Was Jesus Really Tempted in All Points As We Are?

The writer of Hebrews makes this amazing claim regarding Jesus:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15, NASB)

This is very comforting to know that Jesus understands our plight and struggle with temptation, yet did not fall to temptation.  Since He conquered sin, He was able to offer Himself as the sinless Lamb of God on our behalf that we might be forgiven through faith in His blood (Rom. 3:25). It also good to know that because He conquered temptation, we can conquer temptation through Him.

But something seems a little off in what the writer of Hebrews is saying.  Can Jesus really relate to our struggle with temptation?  Isn’t there a significant difference?  I believe that Philippians 2:5-8 makes it clear that Jesus did not rely on His deity to overcome sin or remain steadfast in His mission.  Instead, He relied on prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, just as we can.  But there is still a major difference.  Jesus did not have to deal with the inward pull of the sinful nature.  He had no sinful nature.

We can say that Jesus resisted external temptation (like from the devil in the wilderness), but can we say He resisted internal temptation?  If not, how then can we look to Him as an example to follow and a champion of resistance against sin that we can emulate?  How can Jesus relate to the powerful inward pull of the sinful nature in temptation without having a sinful nature?  The writer of Hebrews isn’t saying that our struggles and Jesus’ struggles are exactly the same (Jesus doesn’t face all the same struggles we do, but we don’t face the same struggles Jesus did either.  Indeed, Jesus faced intense struggles that no man can properly relate to).  So it is not meant to be an exact comparison as far as the specifics of temptations we might face in life, though it does seem to plainly be a deliberate comparison regarding the “sorts” of temptations and struggles we might face in life.  But still, how can Jesus relate to both internal and external temptation without the presence of the sinful nature?

I think the first clue  may be found in the narrative of the wilderness temptation.  Jesus commits himself to fasting for 40 days in the desert (and presumably praying).  In Matthew 4:2, we are told something that should go without saying: “he was hungry.”  Talk about an understatement!  Forty days without food would certainly create a strong hunger.  Indeed, one would feel like they were starving to death.  We immediately see that Satan’s first temptation attacks Jesus’ internal weakness of being hungry, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread” (vs. 3).  Here is a powerful lesson on the nature of Jesus’ temptation. [1]  It wasn’t only external, but internal.  Jesus never faced the internal pull of the sinful nature, but He did face the internal pull of intense hunger and desire for food.  This internal pull was in no way sinful.  It was natural to His humanity, but also unnatural as it was such an extreme hunger resulting from 40 days without food.  So this internal pull was very powerful, yet innocent.  However, if Jesus gave into His hunger at this moment it would have resulted in sin.  So in the wilderness temptation we have at least one example of powerful outward and inward temptation being faced and conquered by Christ.

Another example would be in the garden before Jesus’ arrest.  Jesus was dealing with a great deal of internal fear and anxiety over the events that He was about to endure.  The Bible makes this extreme level of anxiety very clear in Luke where it tells us that he sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44).  We know that this is a description of a rare, but real medical condition called “hematidrosis” or “hemohidrosis.”  It is the result of tiny capillaries in the sweat glands rupturing and can be brought on when someone is under extreme duress.  Jesus was again experiencing extreme internal pull to avoid the mission God had set for Him to accomplish.  This pull is further manifested in His prayer to the Father, that if there be any other way to accomplish His redemptive work, that the Father take away this “cup” of extreme suffering He was about to endure. But once again, though Jesus faced this strong internal pull to retreat from His divinely appointed mission, He still conquered temptation once again in fully submitting His will (and His human weakness) to the will of the Father. [2]

For these reasons, I think we can fully affirm what the writer of Hebrews is saying.  Even though Jesus did not have to deal with the inward pull of the sinful nature while resisting temptation, He did have to deal with tremendous internal temptation as well as external temptation, and was “yet without sin.”   What a marvelous Savior and High Priest, familiar with our weaknesses and an “ever present help in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:15-16, cf. Psalm 46:1)

Related: Does Jesus Really Understand What I am Going Through?

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[1] My guess is that this is not a novel interpretation of this difficult passage, though I don’t recall having personally ever read anyone take this particular approach.

