John MacArthur's
One Nature Position

4) John MacArthur's Definitions of Terms


To really understand John MacArthur's position on the two natures of the believer it is important to understand the terms which he uses and what these terms mean. The following definitions are given by John MacArthur himself:

flesh: unredeemed humanity, unredeemed mortality, our humanness (Tape GC 45-53, Side 1). "Scripture uses the term FLESH in a morally evil sense to describe man's unredeemed humanness, i.e., that remnant of the old man which will remain with each believer until each receives his or her glorified body" [Bible Study Note under Romans 7:5]. "THE FLESH=Our unredeemed humanness—that complex of sinful passions that sin generates through its one remaining domain, our bodies" [Bible Study Note under Romans 8:12]."Flesh=the Christian's unredeemed humanness, his old humanness" (Romans 1-8, p. 387). "Flesh is used in a moral and ethical sense, but always with an evil connotation. Paul repeatedly uses it in that way in Romans 8, Galatians 5 and Ephesians 2, and in every instance it refers to man's unredeemed humanness" (Romans 1-8, p. 362). Illustration: MacArthur's paraphrase of Romans 7:18 is "I don't see any good thing in my unredeemed humanity" (Tape GC 45-53, Side 1). In another tape he defines flesh as "the body of this death, our members, this mortal body, simply a term for our humanness" (Tape GC 45-52, Side 2). MacArthur also says that the flesh is "that remnant of the old man that will remain with each believer until we receive our glorified bodies" (Romans 1-8, p. 390)  If the old man has been crucified and is dead and gone and if the old man has been put off as MacArthur teaches, then how can there be a "remnant of the old man"? If the old man has been crucified dead, then how can there by anything left of him?

fleshy: human, earthbound, physical (Tape GC 45-52, Side 2).

members (as in Rom.7:23): bodily parts, human factors, bodily factors, the flesh, humanness, unredeemed mortality, Paul's outer man (Tape GC 45-53, Side 2).

body: unredeemed mortality, members, flesh, mortal body, the old unredeemed humanness (Tape GC 45-53, Side 2; Romans 1-8, p. 391).

humanness: In one place MacArthur defines "humanness" as "the sin that's still within us" (Masterpiece, March/April 1990, p. 21). In another place he defines it as "that in a believer which is not renewed" (Tape GC 45-53, Side 1). Note: If there is a part of the believer which is not renewed, then how does MacArthur explain 2 Corinthians 5:17 where the Bible says "all things have become new"? MacArthur uses this verse frequently as proof that salvation is TRANSFORMATION, but here he is saying that there is part of us that has not been transformed, namely our humanness. This is a favorite expression of MacArthur's, though it is never found in the Bible. As seen in the definitions above, humanness is equivalent to the flesh, the members and the body ("the mortal body"--Romans 1-8, p. 391). And yet, as we have previously documented, MacArthur teaches that the believer's humanness also includes the mind, intellect, will, feelings and emotions!

new creation: new nature, new essence, new self, new man (Tape GC 45-53, Side 1), divine nature, new nature, all that you are in Jesus Christ, that new part of me, that divine nature in me, that incorruptible, eternal seed in me (Tape GC 45-52, Side 2)

new nature: the new person in Christ, the new creation, the new identity, the redeemed "I", new essence, new man (Tape GC 45-52, Side 1).

inward man: inner man, that renewed, redeemed nature, the new creation, the real self, the center of redeemed personhood, the truest self, the redeemed creation (Tape GC 45-53, Side 2).

outer man: (bodily) members, humanness, the flesh, unredeemed mortality (Tape GC 45-53, Side 2).

old man: old self, unconverted nature, old nature, the unregenerate self (Ephesians, pp. 175-177).

new man: new self, new nature, the regenerate self, the new identity, the new creation (Ephesians, pp. 175-177; Tape GC 45-52, Side 2).


According to MacArthur's terminology, the new nature is equated with the new self, the redeemed person, the new creation, the redeemed "I", the new man, etc. The old nature is equated with the old, unregenerate self, the old man, and it was crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6) and is gone (the believer does not possess an old nature because the believer is regenerate, not unregenerate). The reason a believer sins is not because of the old nature (the believer does not have an old nature). The reason a believer sins is because of the flesh, the body, the members, which according to MacArthur are all descriptions of our humanness (our unredeemed mortality, that in us which is not redeemed). Thus according to MacArthur's terminology, one must never equate the old nature with the flesh (when you are speaking of a believer). The old nature is dead and gone, but the flesh remains.

John MacArthur's One Nature Position - Index


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