What is the ‘Sinful Nature’? A Bible Study

by Robert Driskell on August 16, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

Why do we sin?  What is it that oftentimes urges us to do what we know is wrong?  Did humanity inherit a ‘sinful nature’ when Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden?  Did God curse humankind by giving them a tendency to sin; a tendency that has been the cause of hurt and heartache for untold multitudes to this day?

One Popular View of the ‘Sinful Nature”

Many Christians believe that the ‘sinful nature’ is something that was added to human beings when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.  It is also claimed that this ‘sinful nature’ is something for which each of us is guilty and for which we deserve God’s wrath.  The following statements from The Fall of Satan illustrate this concept:

“So, although we often blame Adam, the life we have was in Adam when he sinned, and the sin nature we received was because we were in Adam when he sinned.  We share in the blame and the sin as well as the punishment.”  (Hodge, p. 56-57)

“Due to the sin nature received from Adam, death is coming for all since all have sinned (Romans 3:23).”  (Hodge, p. 58)

“…why would God permit sin nature to pass along to Adam’s descendants?”  (Hodge, p. 58, emphasis his)

“In a sense, we were all in Adam when he sinned!  This explains why we inherit a sin nature.  When Adam sinned, a sin nature came over them and since we were in them and our life came from them, we inherit this nature as well.”  (Hodge, p. 58)

These statements represent the idea that, not only is the ‘sinful nature’ something we received from Adam because of his sin, but this ‘sinful nature’ also makes us guilty.  I have often wrestled with the idea that this view seemed to present the ‘sinful nature’ as a ‘thing’ that corrupts us and is to be fought against.  However, I believe there is a better, and thoroughly biblical, way to explain what is meant by this ‘sinful nature’ which we all exhibit (Romans 3:23).

What is the sinful nature?

Regardless of whether the ‘sinful nature’ results from something added to us or is something that we have lost, God has provided a way to deal with it. We can be reconciled to Him through Jesus Christ.

An Alternative View of the ‘Sinful Nature’

Consider this biblical alternative to the ‘sinful nature inherited from Adam’ concept.  What happened during the Fall was a ‘subtraction’ of God’s holiness, not the ‘addition’ of something that urges us to sin.  Dallas Willard says this about what happened when Adam and Eve sinned: “In creating human beings in his likeness so that we could govern in his manner, God gave us a measure of  independent power…In us some small part of the potential power in our body stands at the disposal of our conscious thought, intention, and choice…one of  those specific human powers was the power to interact…But the death that befell Adam and Eve in the  moment of their initial sin was also the death of this interactive relationship with God…”  (Willard, pp. 53-54).  When the first humans sinned against God, they broke the intimate bond they had enjoyed with Him up until that time.  They became separated from Him in a way that all humans, outside of faith in Jesus Christ, have endured since.

When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost the close personal relationship with God that they had known since their creation.  They were also banished from the paradise God had created and given them (Genesis 3:23-24).  This is certainly a loss, rather than something added to their lives.  What prevented Adam and Eve from sinning was their close connection with God, and His Holy Spirit, which gave them the ability to resist temptation.  Until they sinned, Adam and Eve were connected to God in a way that gave them the ability to resist the urge to sin, as long as they chose to resist.  Sin was obviously possible before the fall; because Adam and Eve were tempted before the Fall and their giving in to sin was what defines the Fall.  Therefore, this ‘sinful nature’ is not required for a person to be able to sin.

Even the physical death that came with the Fall was something taken away from Adam and Eve, not something added to them.  God did not cause Adam and Eve to begin to die physical when they sinned; rather, He removed what was keeping them alive.  It is clear that, had Adam and Eve not sinned, they could have lived forever (Genesis 3:22).

Problems with the ‘sinful nature as a ‘thing’ we inherited from Adam’ view

There are several theological problems with the view that we inherit a sinful nature, and guilt, from Adam.  Some of these problems are (1) how the so-called ‘sin nature’ is transmitted from parents to children, (2) how we can be held guilty for the sin of Adam; a sin in which we did not participate, and (3) how did Jesus not inherit the guilt that this ‘sin nature’ supposedly carries, even though He was born of a woman.

Transmission of the ‘Sinful Nature’ From Parents to Children

Several perspectives have been put forth concerning how this ‘sinful nature’ is passed from parents to their children.  Some say that Adam represented the entire human race when he sinned.  Some say that we were all in Adam’s loins when he sinned; therefore, we actually sinned with Adam and deserve the guilt along with him.  No real consensus has ever been reached that answers the question of how the ‘sinful nature’ is transmitted from parents to children.

However, if the ‘sinful nature’ were the removal of God’s attending Spirit from the lives of Adam and Eve, there would be no ‘sinful nature’ to be transmitted from parent to child.  Humans would simply be born without a personal relationship with God; without the Spirit of God dwelling in them.  This is indeed what we find.  We are born alienated from God, unlike Adam and Eve when they were created, who enjoyed a close personal fellowship with Him.

Are We Guilty of Someone Else’s Sin?

Another issue raised by this view of the ‘sinful nature’ is that it makes everyone guilty of Adam’s sin.  However, the Bible is very clear that each of us is guilty of our own sin, not the sin of someone else.  “Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’  When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live.  The soul who sins shall die.  The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son.  The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:19-20 ESV).  Even Romans 5:12, a biblical commentary on the Fall, says that sin and death entered the world through one man [Adam], but we each experience this sin and death because we ourselves sin.  Each of us is guilty and deserves punishment for our own sin, not the sin of Adam.  Adam and Eve opened the doorway that allowed sin into our world.

