Lesson 7 – The Dual Nature of Man

The Dual Nature of Man 

Lesson Aim:     To show why the man “in Adam in the world” cannot produce fruit for God under a Law like the Ten Commandments because of his dual nature. 

Scripture:  Rom. 7:4-6 

Word Definition: 

1.      Flesh.  The Greek word is sarx.  This word has a wide range of usages in the Bible.  See the following:

          a.      Gal.  2:20;  II Cor.  10:3 – The human body

          b.      John 1:13;  Rom.  3:20 – All that is essential to manhood.

          c.       John 1:14; – of Christ.

          d.      Rom. 7:5;   8:8, 9 – The unregenerate state of man. 

          e.      Gal. 3:3; 6:8; – Temporary element of a  Christian. 

          f.       John 3:6; The state of man as he or she is born in the likeness of Adam in contrast to the new spiritual birth “in Christ.” 

2.      Carnal (Gr. sarkikas) Rom. 7:14; Having the nature of flesh i.e. sensual, controlled by animal appetites, governed by human nature instead of the Spirit of God.  This word can be applied to a weak Christian or the general condition of mankind (I. Cor. 3:1). 

3.      Mind (Gr. nous) denotes speaking generally; the seat of consciousness, comprising of the faculties of perception and understanding for feelings, judging, and determining. 


The title of our lesson is the one reason Christians have been freed from the Law of Moses and all law belonging to this category.  We truly do have a dual nature as born again Christians (II Cor. 4:16).  We have been born “in Christ,” but we still have the nature “in Adam.”  Our physical births were in the likeness of Adam.  We are flesh; therefore, we need to give consideration to all the definitions of the Greek words, sarx and sarkikas in the foregoing word definitions. 

The word flesh includes all that is essential to manhood.  People have the knowledge of good and evil and our consciences and minds have matured to the point of using our stored up knowledge in the judgment of ourselves.  Mature people feel guilty about their sins.  As a sinner the word flesh takes on a bad connotation.  In Adam in the world, mankind is carnally minded and the members of his or her body become tools for wickedness (Rom. 6:13).  The flesh lusts; therefore, people become a slave to their lust (Rom. 13:14) 

Those who lived under the Law “In Adam” had their sinful passions aroused by the Law but instead of bearing fruit for God, they found themselves bearing fruit for death (Rom. 7:7-12).  The acts they committed because of sin aroused by the Law, drove them further from fellowship with God.   Their characters would develop in opposition to God’s nature.  This describes those who were depending on the works of law for their righteousness (Rom. 3:27-31; 9:30-32).  Some Israelites continued to live by faith during the time they were under a schoolmaster – the Law (Rom. 2:28, 29). 

In Romans, the sixth chapter, we learn how Christians’ old man of sin, our inner man who developed without God, died with Christ; however, we were raised up and made alive to God so we can take charge of the same body and use it for an instrument of righteousness (6:13).  In this death we also died to the Law God gave to Moses (Rom. 7:4).  We should be reminded of what did not die in our new birth by baptism.  The members of our body did not die.  We did not rid ourselves of the knowledge of good and evil.  Our inner man died and was freed from sin, death, Law and the wrath of God.  We still have the fleshly body and it still has a tendency to lust; that is, if we should we make the provisions (Jas. 1:13-15).  This is our situation at the present time “in Christ” as Christians.  We have been born of the spirit.  We are no longer “controlled by the sinful nature,” but still we suffer with “weakness of the flesh.” Rom. 6:19; 7:5.  The battle of a Christian is between the mind and the flesh or the inner and outer man.

For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  Rom. 8:13 

This is an “on-going” battle for each Christian (I Cor. 9:27).  It may result in spiritual death or spiritual life.  The devil is pulling for the flesh.  God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are pulling for the mind and heart of our inner man.  We can see why God gave us the “in Christ” realm with all the graces therein (Eph. 1:3-14).  Our present dual nature would prohibit the new covenant from becoming a reality in our “inner man” without such doctrines as justification by faith in the blood of Christ to continuously clean our conscience of guilt (Rom. 5:1; Heb. 9:14).  The removal of guilt from our conscience opened the door for the Holy Spirit to fellowship us and therefore lead us.  His main tool for leading us is the Word of God He inspired and has had written in our Bibles. 

