‘Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.’ Song of Solomon 6:13
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 7:15–25
The new nature which God implants in his people is directly the opposite of the old one. As the old nature comes of Satan, being defiled and depraved by the fall, so the new nature comes direct from heaven, pure and without spot. As the old nature is sin, essentially sin, so the new nature is essentially grace; it is a living and incorruptible seed which lives and abides for ever, a seed which cannot sin, because it is born of God. When these two, therefore, come into conflict, it is as when fire and water meet; either the one or the other must die. There can be no truce, no parley; the two are deadly foes; the life of the one is the death of the other; the strength of the one is the weakness of the other. Now the old nature has been there beforehand; it is like a tree well rooted—it has been there twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, or sixty years, according to the date of conversion, and it is not easily to be torn up by its roots. Even when grace comes into the heart and makes sin to fall, as Dagon did before the ark of God, yet it is true of sin as it was of Dagon, the stump thereof is left, and there is enough vitality in that old stump still to breed pain and confusion without limit. The reigning power of sin falls dead the moment a man is converted, but the struggling power of sin does not die until the man dies. Bunyan said that unbelief had as many lives as a cat, and sin has the same vitality. Until we are wrapped in our winding-sheets, we shall never have that black thread of depravity drawn out from us; it will, it must continue to be there till God shall sanctify us, spirit, soul, and body, and take us home.
For meditation: The new birth (1 Peter 2:2) produces a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), a new person (Colossians 3:10), a new life (Romans 6:4) and a new spirit (Romans 7:6), but also results in some new enemies, one of which is the old nature (Galatians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:11).
Sermon no. 593
9 October (1864)