You Don’t Have a Sin Nature, part 2
The second area of thinking that we must start from is that we are no longer of this world. We are now citizens of a heavenly kingdom.
Philippians 3:20: For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;
Because I live in America I think like an American. My American way of thinking is very different than other countries of the world. As I travel across the vastness of America, I have discovered that people in the various parts of America think differently from other Americans even though we are of the same country. But, there still remains an overall American cultural way of thinking.
We are citizens of a heavenly kingdom that is vastly different than the culture of the world. They are polar opposites. The thinking patterns of the world are based on selfishness and self-centeredness. Before we came to know Jesus, this is the way that we were used to thinking, but as a Christian with a brand new nature, it is not the way a citizen of heaven is supposed to think. Our thinking is rooted in selfless giving and the care of others above our own.
Unfortunately, we sometimes do fall back into this old pattern of thinking.
Selfish thinking is not based upon submission to God, rather it is based on fulfilling one’s personal desires, usually above the welfare of someone else. The Apostle John called it the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the sinful pride of life (1 John 2:16).
Fulfilling our desires is not necessarily wrong. When we are hungry, we eat. When we need clothes, we buy them and clothe ourselves. When we have a desire for something we enjoy, we indulge ourselves. Desires and the fulfillment of those desires are not necessarily a bad thing.
The problem comes in when we put our desires upon the desires of everyone else. The culture of the Kingdom of God is to lay down our lives for others, to forgive and love our enemies, to give mercy and grace over judgment. It is to give our lives in service to those around us. Thinking of ourselves will not accomplish this.
The kingdom of Heaven is a giving culture. It is a culture steeped in grace and mercy because that is the nature of our Father. When we are born from above (born again), we inherit that nature from Him. The Holy Spirit then helps us to align our thinking with our nature.
As I stated earlier, as an American I think along the lines of American culture. That serves me well as long as I am in America. If I think along the lines of the pattern of this world, then it will serve me well as far as being worldly goes. But, all I will ever do is serve myself. I may do things for others but ultimately it will be about me.
If I allow the Holy Spirit to transform my thinking according to the culture of heaven, then amazing things will begin to happen. I will see things from a whole different perspective. I will be able to extend love and mercy when before I did not feel I should extend love and mercy. I will be able to see people as valuable, worthy of love and sacrifice, and see them through God’s eyes. I will realize that I am a citizen of heaven first and that I am in a foreign culture.
We have to allow the Holy Spirit to help us to think along the lines of the Kingdom and not the patterns of this world.
Again, believers in Christ do not have a sin problem; they have a thinking problem. Whenever our thinking is not lined up with our new nature in Christ, we will always revert back to a selfish lifestyle. Selfishness and self-centeredness are the antitheses of the kingdom of God.
If you think according to the patterns of this world then you are not thinking like a citizen of heaven. Using my previous example – if I move to China and want to be a part of that culture, which is so different than my American culture, then I have to change my thinking. I cannot think like an American and live a Chinese culture. I must begin to think like a Chinese person would if I want to embrace and fully appreciate the Chinese culture.
If I want to walk and live in the abundance that Jesus promised, then I must begin to think as a citizen of heaven instead of thinking according to this world’s culture. To fully embrace the kingdom culture I must allow the Holy Spirit to transform my thinking by renewing my mind.
Romans 12:2 tells us not to be conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Our spirit is alive unto God but our thinking must be transformed. We must begin to think heavenly thoughts and not earthly thoughts.
I am certainly not saying that we should be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. What I am saying is that we need to begin to think with a Kingdom of God cultural mindset instead of a worldly mindset. The Bible tells us that we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), therefore we can think with a mind that is focused on seeing things from a Kingdom perspective rather than an earthly, sinful perspective.
It all comes down to how we think. When we get our thinking to line up with our new, Christ-like nature we will begin to walk in the fullness and abundance of God.
In my next post, we will take a look at the fact that Christians no longer struggle with a sin nature, but they still have to deal with their flesh.