We can readily see why Christians had to be made free from the Law of Moses.  You cannot bring a condemning type of law such as the Law of Moses over a person unless they are completely sin free – and no one is.  Law, of the type God gave Moses gives sin an opportunity to arouse sinful passions (Rom. 7:8, 9).  Sin in a person is brought to focus and the sinner pronounced guilty.  In our dual nature, Christians are not capable of choosing good in every instance; therefore, sin would become our master under the Law. 

The personal pronoun “we” in our text represents the inner man of every Christian.  We have been born again through our faith, repentance and baptism; therefore, our aim is to serve and bear fruit unto God.  The fruit of our lives is produced in the behavior of our habits (Matt. 7:24).  Our habits are the output of the condition of our minds and hearts (Jas. 2:12).  Our minds and hearts are the seat of our character and personality (I Cor. 2:16; I John 3:21-24).  Christians are continually struggling to put off the old characteristics of the old man of sin and put on the new characteristics of Christ (Eph. 4:20, 24; Col. 3:5-11).  At the same time we must keep the lust of our sinful nature in an inactive state (Rom. 13:14; Col. 2:23).  This tension will continue until we die physically.  Our victorious physical death will end our dual nature.  Our spirit (self) is now alive to God, if the Spirit of God and Christ is in fellowship with us.  In our resurrection we will get a new spiritual body to compliment our spiritual self (Rom. 8:9-11).

But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable and this mortal will have put on immortality then will come about the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  ‘O death, where is your sting?’  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;  but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.   I Cor. 15: 54-57

Truly, we thank God for Jesus Christ.  In Him, Christians live under grace and not the Law of Moses.  Otherwise, sin would still be our master just as it was “in Adam” in the world.  “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.”  Rom. 6:14. 

Our present situation is well stated in the last verse of chapter seven, “So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other with my flesh the law of sin.”  Rom. 7:25.  Day by day, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we decrease our service to sin and increase our service to God.   More and more, the will of our minds get its way.  The only obstacle of a Christian who wills to serve God is the demands of being flesh.  Flesh does not refer to how much we weigh.  

In physical death this obstacle will be removed and our inner man can do what our mind wills to do eternally with our God in heaven.  This is one way faithful Christians inherit the kingdom of God (Matt. 25:34).  The will of God and the kingdom of God are synonymous in the concept of “the sphere of God’s reign.”  Today, Christians will to let Jesus Christ be the Lord over our lives.  There are some distractions that may keep this from happening all the time.  One of those distractions is the bodies in which we live.  This distraction will be removed in our physical death and resurrection.  We can inherit the kingdom of God; that is, we can have His rule fully over our own will.  We get His rule for ourselves eternally.  This is the meaning of the word “inheritance.”  We get God’s rule for our own.    

But what about the born again Christian who does not will to serve God?  We can see how his or her physical death will not cure all of their problems.  We should search our hearts and minds carefully to see if our will is to serve God.  Is our physical body the only reason we do not perfectly follow the law of God?  If not, our physical death will not solve all of our problems.  We will still have a problem of the mind.  It will not be willing to serve God even if we are removed from this body of death.  This would lead to eternal hell for the inner man, the real you.

If we were still under the Law of Moses, sin would become our master; however, Christians are under grace and we can serve the law of God with our inner man.  Someday, we will be freed completely from the flesh and the problem of the tendency to lust.  There is, however, now no condemnation for those “in Christ” who walk by faith in spite of our dual nature (Rom. 8:1).

Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ! 

Questions for Discussion

  1. In what sense does a Christian have a dual nature?
  2. Which part of a Christian’s nature does the personal pronoun “we” refer to in the scripture text of this lesson?
  3. What is the attitude of the inner man of those who want to do right toward God’s law?
  4. What is the desire of the flesh?
  5. How can a Christian become a prisoner in his or her fleshly body?
  6. Why could a Christian not produce fruit to God under the Law of Moses?
  7. Define the present battle line of a Christian.
  8. List the blessings God gives Christians so we might develop ourselves like Jesus in spite of our dual nature?
  9. How long will the tension between each of our inner and outer man continue to exist?
  10. In view of the statement of fact about a Christian in Romans 7:25:  How does this situation change as a Christian matures?


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