It is a great and blessed fact that there is something Divine as well as human; something begotten by God as well as by man. There is "spirit" as well as "flesh". "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). This new nature has, like the old, several names.
These stand in contrast and opposition the one to the other.
1. It is called "SPIRIT". This is in contrast with, and opposition to, the "flesh", as the title of the old nature: and it is so called because it is born or begotten of the Holy Spirit (John 3:6). As "flesh" partakes of the nature of Adam, as being descended from him, so spirit partakes of the nature of the Holy Spirit, as being born
ek tou pneumatos.
2. Hence this new nature, being divine in its origin, is called
theia phusis, DIVINE NATURE (2 Pet. 1:4). This is why it is said to be "perfect", and unable to commit sin. 1 John 3:9, "Every one that has been begotten of God does not produce sin [as his fruit], because His seed [the new nature] abideth in him: and he [the new man] cannot sin, because of God he (or, it) has been begotten." 1 John 5:18,19, "We know that everyone that has been begotten of God does not sin; but he (i.e., the new man) that was begotten of God keepeth him, and the evil one toucheth him not. We know [as a matter of fact] that we are of God; and, the whole world lieth in [the power of] the evil one." The new nature is personified and spoken of in the masculine gender. It cannot refer to the believer as a whole; for, if we say that "we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (1 John 1:10): and our sins are provided for in 1 John 2:1, 2. But the new nature is born of God and does not sin, and does not lie in [the power of] the evil one. The new nature, therefore, being "spirit", and being begotten or produced in the believer by the power of the Holy Spirit, is Divine. Hence it is called;
3. THE NEW MAN (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10). This is in contrast with "the old man", which, as we have seen, is one of the titles of the old nature. This, being entirely new, is called "a new creation"(2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15). And is said to be "according to the image of him that created him" (Col. 3:10). Nothing short of this avails in God's sight. However men may "make a fair show in the flesh", "it profiteth nothing" (John 6:63); "for in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation" (Gal. 6:15; Co1. 3:10,11). In this connection the new nature is called;
4. "THE INWARD MAN" (Rom. 7:22; 2 Cor. 4:16, Eph. 3:16). This is in contrast with "the outward man" which perishes day by day, while this "inward man is renewed day by day". In Ephesians 3:16, it is rendered "the inner man", but the Greek, and the meaning are the same. Instead of perishing, it is constantly being nourished and replenished day by day with grace and strength by the Holy Spirit; so that Christ thus dwells in the heart by faith (Eph. 3:16); and we get to know something of His love which passeth knowledge, and are filled with all the fulness of God (5:19). This explains Ephesians 1:23; and shows how the church, which is the body of Christ, is "the fulness of Him that filleth all [the members of His body] with all [needed spiritual grace and strength]". The inward man delights in the law of God (Rom. 7:22). The other "is not subject to the law of God" (Rom. 8:7). Hence, the conflict, which must go on till death ends the struggle. This has caused the Apostle Paul (and all who have like precious faith) to cry out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death", or, as in the margin this body of death, the genitive, "of death", is probably the genitive of relation, as in Romans 8:36, where the Greek "sheep of slaughter" means, and is rendered "sheep for the (i.e., appointed for) slaughter". So here, "the body of death" is the "body appointed to death" (Rom. 5:12; Heb. 9:27): and the cry is, "who shall deliver me from this?" and the triumphant answer is, "I thank God [He will deliver me] through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 7:24). This next verse furnishes us with another title.
5. THE MIND (Rom. 7:23,25). The word here used for "the mind" is nous (11) and denotes the new nature, as it does also in chapter 7:23,25. It is used in contrast with "flesh" (as "spirit" is), because it denotes that which is inward and invisible. This "mind" serves the law of God (ch. 7:25) and delights in it (5:22). Hence, "the law of the mind" is put for "the law of God" in verse 23.
