The Sin Nature of Man
The doctrine of original sin is a very important teaching. Original sin means man has a sin nature. When Adam sinned the consequences of that were passed on to all the human race. Adam had a huge and unique responsibility that was given to him. He and his wife, Eve, were in a situation that no other man and wife have ever been in. They were created as full grown adults and placed in the Garden of Eden. They were there to represent the entire human race. They were created without a sin nature. God didnít create sin. Sin came as a result of Adam and Eve. The choice that they made to obey or disobey God had consequences which affect all men. They made the wrong choice and so man inherited a sin nature.
††††††† The question is why is the doctrine of original sin important? What about the teaching that man isnít born with a sin nature but gets a sin nature after he sins. There are a lot of problems with this kind of theology and the main problem is that it lends towards a concept of works salvation. Works donít get you into heaven only the grace of God through Jesus Christ can. In addition to this if you start going the way of works salvation youíre probably going to also believe that you can lose your salvation. Thatís a bad teaching as well. Such a teaching totally destroys a personís confidence in their relationship with Christ and in not being separated from His love. Now talking about salvation being by grace and not work and talking about eternal security are topics in themselves and were not going to go into those topics on this sermon. I just wanted to point out what happens if a person goes the route of believing that man did not inherit a sin nature from Adam.
††††††† We are going to look at some verses in the Bible that teach the doctrine of original sin. There are 2 primary points I have to make and they are found in the phrases.† ďAs by one man sin entered into the world,Ē and a phrase which speaks of Jesus, ďmade in the likeness of sinful flesh.Ē There are some other verses and points to be made as well. But I want to go ahead and mention these two phrases but I think they are key and are perhaps the most important. ďAs by one man sin entered into the world,Ē and speaking of Jesus, ďmade in the likeness of sinful flesh.
††††††† Now letís go to the Book of Romans. Romans 5:12 says, ďRom 5:12† Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
††††††† The key phrase in this verse I think is the phrase, ďas by one man sin entered into the world.Ē If sin entered the world by one man how can a person logically argue that each person is born without a sin nature but gets a sin nature when they first sin. If that were true then sin would enter the world by every man and not by one man. But the Bible is very clear on the fact that sin entered the world by one man. This is not the only verse that says this.
Take Romans for example which says, ďRom † For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.Ē
ďBy one manís disobedience many were made sinners.Ē This phrase is saying the same thing as Romans 5:12 which says, ďBy one man sin entered the world.Ē
Now some people would make this argument. That these verses say by one man not by one woman or by one man and one woman. And so they make an assumption that the sin nature would only be passed through the man and not through the woman. This is wrong. And here is why. Adam† and Eve were married. Married people in Godís eyes are considered one flesh. Genesis says, ďGen † Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.Ē
Both Adam and eve ate the fruit. Both of them sinned. The consequences of sin affected them both, thatís very clear in the Genesis story. Romans 5:12 says, ďRom 5:12† Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
The main consequence of sin is death. There are many other consequences but the man consequence is death. Did both Adam and Eve die? Yes they did. Both sinned and both reaped the consequences of sin.
The sin nature comes from both Adam and Eve. The reason the phrase one man is used is because Adam and Eve were one flesh. The Bible is never worded in an unnecessarily redundant way. Sometimes the Bible repeats itself for clarity but it uses very simplified language for the most part and by saying one man instead of saying Adam and Eve or saying one man and one woman it really shows just how equally responsible both of them were in their decisions that they made as one flesh, one man.†
Another point is that when you look in Romans 5:12 and where it says by one man, the word man tells us a lot. In the Greek there several different words for man. There is a word that means man or male. There word that means woman or female. And there is a word that means mankind. Guess which word is used in these verses? The word mankind is. Itís the Greek Word Anthropos. In the English we get the Word Anthropology from it, which means the study of mankind. The Greek language is a very specific language and that makes sense because the New Testament is a very doctrinal book. Things have to be specific so that they are not misunderstood.
