By Neil Anderson
He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son
Perhaps you have heard the illustration of the two dogs. Some people say that we have two natures within us vying for control of our lives. They claim that our old sin nature, which we inherited from disobedient Adam, is like a big black dog. Our new nature, which we inherited through Christ’s redemptive work, is like a big white dog. These two dogs are bitter enemies, intent on destroying each other. Whenever you involve yourself in worldly thoughts or behavior, you are feeding the black dog. Whenever you focus your mind and activities on spiritual things, you are feeding the white dog. The dog you feed the most will eventually grow stronger and overpower the other.
This dramatic illustration may motivate Christians toward saintly behavior, but is it accurate based on who we really are in Christ? Since God “delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13), can we still be in both kingdoms? When God declares that we are “not in the flesh but in the Spirit” (Romans 8:9), can we be in the flesh and in the Spirit simultaneously? When God says that “you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8), can you possibly be both light and darkness? When God states that “if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17), can we be partly new creature and partly old creature?
But be careful. Can a Christian sin? Of course! “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). But having sin and being sin are two completely different issues. When we choose to walk by the flesh we will sin, but, as 1 John 2:1 reminds us, we don’t have to: “My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin.”
We will spend the next few days exploring the scriptural bases for this truth.