I’ve been reading posts by Peter (here & here), Simone (here & here), Nathan (here & here) about the nature of redeemed humans and their struggle against sin and their striving to righteous living.
I don’t know how to elegantly enter such a discussion, so:
Human beings only have one nature at a time.
In creation our nature was free to obey God and free to disobey God with no predisposition to either. This is free will. Only Adam and Eve ever had it.
After the fall our nature was no longer free to obey God, we could only disobey Him. Even those actions which we performed which could be considered obedient were rendered as sin because they were tainted by self-interest or by the thought they were meritorious to God.
This is fallen will, slave to sin. Subject to judgement by both nature and action.
When we are saved by God through Jesus our will is set free from slavery to sin. We are now able to choose to obey God and we are also able to disobey Him. The Holy Spirit and the Bible are our guides and comforts to aid and enable our obedience. The former habits of our lives, the influence of living in a non-glorified body and being surrounded by fallen humans, redeemed humans and a world marred by the effects of the fall, along with the temptations to sin provided by the agents of spiritual darkness stand against us. Romans 7 & 8 speak about this, for those who accept that it does. You will also be tempted to believe that this is not your present nature and that one of the others is.
This is redeemed will, in this life.
In the age to come we will be changed and no longer will we be able to choose to sin. We will only be able to choose to obey. The desires, influences and circumstantial snares to sin will be gone.
This is the redeemed will, in the age to come.
We only ever experience one of these states of being at a time.
Adam and Eve (historical figures) are the only humans who will experience all four.
Jesus, like us, yet without sin, only has one nature, the final one, always obedient to the Father. There never was a possibility that He would disobey. (Some theologs disagree.)
So, how does a redeemed human deal with temptation and sin in this life?
They resolve to know more and more of God’s revealed will, and seek to obey His commands and not disobey His commands.
Now we can keep in view the fact that God accepts us and pronounces us righteous/just in His sight always because of Jesus. Jesus does not enable us to be righteous in God’s sight, nor does He provide top-up righteousness which makes up deficiencies in our good deeds enabling them to be accepted by God. For all eternity our presence before God will be because of the presence of the Lamb who was slain, sitting at the right hand of God interceding for us.
We also forsake the idolatry that rests at the root of every sin. We consciously seek to live with Christ as our Lord.
Those who God has redeemed, those whom He has ingrafted into Christ, are to live as His covenant people. They are to be holy as He is holy, they are to take on His very character as it is revealed in the ten commandments, which while being heads of law were also descriptors of the nature of God given so that finite beings could realise the nature that should be theirs as their response to being in relationship with Him.
Created in God’s image, finite representations of the infinite God, we are meant to mirror His character. His shalom. (Plantinga, I think.)
Our obedience is not to win favour or to gain blessing, it is a response of gratitude and love, an incorporation of the shalom that God has established with us in Christ into our very character.
Those of us God blesses with years between conversion and glorification learn responsibility in claiming this character.
We also seek to be obedient and not disobedient because that is God’s will for us. There are good works which He has prepared beforehand for us to do.
The battle against sin helps us experience the fact that Jesus’ presence and work is always needed to be accepted by God. It also enables us to experience the peace and blessing of the change in our nature and characters which the Spirit and the word bring to us.
As we grow in knowledge of God’s Word and of ourselves we can recognise the subtilty of the inclination to sin and battle against root weaknesses, experiences and environments in which we are susceptible to succumb to temptation to sin. We can also discipline ourselves in active obedience and learn satisfaction in that, which helps reveal the counterfeit satisfaction that sin offers for the bitter and deadly concoction that it really is.
I know that some of this talks all around various tangents that have been followed on the other posts, but I trust that it does interact with them at various significant points as well.