Now if it was going to be taught that all of mankind, all of the human race is was represented by Adam and Eve then it makes sense the word anthropos or mankind and it is used. But if it was going to be taught that Adam only represented himself and not all of mankind when he sinned and therefore wasnít going to passing a sin nature to all of mankind then the word Anir would have been chosen because the Greek word Anir means a man, a male not mankind. But the word mankind is used in both of these verses.
In addition to that the fact that the word mankind is used further supports the idea that when itís by one man it means Adam and Eve and not just an individual male because Adam and eve were married and are one flesh.
Now this understanding that Adam and Eve are one flesh is very important because it ties directly into understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ. So letís talk about the gospel now and a phrase speaking of Jesus which says, ďin the likeness of sinful flesh.Ē
Romans 8:3 says, ďRom 8:3† For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:Ē
The key phrase here is the phrase, ďGod sending His own Son in the Likeness of sinful flesh.Ē So you have to ask yourself the question what does the likeness of sinful flesh mean? So the key becomes the word likeness what does likeness mean? The word likeness comes from a Greek word homoioma. The key is the word homo. The word homo means same. Thatís what it means. So what this verse is saying is that Jesus came to the earth in the same flesh that all men have the sinful flesh.
Now here is what needs to be understood, having a sin nature and sinning are not the same thing. Jesus is without sin. 2 Corinthians says, ď2Co † For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.Ē
So the Bible says very clearly in this verse and other verses Jesus is without sin. But the Bible also says He came in the likeness of sinful flesh. So he had the sinful flesh, the sin nature in His flesh but He was without sin.
Hereís the question then. Why does it matter if Jesus came in flesh or sinful flesh if either way He lived a sinless life then died on the cross why does it have to be sinful flesh?
Jesus had to come and face the exact same circumstances that we face and do them never sinning. If He had sinned, He wouldnít be qualified to take upon himself the judgment of God for our sins. But because man has sinful flesh, He as well had to come in the likness of sinful flesh.
Hebrews 4:15, ďHeb 4:15† For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.Ē Jesus had to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
See here is the problem with the theology that man is born without a sinful flesh but gets it when he first sins. If that were true each man would still have a sin nature because they would receive that sin nature after they sin and Jesus will still have to come in the likeness of that sinful flesh just as the Bible says. But the problem would be that Jesus wouldnít have sinful flesh either until He sinned and Jesus could not sin because He is God. If Jesus had to sin to get the likeness of sinful flesh it would disqualify Him from being the one who could take the judgment of God upon Himself on the Cross.
††††††† So Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh but He never sinned. This means He was born with the sinful flesh. He inherited it through Mary who was a descendant of Adam and Eve just like all men are.
Now we need to go back to Romans 8:3 again to explain something. Romans 8:3 says, ďRom 8:3† For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:Ē
††††††† Notice the phrase, ďwhat the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh?Ē What is it the law could not do? What is it about the flesh that is weak?
††††††† Here is something important about the gospel that needs to be understood about law and about the flesh. The law is good the law is righteous. If a person perfectly kept the law and never sinned he could go into heaven. But itís not possible to do that because of the weakness of the flesh. The flesh is weak. The Bible makes that very clear. The flesh is weak because of the sin nature. What this shows is that Adam and even had a great responsibility towards all the human race and they failed in their responsibility. God didnít want Adam and Eve to sin. God didnít intend for Adam and Eve to sin. He wanted them to have the freedom to make a choice and to make the right choice. But they made the wrong choice and there were consequences for it. Death entered the world. All men received a sin nature and there are many other consequences.
††††††† You see it was possible for Adam and Eve to not sin. They didnít have a sin nature. God is Holy. He wouldnít create sin or a sin nature. That came about as a result of Adam and Eve sinning. Adam and Eve were given a unique situation, a unique opportunity and they failed at it. Our situation as humans is not the same as Adam and Eveís when they were first created. But their situation after they sinned is the same as ours.
††††††† Sin works like genetically defective dominate not recessive gene. Itís passed from parent to child from generation to generation. Everyone receives it.
