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It Is Our Nature to Struggle with SinJuly 17, 2023
Do you think children are sinful? A lot of people think that children are innocent and pure as the wind driven snow. The internet site, Buzzfeed, asked users to share some of their best lies they told as children. Hobbitgirl96 wrote, “My twin sister and I convinced our class we were triplets, but we weren’t supposed to talk about the other one. I convinced my class and the teacher of that, which resulted in the teacher reporting it as a safeguarding issue.”
Adaenechi shared, “In nursery school, I convinced my teachers I could speak Nigerian, which isn’t actually a language. I read a whole book to them, and when my mom picked me up they told her how I read a whole book in my native tongue and translated it on the spot. My mom was had no idea what they were talking about.”
The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 7:18-19, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out, I don’t do the things I should, and I do the things I shouldn’t. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” In stating this, Paul wants us to accept that our souls are depraved. This depravity is genetic, natural, and lifelong. Sin lives within us. We cannot escape it. He doesn’t mean that we are not responsible for our actions, but that we cannot escape the sinfulness of our actions because sin permeates all we do.
Intellectuals and academics predominantly believe that humanity is basically good, and we just do bad things periodically. It is also believed that humans are evolving into more ethical and moral creatures.
Let’s test that understanding of humanity with a look at children. How many of you have children that lie, cheat, or steal like in the illustration above? How many of you taught your children how to do those things? Did you ever round the kids up and say, “Hey kids, it is time for lying lessons. The first thing you need to learn about lying is to not show any facial expressions.” Children need no lessons in lying.
My adoptive daughter from China figured out that she could avoid doing chores by lying about understanding English, and for six months she pretended not to understand what I was saying. She was two years old.
Now consider how many children are naturals at sharing? Three-year old’s don’t just naturally go up to their brother or sister and say, “I have got four cookies and you don’t have any. I want you to have two of mine.” It is the rare child that knows how to share without instruction. I guarantee you they will struggle with some other sin.
When we look at the plight of humanity over the last 100 years, it becomes absolutely clear that we are not evolving into more moral people. R.J. Rummel at the Democratic Peace blog has been keeping track of the damage dictatorships do, and the indispensability of democracy to building a lasting peace. The death toll the world’s tyrants have exacted from their own people is up to 262 million people murdered in the last one hundred years alone. These deaths are not from the battles of war. They are murders through executions and intentional mistreatment of unarmed civilians. Don’t tell me we are evolving.
I believe that accepting and understanding the greatness of the USA depends on accepting and understanding the depth of sin that completely captivates us. The protestant reformers of the 1600’s believed in the total depravity of humanity, and developed a political system that was based on the division of power, and the conviction that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When we were organizing this nation, our founding fathers insisted on the division of powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government based on this understanding of humanity.
I believe this is the fundamental flaw of the United Nations. It has no checks and balances to address the depravity of humanity. Because of this, as the UN gains power, it will have some of the greatest scandals of human history (e.g. Oil for Food).
What do you believe about the basic character of the human soul? If we are indeed depraved how will that affect the way we raise our children? How will it affect the way we view our need for salvation? That is the gift the Jesus Christ offers each of us, the gift of freedom from sin and our depravity so that we can live new lives of meaning and purpose. (To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, www.lagrangepres.org).