What is the Sin Nature?
In simple terminology, the sin nature is the bent of the human being toward sin. When Adam and Eve fell, they fell from the level of total God-consciousness down to the far, far lower level of sin-consciousness. As a result of the Fall, their entire nature became one of sin. In other words, they were controlled by the sin nature, even as every single unredeemed person in the world is controlled by the sin nature.
Before you, as a Believer, gave your heart to Christ, you were totally and completely controlled by the sin nature, and in every capacity, which refers to every aspect of life and living. In other words, your whole bent or persuasion was altogether toward sin.
“And you has He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
“Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:1–3).
Let us look now at these same Verses from THE EXPOSITOR’S NEW TESTAMENT:
“And you has He quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins (total depravity due to the Fall and original sin);
“Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world (refers to the fact that the unredeemed order their behavior and regulate their lives within this sphere of trespasses and sins), according to the prince of the power of the air (pertains to the fact that Satan heads up the system of this world), the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience (the spirit of Satan, which fills all unbelievers, thereby working disobedience):
“Among whom (the children of disobedience) also we all had our conversation (manner of life) in times past in the lusts of our flesh (evil cravings), fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind (the minds of the unredeemed are the laboratory of perverted thoughts, impressions, imaginations, etc.); and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (God’s Wrath is unalterably opposed to sin, and the only solution is the Cross.)
All of this tells us that the sin nature totally and completely controls the unredeemed individual, whoever that person might be, despite their education or lack thereof! Born in original sin, mankind is controlled by the sin nature, which is the cause of all war, strife, and man’s inhumanity to man.
As we have stated, this thing can be ameliorated only by one’s acceptance of Christ and what Christ has done for us at the Cross. At the Cross alone was sin addressed.
Paul said: “But this Man (this Priest, Christ Jesus), after He had offered one Sacrifice for sins forever (speaks of the Cross), sat down on the Right Hand of God (refers to the great contrast with the Priests under the Levitical System, who never sat down, because their work was never completed; the work of Christ on the Cross was a “Finished Work,” and needed no repetition [Heb. 10:12]).
The Christian and the Sin nature
When you came to Christ, you were born again, thereby becoming a “new creation in Christ Jesus” (II Cor. 5:17). At that time, the Holy Spirit, in His regenerating process in your heart and life, also gave you the “Divine Nature” (II Pet. 1:4). When you were born again, the sin nature became dormant in your life. It was not taken out, but, as we have already addressed, it was made ineffective. However, if you, as a Believer, do not know how to properly exercise your Faith, which must always be in the Cross of Christ, you will find yourself depending on self, even though you may not understand that’s what you are doing.
When this happens, and I’m speaking of trusting in “self” instead of the Cross, you will fail the Lord. When this takes place, it is like throwing gasoline on the fire. The sin nature, which had been dormant in your life, will suddenly come alive because it is sin which fuels this nature. It will then start to control you, exactly as it did before you were saved.
As we’ve already stated several times, if the Believer doesn’t understand the Cross as it regards Sanctification, he will not understand how to address the sin nature, and will not be able to obey the Lord, no matter how hard he may try otherwise.
“Let not sin therefore reign (rule) in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Rom. 6:12).
While the sin nature is to remain in your mortal body, it is not to “reign”in your mortal body. Tragically, it is ruling and reigning in the hearts and lives of most Christians, and they don’t even understand what is happening to them. The cause is either ignorance of the Word or unbelief of the Word.
Remember what Paul said:
“For that which I do I allow (understand) not” (Rom. 7:15).
Lack of Scriptural Teaching
This which I am teaching you is seldom taught in the modern Church. Coming up in Church as a young boy, actually being in Church most of my life, I don’t recall ever hearing, or reading, one single sermon on the subject of the sin nature.
Over the years, I’ve read hundreds, maybe thousands, of sermons. I did occasionally come across the phrase, “sin nature,” but, until I read the information given by Kenneth Wuest, no one had ever explained in their Messages exactly what the sin nature was and how dangerous it actually was.
To be sure, Scriptural ignorance can cause one just as much problem as unbelief. Unfortunately, almost all of the modern Church is ignorant regarding the “sin nature.” As a result, failure among Believers is of tragic proportions. And, please believe me, the failure of which we speak results in broken hearts, broken lives, twisted dreams, and pain and suffering of such magnitude as to defy all description.
The Reader should carefully notice in the Word of God how frequently the Apostle Paul says, “Now I would not have you ignorant …” (Rom. 1:13; 10:3; 11:25; I Cor. 10:1; 12:1; 14:38; II Cor. 1:8; 2:11; I Thess. 4:13). Considering that the word “ignorant” was used that many times in Paul’s writings, don’t you think the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us something?
The sad truth is that the sin nature is ruling, in some way, the hearts and lives of most Christians, exactly as it did before they got saved. This is tragic, but true!
And how do I know that?
I know that simply because the modern Church understands the Cross not at all as it regards Sanctification. That being the case, and it most definitely is, the sin nature will most definitely rule and reign. That makes for a miserable existence for the Child of God.
Swaggart, J. (2005). Baton Rouge, LA: World Evangelism Press.