There has been much debate over the past twenty centuries since the Church was founded on the day of Pentecost, as to whether or not a born again believer still has a sin nature. I find this incredible in light of what the Apostle Paul wrote in the seventh chapter of his letter to the Romans. Paul, obviously a born again believer, repeatedly uses present tense verbs to describe the inner struggle he was experiencing. Here is Romans 7:14-25 from the New Living Translation:
14 The law is good, then. The trouble is not with the law but with me, because I am sold into slavery, with sin as my master. 15 I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. 16 I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things. 18 I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't. 19 When I want to do good, I don't. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. 20 But if I am doing what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it. 21 It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God's law with all my heart. 23 But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.
Paul wrote many other passages which indicate a believer does not become Christ-like the moment they become a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). Paul, still addressing the Roman believers, wrote, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:1-2). Another verse in Paul’s writings describes the fact that a believer “has not yet arrived.” He wrote “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
Perhaps the best verse of Scripture to show believers have yet to achieve the total metamorphosis into the person God intends all of His children to be is 1 John 3:2 which says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” In other words, while we are alive, we retain the nature of Adam, which is evidenced by the fact that we die (1 Cor. 15:22). Paul describes this change as being instantaneous (1 Cor. 15:52). It is also described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, which says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
I thank God that I am not as bad as I once was, and that I will soon be like Jesus!