John Gavazzoni
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Consuming the Sinful Nature
By John Gavazzoni

My comments regarding a question asked by one of the brothers in an on-line discussion group are below his original email, which I thought could be very helpful to some.

“Dear John,   I've re-read some of your emails to me and am reading some of your articles also and I'm AMAZED at how a lot of scriptures are coming forth with totally new meaning. However, I can also see how important it is not to get hung up on a LITERAL interpretation but to get to the spiritual meaning. The LETTER [LITERAL] ALWAYS KILLS (2 Cor. 3:6). I'm grateful for your patience to help me along the way.

Reading EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW was also most helpful. The author mentioned that UR people interpret DESTRUCTION as the destruction of the SINFUL NATURE, not the soul or body as such. That makes a lot of sense to me. The BURNING FIRE of God's wrath (passion - judgment) burns "the hell" out of us. What do you think of that concept?”

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As I recall, and you can check this out in Strong's Concordance, the Greek word often conventionally translated as "destroy," actually means to render inoperative or useless, at least one of the Greek words does. I'd have to refresh my memory on that more specifically. It would be well to check out Jonathan's Mitchell’s translation of all the verses where the KJV uses destroy in its several forms. Jonathan will, I'm sure, help us out on this.

In the cases where that particular Greek word is used, I think what is conveyed is quite clear, i.e., that whether the body or soul is the issue, it, as having become contrary to it's God-intended purpose, an instrument of evil, is, in respect to that instrumentality, in respect to it acting in that mode, it is rendered useless, inoperative.

There really is no word in either Greek or Hebrew that conveys the idea of annihilation. That's a foreign concept to both scripture and science. Nothing is annihilated, that is in the sense of something caused to have no existence at all, it only changes form, as basic science teaches us. The overlapping concepts of "annihilation" and "nothing" are entirely a philosophical or theological presumption.

I think that it's clear that the destruction that God brings about to all elements that stand in hostility to His purposes, is the destruction of/by His death on the cross. In being crucified with Him, the death, and all that is included in death, introduced into the world through Adam, and passed down from generation to generation, in Christ, has been consummated, as in, consume(mated)

As many biblically grounded Christian Universalists have maintained, the death of Christ, is the death of death: "Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire, this is the second death." It's the death of the Second Man bringing the death of the First Man to an end.

The First Adam, having become the old man through sin and death, has been rendered inoperative by Christ's death, but in union with Him as the Last Adam, we are alive unto God, and have together become the One New Man of God's economy. In Him we can yield our members as instruments of righteousness, since that's what they really are. God doesn't do away with Adam. He renews, transforms Him, so that he will never again be as he became through sin, yet he, in his essential humanity goes on living with Christ in newness of life.

I'm not really comfortable with all that is taught under the heading of "man's sinful nature." There is actually something at work in us that is AGAINST nature, against our nature, as those created in the likeness of God. I hate to afford it the title of nature. It's a very deep subject, but Paul gives us a bit of a glimpse into how we ought to think of ourselves, when, in Romans 7, he says that he has concluded, and he repeats himself word for word, that "it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."

If sinning were natural to us, it would be beneficial to us, but it isn't It is always a malignant presence. Sin is anti-God, antihuman, and anti-nature. Some of the best extant theology revolves around the truth of Christ as the True Man, and about us possessing True Humanity in Him.

I think we buy into the devil's lie when we think of sinning as something done by nature. Sin is unnatural, but the natural man has been, by the design of God, made vulnerable to being unnaturally dominated for a season for "He hath penned up all in disobedience, that He might have mercy upon all." (Romans 11:3).

I see sin as something against nature, rather than having the quality of nature. By His redemption, Christ returns to Himself, that which has always truly belonged to Him. We've been under the dominion of a lie, and that lie has produced a false persona, which has no eternal ground of Being.

He reclaims us by His blood. We see that very clearly in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. There is nothing like the conventional invitation to yield to Christ in the account at all. Jesus just comes charging into Saul's life, and takes back what belongs to Him. He really commanded Saul into salvation.

That's the way I've often described my own conversion. Jesus didn't patiently stand at my heart's door. He kicked it in, and stood there majestically saying, "You're mine, by generation, by regeneration, by creation and by redemption. Come follow me."


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