By Nick Bibile
God is perfect and good, then why is it that there is sin in the world? Was sin originated by God? Not at all! Because God’s character is infinitely holy and righteous, there fore sin cannot come from God. “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deut. 32:4) “ So listen to me, you men of understanding. Far it from God to do evil, from the Almighty to do wrong.” (Job 34:10) Also see James :13.
Man was made in the very image of God. Adam was made perfect, righteous and holy, he had fellowship with God . God did not create Adam and Eve as robots but with a free choice, to obey him or to disobey him. In Genesis 2:17 God told Adam, “…but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Bu t as soon as Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating the fruit, that image of God was shattered, lost fellowship with God as sin entered man became un-holy and un-righteous. There first child Cain was a murderer, this was the result of the sin. Sin created a gap between God and man, a gap that man is incapable of bridging.
Inherited sin is sometimes called the original sin.
What did sin do to Adam?
1. He died spiritually.
a) He lost fellowship with God.
b) He lost the ability to communicate with God.
c) He lost the ability to be righteous before God.
2.He died physically.
a) The aging process began to set, as the poison of sin infected his blood. His chromosomal structure changed, the DNA was corrupted.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and
so death spread to all men, because all sinned—“
When Adam sinned we too sinned, as the entire humanity was in Adam. If your great grand father died at the age of seven where will you be today? You wont be alive as you would have died with him, because you were in your great grand father. In the same way we were in Adam, when Adam sinned we sinned with him. Who is a sinner? One who sins, right. No, because one who sins not is also a sinner. There are no bad sinners and good sinners, we are all sinners alike. Note, as Romans 5:12 says, all sinned and death came to all men. We are sinners sinners not because we commit sins but we are sinners because we are sinners. We are born sinners. “Surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) When a child is born, there is innocence all over, but when the child becomes a toddler the first words that comes out of mouth is No. You do not have to teach a child to do wrong and to sin. He is a sinner by birth. “Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!” ( Job 14:4)
The entire humanity is affected by sin as we were all in Adam. The Bible is says, “Many died through one man’s trespass” ( Rom. 5:15) “ Death reigned through that one man” (Rom. 5:17) “ One man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men” (Rom. 5:18) “ By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners” (Rom. 5:19) “ In Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22) “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:22)
The result of the inherited sin.
Everyone who was a descended from Adam was born into the same condition.
“As you were dead in your transgressions and sins,” (Eph.2:1) Also Colossians 2:13. The result of the spiritual death is total depravity. It means his body, mind , soul and the will was corrupted by sin. Every part of man was corrupted by sin. But God is infinitely pure, holy and righteous and man is spiritually dead, he is carnal and the heart of man is deceitful above all things. (Jer.17:9) The holy God is separated from man. (Isa. 59:2) God and the sinners cannot live together. (Psalm 5:4) Because God is 100% righteous and he will not expect anything below his standard. God ‘s standard is given to mankind in his ten commandments. They are righteous standards. God’s holiness is manifested in the ten commandment. On the other hand with reference to man, “There is no one righteous not even one.” (Rom. 3:10) There are many people who look pious and righteous. We look how righteous we are horizontally but God sees us vertically and he sees our hearts, motives and thoughts. Jesus exposed this by saying even if you look at a woman lustfully, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart. How many lies do you have to tell to become a liar? Just one. We have broken God’s standard and have become un-righteous.
If you are spiritually dead , then you cannot understand God. “There is no one who understands God.” (Rom.3:11) You can witness about the Lord to a very educated highly intellectual man and he may think how foolish you are to believe the gospel. The reason is he can be alive in his education and position but in the presence of God he is dead in his spirit. “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that comes from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Cor.2:14)
“There is no one who seeks God.” (Rom.3:11) It is impossible for man to seek God when he is spiritually dead. In fact man is fleeing God. When Adam and Eve sinned they were not seeking God but running away from God and hiding from him. Today we see many people seems to be seeking God. They are not seeking the holy and righteous God of the Universe but a god that they have made. A god who will compromise their sins and they believe that they are right before their god as their god is less holy tolerates and compromises sin, and their god is not the God of the Bible.
“….There is no one who does good, not even one.” (Rom. 3:12)
This seems to be like another contradictory statement from the human perspective. We see many good people in the world today, no matter what their religion is. There are people who help and offer kindness to others in various religions. But the Bible is very clear when it says that not even one does good. Jesus said only God is good. When men do good things it is to show how good they are. It is done to please their flesh, so the flesh would be glorified which will be the result of a type of humble pride. Only God knows the inward thoughts and the motives of man. All the hidden sins are exposed by God. If one has created a movie camera, that could also express the inner thoughts and the motives of men verbally. Then one day this man becomes busy filming the person who thinks who is good, without his knowledge . Then at the end he will call all the good man’s friends and show him the movie that was taken which also verbally expresses the inner motives and thoughts of him. What would you think of the outcome? 100% good that is to the standard of God , of course not. Instead there is unprofitable thoughts, immoral thoughts, sensual thoughts, evil thoughts, uncleaned imaginations, prideful thoughts, lustful thoughts, greedy thoughts, hypocritical thoughts. In front of God’s great majesty and glory instead of crying up to him and saying, “God merciful to me a sinner” the man says see God how good I am. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” (Isa.64:6) “Those control by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Rom. 8:8)
Horizontally we see good people and bad people, like tall buildings, short buildings, tall trees and short trees. But when you go up in an air plane 35,000 feet high you would see everything flat. Vertically God sees everyone a sinner from his goodness. “Who can say, I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from sin.” (Prov. 20:9) Every part of man’s body is affected by sin, and that is total depravity of man. That is why all the parts of our body gets old, decay and die.
