The Believer's Two Natures - WHAT IS THE SECRET OF OUR POWER?


George Cutting
The Old Nature

 If you will call to mind what we were saying about the hen and her brood of ducklings, I think you will see, in her distress, a picture of the state of numbers of precious souls today. For what is really the cause of her sore trouble? She cannot make the ducklings to be what she knows by natural instinct a brood of chickens ought to be, and the older they get, the more self-willed they become. They seem determined to get into the water whenever the least opportunity is afforded. Sometimes, it is true, they are all at rest together under her wing, and then, perhaps, she thinks she is at last gaining the victory, and making them better. But, alas! again and again she is doomed to disappointment, for they only get worse and worse. The farmer's wife, however, hearing her cry of distress one day, sends her little girl to keep the ducklings out of the pond; for she plainly sees that the hen's trouble about this part of the brood is seriously interfering with her care for the little chickens.

Oh, what a comfort is this new helper to the hen! For though she found no way to improve the manners of the tiresome truants, she has now, at all events, got a power to control them.

Now, every one that is born of the Spirit of God, possesses instincts peculiar to the new nature which has been imparted to him—instincts which cause him to say, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man." But he finds also that he has got to do with instincts and desires of an entirely opposite character, viz., those peculiar to the old nature. Thus we read of "the things of the flesh" and "the things of the Spirit," and the tastes and desires of both stand in the most direct contrast.

But what troubles the new convert is, that he cannot make the flesh to be what the word of God teaches him a newborn soul ought to be, and the law, though he delights in it after the inward man, gives him no POWER. In other words, he is trying to accomplish what God has declared to be an utter impossibility; viz., making the flesh subject to His holy law (See Rom. viii. 7-8). He finds that the flesh will mind the things of the flesh, and is very enmity itself to the law of God, and even to God Himself. And since this is so, the greater his earnestness to accomplish this impossibility, the more intense his misery. Indeed, to apply law to the flesh, in seeking to make it subject, is only to manifest still more its desperate willfulness. If you pour water upon unslaked lime, instead of cooling it, you will only bring out the fire that lies hidden within. Thus it is with the flesh. The law, applied to it, only brings out its "enmity," though the enmity was there before. "By the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. iii. 20). Though the newborn soul has a nature that "would do good," yet he finds, alas! that "evil is present with him," and it is not until he gives up his struggle as utterly hopeless, and looks outside himself, crying, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?" that deliverance really comes; and then he thanks God, through Jesus Christ.

Thus he has learned, what every one must learn, before deliverance can be realized in an experimental way; first, that the "flesh" is an utterly worthless thing, that there is neither good in it nor remedy for it (Rom. vii. 18; viii. 7); second, that even in the new nature, with all its right desires, there is no real power either for good or against evil.

But the Spirit of God does more than merely quicken a dead sinner into life. He afterwards becomes the power of that life. When the newborn soul believes the "gospel of his salvation," the Holy Ghost, as a distinct Person, comes into him as an abiding Dweller there (Eph. i. 13). He is "sealed unto the day of redemption;" i.e., the redemption of the body (Eph. iv. 30. See also Rom. viii. 9, 14, 16, and the Lord's own words, John xiv. 17). According to 1 Cor. vi. 19, his body becomes "the temple of the Holy Ghost" which is in him. He is no longer his own, but "bought with a price."

A few months since I saw the following announcement fixed outside a large house (it looked like some hotel), "This house will be reopened," at such a date, "under entirely new management." I presume that it had changed hands, and that there was, therefore, new proprietorship too. Now this announcement at once brought the scripture just quoted to my mind. (1 Cor. vi. 19-20.) The house was the same; its windows, doors, chimneys, outhouses, all the same, but there was a new proprietor, and, in consequence, entirely new management."

So it is with the believer. He is same individual, with the same faculties as before his conversion; is in the same business, perhaps, with precisely similar social circumstances surrounding him, but he is now the personal property of another. He is "Christ's," and, as such, is now put under entirely "new management," i.e., the Holy Ghost enters his body; takes up his residence there, hence-forward to "manage the house" upon heavenly principles. How solemn! Yet how intensely blessed!

Now, herein is the believer's power for every activity that is according to God. Here is his power to control the flesh, to "mortify the deeds of the body" (See Rom. viii. 13). Just as the little girl resisted the natural will of the ducklings, so that, by her means, the hen was able to keep them under due control, so we are told in Gal. v. 17, that "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, in order that ye should not [1] do the things that ye would." What we need to be careful about is, not to "grieve" the One who has thus come to "manage" us, even the Holy Spirit of God, whereby we are sealed unto the day of redemption" (Eph. iv. 30).
[1] This is a more correct translation.

There are two important things to remember in connection with power.

1st. That we must be brought to the experimental discovery that we have none of our own.
2nd. That it is only in absolute dependence upon Christ that the Spirit's power is made effectual in us. Our power is in the weakness that clings to Another.

But, it may be asked, if the evil nature still remains in every converted person, and that evil nature is ever ready to assert itself, how can it be possible that—