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February 4, 2022 12:01 am
Why do we sin? Today, R.C. Sproul considers the extent of our corrupt nature and discusses how our sin relates to the sin of Adam and Eve.
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Today on Renewing Your Mind. How would you define what soon there is such a thing as you know, things harming people around you for your euro is a hard battle wrong. It's all the same. I don't think my nature man is sinful and this is just me.
I'm not too familiar exhibit exactly what the Bible says about sin to be fairly honest with you, but I don't think by nature, man is sinful. Yes I would say no. Basically that question.
It's fascinating to discover what people believe some are quite competent others like that Lester moment we heard so sure that's why were grateful for the opportunity we have here on Renewing Your Mind to provide answers to questions of eternal significance. And today, Dr. RC Sproul addresses one of the most fundamental question is man basically good there. We talk of the fall of the human race in the nature and origin soon we were immediately pushed to contemplate the extent and scope of that sin and its impact upon us as human beings and that introduces us immediately to the whole question of the doctrine of original sin. While the doctrine of Original Sin has a lot of misunderstanding that attends it and also quite a bit of controversy surrounding it with respect to people who understand what it refers to, but so often a popular misunderstanding of the concept of original sin is that Original Sin refers to the first sin that Adam and Eve committed but that's not what Original Sin means Original Sin does not refer actually to the first sin, but it refers to the consequences or the results of that first sin, Original Sin, in fact, in and of itself is not an actual sin fact we make a distinction between Original Sin and actual sin. Original Sin describes our fallen, sinful condition out of which actual sins progress. As I've said many times. The Scriptures tell us that we are not sinners because we sin, but rather, we sin because we are sinners, that is, we have a fallen corrupt nature out of which flows the actual sins that we commit and so Original Sin then describes the fallen condition of the present human race, and virtually every church in church history has developed some doctrine of Original Sin because the Scriptures are so clear that indeed there is something inherently now innately wrong with our character and as Jonathan Edwards remarked in his treaties on Original Sin. If the Bible didn't tell us that there is a problem with our moral disposition by nature which the Bible clearly does, we would have to affirm it just on the basis of rational observation because of the pervasive presence of evil in the world of human beings. The universality of sin screams for an explanation when even in the pagan world. There is a tacit acknowledgment that no one is perfect with the immediate question that that begs is the question why not if we are by nature good or if we are by nature even neutral, we would expect a certain percentage of people to maintain their natural goodness or even their neutrality and be able to live their lives without succumbing to this problem that we call sin. Some respond that same well that's pretty hard to do. Given that we live in sinful surrounding and that we have a sinful climate in which we live because cultures fallen and civilization is fallen in society is corrupt in a course that begs the question why is society corrupt and why is culture and civilization sinful because those things are made up of human beings.
And again if we were naturally good and unblemished.
If we came into this world, even morally neutral with no prior disposition decision whatsoever, you would expect at least 50% of the civilizations to be absent from corruption and so we have this problem that is manifest. We are fallen, and society is fallen, and we have met the enemy and they are us.
We are society and so again we raise the question, how is it that human beings are born in a state of moral defection again. The Scriptures teach us that this Original Sin is itself a judgment of a righteous God upon a good creature that he made and which creature fell from obedience to him and as a penalty upon Adam and Eve for their sin. God gave them over to those wicked inclinations and knowledge that God gave Adam and Eve over to their sinful impulses but all of their progeny as well.
Now how we are related to Adam and Eve's sin and how that guilt and wickedness is transferred to us in future generations is the subject of our next lecture and we want to spend anymore time on it right now but rather I want to look at the classic study of this business of Original Sin that was undertaken by St. Augustine and was at the center of the so-called Palladian controversy in the early church we see that Augustine, in analyzing the human situation of sinfulness said that when Adam and Eve were first created, that God made them with what Augustine called the pase car which simply is Latin for the possibility or the ability to sin.
The work the car a means to sin. If we say that something is pure we say it's impeccable or if we want to describe a little insignificance in the color peccadillo both words coming from the Latin perchlorate which means the scent about Augustine said that I believe in creation were made with the ability to sin.
They were made as sinners, but they had the power or the possibility of setting we know that because they send them in sitting. They didn't do the impossible. They did what they obviously had the power to do but sit Augustine that Adam and Eve were created also with the pase known le Carre which was the ability to not sin.
