The pinnacle of God’s creation is humanity, fashioned in the likeness of God (Gen 1:26). From Adam and Eve all humanity has subsequently descended, complete with an inherited sinful nature, going astray from God’s ideal (Isa 53:6; Rom 5:12, 3:10,23). God with His infinite love did not want man to be separated from Him because of this sin; our only hope, as humans, to be acceptable to God came about when Jesus become man and died in our place. The Incarnation is the term given to Jesus taking upon Himself the limitations of humanity. This was necessary so He could die for the salvation of all who would believe in Him (Mt 1:20,21; Jn 1:14; Phil 2:5-11; Heb 2:14,15).
In His humanity Jesus was like us, yet was unique in the fact that although tempted He did not sin as He did not have the same sinful nature that we are born with; He had ‘the mind of God’ that cannot be tempted by sin (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 2:22). He took His orders from the Father and focused on Him. In our fallen humanity when we look at the object (temptation) and not the Master we yield to sin. The Bible instructs us to “Look unto Jesus…” (Heb 12:2).
All people have within them two opposing forces – the natural, carnal flesh with its tendency to do wrong, and the conscience of God indicating what is right and wrong. Most non-Christians are reasonably law-abiding and morally upright, obeying their conscience to a large degree. However, when we became Christians our spirit was made alive, thus we are spiritual beings living in a carnal, sin-saturated environment and we get to choose which realm is the dominant. The Christian solution to this dilemma is to recognise our position in Christ and yield to Him rather than being a slave to sin – “Dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:2-13, 8:1-22; Col 2:13).
The nature we feed becomes the prevailing one
mastered him” (2 Pet 2:19). It is our responsibility to put off this old nature and walk in newness of life in Christ (Gal 5:24; Eph 4:22-32; Col 3:5-14). We are answerable to God, for all we do here on earth, with the final analysis being we will reap what we sow – if to please the sinful nature this will be destruction, but eternal life if sowing to please the Spirit (Rom 14:12; Gal 6:7,8). The “fleshly” appetite and aspect of our humanity is to be under the control of our spirit, which in turn should be submissive to the Holy Spirit, otherwise we will fall (1 Cor 9:27; Jas 1:13-15). It is our heritage in Christ to have the privilege of living on a higher spiritual level, not being dictated to by the carnal flesh – “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal 5:16,25).
We are to be imitators of God and live a life of love, with complete purity (Eph 5:1-5). Every aspect of our lives, spirit, soul and body, should be lived in submission to our Saviour – “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Rom 13:14).
Our faith is based upon His ability and power working in us rather than our limited perspective in life.
God said, “Every inclination of man’s heart is evil from childhood…It is not in man to direct his steps” (Gen 8:21; Jer 10:23). It’s only as we respond to the Holy Spirit and walk in the ways of God, as shown in Scripture, that we can break out from that mould and live more in tune with God’s original design.
The highest purpose of humanity is to bring glory to God by fearing (honouring) Him and keeping His commandments within a loving relationship with Him (Eccl 12:13; 1 Cor 10:31; 1 Jn 3:1,2).
See also: body/soul/spirit, carnal, choice, conscience, flesh, incarnation, mankind, new/new life.