THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN:
TOTAL HEREDITARY DEPRAVITY, INHERITED SIN
"If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God."
I Peter 4:11
I am amazed at how many of the commentaries, Bible dictionaries, and lexicons are Calvinist. As I read and analyze some of them, I cannot help but be alarmed since many of my brethren use them as tools. I am not going to deny that some of them are good and useful and that not all of them accept all the concepts of Calvinist theology, but there are presuppositions running throughout the commentaries and deeply embedded in many of their conclusions. One can greatly benefit from them, but it is vital to discern between good and evil.
"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good. (I Thess. 5:21).
Notice what one Bible Dictionary
says regarding "original sin."
"Original sin. "Our first parents being the root of all mankind, the guilt of their sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature were conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation." Adam was constituted by God the federal head and representative of all his posterity, as he was also their natural head, and therefore when he fell they fell with him (Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:22-45). His probation was their probation, and his fall their fall. Because of Adam's first sin all his posterity came into the world in a state of sin and condemnation, i.e., (1) a state of moral corruption, and (2) of guilt, as having judicially imputed to them the guilt of Adam's first sin. "Original sin" is frequently and properly used to denote only the moral corruption of their whole nature inherited by all men from Adam."
The primary basis of Calvinism and Denominationalism is the so-called doctrine of "original sin."
Calvinism asserts three things:
That man is born in sin:
Calvinism states that man is hereditarily born a sinner with a corrupt nature, i.e., that man inherits Adam's sin and has no free will. This is the doctrine of total hereditary depravity. The word "total" means all, full, complete. "Hereditary" means that one receives, inherits it from the parents. In this case, it means from Adam, therefore, Adam's original sin. The word "depravity" means bad, evil, wickedness, lawlessness. Thus, each person born is born totally, utterly sinful.
The Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner directly:
Since man is born a sinner with a corrupt nature, he is not able to believe in God. Therefore, God has to do everything for him, and He has to elect those that He wants to be saved. They imply that Christ died only for the elected ones and that the Holy Spirit has to touch their hearts miraculously (regenerate them) so that they can believe and be born again. Lest they fall from grace, Jesus' righteousness must be imputed. This doctrine implies that man can do nothing to be free from his sad state of deprivation. He is totally inactive in his redemption. The "enabling force" of the Holy Spirit must regenerate the wicked sinner before he responds to the calling of the Gospel. Therefore, this "direct action or working of the Holy Spirit" takes place without the individual's will, election or choice. Given the individual is entirely dead, he must be given life before he can act. Hence, the Holy Spirit, without means or agencies, regenerates, giving life to the soul.
The regenerate cannot die:
So once the Holy Spirit imparts life, that life cannot be lost: "once saved, always saved." And since man cannot undo his physical birth, neither can he lose his spiritual birth; thus saith Calvinism. Once born of the flesh, one cannot be born again; so once born of the Spirit, one cannot be unborn. "Once in grace, always in grace."
The above analysis is a fair description and representation of the many beliefs and creeds of denominationalism, Calvinism. Their line of defense focuses mostly on the events back in the garden of Eden, where they initially assumed this absurd theology. It is not surprising to see a significant division among many Calvinists on this issue. Why? Because there is a diversity of different beliefs among them; therefore, they spend a considerable amount of time writing volumes arguing about their disagreements over several points. However, there is one thing they do agree on and have in common, and that is the belief that man inherits a corrupt nature, "original sin" (man is born with a sinful nature).
This powerful false teaching
has successfully deceived many. In Matthew 7:15-23, Jesus warns us of false
teachers. Who are these false teachers? Simply those who disobey I Peter 4:11:
"Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."
Those who teach the doctrine of original sin, total depravity, corrupt nature, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, etc. do not speak according to the oracles of God.
Often the apostle Paul writes of those who proclaim or teach another Jesus, another Spirit, another Gospel (2 Cor. 11:4). And this is exactly what the Calvinists teach: another God; one that is very different from what the Bible describes; a God of love, (I John 4:16).
The doctrine original sin and sinful nature is one of Satan's most powerful and deceitful tools used in the deception of mankind. As with any of my studies, I hope you can find it useful as you and I search for the Truth in matters of sound doctrine.
