Romans 7:14-25 I beseech you brothers and sisters, as part of your devotions today, before the day ends, please read all of Romans 7:1 – 8:17. As I waited on a Word from God, I read and listened to this extended passage over and over again. Peter, as full of the Holy Ghost as Paul, but not nearly as lettered in the law, observes that Paul’s letters contain some things that are hard to understand (2 Peter 3:16). But in this instance, Paul takes what is easily one of the most difficult subjects in applied Theology, and masterfully explains and simplifies it with references, repetition and re-enforcement. Our challenge now is not to understand what he says, but to accept it, believe it and apply it in our daily lives.
As I read, I could not help thinking of the common mental illnesses with a range of symptoms that mirror Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), which is commonly referred to as split or dual personality disorder. The Believer in Jesus has a dual personality, and there may even be traces of “dissociation”. But it is not a disorder. In fact it is the solution to a problem. The fact is that every living person has a common personality disorder caused by our sinful nature, and the driver of that nature is the Devil.
Unfortunately, because we are conceived in iniquity and born in sin, having a sinful nature is “normal”. And yet, it is worthy of note that society abhors many of the consequences of our sinful nature, but are absolutely helpless to completely cure it. So we pass laws against murder, and stealing, and rape, and in some countries, even adultery. Lying to the FBI is a crime punishable by 5 years in prison, and lying in court under oath is the criminal act of perjury. We teach our children not to be covetous, and to be content with what they have. And after we work so hard to suppress the various manifestations of our sinful nature, we are forced to admit that at the macro level, we have failed.
Paul argues that the Believer in Christ, at the moment we are born again, is given a second nature that is diametrically opposed to our birth-nature. The driver behind that nature is God Himself. Unfortunately, we don’t get to swop natures. We keep the first one. So normal people walk around with one nature. But we are a “peculiar” people. We have “bipolarly” opposite natures. Imagine how frightened people are when one day they witness us acting under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and the next day, acting under the influence of the Devil! But this does not have to be the case.
With this appreciation of the existence of our two natures, our mission must be clear. We must aggressively, starve our sinful nature to death, and at the same time feed and strengthen our spiritual nature, until obeying God and praising God and loving each other comes like “first nature”.
Remember to visit RBC’s Our Daily Bread Devotional today at www.ODB.org