George Cutting
The Old Nature

We have seen, that at our natural birth we get an evil nature, so evil that God says it is impossible to make it subject to His holy law. It "cannot please Him." "Behold," says the Psalmist, "I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps. 51:5).

Then, at our spiritual or second birth we receive, through the sovereign operation of the Spirit by means of the word of God (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23), another nature entirely, a "divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). The blessed Lord puts it to Nicodemus in a few words thus: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6).

So that the believer actually possesses two natures; viz., "that which is born of the flesh," and which, because of its very nature, "cannot please God;" and "that which is born of the Spirit," which from its essential nature "cannot sin, because it is born of God." In the 7th chapter of Romans you will find these two natures distinctly mentioned side by side. See, for example, the last verse.

"So then, with the mind [i.e., the renewed mind, or, as we have been expressing it, the new nature] I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh [i.e., the old nature] the law of sin." Then, again, verses 22 and 23, "I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind," etc.

A simple illustration here may be helpful.

A farmer's wife, having placed a hen upon a sitting of duck's eggs, found, at the end of a week, that the greater part of them had been destroyed by some enemy of the hen-roost; upon which she made up the sitting with hen's eggs. When the hatching-day came round, the hen, of course, found herself responsible for two distinct broods of little ones. This, however, caused her little or no trouble, till one day she discovered, to her dismay, that the little ducklings had taken themselves off to a pond close by, and so delighted were they with their first excursion on the water, that her loudest clucks and most urgent calls alike proved fruitless to bring them back to dry land. The chickens, on the contrary, shewed not the slightest inclination to venture into such an element, and would have been miserable enough had they been forced into it.

Here, then, were two distinct natures, with entirely different tastes and habits. That which came from the duck's egg had the nature of the duck, that from the hen's egg the nature of the hen; yet both were hatched in the same nest. Now, all the farmers' wives in the world, with all the men of science at their back, could never change the nature of a duck into that of a chicken. The duck would still keep the nature of a duck, and the chicken the nature of a chicken.

A thousand times more distinct are the two natures in a Christian, and this because of the different sources from whence they are derived. One is from man—lost, guilty, fallen man; the other from God, in all the holiness of His sinless nature. One is human and polluted, the other divine, and therefore undefilable. So that every evil thought or deed of the believer springs from the old nature, while every good desire, or godly deed, finds its source in the new. For example, you may remember the day when you had a desire to retire to your quiet room alone for prayer. That desire came from the new nature. But while upon your knees, perhaps, some wicked, wandering thought came into your mind. That was the outcome of the old. But now comes another important enquiry, viz.,