed the good side of yourself, the new nature, so that the old one does not take over again. But that’s a lot of work.
I think this theology is not a good one, because it makes us fall under fear again!
What if I don’t feed the new nature enough? And are there any of us who can feed it enough?
I would argue that this way of thinking makes many Christians live in constant condemnation, and I was one of them.
Unfortunately, some of this theology has crept a into some of translations of the Bible, and I will give you an example.
Especially If you read some Norwegian translations you can get a little confused when you read Romans 8, and one translation has changed the translation of Rom 8 several times.
When people translate the Bible they often have some of their interpretations, and if you have a certain view it can affect the translation. Like this one: That we as Christians have two natures. See the difference in this scripture from the same Norwegian Bible translation, but by different editions.
Rom 8: 8-9 (Norwegian BGO)
8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, as long as God’s Spirit dwells in you. If anyone does not have Christ’s Spirit, he does not belong to Him.
Rom 8: 8-9 (Norwegian BGO)
8 Those who are then governed by the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not governed by the flesh, but by the Spirit, as long as God’s Spirit dwells in you. If anyone does not have Christ’s Spirit, he does not belong to Him.
Rom 8: 8-9 (Norwegian BGO)
8 Those who are then governed by human nature cannot please God.
9 But you are not governed by human nature, but by the Spirit, as long as God’s Spirit dwells in you. If anyone does not have Christ’s Spirit, he does not belong to Him
Rom 8: 8-9 (Norwegian Bokmål 2011)
8 Those who have flesh and blood have power over cannot be pleasing to God.
9 But it is not the flesh that has power over you, it is the Spirit – as long as God’s Spirit dwells in you. He who does not have Christ’s Spirit does not belong to Christ.
Romans 8:9 NLT
«But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)»
Romans 8: 8-9 NIV
“Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.”
It is easy to put an interpretation here if you have different opinions about what the flesh really is. This one is most similar to the original text, and most English translations write it like this
English New King James and Modern King James
Romans 8: 8-9 NKJV
8 So then those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ he is not His.
Romans 8: 8-9 MKJV
8 So then they who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His.
If you think that the flesh is part of your identity and that you can sometimes be in the flesh, you will have a problem with these translations and these verses, because it says that if you are in the flesh then you do not any longer belong to Christ.
There maybe a lot of times when you feel that you have been in the flesh, for example when you have committed a sin or just followed your physical and natural (fleshly) senses and desires. Therefore, some have rather translated it with governed by the flesh.
So how do you explain this?
You may ask me now. I will try to explain it as simply as I can:
First let me give you a simple explanation about the word flesh:
The flesh is a way of thinking as if God did not exist, that was how your old nature, your body of sin and Adam’s nature thought and acted. It thought and acted as if God did not exist.
For a Christian, the flesh is a way of thinking and acting as if God did not exist, and there is a force that still will try to prevent us to live by the Spirit.
It will prevent us from having a good relationship with God, and the flesh is still a weapon that the devil uses against us, and we can choose to walk after it, or we can also choose to walk after the Spirit. (See Gal 5:16)
As a Christian you can not be in the flesh, it is impossible. You are either in the Spirit, and belong to God, or you are not, and you don’t belong to God. This is not my words, but Paul’s. There is nothing in between.
As a Christian you are constantly in the spirit, even when you sin.
But get this: You can walk by the flesh, or by the spirit, so you can still choose to sin, but you are not in it. You are in the new creation not in the old one. The old nature is crucified.
So that means: Even if you choose to walk after the flesh and not after the Spirit, you are still in the spirit and not in the flesh. As I said; the flesh is no longer your true nature, you are born again, you are born of the spirit, and since we are in the Spirit, let us put off the deeds of the flesh, let us not follow them anymore, for they are no longer part of us , it is not our true nature any longer.
To important words that will make the whole difference:
In and by. As a Christian you can walk by the flesh, but you are not in it!
The flesh, that is, the way we think as if God did not exist, is not a part of our identity or nature any longer! Paul says very clearly that our body of sin and evil nature has already been crucified, we do not need to crucify either the body of sin or the flesh, it is crucified. We just need to have the knowledge about it! Rom 6: 6
For we know this, that our old man was crucified with Him, so that the body of sin might be deprived of its power, so that we should no longer be slaves under sin.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live here in the body I live by faith in God’s Son He who loved me and gave himself for me.
And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
3 For you are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
The flesh is not an evil side of yourself that you have to try to crucify! For you are a new creation, the old is gone see everything, yes absolutely everything has become new (2 Cor 5:17)! Everything means everything, even in the original Greek language.
There is no evil old side of yourself that you have to crucify! Jesus was crucified for us so that we no longer have to walk around carrying a body of sin (Rom 6: 6).
In the Old Testament everyone had a body of sin because of Adam’s fall and there was no way to get rid of this nature but then Paul says:
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
The only thing you now need to do is to renew you mind. (Rom 12:2)
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