(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The Rt. Rev. David Onuoha, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Okigwe South has emphatically stated that there is no level of spiritual height that a person attains that will remove the sinful nature from that person. He added that even after repentance, the sinful nature will always rear its ugly head; but with the power of God, one will be able to overcome. The Bishop emphasized this at the day two of the annual Lenten Revival programme of the Abuja Diocese tagged, “The Way of the Cross” held at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Abuja. Speaking on the topic for day two, “Dealing with the old man/sinful nature,” the guest preacher explained that humanity is sinful by nature and so, sin is not acquired or purchased, but rather inherited, innate and inborn in every human being. According to him, sin is at the fibre of the human being, and therefore everyone is affected. He described the old nature as universal, not peculiar to Nigeria or Africa, or any tribe, religion or language; quoting the Bible verse that states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
He recalled the creation story of man, pointing out that man is the only creation made in the image and likeness of God, and with the freedom to choose. The Cleric noted that man used this freewill wrongly, which led to the beginning of the old, sinful nature, which affected every individual. According to Bishop Onuoha, the old nature produces nothing else but sin, and the seat of the old nature is the heart, which to him, is why the Bible points out that the heart of man is desperately wicked. Quoting profusely from the Scriptures, the Bishop described the heart of the old man as always hostile and disobedient to God; adding that if not dealt with properly will lead to eternal death. He said that everyone will live forever; however, the righteous will spend eternity with God, while the sinner will spend it in hell fire.
The Bishop of Okigwe South pointed out that to deal with this sinful nature, one must first acknowledge that man who is sinful cannot deal with the sinful nature. He drew a comparison stating that just as a corrupt person cannot fight corruption, man born in sin cannot deal with sin. He observed that the sinful nature is always fighting the spiritual nature, which is the reason Paul explains in the Bible, the difficulty he faced whenever he tried to do the right thing. However, he said the good news is that Jesus Christ has the power to deal with the sinful nature. He stressed that Jesus went the way of the cross, paid the debt He did not owe to restore man to that position of grace from where he fell off.
Bishop Onuoha highlighted and explained the steps to take to deal with the sinful nature, noting that after acknowledging the inadequacy of man to help himself, one must recognize that one needs a saviour. He said the only one who can save man is Jesus Christ, who has been given by God as a gift to mankind. He said this gift, if not received, becomes of no use to a person; adding that anyone who receives and believes in Jesus shall be saved and receive the power to overcome the sinful nature and also become a new person. He explained that if one put on the Lord Jesus Christ by imbibing His character, and having the mind of Christ, one will no longer have the time to satisfy the gratifications of the flesh and the knee of the sinful nature will bow. He emphasized that one cannot be in Christ and yet live the old life, because according to him, repentance comes with conversion and a new beginning cannot be possible, if the old beginning still dominates. Therefore, the Rt. Rev. David Onuoha urged all present to allow salvation come into their house and lives, charging them to allow Jesus deliver them from any aspect of the old nature they are still struggling with. He gave an altar call and many souls were won to the kingdom through the saving power of Jesus Christ.
Again, the Cathedral Church of the Advent Life Camp, Abuja was filled to the brim with people who attended the Revival programme, with an overflow of persons seated outside the Church auditorium. It was indeed a great time in God’s presence.