††††††† Romans says, ďRom † For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;Ē Now we come to a problem where something needs to be understood. This verse says all have sinned. What does that mean? If a person hasnít been born yet how can they be included in the group of all have sinned? Itís very simple. When you see a verse in the Bible like this where the action is past tense itís emphasizing certainty. Because of the sin nature of man, the weakness of the flesh, Itís not possible for man not to sin. Itís guaranteed that when a person reaches the age of accountability they will sin because of their sin nature. Thatís why it says all have sinned because all will sin. Itís the destiny of mankind because of one man, one flesh, Adam and Eve.
††††††† Now this concept of the weakness of the flesh or if you want to say it in exact Biblical terminology then say Romans 8:3 says, ďRom 8:3† For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the fleshĒ This does not contradict the concept of free will. Man has a free will to choose between right and wrong. This means a person can try to do what is right but of their own strength they are going to fail. Itís like a person trying to lift 500 pounds of weight but they donít have the strength to do it. They can try. They have the free will too try but they canít do it they donít have the strength. Thatís how the weakness of the flesh is. You can try to do what is right but you donít have the strength to do it because you have a sin nature. Thatís why you need Jesus Christ to save you from your sins. Once a person becomes saved then through Christ they have the strength to do what is right.
††††††† †This is why Adam and Eve were in a unique situation. They could have done what was right. But they chose not too and it affected all mankind. Anthropos. Mankind.
††††††† Now lets look at at Ephesians 2:3, ďEph 2:3† Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.Ē
The key word in this verse is the word nature. Nature is a word that refers to lineage and birth and genealogy. For example consider Galatians 2:14-15 which says, ďGal 2:14† But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? Gal † We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles.Ē
In these verses the word nature is used speaking of Jews. Their Jews by nature by birth by lineage by genealogy, descendants of Abraham. The previous verse Ephesians 2:5 talked about the sin nature. We are by nature the children of wrath, nature, lineage, genealogy, birth.
Now what is interesting about this word nature is that itís never translated birth in the New Testament. But it is found translated birth in secular writings. So hereís what I want to say. The koine Greek, the language the New Testament was written in was the common language of the day. Koine means common. You could say casual or colloquial. Everyone spoke it, the educated, the uneducated, the rich, the poor, everyone. It wasnít slang and it wasnít scholarly speak. It was the common language.
Thereís a great resource called Moultin and Milliganís vocabulary of
the Greek New Testament. Itís a book which contains historical findings and
examples of secular uses of the Greek Words in the Bible. For example an archeologist
might discover an old parchment from the first century with† some copies of a business transaction on it
say for the purchase of slaves. You would find the word redemption on there
because the word redemption means to be bought out of the market place. It was
a comman everyday used word in 1st century
In the context of this verse nature means just that birth, lineage, genealogy. A sin nature inherited by birth.
Now lets consider another verse. 2 Peter 1:4 says, ď2Pe 1:4† Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.Ē
In this verse the divine nature is talked about. So there are two natures both are received from birth. The sin nature is received from physical birth and the divine nature is received at spiritual birth when faith is put in Christ. Itís important to understand this because of the spiritual war that goes on in the world. When you are saved you receive spiritual life but you still have the same body, the same sinful flesh. And therefore for all your life until the day Jesus calls you home to be with him you will struggle and you will war withourself, the old man and the new man, the sin nature and the divine nature. Romans 7:18-25 describes this.
Rom † For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. Rom † For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Rom † Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. Rom † I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. Rom † For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: Rom 7:23† 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. Rom † O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? Rom † 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.
Itís important to understand the doctrine of original sin. The teaching that man has a sin nature. Remember having a sin nature and actually sinning are not the same thing. Jesus never sinned but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Of your own strength you canít overcome sin. For victory over sin you need to come to Christ and repent of your sins and trust in Him and receive Jesus into your heart. Then the Holy Spirit will dwell inside you and you will receive a new nature, you will be a new creature in Christ and then you will have the power to overcome sin.
So if you have never trusted in Jesus please do so today. Jesus can give you the victory, the ability to change and become a better person, the person that you were meant to be.
Copyright; 2017 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved