Dr. Jack L. Arnold
WHY I BELIEVE
The Sinfulness of Man
conflict between philosophy (naturalism) and Christianity
(supernaturalism) revolves around the nature of man. Is man basically good or
evil? There can be no question
that the Bible teaches men are basically sinful.
proper grasp of the fact that all men are sinners is essential to the
understanding of our so great salvation. Sin and redemption go hand in hand. Where sin is minimized, redemption
is impoverished. NOTE: Only when we have had a malady
accurately diagnosed, will we be willing to take the medicine prescribed,
so only when a person sees he is a sinner will he flee to Christ for
- Sin is
what God says it is and human opinion and philosophy must bend to the
testimony of the Word of God in which God declares the true nature of man.
DEFINITION OF SIN
Words: The Bible uses three basic words to describe sin. Sin which means “to miss the
mark.” Iniquity which means
“to pervert” or “to make crooked.”
Trespass or transgress which connotes “rebellion.”
Passages: According to the Bible all men are guilty of personal sin
(Rom. 3:23). Sin is rebellion to
the law of God (I John 3:4) and is always against God’s authority and person
(Psa. 51:4). Sin may also be a
failure to do the good which man knows he should do (James 4:17). There are, therefore, sins of
commission and omission.
Conclusion: Sin is a failure to reach God’s holy standard by going
astray and a failure to do what is right in a moral sense. Sin is voluntary rebellion against God,
so that man is not only a sinner but he is a guilty sinner before a holy
UNIVERSALITY OF SIN
- Biblical: The universality of sin is
acknowledged in every part of the Bible.
- O.T.: I Kings 8:46; Eccl. 7:20; Psa.
14:1-3; 130:3; 143:2; Isa. 53:6; 64:6; Gen. 8:21.
- N.T.: Rom. 3:10-12; 3:20, 23; Luke
11:13; Mark 7:21-22; I John 1:8-10.
baby never has to be taught to do evil but must be instructed to do good.
is filled with the wicked deeds of men.
news is 75% about man’s rebellion to God’s order.
must pass laws in order to protect them from the evils of all men.
- Men must
have a police force to maintain law and order.
do we put locks on doors and windows if men are not sinful?
Definition: The sin of Adam and Eve, the first human parents, against
The Event: Adam and Eve had a free will under the sovereignty of God,
for while God did not force Adam and Eve to sin, it did not take Him by
surprise or happen outside of His control. Adam and Eve had no sin nature as men have today, so they
were free not to sin.
Though they could be tempted, they could not be compelled or impelled to
sin. Adam and Eve chose as a
deliberate act of the will to sin; this was a free act. After they had sinned, they immediately
became conscious of their guilt and hid themselves from God. The results of their sin were
immediate. They were separated
from God and aware of guilt. A
curse was pronounced no them and their posterity which involved spiritual and
physical death, condemnation and separation and the dreadful spread of evil. Adam and Eve acquired a sin nature that
affected every area of their personality – will, mind and emotion. The Fall would have devastating effects
upon all the descendants of Adam and Eve.
Paul Little comments,
As a result of the Fall, the image
of God in man was badly marred in both its moral and its natural dimensions. Man lost his original inclinations
toward God and became a perverted creature, inclined away from his
Creator. His personality was sadly
marred. His intellect became
bound, his emotions corrupted, and his will enslaved. He lost his true manhood. (Know What You Believe)
- Definition: Original sin is an explanation of why
all men are sinners. Man’s
universal sin is traced back to the Fall of Adam and Eve. All men inherit a common corrupt
nature which always tends towards evil. Perhaps “original sin” is a misleading term, and it may
be better to use the term “inborn depravity.”
Teaching: David makes a
clear statement that he was born with a sin (Adamic) nature (Psa. 51:5).
Teaching: Our Lord dealt
with the depravity of human nature and treated sin as a condition as well
as an act (Matt. 26:41; Mark 7:21-22). Sins are the result of a sin nature. In other words, we are not sinners
because we sin; we sin because we are sinners.
Teaching: The Apostle
Paul connected the guilt of the human race with the Fall (I Cor. 15:22),
for Adam was the Christian’s representative when he sinned (Rom.
5:12-21). Little says,
Adam represented us just as, when
our government declares war, it represents, affects, and involves us. As a result of Adam’s sin, all who are
in Adam die. This includes each of
us. We tend to think that things
might have turned out differently if we had been in Adam’s place. But each of us, by doing as Adam did,
has ratified the decision our first parents made to rebel and disobey God. Who would claim he had never sinned? And so we are justly condemned today
not only for Adam’s sin, but for our own sin.
NOTE: The guilt, penalty and condemnation of Adam came upon all
men by imputation and by nature for all men have sinned in Adam. This includes children as well as adults. This may not seem fair to the human
mind but this is what the Word of God declares.
on the Fall
(Pelagions, Socinians): This
view originated with Pelagius, a British monk in the 5th
century, and teaches that man is merely diverted. Pelagius taught that all men could
be sinless if they chose to be, and that some men have lived free from
sin. Adam was born with a
free will and his sin was a bad example to the human race and affected
only him. Pelagius denied the
whole concept of original sin, and said that Adam’s sin did not pass to
every member of the human race.
He believed that men were sinners only by acts and could, by these
same acts, live without sin.
He denied the grace of God in salvation, asserting that man had no
need for supernatural help to live a righteous life. Pelagianism was condemned as
heretical by the Church at the Council of Catheridge in A.D. 418 and the
Council of Ephesus in A.D. 431.
NOTE: Pelagius’ views
are the forerunner to 20th century modernism which says that
man is basically good with no inherent sin nature. Any bad in a man can be overcome
by education and a right environment. Modernism, as did Pelagianism, accepts universalism
(all men will be saved).
(Semi-Pelagianism, Arminians, Roman Catholics): They say that man is only diseased because of sin. This is a compromise position
between Pelagianism and Augustinianism. They taught that all men were affected by Adam’s sin
but not so much that the human will could not respond. The sinner begins the work of
turning to God by his free will and then God puts forth His grace; thus
the sinner cooperates with God in salvation. The saint can lose his salvation if he does not
continue to do good works in his life, for if he chose his way into
salvation then he can choose his way out of salvation. Semi-pelagianism was condemned by
the Church as heretical at the Council of Orange in A.D. 529. NOTE: This viewpoint in one form or another is widely held by
many modern day Fundamentalists.
This view teaches that all men are totally depraved and spiritually
dead. Augustine, who opposed
Pelagius, believed that Adam transmitted to his descendants, because of
the unity of the human race, both his guilt and the corruption in
belonging to it. All men
inherit Adam’s corrupt nature and is dead spiritually. Man has lost his freedom not to
sin. He is free to carry out
the desires of his nature – but since his nature itself is corrupt,
he is really free only to do evil.
The will is free but not freed from sin. Though man has a free choice, man in his natural state
always chooses a perverse course.
Thus there is a need for supernatural grace to be applied to the
sinner for that person to turn to Jesus Christ in faith. NOTE: Augustinianism goes back to the teachings of the
Apostle Paul for the right views on sin and grace. Thus Augustinianism is closest to
the Biblical view.
SPIRITUAL CONDITION OF MEN BECAUSE OF THE FALL
is corrupt in nature.
Every aspect of man is corrupted because of sin. Intellect is corrupted (Eph. 4:18;
II Cor. 4:4-5; Tit. 1:15); conscience is perverted (I Tim. 4:2; Tit.
1:15); heart is wicked (Jer. 17:5-9); flesh and spirit are filthy (II Cor.
7:1); the will is corrupt (Rom. 1:19-23, 29). NOTE: Man
is totally depraved because every area of his life is blighted by sin but
this does not mean that everything about him is totally bad.
is alienated from God.
is in bondage to sin (John 8:31-34; Rom. 6:17; Eph. 2:3; Tit. 3:3).
is unable to respond to God (Eph. 2:1; I Cor. 2:14; II Cor. 4:4-5;
Rom. 8:7-8; Rom. 3:10-12; Eph. 4:18; I John 5:19). NOTE: The unsaved man in his natural state is unable to respond
to God even though he is held responsible to do so. However, by the grace of God he
can respond. Therefore, there
must be the sovereign works of the Holy Spirit on a sinner – convicting,
drawing, calling and regenerating – if men are going to be saved.
root problem in the world today is not ignorance or poverty. The root problem is sin. Man is alienated from God, and is
self-centered. All conflicts
between races, economic classes, and nations are nothing more than
operates according to his sinful nature.
men are sinners in Adam but the truth of the gospel is that men can be
made righteous saints in Christ (Rom. 5:19). One gets into Christ when he trusts Jesus Christ as his
Lord and Savior.