|Posted on August 6, 2020 at 10:55 AM|
From the moment Adam ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil human nature has remained totally depraved and wicked from generation to generation. Each child born into this world as a natural descendant of Adam inherits that selfish and self-centered nature that reveals itself in the various “works of the flesh” described by Paul in Galatians 5: 19-21 as, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like:”. Not a pretty picture of humanity.
Although we may devise and try a variety of plans to cover up the flesh (Adam and Eve tried fig leaves) nothing we do can change that depraved character. No amount of religious rituals and activities or disciplined willpower is sufficient to eliminate the selfish and self-serving desires of our nature. This is why Jesus told the religious ruler he had to be born again. We were born once into this world as a natural descendant of Adam and the only way to eliminate that nature is to be born again as a child of God.
Like the ruler, Nicodemas, most people are confused by the idea of being born again because their ignorance of the spiritual realm keeps them from recognizing the work of God in their lives. The good news is that God has done everything necessary to make them a new person with a new nature in Christ. What Nicodemas did not understand at the time was that God was creating a new human race in Christ that would share his character because the old humanity was corrupt and condemned. Our faith in Christ allows us to experience the reality of that new birth and gives us a new nature which Paul calls the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5: 22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control”.
Looking at the world today it is obvious that evil is abounding. Even in our own “Christian” nation the “works of the flesh are manifest” yet more and more in every area of our culture. Because such evil originates from the depraved nature of the human race no amount of human effort can produce effective solutions. As Paul testified in Romans 7 our knowledge of good and evil combined with our own willpower to do what is right and refrain from doing what is wrong will always end in failure. Only the supernatural power of the indwelling Spirit of God can overcome that old nature we inherited from Adam and produce in us the character of Christ.
What is needed now more than ever are believers who are committed to “walking in the Spirit”. The promise Paul gives in Galatians 5: 16 is our greatest hope during these perilous times, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” While not everyone, even among those who believe, will seek to be led and empowered by the Spirit of God to produce the “fruit of the Spirit”, those who do will shine as lights in the darkness with the very character of Christ.