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The Natural Man
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1Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (KJV)
In 1984 a movie was released entitled “The Natural.” This movie starred Paul Newman and became a big hit with sports fans and non-sports fans alike. The plot of this movie was that of a man who appeared to come out of nowhere to lead a team into Championship greatness. The main character (played by Paul Newman) appeared to be a natural at the game of baseball. He played brilliantly with little to no effort. It was evident to all that he had a natural born talent (in him) for the game.
If you have ever picked apples from an apple orchard or some other type of fruit like plums, you may have bit into a piece of the fruit and suddenly saw a worm inside. Well, the immediate reaction of most people is to spit out the fruit and throw away the remainder of the fruit and pick another piece. Well, that worm was somehow born in the fruits seed. This describes the nature of man. Man's corrupt nature is born in him from his mothers womb. Every little baby born on the planet looks so sweet, gentle, cuddly, warm, and harmless. However, inside the nature of each sweet little baby lyes a raging volcano the likes of Mount St. Helen's always ready to erupt. When Ted Bundy was born to his mother, she never would have dreamed that he would grow up to brutally murder many young women. This is the heart of every little baby born into this world. The natural birth of every man or woman is worthless, filthy, dirty, vile, abominable, and without any good thing in it at all.
Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.] (Quick Amplified Bible)
The Apostle Paul (illuminated by the Spirit of God) discovers even after having walked with the Lord Jesus Christ for almost eighteen (18) years that our corrupt nature is absolutely worthless. There is no redeeming value in our old nature at all. The nature we all inherited from Adam never wants to perform anything that is good (morally excellent or morally virtues). Before Adam's disobedience, he had Almighty God living in him and he had absolutely no knowledge of evil.
God knows and understands evil, but there is no trace of any evil in His nature. Well, Adam had the nature of God in him constantly and evil was foreign to him. Here is what Matthew Henry (1662-1714) said of Adam before the fall: “Man had a habitual conformity of all his natural powers to the whole will of God. His understanding saw divine things clearly and truly, and there were no errors or mistakes in his knowledge. His will complied readily and universally with the will of God, without reluctance or resistance. His affections were all regular, and he had no inordinate appetites or passions. His thoughts were easily brought and fixed to the best subjects, and there was no vanity or ungovernableness in them.”
All natural men and women are walking and living in the dark. For example, if you turn out the lights in any room in your home, you cannot see anything in the room. Well, we must understand that this is the reality of every natural man or woman. Sin comes natural to them and they see nothing wrong with sin and cannot understand a person who does not desire sinful indulgence in their lives. The Bible talks in 2 Corinthians Chapter 3 about a veil being over the eyes of the ancient people in the reading of the Old Testament. Well, we know that a veil is something that obscures the view. Every natural man or woman has a veil over their spiritual eyes, blinding them from seeing the majesty, splendor, glory, and beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ and His love which surpasses knowledge and understanding.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine on them. (NKJV)
Here is what Albert Barnes (1798-1870) had to say about 1 Corinthians 2:14; “The passage here proves that while a man is thus sensual, the things of the Spirit will appear to him to be folly; it proves nothing about his ability, or his natural faculty, to see the excellency of these things, and to turn from his sin. It is the affirmation of a simple fact everywhere discernible, that the natural man does not perceive the beauty of these things; that while he remains in that state he cannot; and that if he is ever brought to perceive their beauty, it will be by the influence of the Holy Spirit. Such is his love of sin, that he never will be brought to see their beauty except by the agency of the Holy Spirit.”
The English word natural comes from the Greek word psuchikos, which means man's lower or bestial nature; sensual nature. This word describes man as being under the influence of an animal nature or desires. When Adam disobeyed, the earth, the animal kingdom, and all humanity was immediately thrust into a curse.
Romans 8:20-22 For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it--[yet] with the hope that nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God's children. We know that the whole creation [of irrational creatures] has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now. (Quick Amplified Bible)
Now, the Bible defines man's flesh or corrupt nature as racked with moral and physical frailty. We know that frailty is defined as that which is weak or feeble physically or morally. The Natural Man is weak physically and morally and requires a super natural miracle to make him strong morally.
1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God consists of and is based on not talk but power (moral power and excellence of soul). (Quick Amplified Bible)
The physical weakness of man's flesh will continue to deteriorate due to the curse mentioned above in Romans 8:20-22. What does every Natural Man need to gain this moral strength? He needs regeneration. He must be regenerated. What is regeneration? The word regeneration is only used twice in the entire Bible and on both occasions in the New Testament. This word comes from the Greek word paliggenesia, which means the state or act of a spiritual rebirth; a spiritual renovation or restoration. How is the Natural Man regenerated? Well, Titus 3:5-7 tells us how every natural man and woman can and will be regenerated.
Titus 3:5-7 He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy, by the cleansing bath of the new birth (regeneration) and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out so richly upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. And He did it in order that we might be justified by His grace (by His favor, wholly undeserved), [that we might be acknowledged and counted as conformed to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action], and that we might become heirs of eternal life according to our hope. (Quick Amplified Bible)
The Holy Spirit must convict the natural man or woman that their sin is not against man, but against a Holy and Righteous God. The Holy Spirit is the only one that can convince the natural man or woman of their need for deliverance. The natural man or woman can never come to true repentance in their own strength. Sin has them in chains and only the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit can loose or free them from those chains.
Luke 13:12 And when Jesus saw her, He called [her to Him] and said to her, Woman, you are released [loosed or fully freed] from your infirmity! (Quick Amplified Bible)
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). (Quick Amplified Bible)
Now we see that all natural men and women are hopeless and helplessly lost unless a miraculous change takes place in their lives and in their hearts. This is why a natural man or women can easily be trapped by any sin and become addicted and dependent on that behavior or substance. The soul of every natural man or woman is crying out inside for release. Christ has come to provide that release for every yearning and longing soul.
Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity], to proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord. (Quick Amplified Bible)
Christ is the only solution for every natural man or woman. Remember our earlier example of the apple or plum containing the worm on the inside, well this was a picture of the condition of every natural man born into the earth. But thanks to the mercy of God, he did not leave us floundering (like fish out of water) in this condition permanently. But through Christ, God has provided a remedy to our corrupt natural state. Praise the Lord that we through Christ can become new creatures with new moral desires and be free from our old natural condition.
John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free. (Quick Amplified Bible)
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author, Silent Assassins of the Soul (not yet published; coming soon)
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