Does Man Have A Sinful Nature?
This subject has probably confused and deceived more people than any other. Many of today’s “religious” people believe and teach a doctrine that says that man is born in sin. These people believe and teach a doctrine once taught by Augustine in the 400-500’s A.D., but made famous by John Calvin in the 1500’s.
Evidently, this false doctrine was taught even before Augustine or Calvin. We know this because God saw it necessary to tell the Israelites that man could not inherit sin. “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin” (Deut. 24:16). Even before this, God had told Cain that “sin lies at the door” for him (Gen. 4:7). If it was true that he had inherited a sinful nature from Adam, Cain should have been told that his sin was already within him! Further, God said, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer because of the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father suffer because of the iniquity of the son …” (Ezek. 18:4, 20).
Looking to the New Testament, we learn that God has not changed His mind about sin. It is the responsibility of the individual. Paul wrote, “He that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons” (Col. 3:25). James said, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (Jas. 1:14-15). No, there is no such thing as inheriting sin from a parent, or from Adam.
All Things That Pertain To Life And Godliness
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Pet. 2:3). We are in the habit of saying that God has given us in the gospel everything that is essential to life and godliness; but Peter goes a little farther than that and affirms that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. There is a difference. To illustrate: There are certain things that are essential to an automobile; and there are other things that pertain to an automobile; but are not essential to it. When you have all things that are essential to an automobile, you can go to a supply house and purchase a lot of extras that pertain to an automobile. But suppose you have all the essentials of an automobile, and then you add all the things that pertain to an automobile, nothing else could be added that would make it any more complete. God has not only given us all things that are essential to life and godliness, but he has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness.
Do religious people believe it? If so, why all these questions about things that God has said nothing about? If you will read the verse again, you will notice that he has given us all these things through the knowledge of Christ. The knowledge of Christ means the knowledge that has been revealed about him — the gospel of Christ. Hence, through the gospel God has not only given us all things that are essential to life and godliness, but all things that pertain to life and godliness. If there is, therefore, anything in your religion that did not come to you through the gospel, it does not so much as pertain to life and godliness. Is it not time to check up on our religion and see if we have anything that we cannot find in the New Testament? Any person of intelligence can do that for himself.
Changing Names Doesn’t Change Sin
Calling a poor person “economically challenged” instead of poor does not change his financial standing, does it? Referring to someone as “vertically challenged” instead of “short” has not added “a cubit to his stature” (Matt. 7:27; Lk. 12:25) has it? We live in a time in which many people prefer such descriptions instead of speaking plainly and clearly.
Spiritually, if you call one a “good ol’ boy just wanting to have a good time” instead of a sinner, has that changed his spiritual standing in the sight of God? By no means! One who is a sinner is separated from God, and stands to lose his soul if he dies in that condition (Isa. 59:1-2; Rom. 6:23). There is nothing “good” or enjoyable about that at all, regardless of the sin in which one is engaged (drunkenness, homosexuality, drugs, unscriptural marriages, lying, etc.)!
The Caneyville church of Christ allows the Bible to speak candidly, and clearly about one’s spiritual condition (I Pet. 4:11). Who could ask for anything better than that? Just speak as the Bible speaks! Paul taught the necessity of using “great plainness of speech” (II Cor. 3:12). This was because of the hope promised to those in Christ, as well as the torment promised to those outside of Christ (I Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8). God wants none to perish (II Pet. 3:9). Therefore, all men need to know, not that they’re “good ol’ boys” and given a wink and a smile, but that their eternal soul rests on the decisions made today.
Make the right decision and become a Christian today before it is too late (Mk. 16:16; II Cor. 6:2).
Excuses Are Not Erasers!
How many times have we had to listen to folks make excuses for why they did or did not do something? In fact, it is almost a national obsession to excuse ourselves by blaming others for our mistakes! This attitude, unfortunately, is nothing new.
Consider Adam and Eve. They are the world’s first excuse-makers. After they had sinned, Adam blamed Eve (and God, Gen. 3:12), and Eve blamed the serpent (Gen. 3:13) for their sin. Yes, Satan presented the temptation, but yielding to that temptation was a decision they made on their own. They were responsible for their sin and no one else! They were guilty, and their excuses did not make the act any less sinful.
When King Saul sinned by offering the sacrifice that Samuel was supposed to do, he offered many excuses for his sin. He said the people were scattering, that Samuel was late in arriving to offer the sacrifice, and that the Philistines were gathering for war and he feared they would attack before the sacrifice to God had been offered (I Sam. 13:11-12). Yet, for all of his excuses, that did not stop God from punishing him for his sin (I Sam. 13:14).
When people offer excuses for their sins today, that does not erase the guilt of sin from their souls. The only thing that can do this is the blood of Christ (Rev. 1:5). We come in contact with the cleansing effects of that blood when we are baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16). Friend, stop making excuses and come to Christ and have your sins cleansed (blotted out, Acts 3:19). Have Christ erase them today!
Is One Born Guilty Of Sin?
The teaching that man is born a sinner is fairly common in the religious world. Is this true? What does the Bible say?
In the 18th chapter of Ezekiel, God devotes the entire chapter to disproving the teaching that man is born a sinner. He tells His people, “Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:4, 20). I think that it is interesting to note that if these people had listened to God in Deuteronomy 24:16, perhaps God would not have had to devote an entire chapter to inherited sin. Deuteronomy 24:16 says, “Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall children be put to death because of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.” Please read Exodus 32:30-33 also.
In the New Testament, we also see that man does not inherit the sins of his father. In Colossians 3:25, we read, “But he that does wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons.” To say that infants possess inherited sin is to say something the Bible does not say.
In Romans 9:10-11, Paul discusses Jacob and Esau. Paul says, “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad -- in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls.” This verse is very clear in showing us that man does not inherit sin or righteousness from his father. We are responsible for our own sins and no one else’s!