26
Nov
08

Human Sin and Spirit Regeneration Part 1.

 mp    One word…Theology! Theology is absolutely important to every individual who has lived, is living now, and will live in the future. What we as humans believe about theology is what shapes us to what we become and how we live life. This may sound a little crazy since there are those who would say that all theologies are different or there are people who do not believe in a god of some kind, so how can they have theology? While I do not doubt that theologies are different, I do however say that all have a theology. There are the adherents of the Christian faith and theology (which I affirm) while others will hold to some other form of theological belief of other religions. These people are all theological in their approach to life. At the same time however, those who do not hold to an existence of God also hold to a high view of theology in that their theology does not allow for God to exist. So at some level, every person holds to some kind of theology and it affects the way they live there lives.

     This concept of theology affecting the way we live our lives is at the heart of my focus in this article. While I will not be talking about other faith systems, my intent is to focus on the Christian aspect of theology, especially the topics of the sinfulness of human nature and regeneration by the Spirit. But before we dive into these major doctrines, let me give you a break down on why I am writing on these topics.

     A few days ago, while I was sitting at work, one of my good friends came in to workout, but as usual before he worked out we decided to meet and catch up. As we started to discuss theology, in a little coffee shop theology kind of way, we got on the topic of total depravity. He then asks me to give my definition of what total depravity means to me as a Christian. Naturally, I took him to Romans chapter 5 and shared with him what total depravity means. It was at this point that our very enjoyable debate took off. Now remember, my friend and I are on very good terms still and this is not a bash against him, but more of an in-depth, friendly explanation of the issues we’ve discussed. I pray that this will clear up much for you my brother in the common faith!

     To understand the doctrines of human sin and Spirit regeneration, it would only be logical to understand human sinfulness and how we came to be sinful. For the sake of this argument, I will retrace the steps that I talked about in the discussion with my friend. Consider Romans 5: 12- 14:

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned- 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

In this passage we see clearly see the idea of what is known as original sin or a better term for it would be inherited sin. This doctrine is key in understand the sinfulness of human nature. This idea takes us all the way back to Genesis chapter 3 where Adam and Eve ate the fruit and cast the whole world into a sin state. In the passage above, it can be clearly seen that through Adam, all have sinned (click here for a full article on original sin). So what does this mean for us? It means that every single one of us who has ever lived, is living, and will live are born into a sin nature completely separating us from the one true living God in heaven. Adam was man’s representative and through Adam, all have sinned.

The objection might be raised, well why does God hold us accountable if Adam is the one who messed up? Again, because the Bible teaches that Adam was our representative before God. It is not hopeless however, because in the same passage we see that Adam is a type of Him who is to come. (For more information on the topic of death through Adam and life through Christ click here). Who is the one to come? None other than Jesus Himself! Just as Adam was man’s first representative, Christ is man’s ambassador now before the Father. In Adam, we have all sinned, but in Christ we now have reconciliation with the Father.

So now the questions can be asked, so what if we are sinners through Adam, what does that mean for us today? That is a great question and I was hoping that you would ask! Jump over to Ephesians chapter 2 and consider what is said in Ephesians 2: 1-3:

2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body [1] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Be reminded that Paul is talking to fellow believers of the faith, but this gives us great insight to what the implication of us sinning through Adam has. The passage starts off by stating that we were DEAD in sins in which we once walked. Later in verse 3, Paul says that we were by nature “children of wrath”. Notice that this is all before coming to faith in Jesus Christ. So, with that in mind, before Christ, how was our condition? We were dead! Spiritually dead in sins and trespasses! In fact, the Greek word for dead in this passage literally means corpse. Before coming to Christ, we are a spiritual corpse. The implication of this is that without the saving power of God, man CANNOT choose the things of Jesus Christ. We simply do not have the ability to choose life in Christ because we are dead spiritually. This is where regeneration by the Holy Spirit plays a tremendous role in our salvation. In fact, apart from God working by Christ and through the Spirit, we could not be saved because we cannot save ourselves.

Notice that I have tied this in with theology affecting the way we live. I believe this very strongly. In order to understand true Christianity, human sinfulness is something that we must get because it shows us our condition before a Holy and just God who controls everything. Understanding human sin is essential in understanding a Christian worldview and I challenge you all to consider what the Scripture is saying. I will however, leave this to the second part of this study which I will be writing and posting shortly. Thank you for your patience!

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