The New Nature by Renald E. Showers (Renald E. Showers, 1996) 182 pp, paper $9.95
In The New Nature, Renald Showers has provided one of the finest explanations of the transforming nature of regeneration available anywhere. Admitting that “nature” is not a biblical term Showers prefers “disposition.” He writes, “The old nature is a disposition of enmity against God…the new nature is a favorable disposition toward God. It consists of the law of God written in the human heart. The Holy Spirit places it inside the believer at the moment of regeneration” (p. 9). Throughout the book Showers clearly distinguishes and defines certain terms and concepts that are often confused: old man, new man, regeneration, new and old nature, total depravity, flesh, etc. While saints under the Old Covenant were regenerated and given a new disposition they were not empowered by the Holy Spirit while those under the New Covenant are. During this present age the new disposition will give the regenerate man the desire and urge to obey God, but it is the Holy Spirit that gives him the power to do God’s will (p. 45).
The heart, and great value, of this volume lies in Shower’s exegesis of Romans 6-8. Here we are given a careful, clear and thoroughly sound understanding of the transformation that takes place at conversion, the spiritual battle that ensues and the power available for victory. I would like to prescribe this section for study and application to every Christian struggling with spiritual identity and/or sin. Showers also gives the reader a helpful interpretation of the troubling 1 John 3:9 passage and determines that the Christian cannot sin continuously as a habit of life (pp. 129-135).
There are a few issues that I would either question or want more discussion:
• Shower’s belief that the new disposition consists of the law of God written on the regenerate heart is based on Old Testament promises to Israel in the millennial age (pp. 31-46, 154) which Showers admits. But he never presents how these New Covenant promises to the nation of Israel in the future can be applied directly to the church age saints today.
• I would question Shower’s position that Romans 6:13 references a once-for-all commitment to God (pp. 80-81).
• In my understanding, the biblical word “flesh,” when used in a spiritual context, is equivalent to the old disposition or nature. Showers seems to agree (p. 26) but does not develop the term and seldom uses it the book.
With these issues aside I was highly impressed with The New Nature. Application of its teaching would go a long way in aiding spiritual growth in the people of God.