Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happy Thoughts about Original Sin

Here's the deal. I'm supposed to be at work, but I'm sitting at home waiting for the piano tuner. It's the first day of school here in New Hampshire, and we got a call this morning at 6 am. It was the high school, asking my wife if she could sub. Since we didn't expect that she would sub the first day, I didn't plan on the possibility of working at home while waiting for the aforementioned acoustic engineer, and so I didn't bring any work home—and so here I am.

I have been discussing original sin on other blogs, and so I was thinking about it in the shower, and decided to write about how lucky we are for original sin. Thank God for original sin.

Just a quick review of what I mean by original sin. It is the essentially same as the idea of Total Depravity, although you might argue (I don't see why) that one is the cause and the other is the effect. At any rate, original sin means, quite simply, that we are born to sin.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. (Ps. 51:5, NIV)
Original sin does not mean we stand charged with Adam's sin. That is a misconception. Lead a sinless life (go ahead, I dare you) and God will not keep you out of heaven on a technicality: True you committed no sin, but you forgot that Adam's sin was in your debit column. Gotcha! Such a concept impugns God's justice. No, original sin means something much worse, that we are such a corrupted race that in our natural state we have no choice but to sin. Whatever we do as natural men, no matter what its outward appearance, is but filthy rags in God's eyes. Have a nice day!

Actually: Thank God!

And even thank you Adam, for being my representative.

Adam was our representative. He sinned, and the race suffered for it. On the one hand it seems unfair. But only superficially.

For it is illustrative of the fact that God interacts with man collectively--in addition, of course, to individually. The fact that God interacts with mankind and not just individuals, obvious as it sounds, is often neglected in modern evangelism, with its emphasis on a personal this and a personal that. In fact, I am resolved that if anyone ever again asks me whether Jesus is my personal Lord and Savior I am going to reply: Of course not, what a ridiculous question! Why, the mind reels! Jesus is the Lord and Savior of all who trust in the power of his blood. Why would I consider him my personal savior?

The fact that God has allowed the many to be corrupted because of the sin of their representative sets the stage for God to allow the salvation of many based on the righteousness of a different, perfect representative.

What if there was no original sin? What if Adam's sin had consequences only for Adam, and not for his descendents?

We all know what would have happened: You would still have sinned, and I would have too.

And if we were not represented collectively by Adam, how can we suppose that we would have been represented collectively by Christ?

In that case, we really would be in need of a personal Lord and Savior.

This way, that we have a common Lord and Savior, is much better.

Now I know this wasn't well thought out, but I'm in a grouchy mood because I need to get some work done and the piano tuner is late.

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