What is Salvation?
What is the Incarnation?
What is the Bible?
What is Original Sin?
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:
who can know it?"
According to the Bible when Adam,
the first man chose to sin in the Garden of Eden sin came into the world,
and passed on to every person. Every child born from this point on would have a sinful nature. According to theology "original sin" is defined by two things: (1) the first sin that Adam committed. (2) the sinful nature that passed on to all mankind since Adam. This sinful nature is also referred to as depravity. The sinful nature of man simply means
that all human beings are born into this world as sinners, as it
says in the Psalms:
"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my
mother conceive me."
The sinful nature means that every person
born into this world does not possess the love of God, but rather
loves himself. The sinful nature thrives on the appetites of the
flesh, the lust for self-satisfaction. The true sinful nature lies
within the heart of every man or woman, and according to the Bible
it is from within the heart that sin originates and this sinful
heart is exactly why people sin. Every person is a sinner because
their heart is full of wickedness, and therefore it is not the
sinful act which makes a person a sinner, they already possessed a
sinful nature and that is why they sinned. Jesus made this clear in
the Gospel of Mark:
"There is nothing from without a man, that entering
into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those
are they that defile the man...." Mark 7:21-23
"For from within, out
of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries,
fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit,
lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All
these evil things come from within, and defile the man." Mark 7:15
Man's sinful nature is what makes him a
sinner and therefore every man sins, and every man is more prone to
commit sin and to seek after the desires of the flesh rather than
the will of God. During the time of Noah the whole world had become
corrupt, Genesis 6:5 says that every imagination of the thoughts of
the heart were continually evil, and that is why God destroyed the
world with the flood. Noah and his family were saved not because
they were not sinners, but because Noah sought after the Lord and
approached him on the basis of substitutionary atonement by building
an altar and making a sacrifice.
The sinful nature does not mean that every
person is completely wicked and incapable of doing good, even Jesus
recognized very good qualities in people. But the issue of sin had
to be dealt with on the cross, Jesus knew that every man was a
sinner and that was the root issue and purpose for his coming into
the world. He knew that sin separates man from God, and no matter
how good a person is, his sin would separate him from God for
The Old Testament makes it clear that God's
biggest requirement for all mankind was to love God and to love one
another. God knew when he gave the law that man was not capable of
following it, yet man needed to know what sin was. God gave the
perfect law to reveal sin, and God also continually gave his
wonderful promises through the prophets that he himself would come
and save mankind from their sin. Read this carefully:
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no
flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of
sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested,
being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness
of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them
that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and
come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" Romans 3:20-24
God foreknew from the very beginning that man
would sin and death would follow, therefore God planned the great
salvation before the foundation of the world. God came to this world
to conquer death, to break the power of sin, and to set men free to
love God and to love one another. This was all done freely by his
grace through Jesus Christ.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God
is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. " Romans 6:23
Who can say, �I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without
sin�? Proverbs 20:9
One of the reasons that the Law was given to Israel was to expose
the sinful nature
"so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held
accountable to God." (Romans 3:19). It was to
produce an awareness of our sin nature so we could ask God for
"God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they
were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace
became more abundant." (Romans 5:20 NLT)
Jesus Christ, who was born under the Law, and preached largely to
those under the Law seemed to strengthen the Law and apply it even
to the thoughts and motives of the heart so that people wouldn't be
misinformed about the demands of the Law and perceive themselves
righteous by the Law. For example Jesus said,
�You have heard that it was said, �You shall not commit
adultery.� But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully
has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt 5:27, 28)
Some see the Sermon on the Mount as a comforting and great moral
teaching. It is a great moral teaching, but this is not comforting,
it is terrifying for anyone who wants to please God by living out
the Law. It appears to be more of an honesty and humility test
designed to drive us to our knees, gratefully clinging to the Savior
who died for our sins. Still think you're righteous? Jesus said,
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
(Matt 5:48) Perfection is the demand of the Law
and Jesus was proclaiming how to get to heaven via obedience to the
One young man really got precise with Jesus in his questioning, "As
Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees
�Good teacher,� he asked, �what must I do to inherit eternal
life?� (Mark 10:17)
What would we say to someone like this? He fell on his knees
"What shall I do?" He seems to display a lot of
humility, desire and willingness. Jesus throws out a clue about the
purpose of the Law.
�Why do you call me good?� Jesus answered.
�No one is good - except God alone." Wow! No
one is good? Can we all repeat this? No-one-is-good. Can we let this
take down our self righteousness? There is original sin in our DNA.
Is Jesus including Himself in this declaration? No, because He also
"Which of you convicts Me of sin?" (John 8:46)
Jesus seems to be saying, "Before I answer your question, let's
define goodness, there is no one good but God, and as an aside, if
you're calling me good, you're calling me God." This sets the
foundation for an interesting exchange. The question is still out
there, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answers,
"You know the commandments: �You shall not murder, you shall not
commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false
testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother."
Jesus is preaching the Law. He is born under the Law. Gal.
4:4 and He is giving the Law's answer to the question.
The young man's answer back,
"Teacher,� he declared,
�all these I have kept since I was a boy." Do
you think this statement is true? Did he really keep all of the
commandments since He was a boy? Perfectly? Perhaps he really
believed that he had. Jesus has a classic case of denial standing
before Him, and so He applies the Law to the young man's core in an
act of love. Jesus looked at him and loved him.
�One thing you lack,� he said.
�Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will
have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.� At
this the man�s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great
wealth. We can all feel the pinch on this, whether we have a lot of
money or very little. The disciples got the point. They asked,
"Then who can be saved?" This man was shown in
a terrifying moment of clarity that he is not obeying the
commandments. Perhaps his money is an idol before God. (Command 1)
Perhaps he covets. (Command 10) In any case, he went away greatly
sad and humbled, which means he was probably prepared to receive the
soon coming grace of the Gospel!!! Imagine his reaction when he
heard the crowd ask on the day of Pentecost,
"What shall we do?" "Peter replied, �Repent and be baptized,
every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of
your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The
promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off�for
all whom the Lord our God will call.� (Acts 2:38, 39).
This young man might have been first in line for beautiful
and precious gift!
Original sin is in all of us. And we run with the ball to one degree
or another. We need only a few circumstances changed in our lives to
reveal just how bad we can be. But..."If
you declare with your mouth, �Jesus is Lord,� and believe in your
heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans
Dear Father, I know the legal grip of sin is broken over me, yet many times I still feel evil desires and even act on them sometimes. I'm sorry for my sins and ask for your forgiveness...again. But I thank you that I have an advocate now, your son Jesus! And I thank you that I have also experienced great success, I can feel my desires changing little by little. I'm less annoyed when things don't go my way. I feel more compassion for others. I noticed my heart softening. I felt like I wanted to talk about problems rather than isolating with them. I feel more of a desire just to be kind, instead of distant. I seem to care more about the people around me. My mind seems to be getting clearer too. I feel less shame because I know you love me and will never put me to shame! Lord, I thank you that it is your grace working in me, and shining through me that is giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases you! I praise you and thank you with all my heart for my new life in Christ! Keep changing me from glory to glory! Amen!
- The Subject of Original Sin
Indwelling Sin by Charles Spurgeon
Bible History Online
- Dr. Craig Johnson on The Sin of Adam
Contributions from Bible History Online and Crossbridge Ministries.