6. Another title is pneuma-Christou Christ's spirit, or Christ-spirit (Rom. 8:9). There is no article in the Greek. This is not another name for the Holy Spirit. Neither is it a separate spirit distinct from the Holy Spirit, for the "spirit of Christ", as man, was psychological; and was, as such, commended to the Father at his death (Luke 23:46). There is no other spirit of Christ. (12) But this pneuma-Christou is the new nature which makes us "sons of God" as He is "the Son of God". In Galatians we have further instruction concerning Romans teaching; and in Galatians 4:6 we have the explanation of Romans 8:15 "because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the pneuma of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, i.e., my Father". Pneuma-Christou is therefore another name for the "sonship spirit" which we have in Romans 8:15: not "the spirit of adoption", as in A.V., but "a sonship-spirit", pneuma whyothesias . Thus, the new creation within us is called pneuma-Christou , because "the Holy Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit (or new nature) that we are children of God; and, if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:16,17). Hence it can be truly said: "Now if any man have not pneuma-Christou (or the new nature) he is none of His" (Rom. 8:9). For Christ is the Son of God, and all the sons of God possess the precious gift of a "sonship spirit". That is why it is called pneuma-Christou, or Christ-Spirit. Being sons of God, with Christ, we are then "heirs also; not only God's heirs, but Christ's joint-heirs; if so be that we suffer together, that we may be glorified together also" (Rom. 8:17). This is the precious truth conveyed by this name which is given to the new nature. It is called pneuma-Christou ; because it is the sign and token that it is Christ-spirit, and therefore a sonship-spirit; because "whom he foreknew he predestinated also [to be] conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be Firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). Oh! what a blessed portion is ours as "sons of God". Do we realize that pneuma-Christou (or the new nature) marks our right to this high title? That we are not merely servants, but sons? not merely the people of God, but the "sons of God"? Sharing in all the blessings of His beloved Son? Yes. Sharers in His sonship (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1-3). His perfect righteousness (Phil. 3:9). His holiness (1 Cor. 1:30). His peace (Phil. 4:7). His Father's secret purposes (Eph. 1:9). His Father's love (1 John 3:1). His glorious resurrection body (Phil. 3:21). His coming glory (Rom. 8:17; Col. 3:4; 1 John 3:2). Himself (1 Thess. 4:17).
"So dear, so very dear to God,
Dearer we cannot be;
For in the Person of His Son
We are as dear as He."
And all this because God has created within us a new nature, which He calls pneuma-Christou. But, meanwhile, here on earth, it is our privilege to share His rejection. "The world knoweth us not because it knew Him not" (1 John 3:1). Let us not repine or be downcast about this. Let us rather rejoice that we are counted worthy of so high a portion. It is exactly in connection with this very fact that the reckoning of faith and hope and love come in. "For I reckon that not worthy are the sufferings of this present time [to be compared with] the glory about-to-be-revealed unto us" (Rom. 8:18). This order of the Greek words shows us where the emphasis is to be placed, though the English of the A.V. reads more smoothly. The fact of our rejection by a religious world, and by a worldly church, must be to us the blessed token that we are God's sons, and therefore partakers of the Christ-spirit, or the new nature, which is God's gift.
It is in this same verse (Rom. 8:9), and in connection with this name for the new nature, that another name is given to it. It is called;
(7). Pneuma-Theou, or Divine spirit (Rom. 8:9,14). The Greek is literally "spirit of God". Not "the Spirit" (for there is no article), but "God's spirit"; or, as we may render it, Divine spirit. The two occurrences of this expression in this chapter tell us all we can know about this aspect of the new nature. It is so called because, the thought thus connected with it is that, it comes from God. God is the Creator and Giver of the new nature.
It is "new" in contrast with the old. It is "spirit" because it is in opposition to the "flesh". It is "inward" in contrast with the "outward". It is "mind" in contrast with the "body". It is pneuma-Christou or sonship-spirit, in opposition to a bondage spirit. And it is pneuma Theou or Divine spirit, because it is from above, from God; and is begotten "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13).
Those, who are so begotten, are, and have the right to be called, "sons of God". The two verses in Romans 8, in which this title of the new nature is used (9 and 14), tell us all that we can learn of this aspect of it: Verse 9, "Ye are not in flesh, but in pneuma, if indeed, pneuma Theou dwells in you." Verse 14, "As many as are led by pneuma Theou, they are sons of God" (as in John 1:12,13). This completes the titles of the new nature; and from them we learn the precious truths revealed in them. Each title has its own aspect, and brings out some special teaching connected with it. As we first gave the titles and characteristics of the old man, and then its character and end; so we have now given the titles and characteristics of the new nature, and reserve our remarks on its character and end for our next chapter.