The Sinlessness of Jesus and the Sinful Nature

If every child were born guilty of sin because of an inherited ‘sin nature’, we must consider Jesus Christ and His birth.  We know Jesus was without sin (I Peter 2:22; I John 3:5; Hebrews 4:15, 7:26).  Therefore, we must consider how this was possible.  Theological discussions have gone on for ages concerning how Jesus was born of a woman yet remained sinless.  Some say that the ‘sinful nature’ is passed down from the father only and, since Jesus had no human father, He never received this ‘sinful nature’.  However, we have seen that Adam and Eve were tempted and fell before this supposed ‘sinful nature’ even existed.  Neither Adam nor Eve had any human parents and yet they stilled sinned.

However, the ‘sinful nature’ in not something inherited at all.  It is a lack of God’s holiness within a person.  Jesus, being God, would not have lacked that holiness.  Jesus, although existing in a human body and being tempted in all ways as are we (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15), had the power and ability to resist any temptation to sin and thus remained sinless.  This same power, supplied by the Holy Spirit, is available today to anyone who trusts his or her life to Jesus Christ.

Freedom from the ‘Sinful Nature’

Regardless of whether the ‘sinful nature’ results from something added to us or is something that we have lost, God has provided a way to deal with it.  We can be reconciled to Him.  God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross, enduring the punishment that we rightfully deserve.  When one places his or her trust in the saving work of Jesus Christ, that person receives the indwelling life of the Holy Spirit.  Spiritually this is a return to the pre-fall condition of man.  The believer is then able to enjoy an intimate walk with Jesus Christ, who forgives us of our sins, frees us from the guilt and punishment those sins deserve, enables us to resist temptation, and empowers us to live the holy lives that He would have us live.

Do you like these kind of articles?

Take a look at these other similar type articles:

Resources:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Hodge, Bodie.  The Fall of Satan.  Master Books, 2011.

Willard, Dallas.  The Spirit of the Disciplines.  HarperCollins, 1988.

 



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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael August 16, 2012 at 10:58 am

Good article Robert. I myself dont believe that we are responsible for the sins of others Adam and Eve included. We are only responsible for our own sins. Some may disagree but I truly believe that.

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Robert August 16, 2012 at 11:33 am

Hi Michael,
Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree with you and I think the Bible is pretty clear regarding the subject. There are those who will disagree with my interpretation of the biblical record also, but it should not cause division between us. Salvation comes through faith in Jesus, we can discuss the non-essentials. God bless you, Michael.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Jack Wellman August 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Superbly done Robert my friend. I totally agree with your view that we can not pass the buck. I get up in the morning and see this sinful nature in the mirror every day. But there is at least hope for us…we are not sinless but we do sin less and I thank God that we can be forgiven. I sin but I also confess it and I thank God for that and for you too brother…that you came to us and pass on your godly wisdom.

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Robert Driskell August 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Thank you, Jack,
We must always remember that no matter how bad we are, or have been, Jesus paid for all of our sins. We just need to trust Him and live for Him. God bless you, brother.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Derek Hill August 16, 2012 at 7:35 pm

This was truly inspired by God. Thank you for your wisdom in this Robert. I agree with you all the way. Nothing was added at all. God did take the intimate relationship away from Adam and Eve. This was a sin that they chose and they were punished for their actions, just like we all are every time we sin. I thank God everyday for Jesus Christ, our Savior. Life is available and abundant for all who choose Christ! God bless you!

In His Name Always
Derek

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Robert Driskell August 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Derek,
Thank you so much for your kind words. My desire is for people to see God and not me. I want what I say to be what He wants me to say…sometimes I actually succeed. Let’s pray that we remain faithful to Him as we know He is faithful. God bless you, Derek.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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phishing4men August 17, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Thought provoking article though I believe Dallas Willard to be a mystic and leans to many Roman mystics which is leading us back to Rome. Looking to the likes of Dionysius the Areopagite, St. Teresa of Avilla, Brother Lawrence, Matthew Fox, Richard Foster, and the list goes on. I have come to see we has been so corrupted and the deceiver is working hard to deceive, that rather than taking the Word of God as pure complete truth, we have come to look at It as what do you think, how do you feel, what does this passage mean to you or me. This has come to be the accepted norm, seeker friendly, I too find myself susceptible. Guard our hearts Father that we may stay true to your word. Thank you Lord for truth and grace.
NASB Rom 5:18 So then as through one transgression [fn]there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness [fn]there resulted justification of life to all men.Rom 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteouS
ESV Rom 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass [fn] led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness [fn] leads to justification and life for all men.Rom 5:19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.
KJV Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.Rom 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
NKJV Rom 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense [judgment came] to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act [the free gift came] to all men, resulting in justification of life.Rom 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
You have caused me to think, and that is good. Thankis

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Robert August 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm

phishing4men,

Thank you for reading and commenting. I was very impressed with Dallas Willard’s book “The Divine Conspiracy”. However, I have learned how to sift the good from the bad in his writings. He makes some very good points, and inspires one to a closer walk with God, but it does take some discernment to recognize truth. This comes with being familiar with God’s Word and submitted to His teachings.

I am not quite sure what point you are making in the rest of your comment by including many versions of the same verse. Can you explain to me? I do not want to be misunderstood about what I write, so I want to make sure I understand what you are saying before I comment further.

God bless you.

