Are humans really born in sin?

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Are humans really born in sin?


The Bible teaches that we were born with the tendency toward evil — the sin nature. This nature shows itself by wrong thoughts, words, and deeds in every single human who ever lived (1 Kings 8:46; Psa. 130:3; Isa. 53:6; 64:6; Rom. 3:23; 1 John 1:8) — except the perfect man, Jesus.

Sinful attitudes and actions spring from deep within: selfishness, pride, greed, lust, and others. These traits are innate: We don’t have to learn them; they come naturally. What we call human nature is the same as sin nature, or “flesh,” in the Bible (Rom. 7:18; Gal. 5:19-21). Everyone has this nature, in different shapes and sizes. All of us commit sins of various sorts because we are, at the core, sinners.

Where did we get human nature? We were born with it. The Bible teaches that our common ancestors started it and passed it on (Gen. 3; Rom. 5:12-21). Since Adam and Eve, every human being struggles against the downward pull of sin. (Jesus Christ is excepted here, too. Although of Eve’s seed, His paternity was from God, so He was not born in sin.)

Now hear the good news: Just as our sinful nature and the death to which it leads are directly tied to our ancestors, the same organic connection exists in salvation. Just as we do wrong and suffer death because we were born wrong (i.e., of Adam) and are born of the flesh (i.e., human nature), so we do right and have eternal life because we are born right — reborn of the Spirit (i.e., divine nature) and children of God by faith in Christ (Rom. 8:8-17;
1 John 5:4).

That’s why Jesus told Nicodemus, who was born in sin, “You must be born again” (John 3:3-8). As with sin, so with salvation: It’s all in the genes!

— Elder Calvin Burrell



Calvin Burrell
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Calvin Burrell is former editor of the Bible Advocate and former director of G. C. Missions. He retired in 2015 and lives with his wife, Barb, in Stayton, OR. They attend church in Marion, OR.