Friday, October 17, 2008

Of the Fall of Man, Of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof-

The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 6
Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof -
1. Our first parents, begin seduced by the subtlety and temptations of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.

2. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.
3. They being the root of mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by original generation.
4. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.
5. This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be through Christ pardoned and mortified, yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.
6. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto, doth, in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death, with all miseries spiritual, temporal, and eternal.
(from Creeds of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Our generation doesn't like the idea of sin or depravity. The culture by and large denies the true condition of man; that he is dead in his sins. What humanism and secularism has brought to our world is a lie straight from hell. To them, our intellectual culture with its higher education and progress in technological and scientific advancement, has some how grown far beyond "sin" and the need for faith or God. Many doctors and psychiatrists try to explain away the true condition of the human race, they put the blame on other things, such as culture, childhood experiences, parents, and the like.

The Bible, however has something completely different to say. The Bible teaches us that all are sinners and all are fallen. What is sin? Sin is disobedience to God's Law. To understand the truth of sin and where it began in man, it is important to go back to the fall. What happened in the garden? It could be said, that the Lord put Adam and Eve there to test them. Adam and Eve were created with an ability for complete holiness, they had no sin. They were in a state of "undeclared holiness" before God; possessing the ability to obey as well as the ability to disobey. They could have chose to obey, but they did not. They yielded to Satan's subtleties.

Where did the sin come from? Did it originate in Adam? If God purposes all things and ordains all things? (Refer to the confessions teaching in chapters three and five for more information on this question.) Scripture teaches us that God is not the author of sin. He purposed and He permitted it. However, the Bible is clear that sin originated in Adam and came as a result of Adam's disobedience. Always be on guard against those who say God is the author of sin! As we look into Genesis chapter three it becomes clear that we cannot learn all there is to know about the fall on this side of glory. What was the purpose? Why was it permitted? Yet we have what God wants us to know for our lives, namely, the result of sin is death. We are now spiritually dead before God and that brings us to the issue of total depravity.

The issue of total depravity is much debated today. The term "total depravity" does not mean utter depravity mind you. What it does mean, is that we are completely unable to do anything good. We are completely unable to come to God on our own. Apart from His intervention we would all die in our sins. We cannot come to God in our depravity and we cannot do His will. Fallen man is dead in his trespasses and sins, a slave to sin, in bondage to sin, our whole being is completely corrupt and impure. This is where arminians differ with calvinists. Arminians believe that we have the ability to believe, whereas calvinists believe we can do nothing apart from God first working in us.

Adam's sin was transferred to all of his descendants. This is known as imputation, the transfer of guilt, Adam's sin was charged to our account. Adam was the representative head of the human race. Romans chapter five teaches us this most clearly. From Romans five we learn, there is a principle in operation, namely, "all in one." All are dead in Adam, we are guilty through our humanity. This guilt extends to every person. Even newborn babies and babies in the womb.

There is something we find in Scripture that is yet even more haunting. It is known as total inability. Not only are we bound in sin and totally depraved, but our propensity our disposition is an utter pursuit of sin. We go after that which is contrary to God. Whatever God wants we hate and whatever we want God hates! All we do, even our most seemingly "righteous" deeds are tainted with sin.

When we arrive at this point it is natural to ask, "what about sin in believers?" Do Christians sin? Can they ever stop sinning? The answer is no. The truth about the christian life is that sin still exists or we still commit acts of sin because the old nature, the old man, the old self is still there. We are liberated from sin, we are no longer in bondage to sin, we have been given a freedom from our enslaved wills, and we even have the power to overcome sin and temptation; yet we still sin. The Bible teaches us in first John chapter one, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives."

Every sin brings guilt, a defiling of the soul. God's wrath is abiding on sinners. He who is enslaved to sin and unbelieving is under the curse of the Law. Rest assured, God will judge sin! This doctrine and this doctrine alone paves the way for the gospel of God's Son. Jesus took the wrath of God for His people, Jesus reconciles His people, Jesus is the expiation or propitiation for our sins. Through Jesus, God's wrath has been has been removed. The blood of the Lamb of God is the key, through Him we don't get what we deserve.

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