MANKIND’S NATURAL CONDITION
Sinful. In general, the underlying idea of sin is that of law and a lawgiver. The lawgiver is God. Hence, sin is everything in the disposition and purpose and conduct of God’s moral creatures that is contrary to the expressed will of God (Rom. ; ; 7:7; James , 17). The sinfulness of sin lies in the fact that it is against God, even when the wrong we do is to others or ourselves (Gen. 39:9; Psa. 51:4).
There are nine different Greek words in the New Testament which present sin in its various aspects.
“hamartia” – means missing the divinely appointed goal or mark; a deviation from what is pleasing to God; doing what is opposed to God’s will; perversion of what is upright; a misdeed; a missing of the goal conformable to and fixed by God (i.e., Rom. 3:9; 6:6).
“hamartema” – an act of disobedience to a Divine law (i.e., Rom. ; 1 Cor. ).
“parakoe” – a failing to hear; a hearing amiss; active disobedience which follows on this inattentive or careless hearing, being superinduced upon the word. The sin is already committed in the failing to listen when God is speaking; inattentiveness or disobedience to a voice (i.e., Acts ; Rom. ).
“anomia” – the non-observance of a law; contempt or
violation of the law; lawlessness; one who acts contrary to law (i.e.,
“paranomia” – refers to the act of one going beyond the limits which the law lays down (2 Pet. ).
“parabasis” – to step on one side; violate; the over-passing or transgressing of a line; breaking of a law (i.e., Rom. ; Ga1. ).
“paraptoma” – a lapse or deviation from truth and uprightness; the falling alongside where one should have stood upright. A sin which is not on the person’s part a conscious disobedience of the will of God, but an unintentional one committed through the inability to prevent it entering the life (i.e., Rom. 4:25; Gal. 6:1).
“agnoema” – to sin through ignorance; the doing through ignorance of something wrong which one should have known about (Heb. ; 1 Tim. ).
“hettema” – coming short of one’s duty; a fault; defeat; or failure (i.e., Rom. ; 1 Cor. 6:7).
There are various Hebrew words in the Old Testament which present sin in its various aspects.
“asham” – guilt; guilt offering (i.e., Prov. 14:9; Isa. 53:10).
“ashmal” – guilt; guilt offering (i.e., Lev. 4:3; Psa. 69:5).
“chet” – error; failure (i.e., Lev. ; Psa. 51:5).
“chataah” – sin (i.e., Gen. 20:9; Psa. 32:1).
“chattaah” – sin (i.e., Ex. 34:7; Isa. 5:18).
“chattath” – sin; sin offering (i.e., Gen. 4:7; Psa. 25:7).
“chatai” – sin (i.e., Dan. 4:27).
“avon” – iniquity; wickedness; lawlessness; unjust (i.e., 1 Kings ).
“pesha” – trespass; transgression or the violation of that which God’s glory demands of us and is; therefore, in its essence the contradiction of God (i.e., Prov. ; 28:13).
“Original sin” is a term used to denote the effect of Adam’s sin in the garden upon the moral life of his descendants (mankind). It is held that the sin of Adam was immediately imputed to the whole human family, so that not only is the whole human race depraved, but also actually guilty on account of this first sin. Adam was not only the natural, but also the representative or federal head of the human race. When Adam sinned, all of mankind was sinning in him (Rom. -19; 3:9, 23; 1 Cor. ; Gen. 3:4; Eph. 2:1-3; 2 Tim. ; 1 Jn. 1:8; Matt. ).
Gen. 1:27, 31 What did God say about His creation of mankind as well as the other things?
Gen. 3:1-13 What did Adam and Eve do that caused them to realize their nakedness and to hide from God?
What did God ask them (vs. 11)?
What was their response (vss. 12, 13)?
Do you ever pass the blame when you sin (disobey God)? Why?
How does that affect you? Why?
Gen. 6:5 After the civilization of mankind had grown and had become established, what did God see?
What did God think about the idea that mankind given enough time (since Adam) would become progressively better?
And how much of the intents of mankind’s thought-life (“heart” means “mind”) was evil?
How is your thought-life doing, and why?
Gen. 8:21 The intent (inclination, thoughts, and desire) of the mind (heart) of mankind is evil from when?
[“youth” or childhood is the Hebrew word “neurim”, which is the plural and expresses a state or condition; from the very time when mankind begins to act with consciousness. It is innate in mankind; it’s bred in his bone, he brought it into the world with him].
From what time in your life did you start to think evilly, and why?
Eccles. , 29 Though God made mankind upright (in character at creation), what did mankind do?
[“devices” are sins”].
Do you ever seek ways to become independent, or free from God, in order to gratify your own desires, and why?
Psa. 51:5 How does the Psalmist say that he was brought (born) into this world?
Or, in what condition did his mother conceive him?
How do you think you were brought (born) into this world, and why?
Isa. 53:6 In what way is mankind compared to sheep?
Have you ever gone your own way in life, trying to be independent from God? Why?
Isa. 64:6 To what has all of mankind become like?
[“unclean” – legally unclean as a person overspread with a leprosy and was shut out of the camp].
To what does God compare all of mankind’s righteous deeds?
[“filthy garment” – literally, an odious menstruous rag].
Psa. 58:3 From when do these who speak lies go astray?
And from where or when are the wicked estranged/removed?
