By Cindy Starr
What do we believe?
As a result, all human beings are born with a sinful nature and also willfully choose to sin.
Why do we believe this?
Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Why does it matter?
“Who am I?” At some point in your life, you have asked yourself that question – a question about your own identity, your worth, and your purpose in life. It could be that you still seek the answer. People who do not understand the answer to this question invent all kinds of crazy ideas to explain where humans came from, why they behave the way they do, why the world seems broken, is there really any hope for humanity, etc. Fortunately God has not left us in the dark as to the answer to this question.
Only man is the image bearer of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 5:1; I Corinthians 11:7). All creatures have life and are living beings but Adam was shaped from the dust of the earth and then infused with life by the Spirit of God and made in the likeness of his creator. Man and woman, Adam and Eve, were created in perfection without a sin nature. Left to their free will, they were equally capable of falling from their innocence by choosing to reject God’s ways or of setting a course for holy obedience. They were able to sin and not able to sin. When tempted, they rebelled against God their creator. The Bible tells us in Romans 5 that since Adam, all mankind is born with a sin nature – we are enemies of God and without God seeking after us, we would all be lost. Adam was our representative, our federal head and when he sinned, we all sinned. We also know from experience that we choose to rebel and disobey, that is, our hearts are inclined to rebellion. Read the first 3 chapters of Romans. Paul lays out the sin problem that plagues mankind. He asks the question, “Who has sinned?” By the end of chapter 3 you know the answer – ALL!
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden did they seek after God to make things right or did God go after Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8-13)? Did Abraham seek after God or did God reach out to him in Genesis 12:1-2? Did Moses seek after God after he fled Egypt or did God go after Moses (Exodus 3:1-6)? Did David seek after God or did God call David through Samuel (I Samuel 16)? How about Gideon in Judges 6:11? Who initiated with Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5-8? Did Jesus call the disciples or did they seek Him in Matthew 4:18-22? Did Lazarus walk out of the grave or did Jesus call him forth in John 11:43-44? How about Paul in Acts 9:1-9? Do you see the pattern? It is God who initiates and seeks us out. Apart from His grace and mercy we are rebels, bent as our Father Adam was on going our own way. We want to be King; we do not want to submit and yield to the True King of Kings.
God rules His creation whether the creation acknowledges that fact or not. Fallen man is under the wrath and curse of God because His holiness cannot abide sin. Mankind is spiritually dead, just like Lazarus, and needs a Savior. In Jesus, God has provided such a Savior, who has willingly taken the wrath of God upon Himself that we might be forgiven and our relationship with God restored as it was in the Garden of Eden. When you understand how lost you are, the grace of God is magnified as you realize Jesus willingly came to die for men who were His enemies. As you consider God’s holiness and our sinfulness, how can you respond in any other way but gratitude and service for the love the Father has shown us!
Understanding these things allowed a modern day martyr to answer as follows right before his execution. “I do not need to plead my own cause…I am a dead man already. My life is dead and hidden with Christ. It is your lives that in danger, you are dead in your sins. I will pray to God that after you have killed me, He will spare you from eternal destruction.”
– Kefa Sempangi facing 5 would be assassins in Idi Amin’s Uganda