The Natural Man
The story of humanity is a tragedy in its fallen state (Gen 3), following innocence (Gen 1–2). God made man in His image, male and female He created them (Gen 1:27). God’s creation was very good (Gen 1:31). Sin entered the world and death followed because of Adam (Rom 5:12).
Adam is the father of natural man, and all people conceived in the womb have his original sin and condemnation (Rom 5:16). Death reigned and still reigns over those conceived, today (Rom 5:14, 17).
Adam’s free will decision, to transgress God’s Law (Gen 3), enslaved him and his posterity. The natural man, being a son of Adam is a slave to sin (Jn 8:34; Rom 6:6, 16–20). His human nature is dominated by sin (Eph 2:3), so that every inclination of his heart is only evil all the time (Gen 6:5).
The god of this world, Satan, deceived Adam, the first man, and he blinds the minds of Adam’s progeny, today (2 Cor 4:4). Sending his spirit of the world, around the world, the devil maintains his dominion, by way of darkness (Acts 26:18; Col 1:13). The content of his message is called, “the wisdom of this world (1 Cor 3:19).” Using the false words of human wisdom (1 Cor 2:13), confusion abounds with speculations (Rom 1:21; 2 Tim 2:23), doctrines of demons (1 Tim 4:1), and innumerable false teachings, propagating destructive heresies (2 Pet 2:1).
The natural man sets his mind on the flesh (Rom 8:5), which is hostile toward God (Rom 8:7), and ends in death (Rom 8:6). He is doomed from conception and until the Day of Judgment. His ungodly affections for sins, only multiplies his eternal punishment in the just fires of hell (Mt 25:46; Jude 1:7). The wrath of God is ever pending against him (Mt 3:7; Lk 3:17; Rom 1:18).
The natural man does no good (Rom 3:12), and even his self-assessed “good works” are judged by God to be filthy rags (Is 64:6). He has no right standing before God (Rom 3:10), and being useless in the eyes of the One who hates him (Ps 5:5; 11:5; Rom 3:12), he does not seek God for reconciliation (Rom 3:11), nor is he willing (Mt 23:37; Jn 1:12–13; 5:40) or able to do so (Jn 12:39; Rom 8:7).
Like his forefathers in the Great Flood (Gen 6–9), he does not understand his own plight (Mt 24:39), and will not understand it, until he, too, is swept away in God’s judgment. The natural man is a hater of God (Rom 1:30), who labors to suppress the truth (Rom 1:18) because he has no love for the truth (2 Thess 2:10). In vanity, he eats, drinks, and pretends to be merry, today, but he is hopeless and without God in the world (Eph 2:12).
With his sin nature, blinded mind, wicked heart and evil will, the natural man cannot see his plight (total depravity leading to just judgment), nor can he see God’s remedy. Instead of receiving the Good News of Jesus Christ, the only Savior of sinners (Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6), he judges the wisdom of God to be foolishness (1 Cor 1:18, 21, 23, 25, 27).
The Puritan, John Owen, wrote, “The natural man cannot know spiritual things because it is the Spirit of God who endows the minds of men with that ability, and the light itself, by which alone spiritual things can be spiritually discerned, is created in us by an almighty act of the power of God (2 Cor 4:6). God must baptize the chosen soul with His Spirit shining the light (Mt 3:11), Himself, in our hearts, and pouring out His love (Rom 5:5), implanting the seed of the Word and making it grow (Mt 13:23; 1 Cor 3:6; Col 2:19; Jas 1:21).
The life of God in the soul of a man is a sovereign act of God’s free will and gracious choice (Jn 6:37, 44, 65). He gives His life (Jn 6:63), His Spirit, to whom He wills (Mt 11:27). The Word of life is preached promiscuously to all creation (Mk 16:15). There are two groups within the sons of Adam: one obvious (unbelievers) and one hidden (elect, yet unbelieving). One group hears the Word of truth, receives it and believes it (regenerate). One group hears the same Word preached, but they reject it in unbelief (unregenerate).
Grace is given to those chosen of God to be recipients of faith (2 Pet 1:1), as a gift (Phil 1:29). There is no grace unto salvation for those vessels of wrath (Rom 9:22), who are not elect, nor redeemed, and ever unregenerate. God could have left the entirety of humanity in its natural state of sin. He chose not to, but instead, He sent Jesus Christ to deliver His holy nation, the Israel of God, the church (Gal 6:16; 1 Pet 2:9). He saved us (Titus 3:5).
The spiritual man is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15). He is in Christ, only by God’s doing (1 Cor 1:30). God sent His Holy Spirit, as a gift (Jn 14:26; 15:26; Acts 2:38; 10:45), to give us the gifts of God in the Spirit (Rom 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4). He has brought to light all things freely given to us by God, and He opened our eyes to see the great things God has done for those who were mere natural men, but who have become spiritual, by His sovereign grace.
August 3, 2022