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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : The "Sin Nature"

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Joined: 2010/11/7
Posts: 193


Yes, sin is not placed there by God. Every human being's choice to sin and disobey God is what puts it there. The sinful habit is developed by sinning, not sinful habit devlopes sinning. God put the spirit there, the Bible clearly teaches that. I may be misunderstanding you, but God can indeed as you said divide between soul and spirit, but in the beginning of our existence there is no reason for them to be divided, they are both pure, for they are given of God. But this begs a question of it's own: if sin is there when you are born, how did it get there? It cannot be from Adam, for that would mean we are condemned for another's sin (Due 24:16 Ezekiel 18:4, 20) God does not violate His own Laws.

Mike Wright

 2010/11/8 18:22Profile

Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 2094
Whittier CA USA

 Re: The "Sin Nature"

1. Where is the Sin Nature mentioned in the Bible? I see the Flesh mentioned in Romans, but not the Sin Nature.

Good question and discussion. Romans 8:3 says, "For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh"

That passage tells us that man is made up of "sinful flesh" which Christ was not made up of, only in that "likeness".
So even though it doesn't say "sinful nature" it seems to convey a similar idea.

This is one topic that has caused Charles Finney to be a controversial figure among Christians. I mention him because I lean toward his view on this topic. Finney rejected the idea that sin can be a nature. He pointed to Scriptures like 1John 3:4 which clearly state that sin is transgression of the Law, not a nature.

However he did affirm that man is born with a "corrupted" nature that causes him to be tempted to sin. To him this was the fleshly nature which the Bible speaks of. This "corrupted, twisted, or warped" nature causes man to have appetites above what is proper.

When Adam was first created, his appetites or desires for food, comfort, sex, etc were normal or acceptable in proportion. But once he sinned against God, his appetites or desires became twisted and corrupted in such a way that they were now above what is normal or acceptable. For example, instead of having an appetite for enough food to eat, he now had an appetite for more than enough food(temping him to be greedy and gluttonous). The same applied with all other areas of "bodily" desires. His fleshly, or bodily appetites were now expanded or above proper proportion, causing him to be tempted to commit sin in all areas. But that "appetite" along with the "temptation" did not constitue sin. It is only when one yields to those appetites and temptations that one sins. And this "yielding" or "sinning" begins in the mind.

So even though Finney and others do not call it a "sinful nature" they still believe in the same idea of natural corruption inherited from Adam.


 2010/11/8 18:28Profile

 Re: The "Sin Nature"

Madefree states

It cannot be from Adam, for that would mean we are condemned for another's sin (Due 24:16 Ezekiel 18:4, 20) God does not violate His own Laws.

This difference between scripture and man's opinion has been discussed many times here. The point is, whatever happened to Adam, every member of the human race still in his loins, was affected by it. As far as God is concerned, we 'died'. This is stated clearly in the New Testament by Paul in particular, at least twice.

Under the loving provokation of the word of God, we have to come to terms with the fact that no man, apart from Christ, has ever NOT sinned. Children before the age of 1 are capable of disobedience, as every parent knows. They are not usually copying the adults when this becomes apparent. They just know how to be unco-operative, selfish, non-compliant and so on. You are implying they make a conscious choice to behave like this?

 2010/11/8 19:17

Joined: 2010/8/24
Posts: 1033


Finney rejected the idea that sin can be a nature. He pointed to Scriptures like 1John 3:4 which clearly state that sin is transgression of the Law, not a nature.


Could you please explain further what you meant by Finney rejecting that idea that sin can be a nature.

Do you mean to say that Finney believed that "we are sinners because we sin" instead of "we sin because we are sinners"?


 2010/11/8 19:21Profile

Joined: 2010/8/15
Posts: 272


Madefree, you write
"But this begs a question of it's own: if sin is there when you are born, how did it get there? It cannot be from Adam, for that would mean we are condemned for another's sin"

Yet paul teaches in Romans that both sin and death do come from Adam:

"Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" Romans 5:12 (KJV)

And Judgement as well:

Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Christ) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Romans 5:18-19 (KJV)

And then the remedy: not to struggle against sin, not to resist it. not praying and fasting for deliverance, but in simple faith yield yourselves to God.

