Why we all have a sinful nature

10_principle-rebellionThis weekend at Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we are going to study Genesis chapter 3 and learn about the fall of mankind into sin. Because of this fall, all of us have a sinful nature. This is important to understand because the world as it is right now is not the way that God created it. People are not the way that we were created to be. In Genesis 1 and 2, we learn that God created a perfect world and that He created people to be His image, His reflection, not in the way that we look, but, in our character. Our attitude, actions, and words are to reflect God’s attitude, actions, and words. This is not the case for the majority of people around us. If you have ever asked why things are the way that they are, the answer is found in Genesis 3. Let’s take a look at this chapter and a portion of chapter 4 to see what we can learn about why we are the way that we are. Before Genesis 3, mankind existed in perfect relationship with God and with each other. Because of the events in Genesis 3, everything changed. Here is how it happened.

I. Rebellion

The problems of today have their roots in rebellion. The word rebellion comes from Latin and it means to wage war against or, to oppose another in warlike fashion. Rebellion is when we go against God by going against His Word. We learned in Genesis 1 that God’s Word is powerful, good, and faithful. When God says something, He does it. God created by His Word. God gave commands by His Word. The first man and the first woman had to make a choice to obey the Word of God or not to obey the Word of God. Up until the events of Genesis 3, they both had chosen to obey the Word of God. But, there is an enemy of God and of God’s perfect creation and that enemy is Satan, or also known as the Devil. He rebelled against God and he wants God’s perfect reflection, mankind, to rebel against Him.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden ‘?” (Genesis 3:1)

The serpent, who is Satan, begins with a question. Has God really said? In other words, do you trust the Word of God? Should you trust the Word of God? Can you really trust the Word of God? Then, he reverses what God actually said and turns it from positive to negative. God said, “you may eat from every tree except . . . ” yet Satan twists the formation to, “you cannot eat from any tree . . .”. Did you catch it? Can you really trust the Word? You have doubts don’t you? God is your enemy isn’t He because He will not allow you to have . . . ? This is the foundation of the eventual rebellion that is to take place a few verse later. Satan does the same today. He tries every way possible to get us to doubt the Word of God and create a spirit of rebellion in us.

The woman responds correctly and then incorrectly in the next two verse:

The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;
but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” (Genesis 3:2-3)

God actually showed us all the fruit that we could have and only told us not to eat from one tree. The mistake that the woman makes is that she adds to the Word of God. She claimed that God said not to touch the fruit. God never said that. Satan was ready and jumped all over the mistake. The serpent begins to oppose the Word of God directly.

The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! (Genesis 3:4)

Not only does he oppose the Word of God directly but, he also calls God a liar. The next step in the process is open rebellion.

“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5)

You no longer need God telling you what to do. You can experience evil instead of just knowing about it. You need to experience evil so that you can be like God, being able to make your own decisions without Him dictating to you. There is pride welling up in her and this pride leads directly to rebellion. She opposes God and wants others (her husband) to do the same. But, there is still a progression of events that must take place. This is the progression of sin that we all follow every single time we sin.

6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” (Genesis 3)

First, she saw it. Then she began to think about it. She thought about it until she wanted it, craved it. Finally, she took, ate, convinced her husband to eat and then they both tried to cover up what they had done. This is the same progression of sin that we experience almost 6,000 years later. Now, there are consequences to these actions.

12 The man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”
17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3)

First, death does take place immediately upon rebelling against God. Death means to be separated from something. When we “die”, our spirit is separated from the body. So, upon rebelling against God, mankind was immediately separated from God. Mankind’s relationship with God “died”. Later, physical death would take place when mankind would return to the dust of the earth. There are some other consequences that take place. Adam and Eve experience fear for the first time. They fear God now that they have chosen to rebel. They are going to experience pain for the first time because of sin. Their relationship with God has been altered. Their relationship with each other has been altered. Before, they were open and honest with each other. Now, they start blaming each other for their actions. This is where the battle of the sexes began, because of this open rebellion. Mankind will now have a tendency to be controlled by sin nature. Fear will tend to have a controlling power over people. Relationships will become very difficult because of our sinful nature.

Who will rescue us from the terrible situation? Or, are we doomed forever because of this act of rebellion?