Consider the following errors resulting from this false doctrine of original sin. Here are the major tenets:
I. CALVINISM AND ADAM: (MAN IS BORN IN SIN (TOTAL DEPRAVITY, SINFUL NATURE, INHERITED SIN, ETC.):
From Genesis to the book
of Revelation the Bible teaches that all men have free will and that he is morally
responsible or accountable before God. The Word of God explicitly teaches that
"Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law." (I John 3:4).
Therefore, no Bible text shows that sin is inherited, or that one is born in sin. This is nothing but one of Satan’s biggest lies or false doctrines (1 Tim. 4:1) to deceive all men about sin. Satan's ministers (2 Corinthians 11:15) teach that man’s sins are so great and so bad that the only explanation for it is that they are born depraved (corrupt). They speak of the intensity, passion and strong inclination in always wanting to do evil, concluding that man is born corrupt, devoid of divine life, thus becoming God’s enemy. The practical consequence of the original sin false teaching is that sins are reduced, and the guilt for personal sin is transferred to our ancestors. Man sins because that is his nature; therefore he must do it. Satan wants man to say willfully,
“We sin all the time
and cannot help it.”
"That is the way man is."
"It is human to sin."
"Humans sin because they're humans and that is natural for them."
This, of course, gives them license to excuse sin. These false concepts contradict the Bible from cover to cover on man's responsibility to His Creator and His Word.
In Genesis 3:16-19 we see the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin without any reference to an “original sin” that was to be inherited by Adam’s descendants. Such a fallacious concept contradicts all that the Bible teaches on the subject of sin!
The Bible speaks of many kinds of sin: in deed, in word, by thought, by refusing to do God’s will and much more. But original sin? What verse in the Bible speaks of original sin? If there is one, I would like to know!
Indeed, Satan has always persuaded the carnal man to blame others for his sins. And since Adam sinned, all his descendants also sinned, and all men inherit the supposed sinful nature of Adam. Thus, man is not morally responsible since he cannot choose between good and evil. According to this false doctrine, everyone (all mankind) is born sinful. All babies are born utterly corrupt, depraved of all righteousness; incapable of having a pure heart and unable to believe. And he sins because he is a sinner and cannot help it. And it is human to sin. This is what is called “original sin.” That is why some (like the Catholics) practice "infant baptism" which of course is not in any sense Biblical or ordained by God. Rather they make fun of the teachings of the New Testament over baptism which is the immersion in water of the penitent sinner for the forgiveness of his sins, (Acts 2:38).
Satan has always made things chaotic for the Lord’s church. He used the famous “St. Augustine,” the son of a Christian mother and pagan father. He lived an immoral life searching for the most suitable path through several philosophies. After his mother had died, he converted in 387 AD. He became a monk and eventually the bishop of Hippo in northern Africa. He was impressed with the moral depravity of man, which he believed to be inborn (influenced by his experiences and philosophy). He also believed that the elect were predestined by God to obtain salvation. He wrote a book named “Confessions,” where he retells his life story. He is one of the most influential writers and teachers of the vast world of Catholicism/Protestantism. He taught that because of Adam’s sin everyone is guilty of “original sin.” That man is born with a corrupt nature, sinful, totally depraved, unable to do good or righteousness and believe in God.
In John 3:16 John said,
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
This Jehovah God obviously is not the god of Calvinism. The god of Calvinism knows nothing about the salvation of "whoever believes in him."
Those who support and teach this absurd doctrine of original sin ignore what John 7:37 states:
"On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink."
Notice it says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink." The god of Calvinism asserts that man has no free will, therefore, even though he is thirsty, he still cannot come to Christ to receive the water of life on his own. Amazing!
Another text, they ignore
is Matthew 11:28 that says,
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Again, the god of Calvinism
says that since man has no free will, he cannot accept Christ's invitation on
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)
The god of Calvinism says that it is impossible for anyone to respond to Christ's call but that the elected ones have to wait until the Holy Spirit works miraculously in their heart to regenerate them and then God will give them the faith they need. This is absurd!
They refuse to acknowledge that God shows no partiality "but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him." (Acts 10:34-35).
The God of the Bible desires all men to come to the knowledge of Him that they might be saved.
Calvinists along with other false teachers site many Bible texts that speak of the enormity of sin: Genesis 6:5; Romans 3:10-18, Psalm 51:5; Job 14:14; Exodus 20:5; John 3:5; Ephesians 2:3; Romans 5:12 and following. They conclude that since man is so corrupt (depraved), he had to be born with a sinful nature.
Furthermore, they say that the corrupt man,the sinner can never change: They use the following texts to support their argument: Job 14:14; Jeremiah 13:23.
II. FALSE TEACHING OF ROMANS 7:14-15 ABOUT ORIGINAL SIN:
It is perplexing to me how
many false teachers (including some of my brethren) twist the Bible teaching
of Romans 7:14-15 regarding our supposed sinful nature.
"For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
In this text Paul in no way is saying that man is born a sinner or in sin, unable to obey God and live a faithful and righteous life. The focal point of Romans 7 is the sad condition of the Jews, no matter how truthful or sincere they were, under the Law of Moses. Notice that Paul is merely talking about the Law of Moses saying "I" as someone who is representing the condemned condition of the Jews. Therefore, in Romans 7:24 he concludes by saying,
"Wretched man that I
am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"
Later in Romans 8:1-2, Paul speaks of the Gospel of Christ as the remedy for their condemned condition.
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death."
III. THE FALSE DOCTRINE OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD:
The false doctrine of original sin asserts that one diminishes and denies the sovereignty of God when he says that man has a free will and can obey out of his own will to be saved, and take part in the process of salvation. On the contrary, we exalt the sovereignty of God when we emphasize man's obedience since this implies man's humiliation and the exaltation of God.
IV. THE FOUNDATION, THE ROOT AND THE SOURCE OF MANY OTHER DOCTRINAL ERRORS:
The doctrine of "original
sin" or "total depravity" is nothing but the wicked foundation
for several other false doctrines as unavoidable consequences of this error.
Unconditional election (or arbitrary predestination of some men and angels to salvation and others to condemnation).
Irresistible grace (that the elect are regenerated only by the working of the Holy Spirit).
Perseverance of the saints (that once saved, always saved, and that man can never fall from grace).
Having accepted the concept that man is born totally depraved of righteousness, the other four points of Calvinism are necessary to complete their theology.
The most popular false doctrines
Salvation by faith alone. They refuse to accept that "faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ," (Romans 10:17). They rather twist Ephesians 2:8 for their own convenience, saying that faith itself is not of our own doing but rather it is the gift of God. Aha! How convenient it is to find texts to suit our error! The devil has succeeded in deceiving a multitude of people with this false teaching.
Infant baptism to take away original sin (Roman Catholic Church). If the baby is born with original sin and since baptism is for the remission of sins (and it is according to them), then logically the baby must be baptized (but instead of baptizing which is immersion, they only moisten the baby's forehead with a wet finger). Such false teachers do not care about their lack of biblical authority for such so-called "infant baptism."
Others teach that it does not matter what one believes. For that reason, they deny that baptism is necessary for salvation. Likewise, they have the audacity to say that all churches are the same and it is not necessary to be a member of any church.
The truth is that all these false doctrines are in one way or another related directly or indirectly to the fundamental error, that man is born corrupt. Then, he can do nothing to be saved and whatever he does, it does not matter. And if God wants to save him, he will be saved. Therefore, once this false foundation is destroyed, the other false doctrines fall of their own weight.
V. ALL BABIES ARE BORN INNOCENT AND PURE:
The Bible makes this clear! Christ and the apostle Paul affirmed it as well. Hence, the false doctrine that all babies are born sinful is a false doctrine, period!
In Matthew 18:3, Jesus said,
"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
False teachers believe they know more than our Heavenly Father when they brazenly claim that Christ did not understand original sin.
"But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Now, if all children are born corrupt, sinful, then all that are in the kingdom of heaven are corrupt as well. What do you think?
I Corinthians 14:20,
"Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature."
So if all infants are born corrupt, how is it then, that Paul says, "be infants in evil?"
"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.