God gave them the command not to touch or to eat of the forbidden fruit from the tree and they had the moral ability to obey God.
So they had both the ability to sin and the ability to not sin. Now what happened in the fall. According to Augustine is that the human race lost the pase nonpoor car and in its place got what was expressed of the double negative, the known pase mom le Carre, which they translated means the inability to not sin. What Augustine is saying here is that the power of sin is so deeply rooted in the hearts and souls of mortal people that it is impossible for us to not sin.
We are so sinful by nature that we cannot expect ever to find a person who lives their entire lives without sinning. The only person who ever accomplished a sinless life was Christ and this inability to not sin in theology we call the moral inability of human beings. Now that doesn't mean that we can't do anything that outwardly conforms to the law of God.
We can for example of mixed motives or for felicitous accident.
We can accidentally keep the law outwardly.
For example, my favorite analogy of this is the person who enjoys driving an automobile 55 miles an hour that's what he prefers to do. He likes that speed.
His car performs well and he feel safe and comfortable and so he's driving down the highway at 55 miles an hour in the speed limit sign out there says 55 mph everybody else is doing 65 or 70 and the policeman sees this man happily driving down the highway at 55 miles an hour and the policeman pulls him over and doesn't give him a ticket gives him a citation for being a good and safe driver is an award for his obedience because he's obeying the law, then the trooper goes on his way in the fellow gets back on the highway.
Pretty soon comes and there were schools around it says 15 miles an hour and he keeps driving 55 miles an hour ride through the school zone because the motive for his driving 55 is that's what he likes to do. He has no desire to obey the law or the civil magistrate.
It was just a fortuitous circumstance that had them obeying it at a certain time and that's what the theologians call civic virtue, sometimes for our own best interests. We find ourselves actually obeying the law of God. We may not steal because maybe in our environment. We found the crime doesn't pay, or we may do noble gestures for the applause of men or because were running for office. We have some other motivation but the one motivation that is singularly lacking in a fallen person is the motivation to obey the law out of a pristine love for the God of the law. We remember that the great commandment is the commandment thou shalt love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your mind and with all of your strength and the love your neighbor as much as you love yourself no the way Luther would look at something like that.
What he would say is that the great transgression would be a violation of the great commandment, but we don't think in those terms.
We realize that nobody that we know loves God perfectly with all of their heart. We know that nobody loves God with the totality of their mind when why do we make mistakes about understanding the Bible.
Why we make errors in theology. I tell my students in the seminary.
I said you know when we make an error in theology. It's basically because of sin, we want to say wealth because the Bible is too hard to interpret where the Bible is confusing. The Bible is ambiguous and we just can't find the right interpretation. So wait a minute. This is God's word and God is not the author of confusion and God has revealed himself for our edification. Clearly, but when we come to the text we come with our distorted biases interfering with the light of God's word.
There many things that this book teaches that we just don't want to hear, and so will find ways to twisted and distorted so we can escape the judgment and criticism that it brings to us. Not only that sometimes we make a so-called innocent mistake where we didn't realize that the translation we were reading from was defective at this certain point where the we didn't master the structure of Greek grammar or Hebrew grammar or the Greek language of the Hebrew language and vocabulary and how can we help at that we didn't know those things well if we love God with all of our mind. What kind of mastery of his word. We we spent so much time filling our minds with other things than on knowledge of his word, and so were lazy were not diligent in our pursuit of his truth in all of these things enter in to the distortions that we had about when the Bible speaks about being good and doing what is right.
Jesus says nobody does good except God pulses there is none righteous, no not one.
There is none who even does good.
That seems extreme because we see people around us all the time, relatively speaking, doing good thing and that's what the theologians mean when they talk about civic were civil virtue mothers and sacrifice for their children and we see people returning wallets that they found without keeping the money we see all kinds of good deeds that people do, but for an act to be truly good to really hit the mark that standard or the norm of the law of God.
Not only must the deed correspond outwardly or externally to what the law requires, but it also must be motivated by a heart that loves God fully, and yet even in my most devout moments, there's a pound of flesh mixed and there is not even in redeemed humanity. We still have less than perfect obedience that we offer to God. And while were living in a state of estrangement or alienation from him.
