I have found it common for preachers to say that Christians have two natures, spiritual and carnal, and then to liken these two natures to fighting dogs. Our duty, so it goes, is to ensure that we feed one dog and starve the other. But this is not quite true, since Christians have one true nature: the new creation. The process of sanctification (growth in holiness, godliness, and love) is about becoming who and what we truly are, cracked vessels that have been transformed into precious vases. When sin affects Christians, it is not because a civil war is raging within our bodies and we have somehow temporarily yielded to our carnal as opposed to spiritual nature (this is based on a bad reading of Rom. 7). Instead, it is more like we have failed to be and act as we truly are: new creations. A better analogy to use in order to exhort Christians to stop indulging in sin is perhaps more along the lines of urging us to stop trying to lay LPs on a CD player: play CDs on a CD player. Stop trying to load old software onto new hardware. Be what we are, be what we are becoming, and be what we will be on the final day of Christ Jesus!
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Be What You Are, Are Becoming, and Will Be!
Michael Bird, Introducing Paul (p. 136):