If man is born a sinner, totally depraved, as many false teachers claim, then Jesus was born a corrupt sinner, totally depraved and inclined to do evil. This is even revolting to the false teacher, and that is exactly why they feel compelled to invent some other false doctrines to correct their false teaching. One of these false and absurd doctrines is the so-called "immaculate conception" of Mary. How intrepid!
"The oracle of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him."
From this prophecy, we infer that the spirit of man is not corrupt. It would be blasphemy to affirm that God could form an evil spirit in the baby or infant. These who teach such a thing must take heed!
My question: Is the baby that is formed in the womb, the spirit and body of a man, corrupted by God? Even to ask such a question is an accusation and blasphemy of our God who forms the spirit of man within him!
Undoubtedly, the “god” of Catholicism and Calvinism (and other religions that teach this false doctrine) is not the God of love we find in the Bible. (I John 4:16). “God is love.” What kind of love would pervert or corrupt the spirit of a baby before he is born?
Genesis 6:5 speaks of the perversity and wickedness of man. Notice that it does not say that man is born that way. Verse 12 states, “God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.”
"Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?"
"In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.’ Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man."
Therefore, those who teach that we are born with a corrupt and evil spirit are blaming God!
VI. FALSE TEACHERS TWIST THE TRUTH TO THEIR OWN DESTRUCTION:
"And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures." (2 Peter 3:15-16).
The word "twist," is translated from the Greek word "strebloó," meaning "properly, 'to twist, causing torture'; (figuratively) to twist (pervert) language." Peter uses the word to suggest that the ignorant and unlearned twist the writings of Paul to force them to say something that they do not. (used only in 2 Pet 3:16) (Strong's Concordance). [The noun-form (streble) literally refers to an instrument of torture ("a winch"). Hence 4761 /streblóo ("twist, wrest") implies "to torture; put to the rack," i.e. to twist or dislocate (like limbs on a torture rack).] To twist, turn awry (Herodotus); to torture, put to the rack. Metaphorically, to pervert, of one who wrests or tortures language to a false sense, 2 Peter 3:16. (Thayer's Greek Lexicon).
This is exactly what many false teachers do with the Scriptures (they twist them for their own convenience) when they refuse to accept it as truth. They literally turn awry the Scriptures on the "instrument of torture" until it says what they want it to say. Such instruments of torture are merely their preconceived dogmas, notions, and creeds that they have invented to minimize man's responsibility, accountability, and lawlessness.
Consider the following sacred Scriptures which they love to twist:
Though the text speaks of Adam and Eve's sin and the consequences of their sin, they do not imply that Adam fell into a state of sin just because he committed one sin. Of course, when one sins, one immediately "falls" from God's favor.
"Behold, Jehovah’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, so that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2).
The truth is that the Bible never says that having sinned, one falls in a "state of sin," much less that the result of one sin is "total depravity" or that he is utterly corrupt; and that all his descendants are born in that condition. If I am wrong, I challenge you to show me!!
Such dogma is the product of men who do not love the Truth, (2 Thess. 2:10). The Word of God never alleges that because Adam sinned, he had a sinful nature. Much less does it say that all descendants after him had inherited such a sinful nature.
In Genesis 4 we learn of Adam's son Cain, but there's no inference whatsoever that he was born predestined to be a reprobate (a sinner who is not of the elect and predestined to damnation); having inherited a sinful nature from his father, Adam. Furthermore, this false concept is completely refuted by the faithfulness of Adam's other son, Abel. According to man's invented doctrines, Abel was also born totally corrupt or depraved of all righteousness; unable to obey and serve God according to His will. Therefore, I infer that such dogmas are pure fiction, period!
Genesis 8:21; Ecclesiastes
"And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, 'I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done."'
"Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices."
Of course, many are spiritually
corrupt but notice that they voluntarily reached that condition from their youth,
adding sin to more sin until they developed that sinful nature.
"And you did he make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; among whom we also all once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."
My question is:
Why were they "dead"?
How did they become "by nature children of wrath"?
Now, what is the text implying?
