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Question and Answer

An old man once told me about how people have two natures. One is represented as a good dog and the other as a bad dog. The good dog fights to protect what is good in our lives, but the bad dog only wants to see the person’s life filled with things that displease God. The winner in this particular dogfight is the dog you feed the most—do you feed the good dog or the bad dog? Is this true—does everyone have two natures warring inside us?

No, not everyone. Only those who are born again have two natures. People who have not trusted in Jesus Christ have only one nature, which seeks to put everything that it desires first and refuses to submit itself to God. People without Christ make decisions that mostly benefit themselves. They do not try to please God; they just pursue their own wants and desires (see Isa. 53:6). This describes all of us before our conversion by faith in Jesus. As Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But those who have trusted in Christ and become children of God do have two natures. Our sin nature remains present within us, until one day we will be finally transformed to live with God forever. But when we are born again, we are given a new nature, which is an instantaneous miracle of God’s grace. We also have the Holy Spirit who shapes our desires to please God. As the apostle Paul described in Romans 7, this can lead to frustration as the two natures battle for control: “Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war. . . . Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (vv. 21–25). This battle happens only within believers. Sometimes our sin nature will prevail and we will say or do things that do not please God. In those situations, we can be thankful for the forgiveness found through Jesus (see 1 John 1:9). And we can be thankful that God provides deliverance from our sinful temptations through the work of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 7:25; 1 Cor. 10:13).

The process of becoming people who please God is called sanctification. God works in each of us to make us do His great pleasure (Phil. 2:13). The process of sanctification continues until we are absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6–8). Then we will be fully and finally free from our sin nature and be glorified.

I am saved—redeemed from the penalty of sin in the instant when I trust Christ; I am now at this very moment being saved—the process of sanctification that frees me from the power of sin; and I will be saved—the future glorification when I will be free from the presence of sin, standing in the presence of God for all eternity.

BY Mike Kellogg

Mike Kellogg worked with Moody Radio for more than 40 years, beginning in 1972. For many years he was the reader on Continued Story and began hosting Music Thru the Night in 1982. He also read the Today in the Word devotional for Moody Radio for many years. In July 2014, Mike retired from full-time radio. He is a graduate of Cedarville University, and has served as adjunct faculty in English and Speech Communications at Moody Bible Institute. He is married to Nancy, and they have 6 children and 16 grandchildren.

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