Yours in Christ,
Robert

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phishing4men August 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Robert I need to be sure you know I am not saying your study on this subject is not of importance to the kingdom, in fact I am to myself as I am convicted of too often getting sidetracked and misusing my time. My personal conviction at age 72+ is there is precious little time for me to spread His gospel face to face eyeball to eyeball with a lost and dying world. I am guilty of robbing God of time spent online in various very good sites even as this one. I come to realize I will not convince many men with my opinion or view of various difficult portions of scripture, but I can by the grace of God spread His gospel which is in itself is the power of God unto salvation. So I must say shame on me for too often getting sidetracked. My convictions are not necessarily yours nor should they be, that is one of the things that makes God, God, He calls us and uses us according to His will not ours. God bless you brother and keep up the good work He has called you to and pray for me I will do the same.
by grace alone
phishing4men

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Robert Driskell August 17, 2012 at 5:46 pm

phishing4men,
I have also responded below, but wanted to address some of your comments here. I hear your heart in your words here, and it is my desire also to serve God in ‘truth and love’. He has dealt with some of my specific idiosyncrasies (okay, sins) which have left me especially sensitive in those areas. But it needs to be that way, I need to be extra sensitive in those areas so that I don’t fall back into those sinful habits. I believe you are the same way about wasted time. That is not a put down, by the way. If God did not confront us with our sin, it would mean He really doesn’t care about us, and it would leave us floundering in our sin for who knows how long. I appreciate men like you who will speak their minds as they serve God. May God richly bless you and I look forward to seeing you in eternity.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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phishing4men August 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

All versions agree that by one mans (Adam) disobedience(sin) all were “made” sinners isnt that something added rather than something something taken away as Dallas Willard suggests? The contest between the two or more views are like so many others in that it does not affect the fact we are sinners and we need to repent and trust Jesus Christ alone for salvation and I wonder in the light of eternity and coming judgement what difference does it make which side of this issue one stands? I realize I am simple but if it will not affect eternal lif how much time should I spend trying to figure it out? I have never had this come up in face to face witnessing to lost men

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Robert Driskell August 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm

phishing4men,

First of all, let me say that I have read several of your comments here on What Christians Want to Know and it is clear to me that you have a heart for the lost.

I too have a heart for the lost and hurting and do not write, or choose topics, simply for the sake of argument. I don’t care for the “how many angels will fit on the head of a pin” discussions. My concern is for real life people in real life situations. And, believe it or not, I began looking into the subject of the human sin nature because of a real life situation. A well-meaning friend of mine had told me of a husband and wife he knew who had just lost their newborn baby. He then told me that it broke his heart to tell them that that baby was now in hell. It made no sense, biblical or otherwise, how this baby could be guilty of anything. But, if the view that we are all born guilty of Adam’s sin is true, then that baby IS in hell. Anyway, to make a long story even longer (that’s a joke to lighten things up), I believe the viewpoint that I have put forth in my article, whether I am accurate in all points or not, is biblical (it can legitimately be supported from the Bible).

This article is for those people out there who either need to know for themselves, or for someone else, that the viewpoint I put forth in my article is a biblical alternative to the ‘everyone is born guilty of Adam’s sin’ view. And I know that there are people that need to hear it.

It is often difficult to discern someone’s tone in a comment or email, so let me assure you that I harbor no anger or malice (or any other nastiness) in my heart. Quite the contrary, I pray that you will be more and more successful every day in winning souls to the Lord with your ministry. As I pray that I will be more and more successful each day winning souls to the Lord with my ministry.

Keep the faith, brother phish (if I may call you that). God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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phishing4men August 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Hi Robert, I agree about not being able to understand the tone of an individual in a forum like this unless you know the individual personally. I have the great blessing of knowing Jack as God has sent us out banging on doors together, time in worship and prayer and it makes a world of difference. Jack could scold me with a harsh word and I would not be offended because I am sure as my brother in Christ he has God’s best in mind for me, just one of the blessings of knowing him personally. Have you had the opportunity to read his article on babies…http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/where-do-babies-go-if-they-die-do-they-go-to-heaven-or-hell/
I strongly agree with him and the article seems to disagree with Dallas Willard’s interpretation. I may be looking at one or the other with a personal bias. I admit I do have an aversion toward Dallas Willards work as I see him as a mystic. As far as my gleaning the good out of like him, I was once asked if I had a supply of good edible bread on my table, would I go searching thru a trash can to find a slice of bread I might find edible. Sounds a bit simplistic but it makes good sense to me. Again I struggle with even the need to make this comment. You have a sweet spirit that is conveyed thru you kind words in these discussions. Thanks for your patience with me I can really be difficult at times, as my wife an two sons would testify to. Anyway I am experiencing a growing sense of Love in me for brothers I have encountered as yourself even if there are minor issues I cannot agree with and that to me is a work of Grace from the Lord I do not deserve. May the peace of
God rule in our hearts Robert.
by grace alone
phishing4men

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Robert Driskell August 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm

phishing4men,
Good to hear from you again. Let me just say that I have only read one book by Dallas Willard (I actually started a second, but never finished it), so he may have views that, once I read them, would make me feel the same as you do concerning his council. Therefore, I won’t defend him to the death (just a metaphor…ha…ha).
I must confess that I have not read Jack’s article you mentioned (a situation I will rectify as soon as I am done here, though). And you are right about Jack’s spirit. I don’t have the history with him that you do, but he can’t hide the love he has in his heart.
God bless you sir…I have enjoyed our discussion and look forward to more of them…if it is God’s will. May He richly bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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phishing4men August 18, 2012 at 9:10 pm

I dont often trust my emotions, but there is something rich and deep in your communications that lifts my spirit. May He richly bless you too sir, and may tomorrow be a day of true worship and glorifying Him for us. If not here on this earth I look forward to seeing you at the mercy seat.
by grace alone
phishing4men
Note: You can call me phish, jerry my given name or whatever you come up with. Like the old timers use to say call me what you will just call me to supper lol

