Life is crazy and getting crazier. There is so much taking place within our personal world’s not to mention the entire world. Sometimes it seems hard to find up from down, right from wrong and good from bad. Things that were once bad are now good, and the things that were once good are now bad. Everybody is looking for a little slice of heaven in a hell like state. When God created humanity He built-in a longing to spend eternity with Him and a passion to live in an Eden of sorts. What has gone wrong? If you have ever asked that question you are on a journey towards truth, if you haven’t found truth in Christ already.
The reason you have asked that question or you are asking that question now, is because something has gone terribly wrong and humanity is at the center of it. In this post I will discuss the fall of mankind as seen through Genesis 3. I also cover what the fall is, what sin is, what total depravity is and what are some sinful ways that we handle sin.
What Is The Fall?
In Genesis 3 we see an accumulation of what God created working together in perfect harmony, except for the devil who is also moving about among God’s creation as a snake. This snake comes to our first parents, Adam and Eve, and tempts Eve to eat from the tree of life which God had commanded them not to eat from. At this moment everything changed and though Adam and Eve didn’t foresee the gravity of their problem, sin had just entered into the entire human race. God desired to keep things good for Adam and Eve in the garden and the lie that the devil told, was that God was keeping things from them. This of course provoked the human spirit to rise up against God as if we knew better than God.
When Eve is actually tempted by the devil to eat from the tree we read in Genesis 1 that Adam is standing nearby and is also tempted into eating the fruit as well. Though Eve was deceived Adam sinned by what is called the “sin of omission.” The sin of omission is when we know what we should do and we don’t do it. Adam abdicated his responsibility to lovingly lead his wife and he failed to protect his family from the devil. Because God always holds the man responsible for his actions and for the way he leads his life and home God would do the same and came looking for Adam. God didn’t come looking for Eve even though she sinned first, but for Adam.
Because of their sin in the garden, namely Adam’s, many things in the relationship between God and man would change. Rebellion replaced a respect for authority as they would do their own thing. Hatred replaced a clear conscience as their son would kill his brother. Blessing was replaced by physical, spiritual and eternal punishment as God would ban them from the garden. Fear replaced trust as they became scared and hid from God. Lying replaced intimacy because they wouldn’t take responsibility for what they had done.
Though this sin only took place between Adam and Eve, because they were our parents and were representing us before God and man, sin has now entered into the entire human race through our first parents Adam and Eve. Before you get really upset and start finger-pointing, you must remember that we struggle with sin in a really broken world, but they were in paradise, a garden with God in the center of it and they fell into sin. I really wish they would’ve done something different with the choice but I can’t entirely blame them because if I were placed in the same spot I would have done it also. This is why we say thank God for Jesus.
But because of their sin, society would now be filled with darkness, selfishness, rape, greed, anger, war and fences. All things were changing and degrading in a rapid way. Though Adam and Eve had blown it in a major way, God, being rich in mercy would come and cover them with animal skins even though He would have to banish them from the garden forever. God did this because He is not only rich in mercy but also full of justice. From this point on life would continue to fall deeper and deeper into the grips of sin and compromise, not only affecting Adam and Eve, but the entire human race, for the rest of life in this age.
What Is Sin?
The word sin is defined as being lawlessness, faithlessness, missing the target, a wandering from the path and a hard heart. Sin is something that affects both us and others, but even more than those two things, we hurt God when we choose to sin, instead of obeying Him. Psalms 51:4 says, “Against You, and You only have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight”, and when the prodigal son returned to his father in Luke 15:21 this is what he said, “…father I have sinned against heaven and in your sight…” The son was making it clear along with David that it was primarily God that they had sinned against.
When we look at the idea of sin in the Old Testament, it looks different from sin in the New Testament. For instance, sin the Old Testament was more of a relational breach between both humanity and God. We see that when Adam and Eve sin, they hid themselves from God. And in the New Testament sin is missing the mark or falling short of what you were intended to do. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Paul is saying that all of humanity, regardless of age, gender and geographic location has sinned against God and without Christ will continue to. The arrow has fallen short of its intended target and that’s because without Christ we are unable to please God.
As humans we sin by both omission and commission. These are two different types of sin that we all struggle with. The sin of omission is when we know we should do something but instead do nothing. Adam sinned by omission when he stood idly by and did nothing while he allowed his wife to eat from the tree and allow sin and destruction into his entire family and all future generations. The sin of commission is when we know that something is wrong and we do it anyway. It’s looking at that candy bar in the store knowing that you don’t have enough money to buy and stealing it is both a sin and illegal. But you do it anyway, that’s the sin of commission.
Sometimes when we sin we break the law and other times we don’t. If your married and you go out and sleep with another person’s spouse you are sinning before God, but it’s not illegal in the United States to have an affair. This is why as a Christian you can’t allow the culture to define what’s right and wrong because many things that our culture says are good things, are sinful things to God. We must allow the Bible to define what’s right and wrong and strive to live within those boundaries. Sin can happen one time, several times or all the time. It can be just one moment, or a lifetime of living and doing certain sinful things. And many of us have turned good things, into sinful things by over abusing them.