Simply that they were dead through their trespasses and sins, wherein they once walked." They were sons of disobedience, living in the lust of their flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind. As you can see, there is nowhere in this text anything that might imply the slightest indication of a sinful nature inherited from Adam. Now if there's one implication whatsoever, I am open to any suggestions. Therefore, we infer that because they were children of disobedience, living and delighting in their sins, lusts of the flesh and doing the desires of their flesh and mind, they became "children of wrath." So, the apostle Paul never blamed Adam for man's sinful nature, original sin!! Take heed! Paul simply blamed the Ephesians themselves for their sins and trespasses. Furthermore, out of their free well, they were able to understand the pure and simple Gospel of Christ and obey it to be saved. Period!
Another text they twist is
Romans 5:12 which they put on the "instrument of torture" until it
says what they want it to say:
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."
They misuse this text, mistakenly concluding that this passage is teaching that everyone is born a sinner because Adam sinned. I have to shake my head! They're either blind to the Truth, or perhaps they refuse to love the Truth for what it is. Do they not want to see and accept Paul's explanation in the same verse: "because all sinned."? Explain to me, why is it then that they willfully say or teach otherwise? Can't they see clearly that "death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned."?
The truth of the Scriptures cannot be clearer than this. Therefore, the only conclusion that we can infer from Romans 5:12, about original sin, inherited sin is that: death did not pass on to all men because of Adam but because all sinned! Period! And since all have sinned, we all are individually responsible for our sins and not Adam. We cannot blame Adam for original sin or our sinful nature. Likewise, we cannot blame God, our parents or ancestors either. We have only ourselves to blame. That simple!
All that Paul is saying here (Romans 5:12) is that Adam was the agent or means through whom sin entered into the world. Adam introduced sin into the world, then death (spiritual death) passed unto all men for all have sinned. Indeed, it was Adam who introduced sin into the world then death; and that Christ, our Lord, was the agent through whom justification and life came into the world as a blessing freely available to all men. His obedience opened the door for all men:
Then the apostle Paul goes on to explain the subject in Romans 5:17-19,
"For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:18-19).
The contention of "original
sin" is that condemnation came to all men unconditionally. From this Scripture
then it would follow that through Christ's death on the cross that justification
came to all men unconditionally (grace and the free gift of righteousness).
Now, my question is: Do these false teachers believe in universal salvation?
The truth is that Adam introduced sin into the world and all of his descendants have imitated him voluntarily (Romans 3:23; 5:12).
All have fallen short of the glory of God, (for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God). That means they fall into condemnation.
Nobody is born a sinner.
No one has been or is condemned because of Adam’s sin.
No one is or has been convicted or condemned unconditionally.
No one is born with a sinful nature.
Such doctrines are merely Satan’s doctrines!
"For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."
When Paul stated: "For when we were in the flesh," he was not talking about their physical flesh. Notice that in the previous verses of Romans 7, Pauls starts out by using a marriage illustration to show his Jewish brethren their relationship to the Law and Christ. Who else could he be talking about being "delivered from the law (the Law of Moses) to be servants of the Law of the Spirit, the Law of Christ"? The Jews! Therefore, "in the flesh," means when the Jews were under the Law of Moses. Notice Paul's contrast in verse 5: "But now we are delivered from the law. " It means that they (the Jews under the Law of Moses) had been "in the flesh" but now have been "delivered from the law." The Law of Moses was indeed a fleshly covenant after all. The Jews were partakers of the old covenant as a result of their physical relationship with Abraham and through circumcision (in the flesh was a sign of acceptance, admission, membership) in the old covenant.
The expression, "the motions of sins" or sinful passions certainly did not come through the Law of Moses. They become sinful when they lead us to break God's Law, committing lawlessness which is contrary to God's will. And they, of course, became wicked when they violated the Law. Our sinful passions, our lawlessness brings forth fruit unto death.
The term, "now we are delivered from the law" is indeed a positive statement since they were no longer under the Law of Moses. It simply means that they had died to it, and no longer had any connection to it.
"Newness of Spirit" is the new life of the Spirit in Christ in which they "were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4).
Therefore, the "the oldness of the letter" was the old Law which they (the Jews) were not serving anymore but rather they were serving Christ's Law. Notice also this terminology in 2 Corinthians 3:3-6 where the "letter" refers to the letters engraved on the tables of stone, the ten commandments of the Law of Moses.