Jer. 17:9 How does God view the heart of mankind?
[The “heart” is the innermost center of the natural condition of mankind. It knows – Prov. ; understands – Acts ; and feels – Jn. 16:6. It is the center of the moral life – 2 Cor. , 16; Rom. ; , 15; Psa. 73:26].
Do you think that your heart was or is any better? Why?
Matt. 23:13-39 What did Jesus say about the Jewish religious leaders of His day and even those before His day?
Do you think that the religious leaders of our day are any different? Why?
Matt. 12:24, 34, 35 What question does Jesus ask the Pharisees (the Jewish religious leaders), who He calls a brood of vipers?
And how does Jesus answer His own question?
[From this, we see that our flesh or sin nature is incapable of doing good in terms of speaking anything good, with unselfish motives, if a person has an evil heart, which we do.].
Did you ever or do you still think that a non-Christian can ever say anything good (since all a non-Christian has is an evil heart)?
And what can’t those who are in the flesh do?
[From this, we see that our flesh or sin nature is incapable of doing good or pleasing God.].
Did you ever or do you still think that a non-Christian can do anything good or please God? Why?
How many people understand or seek for God? How many people do good?
[From this, we again see that no one in their natural state or condition as a non-Christian does any good.].
Did you ever or do you still think that a non-Christian could in and of himself be righteous or do good or seek for God?
Rom. What did Paul, the great apostle, missionary, and religious leader say about himself, regarding his flesh (human nature)?
Would you have said this about yourself, if you had Paul’s status in the religious world? Why?
Jn. , 47 What can’t the person who is not of God (not a born-again Christian) do?
[The word “hear” – “akouo” – is the Greek word, when used in the accusative case, means “understand”. This idea is seen in Matt. 13:1-3, 13, 14.].
1 Cor. What two things can’t the natural man (non-Christian) do?
What is one thing that is of the Spirit of God (2 Pet. , 22)?
[Since “goodness” is one of the things of the Spirit (Gal. , 23) and since the natural person can’t understand the things of the Spirit; therefore, the natural person is incapable of thinking good with pure motives.].
Did you ever or do you still believe that the non-Christian can understand or think good? Why?
Matt. 11:25-27; , 17 Who can not truly know God or Jesus Christ?
Because God and Jesus are good (Lk. ; 1 Jn. 2:1), no one can really know or think of God or Jesus in Their truest essence (Rom. ) apart from God or Jesus granting that (natural, sinful-human natured) person that knowledge. However, they can know about God through creation (Rom. ).
Did you truly know God or Jesus before He revealed Himself to you? How? Why?
Jn. Since Jesus is good (1 Jn. 2:1) and the natural person can’t say, do, think, or understand anything good, what did Jesus do in order to have disciples (followers)?
2 Thes. ; Eph. 1:4 Why should we always give thanks to God?
Who chose who first?
How do you know?
[Since both salvation and Christ are good, we couldn’t even chose either, were it not for God first choosing us – Jn. 3:3, 27; 1:12, 13.].
Did you ever or do you still think that you chose Christ as your personal Savior in order to have salvation before He first chose you and even gave you your very faith to believe in Him (Eph. 2:8, “faith” is God’s gift too)? Why?
If you did or still do, read John 6:44, 65. Now what do you think?
Gal. 5:19-21 What is the product of the flesh (the sinful, human nature)?
And what does God forewarn those who practice these things?
Is this what your human nature is producing? Why?
Matt. 15:18, 19; Mk. 7:21-23 What comes out of both the natural person’s heart and mouth?
Do these things ever come out of your heart or mouth? Why?
Matt. 7:15-20 What does a rotten tree bear?
What can’t a rotten tree produce?
[After studying all of the above passages it should be clear by now that our human, natural natures can not think, say, do, choose, or understand anything that is good, because it is incapable of doing so.].
Eph. 2:1-3 What are all people by nature?
How does the child of wrath (non-Christian) live?
Is this how you lived or still live? Why?
James 2:10, 11 What does God say about the so-called “good, moral person”, who keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point?
Why do you think that this would be the case?
[The “Law” is an expression of the will of God rather than a series of isolated commands. When a person breaks one point, he is breaking the will of God. The will of God is not fragmented, but rather a whole and is directed by love. To break any law would make me a lawbreaker.].
[We see then, that the primitive heathen as well as the moral person, who doesn’t have or know the Law, both stand as condemned as those who have God’s Law or have heard the gospel, but have yet rejected it.].
Did you ever do things that you felt were wrong, before you even knew that the Bible said that they were wrong? Why?
Eph. 4:17-19 Why are people excluded from the life of God?
What had they given themselves over to, and why?
Have you ever done this? Why?
1 Jn. 1:8 How is the person who says that he has not sinned described?
Have you ever thought that you’ve “arrived” and don’t have any sin? Why?
Jn. 3:19, 20 Why do people love darkness?
Have you ever felt this way? Why?
Jn. 7:7 Why does the world (the people in it) hate Jesus?
Does the world hate you? Why?
Define or illustrate what sin is according to the following verses:
1 Jn. 3:4
James 1:14, 15
1 Jn. 3:15
Matt. 5:27, 28
List what the results or effects of sin are according to the following verses:
Rom. , 23 (1 Cor. ; 1 Tim. 5:6)
Rev. 20:14, 15
Matt. 13:41, 42