“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” Romans 7:15-20
Situational Analysis: The Disappointment with Our “Natural Human Bodies”
Humans, all humans, have a condition creating weaknesses in their self-control and causing them to die. This condition is called “sin.” You may think sin is a verb, something a person does. The word is often used that way, but in the Bible verses above, the Apostle Paul uses the word sin as a noun – something “living in” him. As it is, this sin living in you is a fatal condition passed from generation to generation. And, it creates weaknesses in every person’s human nature referred to by Paul as the “sinful nature” (meaning a nature that can’t help but sin.)
The Greek Philosopher, Plato, said, “If you would converse with me, please, first, define your terms.” So first, let’s define the word “sin.” Following is how dummies.com defines it: “Sin is any deliberate action, attitude, or thought that goes against God. You may think of sin as an obvious act, such as murder, marital unfaithfulness, or theft. Although that’s true, sin is also wrongdoing that’s far subtler and even unnoticeable at times, such as pride, envy, or even worry. Sin includes both things you shouldn’t have done, but did (sins of commission) and things you should’ve done, but didn’t (sins of omission).” The online dictionary defines sin as: “A transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate…Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God…A condition of estrangement from God resulting from such disobedience.
These definitions are traditional and represent how most people think about sin – as something that we do or don’t do. But there is something more important to understand about the word sin! The Bible also uses the word “sin” as a noun, to describe a “thing”, living in you, resulting in a condition called “sin” in your human nature that you can’t control! These simple but profound insights, about the word sin which I learned after being a Christian for over 30 years, revolutionized my understanding of the Bible, clarified what Jesus Christ did at the cross, and set me free. The Apostle Paul confirms the truth of this condition in the Romans 7 quotation above, which includes, “Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:20).
So the next time you say to yourself or others “I don’t understand why (fill in name) does those things,” now you know why! How did humans (referred to in the Bible as “man”) get into this situation? Following is a summary of the facts from the Bible:
- First, God created humans without any flaws. “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:27&31).
- Second, God gave man a command to protect them. “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die (physically and spiritually)’” (Genesis 2:15-17).
- Third, the devil tempted man to disobey God. “He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’” (Genesis 3:1-5).
- Fourth, man disobeyed God. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
- Fifth, because of their disobedience, sin entered man. “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves” (Genesis 3:6-7).
- Sixth, because sin was now living in man, they were no longer trustworthy to live in God’s Kingdom, so they were banished from it. “And the LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24).
- Seventh, sin is passed from generation to generation in all humans “…sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men…” (Romans 5:12).
As a result of this sin condition in our human nature, the Bible says that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). But we just defined reality as the mortality rate being 100%. So what death and life is the Apostle Paul, author of Romans, talking about? He is talking of spiritual death (separation from God in Heaven and His life giving power for eternity) and spiritual life (unity and fellowship with God in Heaven and connectedness to His life giving power for eternity.)
In Part II we will examine the solution for this condition Paul calls the sinful nature.
The Spirit Led Business™ is published by American Business Advisors, Inc. to provide business and personal improvement information and ideas. All material is presented to provide general and broad information only. The information found in this publication does not constitute business, tax, financial, or legal advice and should not be acted upon without seeking the counsel of a professional advisor.