Calvinism states that the expression, "For when we were in the flesh," means sinful nature, i.e., sin is natural to man since he has inherited it from Adam. They seem to forget that Genesis 6:5 clearly mentions that "The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." It means that they were "totally depraved," BUT they were not born that way (sinful nature) rather "all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth." (Gen. 6:12).
In Romans 2:14, we are told that the "Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law." Therefore, by nature means "habitual practice" and in that case, what was by nature was not bad but good. Consider what I Cor. 11:14, says "Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him." Now, in this text nature itself is not a bad thing but the common sense of what is appropriate and decent.
According to Calvinism man is born with a sinful nature and will have it until he dies and can obtain his glorious body in heaven. The primary foundation of Calvinism is based on man's inability to overcome sin and live righteously. They boldly affirm that man is born a sinner; cannot do anything to stop it and that God has to do it all for him. Amazing!
"For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin."
Calvinists, as well as some
brethren, abuse this text by saying that Paul was describing his personal fight
as a faithful Christian against the flesh. They believe this error because they
are convinced that even the Christian, the regenerated child of God, has a sinful
nature. But let us carefully examine what verse 14 is actually saying:
"For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions."
Was Paul here speaking of himself as a Christian? Do you think that Paul as a Christian, was carnal, fleshly sold under sin? Did he describe himself as carnal after what he had said in Romans 6?
You see Paul was talking about the worldly-minded Jews who saw nothing in the Law but forms and ceremonies in contrast to those who were godly and faithful and pure in heart. They seemed to have forgotten the fundamental requirements of the Law: "Thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart." (Deut. 6:5-6).
Go back to verse 9 and notice that Paul is talking about when sin entered his life and caused him to die. He goes then to explain that sin, not the Law, caused his spiritual death. In verse 9 (I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died). Notice that Paul here is personifying sin. Paul is describing himself as having been sold to sin as a slave. But notice that he is talking about this as in the past, as one who was under the bondage of sin. Since Paul was using the first person, "I am sold.., " this is where Augustine and many Calvinist commentators stumble and become contentious. They twist this passage saying that in this text, Paul is describing his own state at the time he wrote this epistle (the state of every regenerated person, Christian). Take heed that Paul is only speaking here about the state of an unregenerated sinner who is awakened (aroused) to the recognition of his sin and misery. Often Paul uses himself as a symbol in his writing (Romans 13:11-13).
So at no time is Paul ever saying that he as a Christian or those who are Christians (regenerate men) that "they are carnal, fleshly and sold under sin," as if the Gospel had no effect on them. Moreover, Paul never spoke of himself as a Christian, "wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Verse 24).
Take note that in the following verse, Paul is thanking God that through Jesus Christ, he was able to be delivered from the bondage of sin (the law of sin); the condition of the unregenerate sinner and not the redeemed, Christians.
Therefore, in Romans 7:14-25 Paul's language does not free the sinner from his responsibility for his sins. Paul's language in this text is figurative as is often found in the revealed Scriptures. Often the Word of God uses negative speech to emphasize the positive one, as in the case of John 12:44. So when Paul is using this kind of illustrated speech, saying: "So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me," verse 18, Paul is clearly making a distinction between his flesh, his real self and the sin that dwells in him. Paul at no time was supporting the doctrine of total depravity, being born a sinner. So if sin is a part of our human nature, then Paul would not think of himself as distinct from sin. Paul was merely talking here about the time when sin enters the heart of man. "I was alive apart from the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died," (verse 9). You see, sin enters the heart of man when he violates God's Law thus becoming responsible. Sin then dwells in him until he is redeemed from the bondage of sin in baptism, Romans 6.
The doctrine of total hereditary depravity wrongly teaches that we by inheritance "are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually." This false doctrine makes it easier for its advocates to continue living in sin and unholiness, inclined to commit every sin known to man. On the other hand, it makes it impossible for the Christians and the unrepentant to live in purity and holiness or have the desire to do righteousness. Calvinists cannot grasp how a sinner or Christian could desire to be holy and righteous. Through the Law of God, the law of the mind in the inner man seeks God to defeat sin in his life. Hence, there is a warfare between the spirit and the appetites or passions of the flesh. The carnal man is a slave of sin but the Christian, because of the law of the mind of his inner man, can never be sold under sin, brought into captivity to the rule of sin.
