WHAT IS ORIGINAL SIN?
Interestingly, the term ‘original sin’ does not appear in Scripture. Well, if that’s the case, how do we come to this notion? Was this created by over-zealous Christians, who wanted to control people’s behaviours? What evidence in Scripture is there for claiming ‘original sin’ exists?
For a response to these questions, we turn to Scripture. Here we find at least three references, which address the questions:
- Psalm 51:5 – True, I was born guilty, was a sinner from the moment my mother conceived me.
- Job 15:14 – What is a human being, that he could be innocent,
someone born from a woman, that he could be righteous?
- Romans 3:22,23 – For it makes no difference whether one is a Jew or a Gentile, since all have sinned and come short of earning God’s praise.
When we look at the totality of what these passages tell us, we may understand that we are born with a predilection to commit sinful behaviours. This fits in with our understanding of the psychological perspective that human beings will do whatever it takes to secure and preserve what is important to us. How do we understand this working in our lives?
Study after study has shown us that the sins of the father/mother are passed onto the children. What does this mean?
We know, for example, children of child abusers often become child abusers themselves, unless they make the conscious decision to treat all children with love and respect. Children of adult bullies themselves are likely to become bullies, if they do not change their behaviour. This is what is meant by ‘original’ or ‘ancestral sin’.
Those who, as children, were taught by their parents, through role modeling, to cheat on their taxes, attempt to always pay less than something is legitimately worth, cheat others in what they are owed, will often use the same behaviours, when they become older.
Only when we reflect upon our behaviours and understand their impact on others, will we come to the understanding of how we inadvertently hurt others.
Now, what has God to do with this?
In Scripture we read: (O)ffer yourselves to God as people alive from the dead, and your various parts to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will not have authority over you; because you are not under legalism but under grace. (Romans 6:13,14)
But God is so rich in mercy and loves us with such intense love that, even when we were dead because of our acts of disobedience, he brought us to life along with the Messiah — it is by grace that you have been delivered. (Ephesians 2:4,5)
Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he will eat with me. (Revelation 3:20)
These verses, and many more, indicate to us that our past, present and future punishment for sins we commit will be removed from us, when we turn ourselves to God, our Holy Father. He will secure us from the eternal death which is the result of our sinful behaviour. This is His Grace – Salvation through our Messiah Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus.
May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.