Many in the religious world have made man something that he is not, because they do not understand how God made man. Much false teaching begins right here. Man realizes the requirements of God's holiness, but his ignorance of how to obtain that expression of holiness has caused all the different opinions and theories. None of these theories can bring us to God's end purpose in Christ. As long as man is battling something in himself--the "sin nature"--which is really not there, we can see that the end will be frustration with no victory.
What caused Adam to sin? Before he sinned, Adam was created in the likeness and image of God. The temptation which caused Adam to sin came from outside himself, not from within. God had told Adam that on the day he partook of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, he would die. Adam partook of the Tree and he did die--spiritually. There was no longer communion or fellowship with God; now he was a sinner bound by sin. He could not keep from sinning--he was now a wrong being.
God's plan was for man to live in perfect relationship and fellowship with Himself. Adam was drawn out of his place of dependence on God; thus he sinned. Sin brought death. His fall was not because he was human, made from the earth, but because he chose to disobey the limit God had put on him. But Christ has made the way back, and we can now know victory in Him. "We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37).
Faith is the victory! The enemy diverts our attention to ourselves. But we shall know the truth, and the truth shall make us free (John 8:32). Paul tells us in Colossians 2:10, "You are complete in Him" and in Colossians 1:21-23a, "You who were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present us holy and blameless and irreproachable before Him, provided that we continue in faith, stable and steadfast..."
In Colossians 2:6,7 Paul continues, "As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith..." The Lord has done a perfect work at Calvary, and will make that perfect work our experience if we will let Him.
God wants us to have knowledge. Lack of knowledge is one of the reasons His people perish. II Peter 1:3 says, "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, that through these we may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion. and become partakers of the divine nature." Man surely complicates God's plan and purpose by his natural knowledge. Most of man's "knowledge" has come out of trying to build a doctrine around his own experience. But Jesus said, "If you do My will, you will know My doctrine" (John 7:17).
When we walk according to our own understanding, we cannot be walking in faith, and without faith we cannot please Him. It is evident that natural knowledge destroys us by allowing us to try to do God's will by our own power. "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25).
Why did Jesus tell Nicodemus that he had to be born again (or anew)? The reason is found in the answer Jesus gave him: that man is dead and needs life. Man needs eternal life, which is to know God. Jesus said to Nicodemus, "What you need is new birth" (John 3). The trouble with man is sin. But new birth does away with what made man a sinner, the nature to sin because he was spiritually dead. When man is made alive through new birth, that which made him sin is no longer in him.
I John 3:9 says, "No man who is born of God practices sin, because God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God." John also tells us that "whoever has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself; just as He is pure."