In verses 23-25, Paul concludes
by showing the full condition of helplessness of one who is under the rule of
sin, slave to sin, without Christ in his life. One who is helpless in his desire
to free himself, knowing no way of escape until he obeys Christ. In Christ our
Savior, we indeed find peace with His Father; life from spiritual death; and
rest from the burden of sin. One cannot serve God with the mind while he continues
in sin. It is absurd! No man can serve two masters. No one (as a Christian)
can serve both the Law of God with the mind and the law of sin (continually)
with the flesh at the same time. Period! Therefore, a Christian, the inner man
of the law of the mind, dominates the flesh and its lawlessness. The mind keeps
the flesh under control thus serving the Lord as faithful servants of righteousness.
"Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16).
The favorite verse of many false teachers is Psalm 51:5 to defend the erroneous doctrine of original sin, total depravity and inherited sin:
"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; And in sin did my mother conceive me."
Again, according to Calvinism and its false teachers, Adam's fall is the cause of man's sinful nature,i.e., man is born a sinner after that. But the truth is that this text does not express, explicitly or implicitly, the error that they teach. This is yet another text they put under the instrument of torture to turn and twist to say what they want it to say. If one reads the whole chapter, he will find that there is no evidence at all of any "original sin." It does not say, “I was brought forth in iniquity inside me.” They refuse to acknowledge that this verse implies that David was brought forth and was born in a world of wickedness (lawlessness). It is figurative language (hyperbole, overstatement) to emphasize the intensity of his sins… By saying “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me,” he is speaking of the prevalence of sin in the world. He is speaking widely of the iniquities (verse 2) and sins of David, of his repentance and of his desire to obtain pardon, forgiveness from God, (verse 9). David is not speaking of any supposed "original sin."
Clearly, this text is using
poetic language to emphasize that one is born into a world full of sin. Compare
this with Psalm 53:3: "They have all fallen away; together they have become
there is none who does good, not even one."
Now compare this text with Acts 2:8, “each in our own language in which we were born?” Are we born speaking? No, but we are born into a world that speaks a certain language.
Also, note Psalm 58:3, “The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.” Is this verse speaking in a literal or figurative sense? Job 31:17-18 helps us with the answer:
Job insisted that he helped the orphan by saying, “Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof; (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb).”
Clearly, the phrase, “from my mother's womb,” is the same as “from my youth.” Let us allow the Bible to speak and explain itself!!
Isaiah 48:8: “And you have been called a rebel from birth.”
Psalm 22:10: “You have been my God from my mother’s womb.”
Psalm 71:6: “By You I have been sustained from my birth; You are He who took me from my mother’s womb.”
This is poetic language, figurative to give emphasis.
So in Psalm 51, David speaks
“Against You, You only, I have sinned,”
“done what is evil in Your sight,” (“done” not “inherited").
All these expressions point out our free will and that David himself was responsible and guilty…
VII. REFUTATION OF THE DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL SIN:
The following is a refutation of the false doctrine as held by both Catholics and Protestants:
Ecclesiastes 7:29: "Behold,
I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out
many devices.” "They"! This text is not saying that Adam sinned
just one time and that he fell into a state of sin; with a sinful nature which
is inherited by all his descendants after him. Take heed that Adam is not called
"they." "They" means Adam's descendants that desired to
commit all kind of lawlessness, perversions. They are guilty of such lawlessness
before God's eyes and cannot receive God's pardon or forgiveness if they don't
repent. They will give an account of the lawless deeds on the day of judgment.
Isaiah 59:1-2: "Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear." The prophet Isaiah is not talking about Adam's sin making a separation or division between our God and us BUT that our sins have hidden His face from us so that He does not hear. The truth is that man is a sinner not because he was born a sinner or has inherited the original sin, Adam's sin (an impossible thing) BUT because he has chosen to sin voluntarily out of his own free will, period.
2 Corinthians 5:10: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." On that final day of Judgment, we all are going to be judged according to our own deeds, each one of us, and not according to Adam' sin.
Romans 2:6: "who will render to each person according to his deeds." Whose deeds? Ours!