Larry Andrews December 15, 2014 at 10:29 pm

Thank you for taking the time to write this article. I would only add two things to the above conversation. The scripture (Rom 5:18-19) says “many” not “all”, I am sure Paul did not want to overstate this position. Second, I would like to add that as of this time, two years later, more and more, you can see people not taking responsibility for their sins. Calvinism is rampant.
The greatest gift God gave to mankind is our free will. It comes with the ominous price of responsibility.
God continued to have intimate relations with some men after the fall. i.e. Cain, Abraham, Moses, David, the High Priests. Adam and Eve by their free will chose to sin. Jonah, even after three days in a fish, could have still walked down the beach and not gone to Nineveh. God gives us free will, because when we choose Him it is true love. He gives us all the grace, and help we need when we ask for it. It pains me to see catch phrases like “sin nature”, and “fallen man”, thrown around like they are in the bible. If you ask average Christians (even preachers sometimes), they will say I know it is there somewhere. I like to stick with what is in the bible with nothing added. These days you can look up every word in 5 different translations, then in Greek and Hebrew. We do not have any need to add. Sorry for the rant, it’s not against you, but these days in general. God bless you

Joshua August 18, 2012 at 11:22 am

Although you make some great arguments here, I think the “sin nature” is an invention of the church more than something we have inherited. Sin simply means to miss the mark. It describes a state of ignorance of something. Ignorance of what? Ignorance of who we truly are and our relationship to God.

Anyone that lives in a physical body is going to be ignorant of some important truths. First, Jesus taught us to live by faith and not sight. Why? Because Jesus understood that our current reality is not ultimate reality. The physical world is not permanent, and therefore we should not put our trust in it. But as humans we usually remain ignorant of this because it’s hard to trust in what you cannot see, touch, taste, feel, etc.

We are born of a sin nature simply because we are spirit and soul having a physical experience. Ignorance is our greatest problem.

Thanks for the great discussion.

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Jack Wellman August 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Thank you Joshua for your comment and please forgive me Robert for chiming in here, since this is not my article. I agree that we are born of a sin nature but it is not, in my humble opinion, because we are a spirit and a soul having a physical experience. First Cor 15:22 says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” so we are all dead, in essence, at birth, as David said, “In sin my mother conceived me” even before David knew what sin was or had the opportunity to sin. My children when they were young, before the understood sin, naturally disobeyed. I did not have to teach them to steal cookies from the cookie jar to to hit their sister…this came naturally. They were born with this tendency.

I do not think Robert is saying we should not put our trust in Christ but quite the opposite. I love how Paul addressed this being born into a sinful state in Rom 5:14-18,

14 “Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.”

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.”

Yes, sin is missing the mark but I disagree that we sin in ignorance because again Paul said in Rom 1:18-20 makes abundantly clear, ” The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” As the police tell us, ignorance is no excuse but we have no such excuse to say we just didn’t know or as you said, “Ignorance of who we truly are and our relationship to God.” but as Paul said, we are “without excuse.”

To argue that we are not born into sin is to make us I also close with a thank you for a great discussion.

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Jack Wellman August 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Thank you Joshua for your comment and please forgive me Robert for chiming in here, since this is not my article. I agree that we are born of a sin nature but it is not, in my humble opinion, because we are a spirit and a soul having a physical experience. First Cor 15:22 says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” so we are all dead, in essence, at birth, as David said, “In sin my mother conceived me” even before David knew what sin was or had the opportunity to sin. My children when they were young, before the understood sin, naturally disobeyed. I did not have to teach them to steal cookies from the cookie jar to to hit their sister…this came naturally. They were born with this tendency.

I do not think Robert is saying we should not put our trust in Christ but quite the opposite. I love how Paul addressed this being born into a sinful state in Rom 5:14-18,

14 “Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.”

15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.”

Yes, sin is missing the mark but I disagree that we sin in ignorance because again Paul said in Rom 1:18-20 makes abundantly clear, ” The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” As the police tell us, ignorance is no excuse but we have no such excuse to say we just didn’t know or as you said, “Ignorance of who we truly are and our relationship to God.” but as Paul said, we are “without excuse.”

I also want to thank you sir for a great discussion.

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Robert Driskell August 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Jack,
You are welcome to ‘chime in’ anytime you want. Love you, brother.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Robert Driskell August 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Joshua,
Thanks for reading and commenting. I sincerely hope God is using me for His glory. I have little to add to Jack’s comment (which I am quite thankful for actually, I couldn’t have said it better myself…thanks Jack). One thing I do want to stress, ignorance is not our greatest problem, sin is. Our alienation from God, because of our sin, is what Jesus died on the cross for. God bless you, Joshua.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Joe Sewell August 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Consider This, Joshua: if ignorance were the problem, then why did the law given to the Israelites say that only when the person discovers their sin (or is made aware that what they have done is a sin) is an offering of atonement required? (Leviticus 4:22-23, 27-28)

The notion that we are not physical beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a physical experience is often credited to C. S. Lewis, but the literal interpretation of it is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Note that God created Adam’s body first, *then* breathed the breath of life into him (Genesis 2:7). When Jesus arose the day after the Sabbath, He was no mere spirit, as He proved to Thomas (John 20:24-29).

Ignorance can be sin, but ignorance does not define sin. Rather, we all know what sin is, and choose to do it anyhow.

I believe the best and most telling evidence that sin is *not* ignorance can be found in Genesis 3:22-23. The tree from which they ate the fruit was known as “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” When Adam ate it, their eyes were opened, which implies knowledge. They didn’t know what evil was before … they were ignorant of it. *After* they sinned *willingly* (they were told not to eat, but they chose to trust the serpent instead), they knew what had happened.

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Arturo September 23, 2012 at 7:20 am

I have thought about this subject in the past and thought, we are not condemned because of our sinful nature, rather because we are participants in sin. Now that I have read this article, you have opened my eyes to a different way of viewing sinful nature, not as something added, but as something taken away. I want to reference you when I write a blog about this. If its okay with you.