Sex is a good thing within marriage, but it can become a sinful thing if’s it’s practiced outside of marriage. Money is a good thing, but it can become a bad thing if it rules your life and you live and die by it. Money in its self is not evil, it’s only a piece of paper. It’s the heart that holds the money that’s evil. Many people say that money is the root of all evil and quote the Bible to enforce that half truth. The Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. Love flows out from the heart for the good and for the bad. And even something as great as comfort can become sinful if’s not properly maintained. We can live our entire life looking for comfort and miss out on the many things that God has for us in the place of lack.
What Is Total Depravity?
Jesus Christ was known for preaching, teaching and healing the sick. Jesus’ most famous sermon was preached in the open air, from the top of a mountain and it’s been called by many scholars “The Sermon On The Mount.” In this 3 chapter sermon Jesus gave ample instruction about how to live the Christian life in the midst of our many cultures. But in Matthew 5:3 Jesus gave the clearest revelation on what total depravity is. The passage says this, “Blessed are the poor in spirit (soul) for theirs is the Kingdom.” Now it’s important that we look into this passage a little more than just a casual glance. With only a casual glance we miss read what Jesus is really saying and how He is beginning this message.
That word blessed can be translated to the word happy and the word spirit is translated to the word soul. Jesus isn’t saying that you become happy when you are poor in the Holy Spirit. This verse is the start of Jesus’ sermon and before He goes anywhere He works to first establish the truth about the internal poverty of the human race separated from Him. So what is Jesus really saying in this verse? He was saying that you and I become happy when we come to the understanding that we are internally broke, and we have nothing inside ourselves to fix ourselves. The word poor doesn’t mean that we have a little bit, or that we have some but are lacking a lot. It means that we are in debt, or have nothing, not a little bit but absolute utter poverty. Jesus is preaching the message of total depravity right here in the introduction to His sermon. Understanding that the human heart is in total depravity is the first step to salvation, because without that understand we don’t see our need for Jesus to rescue us.
Total depravity means that in our every motive, word, actions and thoughts we have are affected, stained and marred by sin. Our entire moral fiber is baptized into sin and this is why we call it a sin nature. It’s not a sin problem, or a sin disease, but an internal sin nature. There are good people in the earth who do good things for others and themselves, but apart from a revelation of their utter depravity they will die and go to hell. Good people go to hell. It’s only Christians who repent and put their hope and trust in the Savior Jesus Christ that go to heaven. And we must understand that sin isn’t something that we do, but it’s who we are. We aren’t good people who struggle with sin. We are sinners who struggle to do good. We are sinners not people who sin and we sin because we are sinners. It’s what we do best.
What Are Some Sinful Views Of Sin?
God has called the Church and Christians to help define what is right and wrong within the earth. It’s not that we as humans define it, but rather that we work to discern what the Bible says about right and wrong and preach that to the people of the culture in which we live. If the Church stays silent about sin and what’s right and wrong then we will continue to have a society that speculates about the difference between right and wrong. One of our problems today is that because of the Churches’ silence or poor style of communication we are leaving our culture to define morality and it’s becoming a real mess.
Because we are sinners we even handle sin in sinful ways. Yep that’s right. Because of our sin nature, even being worked through in Christ we still handle sinful situations in sinful ways. Here is a list of a few ways in which we do this. 1) We often minimize sin. This happens when we compare our personal sin with the sin of others. Of course after we do this we feel better about ourselves, but it doesn’t change the reality that we sinned. It’s best if we can be honest and take responsibility for what we have done or for what we did not do. 2) We justify our sin because of our surrounding environment. Sometimes we work to tell a really long story that skirts around the actual issue that’s at hand. The problem is that often times when we get finished telling the long story with all the juicy details of why it caused you to do what you did, you often deceive yourself and others, but it doesn’t reveal your sin and cause you to repent.
3) We take responsibility for the half of what we did. Instead of taking full responsibility for what happened we take half of it and leave the other half unconfesssed as if a half confessed sin is better than no confessed sin. Half confession is no better than no confession. It’s still unconfessed sin. 4) “I’m sorry for what happened, but I can’t help it, this is who I am and how I act.” More often than not, people don’t take responsibility for their actions and use sinful copout statements like this to get off the hook. The problem with this statement and the other previous ones, is that God never lets us off the hook when it comes to our sin and our sinful handling of sinful things. Though I am able to cover up my sin from others, I am not able to hide it from God.
My challenge to you right now, is that you first take a moment and ask yourself, if I die right now, where do I go? Heaven or hell? Am I living my life surrendered to Jesus Christ or is my sin nature still fully intact? If you haven’t ever asked Jesus to take over the reins of your life, you can do that right now as you are reading this. Take a moment to acknowledge your sin and your lifestyle that has separated you from Christ and be joined together with Him, not only in this life but also in the life that is yet to come. There is nothing more liberating than to give your life to Jesus Christ and allow Him to take it over and do with what He pleases. And if you are currently a Christian but living a life of sin I challenge you also to repent and apologize to Him for the decisions that you have been making. Forgiveness is free and all you have to do is ask and He will give freely. And remember, destroying the life of the flesh within all of us isn’t something that happens over night, but over our entire lifetime. Take it one day at a time and plot your course to eternity!