That's aggravated all the more so what the theologians mean when they speak about moral inability is that original sin while we are in this fallen condition while we are in the state of non-pro se nonpar car. We are not morally able to do the things of God to do the good that God requires. Well Jesus put it this way when he described the condition of me.
He said no man can come to me unless it is given to him by the father so that, unless points to an exception and Jesus starts with a universal negative that describes human ability is not saying that no man is allowed to come to me unless he is invited by the father he says no man can know one is able to come to me unless God does something that's why goes on to say that we are born in the flesh, and that word flesh generally refers to this fallen condition whereby we are in bondage to sin. Dead in sin that another phrase that the Bible uses is under sin were not on top of sin sins on top of us. And so the bow tells us that the desires of our hearts in our natural state are only wicked continue and for us to embrace Christ to come to God and to do the things of God.
The holy things of God requires that we somehow be liberated from this prison of original sin which is accomplished for us as we will see later by the sovereign supernatural work of God the Holy Spirit is what Jesus said.
The two person to even see the kingdom of God. Malone enter the kingdom of God. They have to be born again because that which is born of the flesh is what flesh and in their flesh. Jesus says we can do nothing. And that's not a little something and so we because of our fallenness or in such a morally impotent position that it takes nothing less than a supernatural work of God that Paul calls the quickening of the Holy Spirit to bring us to spiritual life of the state of spiritual death knell. Not everyone in Christian history agrees with this Augustinian concept of moral inability but many theories abound in the church today. The say yes there something wrong. We are not perfect. We are fallen, and the fall is even serious, but we still have an island of righteousness left in our souls by which we can take the first step towards our reparation and we can begin with a righteous inclination to reach out to God were the Augustinian view says that we are so corrupt we're so dead, not just sick or dead, not just temporarily detained, but we are in bondage we are imprisoned to sin that we can do nothing apart from God's rescuing grace that initiates the process of our redemption art so you have that debate goes on in the Christian community between the scope or the extent of the fall and the Augustinian tradition which I represent says that the fall extends to the whole person and every degree in every part of us into our minds into our hearts into our bodies, our bodies fail us.
Our eyesight becomes dim our hair becomes gray.
Our strength dissipates.
We become ill. We die and the Bible said all of that is a result of the influence of sin upon our bodies, but the power of sin affects our bodies it affects our hearts. It affects our wills it affects our minds we can still think we still have brains. We still have minds, but our thinking gets distorted.
We make logical errors. We allow bias to cloud our judgment.
We still have a will. We haven't lost the faculty or the ability to make choices.
We are still creatures made in the image of God.
When I talked about the Margo I said that we have to distinguish between the image in the narrow sense of image in a wider sense, and with the fall we lost the image of God in the narrow sense we lost the ability to be perfectly righteous, but in that loss of the narrow image. We are still in the image of God in the wider sense in the sense that we are still human. We still have wills, we still have minds, we still have hearts we still have bodies as corrupt as they may be our humanity has not been erased by the fall. It is the power of our humanity that has been so radically affected by and through the fall leaves us in this state that Paul summarizes for us in the third chapter where he says this there is none righteous, no not one. There is none who understands, there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside and they have together become unprofitable. There is none who does good, no not one. If I got on national television today and I said let me give you my personal assessment of the moral condition of people in America and I slowly tell you what I think. I don't think there's anybody in this country whose righteous, not a single one.
There's nobody here who understands and there's nobody who by nature seeks after God. All this business about seekers that we hear about who's at the scribe because the Bible says there's no one in their natural state who seeks after God all become unprofitable.
All of going out of the way and there's not even who does good, no not one. If I said that on American television today.
I would be left to score forgiving a lunatic assessment of the moral character of the human race. That is the assessment of God as he judges us according to his moon and according to his standard. What he means by goodness and according what he means by righteousness and according what he means by understanding Exodus seems natural state is source. He mentioned it's not a popular assessment but it's absolutely correct. But that's exactly what makes the gospel. Such good news. Grateful you join us today for Renewing Your Mind with Dr. RC Sproul we been featuring selected messages from his comprehensive series foundations. This is a video series 60 messages at all and that we'd like to send it to you for your gift of any amount to look in your ministry. This is the final day that were making this special edition set available to you.
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