The character of sin.
Sin is a crime against God.
It seems when Adam and Eve sinned against God, it was just a small sin they committed, eating the forbidden fruit. Nothing very serious. The great theologian Jonathan Edwards said, “The crime of one being despising and casting contempt on another, is propotionably more or less heinous, as he was under greater or less obligation to honor him.” If you sin against a poor man on the street or in a remote village, no one would be bothered to punish you. As the poor man is less honorable in the society , he has no authority and power. But if you sinned against the most richest man in the world that would make a big difference as he has great authority, much honor and power. It is the same with God. He is the judge of the Universe and his power , honor and authority is infinite. He is infinitely worthy to be obeyed and to oblige all his commandments, but when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they disobeyed an infinitely righteous God of the Universe. Their sin attacked God’s infinite righteousness as they challenged God’s infinite authority and they deserved an infinite punishment. “If a man sins against another man, God may mediate for him; but if a man sin against the Lord, who will intercede for him?” (1 Sam.2:25) We have sinned against an infinite authority and we deserve an infinite punishment.
In the sight of God a crime has been committed and the Lord has the obligation to punish the criminals. How many times have you heard when people say God is love and good and he will not punish people. This statement contradicts God’s nature. “ The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.” (Nahum 1:3) A crime has been committed against God’s justice, and his justice needs to be satisfied. (Isa. 53:10-11)
If the people who have broken the Law are brought into the courtroom and the Judge says, “By the way I am a good judge and I will allow all of you to go free.” And as you know that judge is not a good judge. God is the Judge of the Universe and his internal righteousness prohibits for him to compromise with sin.
This is the reason that that Jesus took a criminal punishment.
Sin is a debt to God.
If you borrow my car and get into a wreck, you are in obligation to me to satisfy the injury that you have done to me. When God gave man the Law, he was obligated to obey the Law. When man sinned, he violated his obligation to God. The injured party was God. Man was morally indebted to God. Our debt to God is infinite as he is infinite. We owe God a debt that we cannot pay. As he is the injured party he needs to be satisfied. Jesus came to pay the debt we owed, Jesus paid the debt not with silver or gold but with his precious blood. (1 Pet. 1:18) The Father was satisfied of the payment.
Sin is enmity towards God
Enmity has to do with our relationship to God. When we sin against people by gossiping and lying there is a breaking of relationships. In the same way when man sinned against God, his relationship with God was broken. “ The sinful mind is hostile to God…” ( Rom. 8:7) Reconciliation was needed to satisfy our relationship with God. You reconciled to someone who had a previous good relationship. Man and God had a good relationship in the garden of Eden. It was broken because of sin. “Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Rom. 5:11)
I believe through scripture that man is not sick but spiritually dead and man is totally depraved. But through out history basically there are three views.
Pelagius was a monk who lived in the fourth century. He believed that man has the natural ability to be righteous. He argued that man can obey God perfectly without any divine help. Pelegius denied the inherited sin has corrupted man. This view is anti-Christian as it undermines the atonement of Christ for our salvation.
Today we find many semi-pelagian Churches. They will not say they are sem-pelagian but their doctrine is semi-pelagian. (May be they may not even know what is semi-pelegain means)
They believe that man needs God’s grace to be save. But the man has the ability within himself to reject or to accept the grace. According to semi-pelagianism mankind is not dead to sin but only sick.
This view makes salvation not totally dependent upon God’s grace. Man too can boast of his goodness in salvation and not the sovereignty of God in redemption. When angels sinned against God he did not redeem them, then is God obligated to redeem man when he sinned? No. God is sovereign and has the right to determine whether to redeem the man or not. Man did not do anything to merit. Man is redeemed totally by the grace and the mercy of God. There is nothing good in man.
Augustine believed the biblical doctrine of total depravity. He believed that no one is good and not even one. The sin affected man’s heart, mind and will. Man is unable to embrace God as man is dead spiritually. Only by God’s grace as God is the initiator of salvation and not the fallen man. Man cannot take any benefit for salvation.
“ As for you , you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of the world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following it’s desires and thoughts. Like the rest we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions it is by grace you have been saved. (Eph. 2:1-5)