The Theological Ramifications of Original Sin and Free Will.
By Harold James Rogers
Many accept original sin simply because they are taught it, and they don't really see how it affects their thought processes concerning the Lord God. They do not see the trickle down effect this thought has on interpretation of other scriptures. Original sin basically stated is that all men are born sinners, that is they are guilty at the time of birth. So then the reasoning follows that God's wrath is on everyone who is born, so then Christ died as a way to deflect this wrath from those who believed, (the meaning of which in this context seems to be to give mental acceptance to the reality of his existence in history.) Then those who "believe" are seen as righteous in God's eyes apart from their actual actions, and once they are "born again" they are forever safe from eternal damnation.
The implication is that the real cause for sin is not in the sinner but in the way a person is made. In fact the word "sinner" is made to mean no more then the word "human". The sinner himself is not to be faulted for his sins any more then he is to be faulted for being human. No!! I ask you to reason; does not all these statements slander God's character? Isn't that saying God is unjust first in condemning people for what they cannot help, and then in reckoning them as doing right even when they are not? Let us recognize that God is a just God, not simply by virtue of His power, as many affirm "anything God does is just because He can do whatever He wants", but that justice is part of His character. Yet, before I go any further, let me go down the same path of reasoning without original sin. God has made man upright but he has gone astray by his own inventions, His wrath is on those who sin for their own sins which the ungodly have so ungodly committed in their ungodly lives, Jesus died to wash away our sins and gives us faith to be obedient and walk upright and holy, reconciling us from our estranged state from God that our own sins had caused, we recognize that we are only made acceptable to Him through our faith which leads to obedience and by walking after the spirit and not after the flesh.
Moral character, either good or evil can never be inherited. Each person creates and forms his own moral character out of his own free will. There are consequences of sin that have been passed down from Adam - Physical death and sickness just to mention two. We have also inherited the knowledge of good and evil, which in itself is not sin, Jesus himself knowing to choose the good and refuse the evil.
Isaiah 7:15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
We are also born into a world ruled by Satan, Adam having given the rule over to him. Sin is the result of a free choice.
Luke 4:6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
You may ask yourself, What is the difference? Simply everything. To truly repent you must acknowledge your responsibility for your actions, it is your sin which you committed which caused you to be estranged from God, it is your rebellion against God that put you in the path of His wrath. It was your choice and your action. There was no invisible force that caused you to do the wrong you have done, and there will be no invisible force that will cause you to do right. Here we must speak of freewill. Now by freewill it is not meant that there is no influence upon your will to cause it to do good or evil, simply that there is nothing causing you to commit acts of sin without your cooperation, and the same with acts of righteousness. Without freewill there could be no virtue or evil. In the beginning we see freewill established in Genesis 2:16, "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die."
And so that must be considered in coming to an understanding of what is being said in every area of scripture that touches this subject. Let us see what God said to Cain regarding good and evil after the "fall". Genesis 4:7, "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” Notice that he is acceptable and unacceptable not simply because he was born, but because of his actions.
Job 33:27 "Then he looks at men and says, ‘I have sinned, and perverted what was right, And it did not profit me.’ Notice here the repentant heart. I HAVE SINNED, AND PERVERTED WHAT WAS RIGHT. We must take responsibility for all our sins and recognize that it is we ourselves who have done it and the cause was ourselves and there is no other cause (or excuse) for our having sinned. Flesh does not cause a person to sin, else Christ would have sinned, since he like us had the same kind of flesh. Romans 8:3 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Now it would be foolish and destructive to your soul to torture the meaning of this scripture to say that flesh itself is the cause of sin, it would be like saying a cup was the cause of milk. Since Paul so obviously states that we are to fulfill the law while still in the flesh he cannot mean that flesh is the cause of sin, In fact, the whole point of this is that Christ having the same kind of flesh that we have did not sin, and so he condemns those who commit sin in the flesh, and we who are born of his spirit also do not commit sin. Some wishfully say that Christ simply was condemning sin, not the sinner, as if sin itself was a being or had substance.
So let me say this "IT IS YOUR SINS WHICH YOU COMMITTED THAT HAVE SEPARATED YOU FROM GOD AND HAS CAUSED HIS WRATH TO COME AGAINST YOU!" It was not your birth, you are the one who was guilty of specific acts of sin and Christ indeed shed his blood for your specific individual acts of sin, understand this!! Let me state once more: Being born is not a sin and does not make you a sinner, being born does not cause the wrath of God to come against you. Christ did not shed his blood for sin in a general generic sense. He himself took upon himself the punishment for your specific acts knowing that it was you who committed them and deserved the punishment. It was not some impersonal mathematical ransom. The wrath of God is not on all but only the disobedient. Colossians 3:6 "For which things' sake [the wrath of God cometh] on the children of disobedience:" Look at how the scriptures implore you to be reconciled to God, how they speak of returning to the shepherd of your souls.
1 Peter 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
WHY?? Because it was you who went astray it was you who perverted the path of life you were set upon when God spoke life into the womb, it was you who decided that this was your life and you were going to do what you wanted with it, instead of yielding yourself up to do God's will, which would have been only a reasonable thing for you to do since it was He who gave you life. Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Colossians 1:21-23 "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreproveable in his sight: If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;"
Notice that you were alienated and enemies of God, not by birth, but by wicked works. You were not born enemies of God, and how sad it is that many who confess Christ remain His enemies. They are like solders who are captured in a war and pretend to be on the side of their captors, only because it will benefit them for the time being, but if they had only a way to escape, or to overthrow their captors and be safe they would. They have not truly joined forces with God, but only appear to, (if you don't look too closely). Indeed they discourage any close examination of their life, in fact they discourage the close examination of anyone's life, lest their cover be torn off and their true self be exposed for all to see.
Jude 1:4 "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ."
What sin is and isn't. It is important to know what sin is, and what it is not. Sin is transgression of the law, and knowing what is right to do but not doing it.
1 John 3:4 "Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law."
James 4:17 "Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin."
Interestingly enough the one verse most often used in "Charismatic" and "Full Gospel" circles to describe sin.
Romans 14:23 "And he that doubts is damned if he eat, because he eats not of faith: for whatever is not of faith is sin." Is the least descriptive of sin. It is obvious in the context of passage that Paul is referring to foods and setting apart days etc. The fact that only the last part of the sentence is used shows how deceptive it is to use this passage as a definition of sin. Why is it so popular to use then? Simple. Because it affords people to transgress the law and do what they know is wrong as long as they have "faith" while doing it. Another example of self-deception. It removes the responsibility for sin by making sin a mystical, nebulous thing that can't be pinned down by an easy definition, the cloak that sin loves to hid behind, and the tool which Satan will use to deceive everyone who does not love the truth.
Now, do not think that I am saying that you are or can be saved simply by stopping doing wrong and to start doing right. It's all about the heart. Just trying to clean up your life will not take care of everything as your former sins would still accuse you before God. No, you must repent, stop living in sin, and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and know it is by His blood that cleanses you from all your past sins and places you in a state of righteousness before God.
Come to Christ and seek His forgiveness!
Decide to follow Him!