Monday, August 26, 2002

Original Sin

Original Sin does not mean that God charges us Adam and Eve’s sin as if we had committed it. It is much worse than that. Original sin means that man’s very nature was radically altered by the fall.

A baby is not brought into the world in a state similar to Adam and Eve before the fall, only to begin some downward spiral as the sins start mounting. No, human beings are not sinners because we sin. We sin because we are born sinners.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (Psalm 51:5, NIV)
Man’s relationship to sin is summarized in the following table:

  1. Pre-fall man (Adam and Eve before the fall)

    • Able to sin
    • Able to not sin

  2. Post Fall Man (Any person before being saved)

    • Able to sin
    • Unable not to sin

  3. Reborn Man (Any person who is saved)

    • Able to sin
    • Able to not sin

  4. Glorified Man (Any person in heaven)

    • Able to not sin
    • Unable to sin

The true meaning of Original sin is that we are born into the state that is similar to Adam and Eve after the fall. It is impossible for us not to sin.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer 17:9, NIV)

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. (Titus 1:15, NIV)
Not until conversion does God restore us to something similar to pre-fallen man. Of course, unlike Adam and Eve before the fall, we find ourselves in a totally corrupted world, and with corrupted bodies as our heritage, where temptation and examples of sin are everywhere. Although we have the ability “to not sin” (and to boldly split infinitives no man has split before) it usually doesn’t take us very long after conversion to commit our own original sin. By God’s Grace and Christ’s Sacrifice this doesn’t cause an entirely new fall from which we must time and time again be saved.

Are we, after conversion, exactly like pre-fall Adam and Eve? No. We are similar only in the fact that we can choose not to sin. The effects of our corruption are still with us.
but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (Rom. 7:23, NIV)
Fortunately, we look forward to a time when we be in an infinitely better state and place. A place where we will lose the ability to sin.

The question always arises as to whether God knew Adam and Eve would sin. The answer is, of course He did. God was not the author of their sin, but he knew they would fall. His redemptive plan was already in motion- believers were chosen before the foundations of the world.
For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. (Rom. 11:32, NIV)

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Eph. 1:4, NIV)

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