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Robert Driskell September 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Arturo,
It would be fine with me to reference this article. What we try to do here is for God’s glory and to strengthen and encourage believers. May God bless you.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Enoch Gitonga December 22, 2012 at 1:23 am

I have always understood that the sinful nature dues to the fall of Adam and Eve was a result of both something gained and lost.
I believe that what was lost is our child like innocence. When Adam and Eve sinned they hid from God because their eyes were open and they could see each others nakedness.
I believe what replaced this innocence was the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 3:22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—

In Roman 2-8 Paul explains it well. Without faith we can not please God. The innocence Adam and Eve had, enabled them to have Child like Faith. When they received knowledge of good and evil, their sinful nature due to the carnality in their bodies took advantage. You observe this with little children well. When you tell them not to do something that is when they really have to do it. The bible says that without the law there is no sin (Romans 4:15 and 5:13). Before Adam and Eve knew about nudity they were not sinning by walking around naked. When they knew the law (difference between good and evil) that’s when sin became a problem. We are told that God had to sacrifice an animal to cover them.

So the sinful nature is not something that we inherit in the sense that we share the blame of the sin Adam and Eve committed but as a result of that sin. We are not born sinners we just become sinners as we grow up and develop knowledge of good and evil. Our sinful nature takes advantage of that knowledge through our carnal/weak bodies/flesh. To clarify we are born with a sinful nature but we are not born with sin. We develop a Conscience and become Conscious of everything, which is the ability Adam and Eve received as knowledge of good and evil. That is when we start sinning.
Ezekiel 18:20
20 The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

This is also why Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

One misconception is that this sinful nature was not passed to Jesus Christ. The reason for this misconception is because we think that having a sinful nature is sin. Sin is when we fall to the demands of our sinful nature. Jesus could sin, He had a body (a sinful flesh). This is why satan tempted Him. If Jesus couldn’t sin there would be no need for Satan to tempt Him. Also if Jesus couldn’t sin he could not carry the sin of the entire world. Jesus’s birth was a unique one. He was both fully man and fully God. He had the innocence that was lost which allowed Him to have complete Faith in the Father and being God, He could overcome the carnality in His body.
Romans 8:3-4
3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Jesus said it was advantageous for Him to go so that the Holy Spirit is sent (John 16:5-15). When we receive the Holy Spirit we are no longer conscious of the desires of the flesh and the does and don’t that our conscience tell us, but we are also conscious of the presence of the Holy Spirit inside us. Now we instead on leaning on own judgement and interpretation of what is good and evil we gain that child like Faith in the salvation God offers through His son Jesus.

Hebrews 10:11-18
Christ’s Death Perfects the Sanctified

11 And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. 14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
15 But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

I think this topic is important because sometimes you will meet people who feel they are inherently good people, maybe even better than the average christian they meet. They might find it difficult to see why they need Christ’s salvation. How do you explain to them that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory? How do you explain to them that what Adam and Eve did affects their relationship with God?

Reply

Robert December 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Enoch,
Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m not sure where we differ in our explanation of the sinful nature all that much. However, I will stand by what I wrote in the article. No ill feelings here, there are just so many who have tackled this subject who are far more capable than I.

One thing I do take exception to is where you said, “One misconception is that this sinful nature was not passed to Jesus Christ”. If, as I put forth, the sinful nature is the ‘lack’ of an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit, then Jesus was not afflicted with this. He always had an intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, He did not have a sinful nature in the way I have described it. He was tempted, yes, but all that is required for one to be tempted is the ability to choose. Adam and Eve did not have a sinful nature until ‘after’ they chose to disobey God. It was at that point that they lost the intimate relationship they had enjoyed with God. Adam and Eve, and Jesus, were not tempted by ‘sinful human flesh’ but by forces outside themselves. Adam and Eve gave in to the tempter’s temptations, Jesus did not. Romans 8:3 says that Jesus came in the ‘likeness’ of sinful flesh. He ‘appeared’ to be a human like you or I, but He was not.

You also ask, “How do you explain to them that all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory? How do you explain to them that what Adam and Eve did affects their relationship with God?” I explain to them by showing them what the Bible says about their sin: Romans 3:10 tells us that no one is righteous; Romans 3:23 tells us that all of us are sinners; Romans 5:8 tells us that Jesus died for us sinners; Romans 5:12 tells us that, although sin entered the world because of Adam, each of us are sinners because we ourselves sin. Truly the only way a person could believe he or she is innocent is by denying the truth of the Bible. And if a person denies the truth of the Bible, proving anything concerning sin, God, Jesus, or salvation becomes very difficult indeed (actually it only possible because of the work of the Holy Spirit in the first place).

I’ll leave it here. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year, Enoch.

Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

Enoch Gitonga December 23, 2012 at 5:31 am

Hi Robert,
Thank you for your reply. Please allow me to say that am not here to form another theological argument. I’m here because i want to know more. I want God to clarify opinions. I recognize that some of my opinions maybe wrong. I’m letting you know my opinions so that other can correct me. i have been meditating on this since I came across these websites. I don’t know why I felt burdened to do so. So far this is what I have found.

We are tempted and sin in three ways. Lust off the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life. I John 2:16
Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18)
Where there is no law there is no transgression. (Romans 4:15 and Romans 5:13)
Sin takes opportunity/advantage when there is law. (Romans 7:7-12)
Galatians 5:17
New King James Version (NKJV)
17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

The same words in Galatians 5:17 are echoed in Romans 7:13-25.

Now to say Adam and Eve had no sinful nature prior to them disobeying God is not accurate in my opinion. They merely had no knowledge of it. Satan used his three weapons to tempt Eve. Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life. (Genesis 3: 4-6) They were not just tempted, they actually sinned. If they had no sinful nature they would not be able to make the choice to sin. They would only have the ability to make the right decision. Also sin sin only exists where the is law, since God had commanded them not to eat from that tree, the opportunity for sin appeared.