Romans 14:12: "So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God."
Ezekiel 18:20: "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself." The son will not bear the sin of his father, much less Adam's sin.
Genesis 3:16-19, 24: Moses portrayed the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin without making even the slightest reference to inherited guilt or depravity.
Psalm 139:13: “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.”
Zechariah 12:1: God, “forms the spirit of man within him.”
Hebrews 12:9: God is the “Father of spirits.”
Acts 17:29: We are “children of God.”
VIII. SIN IS NOT INHERITED; RATHER IT IS COMMITTED:
“Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” (I John 3:4)
James 4:17: “To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” One sins when he disobeys the will of God.
Ezekiel 18:20: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
In Ezekiel 18 we learn that
the consequences of the sins of the parents are visited upon the children, but
not the guilt of sins. God calls us to bear the consequences of the sins of
others without taking the guilt of those sins. No Scripture teaches that Adam’s
descendants will inherit the guilt of those sins. (2 Cor. 5:10). It is true
that we bear the consequences of the sins of Adam and Eve’s sin (Gen.
3:3; 17-19; Romans 5:17). However, we will not be accountable for some supposed
inherited sin received from our parents or Adam. That would be very unfair.
“For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (Romans 2:6).
Not according to what Adam or our parents have committed or done. “who will render to every man according to his works.” (Romans 2:6)
“So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12). Where is the text that says that we will give account for the inherited sin of Adam or our parents?
“Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned.” (Romans 5:12). Notice that the apostle Paul does not place a “period” after "men"! The phrase does not end here. There is something else! “for that all sinned.” I don’t see why those who teach “original sin” don’t read and take note of this last phrase. Why? Because it is not convenient for them. Because this phrase shows and points out the responsibility and accountability of man for his sin. “for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
The study of Adam's sin has richly rewarded me because it pushed me beyond my knowledge in search of the truth on many aspects of a very troubling doctrine. I never stop marveling at just how much there is to learn from re-reading the Scriptures when one loves the Truth. It reminds me of Jesus' parable of the treasure hidden in a field which a man finds. He goes and sells all that he has to buy that field and rejoices to take possession of that treasure. That is how I often feel every time I am compelled to dig deeper into the Scriptures seeking God's treasures. I pray that you may feel the same joy.
The doctrine of original sin, total depravity, sinful nature are false doctrines. Those who teach such doctrines are likewise false teachers who twist the Truth of God placing it and turning it on the instrument of torture until it says what they want it to say. All of these false doctrines are nothing but a rotten foundation upon which many other false doctrines and practices rest. They are the result of this fundamental error or false teaching.
These false doctrines have been invented by men to take away man's responsibility and the accountability of their lawlessness and sins before their Creator. However, God has revealed His will in a very simple and understandable way; giving or providing man with intelligence to understand it. He has also given man many other reasons to obey His will that he may receive the resulting blessings.
The doctrine of inherited sin is responsible for much of our lawlessness today. Both Catholicism and Protestantism mistakenly say that man came to this condition unconditionally. That is not what Paul is saying!
In Philippians 2:8, Paul speaks of Christ’s work that undoes the consequences of sin:
Through one act of righteousness (He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross, Philippians 2:8) there resulted justification of life to all men. (So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men, Romans 5:18.) If we were to reverse this to make it fit the twisted “reasoning” of Catholicism and Protestantism (unconditional original sin) we would simply say that the righteousness of the one, Jesus Christ, resulted in unconditional universal salvation. The advocates of the “original sin” doctrine and “born with a sinful nature” simply are not consistent or they would teach unconditional universal salvation. This doctrine is pure folly and madness!
The power of God to save man is not an imaginary "enabling grace" but rather the glorious Gospel of grace of His Son (Romans 1:16). A Gospel that all men must hear, understand and obey. The steps of such obedience are: hear the Gospel, believe it, repent of sins, confess Christ as the Son of God and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (being immersed in water in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit).
My fervent prayer is that all those who have been taught error and false doctrines (which is but the invention and imagination of men to corrupt the purity and simplicity of the Gospel) may come to obey the Gospel with a humble heart that they might be saved.
By Luci Partain
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