For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. Galatians 5:17
As a believer, you can be deeply comforted by Paul’s teaching. You have both the sinful nature and the Spirit in the same body in such a way that the Spirit reigns and the sinful nature is subordinate. Righteousness rules, and sin serves. Not everyone is familiar with this teaching. If you think that believers must be completely flawless, and yet you feel deeply flawed, then you will be consumed by sorrow and will despair. Whoever recognizes and makes use of this teaching will discover that even the worst will work out for the best. For when your sinful nature entices you to sin, you will be motivated to seek forgiveness of sins through Christ. You will want to grasp the righteousness of faith, which you wouldn’t normally regard or desire.
Christians should keep the wickedness of their sinful nature in mind so that they are encouraged and motivated to believe and call on Christ. At such an opportunity, Christians become skillful artists and wonderful creators. They can create joy from sorrow, comfort from fear, righteousness from sin, and life from death when they restrain their sinful nature in this way, make it their servant, and subject it to the Spirit.
If you are aware of the desires of the sinful nature, you shouldn’t despair of your salvation. Though you will be aware of these desires, you must not give in to them. The more you grow in Christ, the more you will sense this conflict. Anger or sexual desire may be stirred up in you, but you must not allow it to rule. Sin may arouse these desires, but you must not give in to them.
The Bondage of the Will, Luther’s exposition on the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, laid the groundwork for Reformation thought. It shows us a humbling view of ourselves while strengthening our faith in Christ.
The Ambassador Classics series brings the greatest classic works of Christian history into a single set. It includes unabridged works by Martin Luther, John Bunyan, John Calvin, A. T. Pierson, John Owens, C. H. Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, J. C. Ryle, R. A. Torrey and many others. This series will continue to enrich and deepen your faith in Christ.