If I am a born again believer, why do I still sin? Why do I have such a problem with sin while I am here on earth? Why am I still troubled with impure thoughts? Why do I sometimes fail to do what I know is right? Why do I continue to battle with temptations? Why do I often have a “bad attitude?” In other words, why do I act like an unbeliever? Believe it or not, it is because all genuine Christians on this side of heaven, have a “split personality!”
The Bible describes saved individuals as having two competing natures. Jeremiah 17:9, in describing every man, says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” “Desperately wicked” is from the Hebrew אָנַשׁ ('anash), which means “incurably sick.” There is nothing anyone can do to “save” the dying man; he is doomed. The disease is far worse than cancer, leprosy, or even AIDS – the number one killer of every man is SIN! Apart from God’s intervention, every human being will die as the consequences of a single sin (Gen. 2:17; 1 Cor. 15:21-22). Born again or not, we are all in the image and likeness of Adam, and we all sin, and we all die as the result (Gen. 5:3; Rom. 3:23; 1 Jn. 1:8-10).
When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Bible says we were saved (Jn. 1:11-12; 3:16; 14:6; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9-13; etc.). However, “being saved” does not mean one is perfect. The Apostle Paul wrote that God had begun a “good work in you,” and that He will complete it (Phil. 1:6). He wrote that we should realize that the things which occur in our lives are designed to make us more like Christ (Rom. 8:28-29). He pleaded with believers to stop being conformed to the ways of this world, and to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:1-2).
Yes, genuine Christians are “born again,” but their new birth with their new nature is now in a battle with their old nature (Rom. 7:14-25). Notice Paul uses the present tense when describing his struggle between the two natures. “I am” (v. 14). “sin that dwelleth in me” (v. 17). “in me…dwelleth no good thing” (v. 18). “evil is present with me” (v. 21). “O wretched man that I am!” (v. 24).
When a person places their trust in Jesus, God is just in forgiving his sin; He justifies us (Jn. 3:1-8; Rom. 3:24, 28; 5:1, 9; 8:30; etc.). From the moment of our new birth, God sanctifies us; that is, cleanse him for His own use (Rom. 15:16; 1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thes. 2:13; Heb. 13:12; etc.). There is one more “stage” in the process of making the believer back into the likeness of his Lord: He will glorify us (Gen. 1:26-27; Rom. 8:17, 30; 1 Cor. 15:49; Phil 3:21; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; etc.). The Apostle John put it this way: “we shall be like Him” (1 Jn. 3:2)!
If we shall be like Him, that means we are not like Him now.
It is no wonder the world sees us as hypocrites!