KNOWING this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: KNOWING that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise RECKON ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but YIELD yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall NOT have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under GRACE Romans 6:6-14 (KJV)



 2010/11/8 19:29Profile

Joined: 2010/6/26
Posts: 483



We have only two options:

1) Either we are slaves to sin, or;
2) We are slaves to righteousness in Christ Jesus.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:1-8)

When you study a passage like Romans 5:12-18, you realize that in the same way that condemnation and death were brought upon us because of the first Adam, justification and life are brought upon us because of the second Adam, Jesus Christ.

Because of Adam, death and condemnation came upon this cursed world. But thanks be to God, who did not leave us to perish. For when the times came to fulfillment, He sent forth His one and only Son, so that the curse might be removed and that a righteousness from above might be revealed. We who once were dead, slaves to sin and condemned already, when the grace of God appeared, we were raised up to life and seated in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

Praise be to His holy Name! God, the great and mighty Savior! His loving kindness is the only hope. We who were helpless, completely and radically helpless; we were rescued from the pit of destruction by the One who works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11).

 2010/11/8 19:57Profile

 Re: The "Sin Nature"

Romans 7:14+ is about a convicted hypocrite.

Romans 5:12 says death (condemnation) passed to men because they sinned.

"sinful flesh" just means sinful humanity, not our literal flesh. Jesus was in the likeness of sinful humanity.

The "old man" is a former way of life.

"The flesh" is the figurative flesh of that "old man".

Adam was just as capable of obedience after he sinned as he was before he sinned. Cain was also capable of obedience.

Sin is avoidable, not inevitable.

The word "Nature" can sometimes mean "character" (good-natured) and sometimes "make-up" or "constitution". One is a choice, the other is not. This creates confusion.

A sinful character is possible (choice).

A sinful constitution/makeup is not possible (not a choice).

God's law commands us to use all the ability we currently have (heart, soul, mind, strength).

God's law does not command us to use more ability than we have.

Toddlers disobey because God made them that way. It is not sin for them, just immaturity.

Justin Martyr, Pelagius, Finney, Winkie Pratney, Overstreet, and others are correct that sin is a choice and avoidable.

Augustine, Calvin, etc are incorrect to deny freewill and attribute our sin to Adam.

 2010/11/8 20:49


Jesus had the same nature as us but did not make the same sinful choices as us:

"we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15)

"he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people." (Heb 2:17)

"because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (Heb 2:18)

 2010/11/8 21:02

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2012
Joplin, Missouri

 Re: The "Sin Nature"

Just logged on and saw this topic. Not to ignore any ongoing posts (I read through most of them), but I would like to address the original question.

I think the closest thing to a "sin nature" that is mentioned in scripture is in Eph. 2:3 saying that we were by nature the children of wrath. The problem is that this term does not speak of a "thing" called a "nature". It literally means that we were "naturally the children of wrath" which means that our natural state due to being in sin was that we were subject to the wrath of God. So it has nothing to do with having a thing called a nature.

The next closest thing would be the NIV rendering of flesh (sarx) in Romans 7. Romans 7:18 is rendered as "in my sinful nature", but I think this is a perversion of scripture by translators with an a priori commitment to the idea that man has a sinful nature. The word is flesh (sarx). It occurs 150 times in the NT and is always translated "flesh" with the exception of three occurrences of "carnal" which just means "of the meat or of the flesh" like when you order chili con carne at a Mexican restaurant.

Romans 7 does not describe duality of nature and the battle between the two in the heart of a Christian. Placing it in context of Paul's teaching on Romans will show that Paul is describing the futility of trying to please God by keeping the law. The wretchedness of this futile effort is remedied in chapter 8 when Paul tells us the Jesus Christ sets us free from this bondage.

We do not struggle with two natures. We simply struggle with the flesh. Our body and our minds are not born again, our spirit is. So we can still be tempted through our flesh and our minds. Victory comes as we reckon ourselves dead indeed to sin and alive unto God. It comes as we awake to righteousness and sin not. There is not a white dog and a black dog living in me. This concept is nowhere found in scripture. It is only found in a misinterpretation of Romans 7. I have been regenerated and am now the temple of the Holy Spirit. I can walk in the spirit or in the flesh. I am servant to what I yield myself to obey.

Just my take.


 2010/11/8 21:11Profile

Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 2012
Joplin, Missouri


I don't think Finney was coming against the idea of original sin. He was not saying man was not born into sin. He was saying that man does not have a "sin nature". Original sin was strongly taught by Finney, but the idea that original sin was due to a sin nature would make this original sin simply calamity for which the sinner could not be blamed any more than a human could be blamed for being a human.


 2010/11/8 21:15Profile

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