When sin occurs three things have to happen to rectify it. Forgiveness, Atonement and Sanctification. God the father performed the sacrifice needed for forgiveness by allowing His Son Jesus to die. Jesus by accepting to die paid the price owed, which is death. By Resurrection and overcoming death, Jesus made sure that sacrifice he made was atonement once and for all. Jesus in said that it is to our advantage He goes away so that the Holy Spirit is sent to dwell with us and in us. (John 16:5-15 and John 14:15-18) The Holy Spirit makes us holy once again and also helps us keep God’s commandments.)

Romans 8:1-11 shows us how we have been freed from indwelling sin, through the work Jesus and the Holy Spirit. You mentioned how in Romans 8:3 we are told that God sent His Son Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin. I suspect that you have emphasised on the word likeness to interpret He that He only appeared but was not. Consider also that we are created in the image and likeness of God. Yes we are not God but we are like Him. Therefore while you are right that God was no ordinary human He really was like us in every sense. What makes Jesus special is not the lack of a sinful nature but the ability for sin to take opportunity or advantage. Just like the Holy Spirit restores this in our lives by making as holy again (which is the innocence we lost when Adam and Eve sinned), the Holy Spirit performed the same function with Jesus from conception.

Luke 1:34-35
New King James Version (NKJV)
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

Matthew 1:18
New King James Version (NKJV)
Christ Born of Mary

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit. He was sanctified from birth. You and me are also sanctified by the Holy Spirit when we become born again. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus. (John 3)

Jesus was both man and God. John says and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.(John 1:14) The same way Jesus overcame the flesh is the same way he offers us to overcome it. Remember Galatians 5:17 says the flesh lusts against the Spirit. Jesus was able to overcome these lusts because of the power of the Holy Spirit. We are also able to overcome the flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Remember what happened after Jesus as baptized.
Matthew 4
New King James Version (NKJV)
Satan Tempts Jesus

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

One thing that I have also being struggling to wrap my mind around is why the bible says sin entered the world through one man. (Romans 5:12) We know that it is Eve who committed sin before Adam. Like many I had viewed that because Adam was not involved in the conception of Jesus, the sinful nature was not passed through Him, otherwise referd to federal headship. I thought that it is only through the male seed that the original sin is passed. Well it turns out that sin is not just passed in the male seed. The reason sin is said to have passed through only one man is because Eve came from Adam. And when they came together they also became one! At least that is my understanding.
Jesus had to be a descendant of King David. While He could have become a descendant through adoption by David it turns out that Mary was also a descendant of King David. We all know that royalty is only passed through blood. God says He will take his anointing from the house of soul and give it to the house of David. If Jesus could become royalty through the bloodline of Mary, I find no reason why he couldn’t inherit the sinful flesh. We are told that salvation as possible because Jesus condemned sin in the flesh. (Romans 8:3) If there was no sin in His flesh how would he be able to condemn it?

Jesus was the sacrificial lamb. He had to be pure and Holy for God to accept the sacrifice. Jesus was also the payment for sin. He not only overcame sin in the flesh by condemning it, but he also overcame the consequence of sin which is death by His Resurrection. Romans 7:14 shows the claim sin had over us. Sin and death have no more claim to those that believe in Jesus.

Romans 7:22-25
New King James Version (NKJV)
22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

I’m glad you mentioned Christmas. We now truly appreciate Christmas once we realize how bad things were, to be slaves of sin and death. We appreciate the extent God went to bring as salvation. Really it God the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit working together for our benefit. The pain God went through to sacrifice His only begotten Son. He couldn’t even bear watch Jesus on the cross. We need to appreciate the burden Jesus had. he had to not only overcome sin but death as well. Jesus struggled to understand why God forsook Him to die on the cross. The work the Holy Spirit continues to do in us. There is no love like that of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

You might think you are not capable but consider David a young man, everyone that he was insignificant, his family, his nation, and his enemy. God will give you what it takes to take down Goliath. Keep the faith and God will bless the work of your hands, they may be only small pebbles but they are might in power!

God bless you

Reply

Enoch Gitonga December 23, 2012 at 6:21 am

Hi Robert,

Apologies for posting twice the first one had some errors!!

Thank you for your reply. Please allow me to say that am not here to form another theological argument. I’m here because, I want to know more. I want God to clarify my opinions as well as share what is in my heart. I recognize that some of my opinions maybe wrong. I’m letting you know my opinions so that others can correct me. It is okay to not agree with me. I have been meditating on this since I came across these websites. I don’t know why I felt burdened to do so. So far this is what I have found.

We are tempted and sin in three ways. Lust off the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life. I John 2:16
Sin is described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18)
Where there is no law there is no transgression. (Romans 4:15 and Romans 5:13)
Sin takes opportunity/advantage where there is law. (Romans 7:7-12)

Galatians 5:17
New King James Version (NKJV)
17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
The same words in Galatians 5:17 are echoed in Romans 7:13-25.

Now to say Adam and Eve had no sinful nature prior to them disobeying God is not accurate in my opinion. They merely had no knowledge of it. Satan used his three weapons to tempt Eve. Lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life. (Genesis 3: 4-6) They were not just tempted, they actually sinned. If they had no sinful nature they would not be able to make the choice to sin. They would only have the ability to make the right decision. Also sin only exists where there is law, since God had commanded them not to eat from that tree, the opportunity for sin appeared.

When sin occurs three things have to happen to rectify it. Forgiveness, Atonement and Sanctification. God the Father performed the sacrifice needed for forgiveness by allowing His Son Jesus to die. Jesus by accepting to die, paid the price owed, which is death. By Resurrection and overcoming death, Jesus made sure that sacrifice he made was atonement once and for all. Jesus said that it is to our advantage He goes away, so that the Holy Spirit is sent to dwell with us and in us. The Holy Spirit makes us holy once again and also helps us keep God’s commandments (John 16:5-15 and John 14:15-18).