II. Promised Redemption

Mankind had become controlled by fear in an instant. Adam and Eve were afraid of God. The wanted to hide from Him. They wanted to cover up what they had done. They tried in their own strength to fix things. Mankind has been attempting this over the past 5,000 plus years. From our perspective, redeeming the situation is impossible, yet, we have tried and tried and many, many different ways over the past 5,000 plus years. God does not wait for Adam and Eve to search for Him. They have actually hidden themselves from Him. They are running in the wrong direction. They should be running to God, begging Him to for His help. They know that He is good. They know that He acts for the benefit of others. Yet, because of their new, sinful nature, they view God the wrong way. This is why we have so many incorrect views of who God is. He has to reveal Himself to us as He is so that we can reconnect with Him. Mankind is inclined to run away from God. That is why God takes the initiative to pursue Adam and Eve and redeem the situation.

8 They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.
9 Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”
10 He said, “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.”  (Genesis 3)

Adam and Eve expected punishment for their act of rebellion yet, God showed them mercy. The word mercy means not actually getting what you deserve. Adam and Eve deserved immediate punishment for their actions. God shows them mercy instead. Mercy does not wipe away the consequences of their action though. Adam and Eve, along with all creation were going to have to suffer those consequences. But, mercy was immediately extended to mankind. Not only was mercy extended, so was grace. The word grace means getting what you do not deserve. Adam and Eve did not deserve a second chance. They did not deserve redemption yet, that is exactly what God offers to them.

14 The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
16 To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”

21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. (Genesis 3)

The Gospel is preached to Adam and Eve and to all of mankind for the first time in these verse. The woman is promised a seed. In Eve’s mind, this was the promise of a male child who would redeem her. He was coming to crush the head of the serpent while His heal would be bruised (a reference to the crucifixion 4,000 years before it happened). Until that male child would come, mankind needed something to cover his sins. Adam and Eve tried to cover things up on their own. God shows them His plan to dealing with mankind’s sin until the Promised Male Child comes. God slaughters an animal to pay the price for Adam and Eve’s rebellion. Then, God takes the animal skin and makes a covering garment for Adam and Eve. This was the first picture of the Promised One who would be a perfect sacrifice to pay the price for sin. His blood would deal with the penalty of sin once and for all time. Adam and Eve had to believe God’s Promise (Word) and show that belief in their trust. We see that they believed the Word of God in Genesis 4:1.

Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.”

Eve believed that her firstborn son, Cain, was the Promised Male Child who would deliver her. He was not because, Cain was from the seed of man and had a sinful nature just like his parents. He could not be the perfect sacrifice. There was going to be a Male Child born to a virgin who would be born without a sinful nature. All of the major components of the Gospel are found here in Genesis 3. Jesus Christ fulfilled all of these promises. He was born to a virgin as the Promised Male Child who would crush the head of the serpent on the cross. While on the cross, He would have His heal bruised by the serpent. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. His blood not only covers our sins, it also cleanses our conscience. We experience God’s mercy and grace in the person of Jesus Christ. Are you going to believe the message of the Gospel? Are you ready to accept God’s mercy and grace?

III. Sin Nature Manifested

Adam and Eve passed on their sinful nature to their children. Each person born on this earth is born with this sinful nature. This nature manifests itself all throughout our lives. Cain’s sin nature dominated him and when it manifested itself, things went terribly wrong.

3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.
4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and for his offering;
5 but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4)

God had set a temporary plan in motion to cover mankind’s sin until the Promised Savior was to come. The people had to make a choice, were they going to believe and obey the Word of God or not. Cain chose to do things his own way. He brought an offering but, he brought his own offering. He came to God the way that he wanted to instead of the way God had revealed. God rejected Cain’s offering. Abel, on the other hand, he came to God the way that God had revealed. He offered the sacrifice that God required. Abel’s offering was accepted by the Lord. One was obedient to God while the other was not. This rebellion on Cain’s part stirred up his sinful nature and he became angry. Not only was he angry, he was controlled by his anger and he lashed out at his brother. Abel was persecuted for doing what was correct in the eyes of God. Cain was dominated by his sinful nature and gave in to it completely.

6 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?
7 “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”
8 Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. (Genesis 4)

Cain acts out of his anger and murders his brother Abel. This is how our sinful nature manifests itself. When we rebel and go our own way, our sinful nature dominates us. According to verse 7, this battle is going to go on all the days of our lives. Our sinful nature will always battle for position to dominate. God will teach us how to master our sinful nature, if we listen to Him. Are you going to do things your own way, the way that Cain did? Or, are you going to do things God’s way, the way that Abel did? This is the essence of the Gospel laid out for us in Genesis chapters 3-4. Are you ready to accept this message of Good News (hope)? Are you going to live as a slave to your sinful nature or as a follower of Jesus Christ, the Promised One in Genesis 3?

May the Lord help us understand these beautiful truths, apply them to our lives, and then share them with the people within our spheres of influence.

One comment on “Why we all have a sinful nature

  1. Pingback: God’s Mercy and Grace extended to Leah | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

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