The Study of Sin
Bringing Truths from Different Books of the Bible into Focus, Perspective, and Understanding.
"...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23
Three Reasons Man is Guilty
A. Adam's Sin Was Imputed to Mankind. Next
1. Romans 5:12: "as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned –" (Greek aorist tense).
a. What is the meaning of the Greek aorist tense in this context? It means that "all sinned at a point in time."
b. What was the point in time at which man sinned? Evidently it means that all people sinned in Adam when he sinned.by WordExplain
c. This means that Adam was man's representative. His sin in the Garden of Eden was charged to the whole world.
2. Question: How can this be fair? Response: If we stop and think, it happens more often than we realize that someone else makes a decision for good or for ill that affects other people – a decision over which they have no control. Consider the following illustrations:
a. A basketball team was trailing by two points, 69-70. One of the players was fouled with two seconds left in the game. He had the opportunity to lead his team to victory. He missed his first foul shot. Then he missed his second shot. The other team rebounded and the buzzer sounded. Who lost the game? Many would reply that the player who failed to make the two free throws lost the game. The truth of the matter is that his whole team lost. We accept as a matter of course that certain people can make decisions or perform actions that doom a whole contingent to defeat. That is true in sports and it is also true in politics.
b. Here in America we have a representative form of government. Suppose you vote for a candidate for president from your political party. Someone from the other party is elected. You vote for candidates for the House and the Senate. The other party has a majority. The other political party imposes their will on the nation and, for all practical purposes, you have no voice in their decisions. You may not approve, but there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. You become merely an onlooker, helpless to change the outcome. Your fate is decided by others who represent you even if you would prefer they do not.
c. Consider that in our country, indeed most countries, mothers have the legal right to take the lives of their unborn children. Those children have absolutely no voice in the outcome of their mother’s decision. It always amazes me that the movement is called “Pro Choice” when the person with the most at stake – his or her own life – is given zero choice. Yet in our country alone, since Roe v. Wade in 1973, nearly 50 million people have lost their lives with no voice because their representatives arbitrarily decided they should die.
3. In the same manner, Adam was the representative of the entire human race. He made a decision on our behalf for good or for ill. (It was for ill.) Even though Eve was the first person to sin, Eve apparently did not represent mankind. Adam did, according to Rom. 5:12. It was through one man, Adam, that sin entered the world. If he had been able to resist temptation, the whole world would be sin free at that point. But since he did sin, his sin was charged to all of mankind. Adam sinned, but so did the entire human race. (It is fruitless, by the way, to speculate as to what would have happened had Eve sinned and Adam not. So we will not speculate.)
B. Man Inherited a Sin Nature. Previous. Next.
1. What is the definition of a sin nature? According to Charles C. Ryrie, “The sin nature is the capacity and inclination to do those things that can in no way commend us to God” (The Doctrine of Sin, The Ryrie Study Bible).
2. What Scriptures speak of a sin nature?
a. In Psalm 51:5 David acknowledges that he inherited his propensity to sin from his own mother, and that even as a newborn infant he was iniquitous.
b. Ephesians 2:3 speaks of a (sin) nature because of which people were the objects of wrath – "we...were by nature children of wrath"
c. In 1 John 1:8, John contemplates the self-delusion of claiming we have no sin. By that he means a sin nature. The Greek word for sin here, hamartian, has no article. The false claim is that we have no such quality as sin, when in fact we do. Acts of sin are contemplated in 1 John 1:10.
3. Because we are born with a sin nature our whole being is affected. The following areas are specified as being affected by sin:
a. The mind is affected.
1) 2 Corinthians 4:4 "the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving..."
2) Romans 1:28 "depraved mind"3) Ephesians 4:18 "darkened in their understanding"
b. The conscience is affected: 1 Timothy 4:2 "seared"
c. The will is affected: Romans 3:11 "no one seeks God"
d. The heart is affected: Ephesians 4:18 "hardness of heart"
e. The total being is affected:
1) Romans 1:18-32
a) "God gave them over...to impurity" (Rom. 1:24)
b) "God gave them over to degrading passions" (Rom. 1:26)
c) "God gave them over to a depraved mind" (Rom. 1:28)
2) Romans 3:10-18
a) Throat Rom. 3:13 "an open grave"
b) Tongues Rom. 3:13 "keep deceiving"
c) Lips Rom. 3:13 "poison of asps under their lips"
d) Mouth Rom. 3:14 "full of cursing and bitterness"
e) Feet Rom. 3:15 "swift to shed blood"; "destruction and misery are in their paths"
f) Eyes Rom. 3:18 "No fear of God before their eyes"
C. Man Personally Sins. Previous.
1. Isaiah 53:6 Each of us deliberately chooses his own way instead of God's.
2. Matthew 5:27-28; 6:1-4 Sin goes beyond an external act to an internal attitude.
3. James 4:17 Sin can involve omission of that which is good.
4. Colossians 3:17,23 Sin can involve any action in any area of my life that is not done for the Lord.
5. 1 Corinthians 8:7-13 Sin can involve my doing something that is not wrong to me, but is wrong to someone else.
6. Romans 3:23 Sin is a falling short of the standard of God's glory (which means all the goodness and greatness that God is!)
7. Romans 3:23 There is no one who does not sin.
D. The Net Result. Man is a Guilty, Condemned Sinner.
1. Though man was created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-27), that image and likeness has been marred.
2. On three counts, man is a condemned sinner, guilty of Imputed Sin, Inherited Sin, and Personal Sin. Adam’s sin was charged to his account; from Adam man has inherited a sin nature; and man personally commits acts of sin.
3. We say then, that, far from being good, man is depraved.
a. We conclude, furthermore, that man is totally depraved, meaning that his depravity affects him completely – every facet of his being has been sadly corroded by sin.
b. We do not mean that every man is equally evil; nor do we mean that every man is as evil as he could be; nor do we mean that we humans cannot detect the image of God in one another, however marred it might be.
c. What we mean is that there is nothing in man to commend himself to God. There is nothing in man that makes it possible for him to become righteous before God by virtue of his own efforts. In fact, the greatest good deeds man can perform are, to God, like but a filthy garment (Isa. 64:6).
d. The truth is that every man and woman and child is afflicted with a humanly incurable condition, Spiritual AIDS. Spiritual AIDS is defined as Acquired Immune Deficiency Sindrome. We cannot restrain ourselves. We incessantly and repeatedly sin (Romans 3:23). And there is no human cure for it.
4. The only remedy for man’s sin is for God to take the initiative. We must be saved from the tragic effects of our sin. God is 100% perfect, and for man to spend an eternity with God, we must be 100% perfect also. No amount of human effort can possibly make us 100% perfect.
5. The upshot of the matter is that we must be saved from the destructive, corrosive consequences of our own sins. We are incapable of saving ourselves; someone else must save us.
6. God in Christ has provided a way for us to be saved from sin.
a. There is something God must do. He has taken the initiative in providing the perfect sacrifice to pay for man’s sins. Jesus the Messiah, through His death and resurrection, is the perfect legal satisfaction for man’s sins (Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:1-5; 1 John 2:1-2).
b. And then there is something we humans must do. We must respond positively in faith to God’s provision. We must place our faith in Jesus, for there is no other provision for salvation in God’s great universe (John 3:16; Acts 4:12).
c. That is the only way of salvation. There is no other plan. Have you trusted in Jesus?
by James T. Bartsch, WordExplain.com
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July, 2007, updated February, 2022
Scriptures referenced are from the NASB except as otherwise noted.
WordExplain by James T. Bartsch
(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB 1995. Used by Permission.)
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Updated February 18, 2022