Romans 8:1-11 shows us how we have been freed from indwelling sin, through the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. You mentioned how in Romans 8:3 we are told that God sent His Son Jesus in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin. I suspect that you have emphasised on the word likeness to interpret that He only appeared but was not. Consider also that we are created in the image and likeness of God. Yes we are not God but we are like Him. Therefore while you are right that God was no ordinary human He really was like us in every sense. What makes Jesus special is not the lack of a sinful nature but the inability for sin to take opportunity or advantage. Just like the Holy Spirit restores this in our lives by making as holy again (which is the innocence we lost when Adam and Eve sinned), the Holy Spirit performed the same function with Jesus from conception.

Luke 1:34-35
New King James Version (NKJV)
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

Matthew 1:18
New King James Version (NKJV)
Christ Born of Mary
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit. He was sanctified from birth. You and me are also sanctified by the Holy Spirit when we become born again. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus. (John 3)

Jesus was both man and God. John says and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.(John 1:14) The same way Jesus overcame the flesh is the same way he offers us to overcome it. Remember Galatians 5:17 says the flesh lusts against the Spirit. Jesus was able to overcome these lusts because of the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 4). We are also able to overcome the flesh through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Remember what happened after Jesus as baptized.
Matthew 4
New King James Version (NKJV)
Satan Tempts Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

One thing that I have also being struggling to wrap my mind around is why the bible says sin entered the world through one man. (Romans 5:12) We know that it is Eve who committed sin before Adam. Like many I had viewed that because Joseph was not involved in the conception of Jesus, the sinful nature was not passed through him, otherwise referred to federal headship. I thought that it is only through the male seed that the original sin is passed. Well it turns out that the sinful nature is not just passed in the male seed. The reason sin is said to have entered through only one man is because Eve came from Adam. And when they came together they also became one! At least that is my understanding.
Jesus had to be a descendant of King David. While He could have become a descendant through adoption by Joseph it turns out that Mary was also a descendant of King David (Luke 3:23-38). We all know that royalty is only passed through blood. God says He will take his anointing from the house of Saul and give it to the house of David. If Jesus could become royalty through the bloodline of Mary, I find no reason why he couldn’t inherit the sinful nature of the flesh. Since Mary was a descendant of Adam so was Jesus. Jesus was man, flesh and blood! He had a sinful nature courtesy of the flesh.
We are told that salvation as possible because Jesus condemned sin in the flesh. (Romans 8:3) If there was no sin in His flesh how would He be able to condemn it?

Jesus was the sacrificial lamb. He had to be pure and holy for God to accept the sacrifice for forgiveness. Jesus was also the payment (atonement) for sin. He not only overcame sin in the flesh by condemning it, but he also overcame the consequence of sin which is death by His Resurrection. Romans 7:14 shows the claim sin had over us. Sin and death have no more claim to those that believe in Jesus.

Romans 7:22-25
New King James Version (NKJV)
22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

I’m glad you mentioned Christmas. We now truly appreciate Christmas once we realize how bad things were, to be slaves of sin and death. We appreciate the extent God went to bring as salvation. Really it God the father, the Son and the Holy Spirit working together for our benefit. The pain God went through to sacrifice His only begotten Son. He couldn’t even bear watch Jesus on the cross. We need to appreciate the burden Jesus had. he had to not only overcome sin but death as well. Jesus struggled to understand why God forsook Him to die on the cross. The work the Holy Spirit continues to do in us. There is no love like that of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

You might think you are not capable but consider David a young man, everyone that he was insignificant, his family, his nation, and his enemy. God will give you what it takes to take down Goliath. Keep the faith and God will bless the work of your hands, they may be only small pebbles but they are might in power!

God bless you

Reply

Jack Wellman December 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Hello Enoch. What a great post. I love the fact that you mentioned that “I can’t get my mind around” and that is so good. God’s mind is impossible to comprehend. You said, in reference to Romans 5:12 that “We know that it is Eve who committed sin before Adam.” but Eve was deceived but Adam knew better and was not deceived by the Serpent, who is Satan and is said to have “deceived the whole world” so Adam could have said, NO! because God had told them both to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and so when Adam willfully sinned, sin entered into all humanity thru his descendants through his children.

I am not sure if I have made it more clear or muddied up the waters. I see you have such a hunger for the Word of God and my compliments to you sir.

Reply

Enoch Gitonga December 23, 2012 at 11:57 pm

Greetings Jack, I can’t wait to go to heaven so that I can really study the mind of God. I believe the Holy Spirit reveals to us more about God as Jesus promised.

John 16:12-15
New King James Version (NKJV)
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. 14 He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.

I had never thought about the difference between how Adam and Eve sinned. I’m glad you brought it up because it sent me digging in the Bible again. I discovered that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent, Adam was also deceived by Eve. Two parts in Genesis 3 make me say this. One is the excuse Adam gave to God for sinning. The other is the response God gave.

Genesis 3:12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:17-19
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”

So you see Adam was tempted by the voice of Eve. Also notice that when Eve was questioned she too placed the blame on something else, the serpent.

Genesis 3:13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

God did not accept their excuses and punished them both for falling into temptation.

Also notice that God does not ask the serpent why he deceived Eve. The serpent did not have the opportunity to shift the blame to Satan. We know that Satan is the father of all evil. In fact God treats Satan and the serpent as the same. It is clear that when God is speaking to the serpent he is speaking to both the animal and Satan.

