Essay / Theology

Want Your Carnal Nature Removed? Too Bad

“What is meant by those who say that after their conversion they had an up and down experience, and then came a second time and that they had the carnal nature, inbred sin or sin principle taken out?”

Doubtless what they mean is that when they first accepted Christ, they did not fully surrender to Him, and therefore did not receive the Holy Spirit and enter into a life of daily victory over sin. In a later experience they were doubtless brought to a full surrender, and did receive the Holy Spirit, and thus came to know what it meant to live in the eighth chapter of Romans instead of the seventh chapter (vs. 9-24).

The Holy Spirit, whom they received and to whom they surrendered control to their lives, “the Spirit of life,” made them free in Christ Jesus “from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). Thus they passed from the “up and down” experience, or the experience of constant defeat, into an experience of daily victory. Through the indwelling Spirit to whom they surrendered control of their life, they put to death the deeds of the body (Rom. 8:13). But their way of expressing it, “that the carnal nature or inbred sin or the sin principle was taken out,” was not Scriptural and was misleading.

Sin, or the sin principle, is not a substance that can be taken out. The carnal nature is a nature governed by the flesh. Certainly our nature ought not to be governed by the flesh, and so we ought not to have a carnal nature, but we do have the flesh, and it is only by being filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit that we are kept from fulfilling the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16). But if we fancy the flesh is gone we will find some day to our sorrow that it is not.

If we neglect the daily study of the Word, or if we neglect earnest, secret prayer each day, or if we get our eyes off of Christ and get them on ourselves, we will have a most terrible fall. Some of those who have apparently lived a victorious and beautiful life, and who have been greatly used of God, by becoming full of confidence and thinking the flesh was gone, have had awful falls and have brought great disgrace on the cause of Christ. Every one of us, no matter how victorious and full of power our lives may have been, must realize constantly the victory is not in ourselves but in Him, and the one “who thinketh he standeth” needs “to take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

Is the end of this present age conditioned on telling the Gospel to every creature (Matt. 24:14) or on the completion of the church as a body?

Matthew 24:14 does not say that even the Gospel of the kingdom will be preached “eto every creature.” It says it shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. Furthermore, this has to do with the preaching after the rapture of the Church. The rapture of the Church to meet Christ in the air is not “the end;” it is the beginning of the end. Of course, Christ will not come for His Church until it is complete, but as far as we know it may be completed any day.

Originally from The King’s Business “Questions and Answers” by R.A. Torrey, March 1914, pp. 170

Share this essay [social_share/]