The necessity for all citizens and governing authorities to possess a proper understanding of sin cannot be overemphasized. Whether you believe man is basically good or that man is basically depraved informs one’s worldview and premise in policymaking.
Stated again slightly differently, not only does the teaching of Scripture regarding this subject relate specifically to our personal lives, but it is also foundational to the professional understanding of policymakers, law enforcement officers and even Supreme Court justices.
For example, how do you explain the dual nature of man? Does the evil nature of man relate to his environmental conditioning, or is it endemic in his soul? What is the most essential solution to evil in the world, education or regeneration? Is man basically good or bad?
A biblically accurate, informed understanding of what the Scriptures say about sin provides the clear answers to the above questions. Our presupposition about the nature of man is foundational to how we view the world — how we reason out solutions to problems.
In this week’s D.C. Bible study, we delve deeply into Scripture on the origin of sin, its manifestation in the individual and its manifestation in the world.
Sin needs to be defined the way God defines it in his Word. Another way to say it is this: Anything uncharacteristic of God that is present in an individual is sin. It is to miss the mark of his perfect nature, acts and attitudes about everything and anything at all times. It is no wonder, then, that Paul states in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
When discussing what the Bible teaches about sin — and the fact that we live in a fallen world — an accurate understanding of what this means and does not mean is critically important. I like conservative theologian Wayne Grudem’s working definition of sin: “Sin is any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude or nature.” The Greek word for sin (hamartia) means “to miss the mark.”
The Sermon on the Mount repeatedly makes it clear that sin is more than outward disobedience to God’s moral standards; it involves one’s attitudes as well. For instance, in Matthew 5:22, anger is deemed sinful; so is lust (Matthew 5:28).
Additionally, because we are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3), God imputes a new nature to the believer at the time of salvation and expects him or her to live according to his or her new nature (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:4).
It follows that a proper understanding of the biblical doctrine of sin is the only beginning point that will lead to a proper remedy to national and international problems. God knows best, and his Word provides the answers to the dilemmas — if only we first know what his Word says and obey it!
Is man basically sinful?
Yes: 0% (0 Votes)
No: 0% (0 Votes)
To improperly diagnose an ailment is to fail to cure it.
The late Francis Schaeffer, in his classic work “How Should We Then Live?,” spoke euphemistically about the statue of David, stating that it was and is the artistic epitome of humanistic ideology — the ideology that says man is basically good. He quipped, “If a woman was to wait to marry a living statue of David, she would never marry.”
Michelangelo’s statue (not to be confused with the biblical David) represents the humanist belief that mankind will ultimately ascend to perfection. But the humanists are wrong. Violent nations like Iran and Russia or recent incidents here at home of groups rioting in the streets, looting, murdering, and attacking innocent and unarmed men, women and children serve to illustrate that the world is not becoming a better place to live. To think otherwise with such prima facie recent evidence is naïve. The world is not becoming a better place.
To view the world as basically good and in need of my reasoning abilities — as if others will do what’s right when convinced intellectually — is naïve, unwise and, at the very least, viewing the world through rose-colored glasses. The riots across the U.S., the unrest in Israel, Ukraine and so many other places around the globe only serve to illustrate the premise of this Bible study: Without strong governments intent on quelling evil, the fallen sin nature of man will be increasingly on the rise. Governments and their leaders must send a constant message that sin will be punished.
When I hear of government leaders trying to reason with terrorists who believe their deity commands them to kill us, I am reminded of Mark Twain’s saying about trying to teach a pig to sing: It wastes your time and annoys the pig.
Make no mistake: An America directed by the ideology of secular humanism will only lead to an increasingly chaotic world. Man is totally depraved in his nature, not totally good.
Whereas an America directed by leaders who understand the biblical doctrine of sin will lead to an increasingly peaceful world, an America directed by leaders to do not understand the biblical doctrine of sin will lead to an increasingly evil world. This is clear from Scripture and history.
Read the full study, “The National Consequences of Rejecting the Doctrine of Sin,” as taught in our weekly D.C. Bible studies with House, Senate and former White House Cabinet members.
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