Genesis 3:14-15
14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:

“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”

In Genesis 3:14 God is speaking to the animal and in verse 15 He is speaking to Satan. At the very early stage of the fall of man God already had a plan for salvation. In the second part of verse 15, God tells Satan that the woman’s Seed, Jesus would deliver a fatal wound and and destroy him, even though he would bruise His heel (Death and Resurrection of Jesus). Remember when Jesus appeared to the disciples after His Resurrection he had wounds from the nails that were used on the cross!

John 20:24-29
Seeing and Believing

24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[d] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Luke 24:36-43
Jesus Appears to His Disciples

36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.[f] 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.[g] 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.

God bless you as you remember the birth of Christ this Christmas, may we all recognize the power of salvation in our lives!

Reply

Joe Sewell December 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm

One thing to note, though, is a verse Jack cited earlier in these comments: “For as in *Adam* all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) Note, too, that both were made aware of their nakedness at the same time, *after* Adam ate the fruit.

I appreciate your point about Adam blaming Eve, and God essentially agreeing with it. I’m not absolutely sure if He was actually saying that Adam gave into sin by Eve’s temptation, or if He was merely saying that the “why” doesn’t matter, only the “what.” It’s also possible that God was bringing home the point that Adam listened to Eve, not to Him. You’ve got me thinking about this.

I believe, though, that the point of Adam, rather than Eve, being responsible for sin in this world is important when it comes to Jesus. Since Jesus was born of a virgin, He did *not* inherit the sin nature from Adam. That freed him from the curse of sin … it allowed Him to be the second man who was not born under the curse. (Adam was the first.) Yes, He was tempted, but He did not sin; if He had, His death paid only for his own sins. He was not ignorant of sin, either, nor did He suffer from any ignorance of good and evil.

Reply

Robert December 29, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Enoch,
I appreciate the deep thoughts and comments on this subject. It would take a theological treatise to work out all the intricate details and every nuance. Suffice it to say that God created man sinless, man sinned, and God provided the means by which man may be reconciled to God. Biblically, the so-called ‘sinful nature’ was not something added to mankind. If it were, it would have had to have been added by God, which would make God the creator of sin, absolutely not. I stand by the explanation found in my article (although I do reserve the right to be completely wrong…ha…ha) that the ‘sinful nature’ is the natural state of man once he (or she) is deprived of his or her intimate relationship with God. When one becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and he or she once again is reconciled to God. The believer still has the choice whether to obey God or disobey Him, but now he or she is forgiven, and has the will and the means to obey. God bless you, Enoch.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

Reply

1ofHis March 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Semantics…right!!?? Language limits us to a degree. Sinful nature – the terminology forces us to face our complicity in everyone else’s sin. We, each one, can identify ourselves with the involvement of wrongdoing. Therefore, we must take personal responsibility for our individual part of the whole of humanity in its sinfullness.

As I understand the article, either the “added to” or “what was lost” view leads to the same outcome…a bent towards sin, resulting in death, for which Christ is the only solution. We’re all in the same sinking boat, in need of the Savior. (Romans 3:9-18; 5:12-21.)

The same thing, but different, right? :-) Other perspectives are a beautiful thing. There is room for it apart from the non-negotiables. I think it demonstrates how big God is and that anything we say or think about God is incomplete. The finite cannot fully grasp or take hold of the Infinite.

Robert, I especially like your last paragraph . “Regardless of whether the ‘sinful nature’ results from something added to us or is something that we have lost, God has provided a way to deal with it.” It communicates a spirit of humility as well as an expression of confidence in God’s provision for dealing with the problem of sin. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

In His grasp,

1ofHis

Reply

Paul Mata June 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Excellent post, Robert! You have great spiritual insights, my friend. I am re-writing a teaching material on “THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD: Who We Have Become in Christ”. Would you have some materials or references on this topic. My question: Do born again believers still have a sinful nature? Thanks, again, Robert.

Reply

Robert June 28, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Paul,
Thank you for reading, commenting, and your kind words. I would answer your question in this way; born again believers still have the ability to choose. However, as born again believers, we now have the indwelling Holy Spirit giving us the strength to choose correctly. Hope this helps.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Rick July 19, 2013 at 6:18 am

Hi Robert,
I “happened” upon your article – thanks for writing and posting it.
How would you interpret Romans 5:19 – “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”? It appears to say that as a result of Adam’s sin, all were made sinners. While not a Greek scholar, it appears that the Greek word translated “made” indicates that we became sinners, not as a result of our own actions, but because we are descendants of Adam. All men except Jesus, were born “in Adam.”
I do agree with you that at the Fall, man lost something; and that something is LIFE! My definition of death, which Adam experienced after eating from the forbidden tree, is simply, the absence of life. All men born after the fall were separated from the life of God.
I believe that what Romans 5 is saying is that we are born sinners as a result of Adam’s sin and we are born-again and made righteous as a result of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
While it doesn’t seem “fair” that we suffer for what Adam did. It is also not “fair” that Jesus suffered for what man did; and thus made it possible for man to once again have LIFE! Amen.
Rick

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Robert July 20, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Thanks for reading and commenting, Rick. I think you are absolutely right in your interpretation of this passage. Had Adam and Eve not sinned, we would not be sinners. But they did and, because of their actions, we ‘lost’ the intimate relationship with God that enabled us to have the life you speak of. You are also very right in that God has provided the way for us to be reconciled to Him….Jesus Christ paid the price for our sins. God bless you, Rick.
Yours in Christ,
Robert

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Neal August 12, 2013 at 10:42 pm

We do inherit the sinful nature from Adam. Romans 5 makes that clear. But it is inherited from our fathers. This is how Jesus escaped the curse. He had no human father. That is the whole point of the virgin birth. God was starting over. Christ was the “second Adam,” born without the sin nature.

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