George Cutting
The Old Nature

"How is it," some one may enquire, "that the very presence of such an evil thing as the flesh in a believer is not a hindrance to his communion with God?" Let me seek to explain this by using another illustration.

A father and son sit at home one day in happy communion with each other. What is meant by "communion" is, that they share the same thoughts and feelings about every matter that comes before them. Presently, however, another child comes in from taking a ramble in the woods, and lays upon the table some wild berries. The father at once condemns them as poisonous, and totally unfit for food, and desires that they should be immediately thrown away. Now, if the son shares his father's thought about them, and condemns them too, you can see at once that the mere presence of the bad fruit has not occasioned the slightest breach of communion between them. But if, on the other hand, the son, deceived by the enticing appearance of the berries, refuses to accept his father's judgment and seeks to retain them, he is now out of communion; and, if he ventures to taste them, will be sure to suffer in consequence. When, however, in humble confession of his self-will, he is brought to see his folly, and to take sides with his father in condemning the fruit, communion is again restored.

When the believer, who has learned from God these blessed truths, discovers, as he surely will, that sin still "dwelleth in him," and that the old nature is as bad as ever, or worse, he can, instead of fruitlessly attempting to make it better, take sides with God against it. He never regards it as anything but the deadliest enemy, ever to be distrusted, and never to be indulged. He knows that God has utterly condemned it at the cross, and, therefore, he utterly condemns it too. He reckons himself to be dead to it, but "alive unto God in Christ Jesus."

Oh, what a comfort it is, that God is expecting no good thing from the flesh! that He has given it up forever as a totally worthless thing, and that He would have us do the same! Neither has it any rightful claim upon us. We are no longer debtors to the flesh to live after the flesh (Rom. viii. 12). And, though still responsible to exercise the greatest watchfulness in not allowing it to act, yet God gives us, through the death and resurrection of Christ, to regard it as no longer having any place in our new state as "in the Spirit" before Him. The cross of Christ forever snapped the link that we once had with the first Adam, fallen; and the Holy Ghost has brought into our souls the life of the last Adam, risen. We are not "in the flesh" at all, according to God's reckoning, but in the Spirit; and the only life that we now have before Him is the life of Christ. So that the apostle could say, "I [have been] crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. ii. 20).

But let us now consider the next question, viz.,