Evangelist D.L. Moody once told the story of a man who bought a farm that had a well as its water source. The well water was accessed by way of a pump handle that was situated atop a platform. The man had barely moved into his new home, however, when some neighbors dropped by with a serious word of warning. According to them, the well’s water had somehow become contaminated and was now poisonous. How poisonous? It had caused the deaths of the entire family — a father, mother, and group of children — that had previously owned the farm.
The new owner thanked the neighbors kindly and set about to remedy the problem. He started by tearing up the wood from the platform which housed the pump handle and replacing it with new lumber. Next, he replaced the old pump handle with a new one. Finally, he painted the platform and pump handle with bright, contrasting colors that gave the whole rig a flashy new look. In his mind, the job was now done.
It’s easy to spot the flaw in the guy’s logic, isn’t it? In all of his redoing and renovating, he never addressed the true source of the well’s contamination. That source rested somewhere much, much deeper than anything that could be seen topside. All the man had done was clean up surface issues.
Moody’s illustration is a classic example of how many people attempt to affect positive change in their lives. They clean up surface stuff and never get at the real problem, the poisonous spring that lies deep inside them. The Bible describes this poisonous spring as being the inborn nature of sin that our race’s father, Adam, has biologically passed down to each of his descendants. Scripture calls this nature of sin “the old man.” Theologians call it “the Adamic nature,” “original sin,” “inherited sin,” or “depravity.”
How poisonous is this nature of sin? Consider the following passages:
- It causes each of us to be nothing less than conceived in sin: Psalm 51:5
- It causes each of us to be born alienated from the life of God: Ephesians 4:18
- It causes each of us to be born under God’s wrath: Ephesians 2:3
- It causes each of us to be born under condemnation: John 3:18
- It causes each of us to be born as a slave of sin: Romans 6:6
- It causes each of us to be born dead in trespasses and sins (physically alive but spiritually dead): Ephesians 2:1
- It causes each of us to have a carnal mind that is naturally hostile toward God: Romans 8:7
- It causes each of us to have sinful passions: Romans 7:5
- It causes each of us to commit various kinds of sinful deeds: Galatians 5:19-21
- It causes each of us to live under sin’s dominion: Romans 6:14
- It prevents each of us from living a life, apart from God’s help, that is pleasing to Him: Romans 8:8
- It necessitates that each of us will one day die physically: Romans 5:12
In regards to how the Adamic nature expresses itself in different categories, Romans chapter 8 names three categories. First, the spiritual expression of the nature is referred to as “the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). Second, the mental expression of it is referred to as “the carnal mind” (Romans 8:7). Third, the physical expression of it is referred to as “the flesh.”
It is because of all this that any individual’s efforts to clean himself or herself up spiritually or morally are inefficient if they don’t fix the root source of the problem: the inborn nature of sin. And how can this root source be fixed? There is only one way. The individual must place saving belief in Jesus Christ and thereby become spiritually reborn (John 3:1-21).
The cause of this spiritual rebirth is God the Holy Spirit coming to take up residence inside the believer (we refer to believers as Christians). This indwelling takes places the moment the person places saving belief in Jesus. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit who brings to the believer the nature of Christ. Scripture refers to this as the believer experiencing “regeneration” by the Holy Spirit (Titus 2:5) and becoming a partaker of “the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:2-4), Furthermore, this experience provides the following benefits to the believer:
- brings the believer to life spiritually: Ephesians 2:4-7
- makes the believer a new creation: 2 Corinthians 5:17
- grants the believer a new self: Colossians 3:10
- renews the believer’s mind: Romans 12:2
- allows the believer to be freed from enslavement to sin: Romans 6:6
- transposes the believer from “the law of sin and death” to “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”: Romans 8:2
- allows the believer the option of walking in the Spirit as opposed to walking in the flesh: Galatians 5:16-25
- enables the believer to bear the fruit of the Spirit: Galatians 5:22-23
- causes the believer’s “inner man” to be renewed day by day: 2 Corinthians 4:16
- makes the believer one who overcomes the world: 1 John 5:4
You see, this is how you decontaminate the poisonous waters of your inner, Adamic well and make those waters pure. This is how you can become spiritually and morally clean from the inside out as opposed to trying to do it from the outside in. This is how you can change death to life inside you where the battle is really won or lost.