[2] These are just two representative examples plainly expressed in Scripture.  No doubt there were many other times Jesus faced and overcame internal temptations without those temptations needing to have arisen from a sinful nature, which Christ did not possess (whether recorded in Scripture or not).

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48 Responses

  1. Well written. However, one thing is certain: If we were all born with a sinful nature and Jesus was not, then he had a HUGE advantage over us and he was not tempted like us in all things. We could say about him “No wonder he managed to avoid sin! He had no sinful nature to battle like the rest of us”. The solution to this problem is to not add the sinful nature in the Bible (since it’s not there – not even in Romans 5), which would place us at the same side as all the church fathers (prior to 250+ AD) who did not believe in the sinful nature. Only the gnostics believed in the sinful nature initially, and Augustine (former gnostic) made the doctrine popular in church and fooled the world.

  2. Bjork, you point does not follow since Adam and Eve also had no sin nature. Moreover, it s clear the text does not mean that Jesus faced every exact temptation we do, such as misusing the internet or driving a car in violation of the law or recklessly, etc. But he faced every basic temptation that humanity faces, such as pride, greed, dishonesty, unkindness, sexual immorality, all the basic sins that are at the root of other sins in more specific contexts. Jesus was never tempted to cheat on his wife because he did not have a wife. It would be silly to say that he was therefore not tempted in every way we are because many of us have a spouse. But he was tempted with the more basic temptations that make for unfaithfulness to one’s spouse, sexual immorality, selfishness, lying, etc.

    This just isn’t the text to try and argue against the concept of the sinful nature. Besides, that’s a hard argument to make because the sinful nature is a biblical concept.

  3. Correct. Neither Adam and Eve had a sinful nature. It’s true that Jesus was not tempted to use the internet, but neither are many people who live on earth today. The details might differ also between human beings. If Jesus faced the same temptations as we do, this would be impossible without having the same kind of sinful nature as we supposedly have. We apparently sin by necessity and he does not. Better to not add the sinful nature into the Bible, because that WILL give Jesus a huge advantage over us. I don’t believe he had any advantage at all.

  4. Bjork, you do realize that this is an evangelical Arminian blog and not a heretical pelagian blog, don’t you? By denying the sin nature, you are denying one of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith. I will leave you with a quote from Wesley on this, another evangelical Arminian:

    “1. First, from hence we may learn one grand fundamental difference between Christianity, considered as a system of doctrines, and the most refined Heathenism. Many of the ancient Heathens have largely described the vices of particular men. They have spoken much against their covetousness, or cruelty; their luxury, or prodigality. Some have dared to say that “no man is born without vices of one kind or another.” But still as none of them were apprized of the fall of man, so none of them knew of his total corruption. They knew not that all men were empty of all good, and filled with all manner of evil. They were wholly ignorant of the entire depravation of the whole human nature, of every man born into the world, in every faculty of his soul, not so much by those particular vices which reign in particular persons, as by the general flood of Atheism and idolatry, of pride, self-will, and love of the world. This, therefore, is the first grand distinguishing point between Heathenism and Christianity. The one acknowledges that many men are infected with many vices, and even born with a proneness to them; but supposes withal, that in some the natural good much over-balances the evil: The other declares that all men are conceived in sin,” and “shapen in wickedness;” — that hence there is in every man a “carnal mind, which is enmity against God, which is not, cannot be, subject to” his “law;” and which so infects the whole soul, that “there dwelleth in” him, “in his flesh,” in his natural state, “no good thing;” but “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is evil,” only evil, and that “continually.”

    2. Hence we may, Secondly, learn, that all who deny this, call it original sin, or by any other title, are put Heathens still, in the fundamental point which differences Heathenism from Christianity. They may, indeed, allow, that men have many vices; that some are born with us; and that, consequently, we are not born altogether so wise or so virtuous as we should be; there being few that will roundly affirm, “We are born with as much propensity to good as to evil, and that every man is, by nature, as virtuous and wise as Adam was at his creation.” But here is the shibboleth: Is man by nature filled with all manner of evil? Is he void of all good? Is he wholly fallen? Is his soul totally corrupted? Or, to come back to the text, is “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually?” Allow this, and you are so far a Christian. Deny it, and you are but an Heathen still.

    3. We may learn from hence, in the Third place, what is the proper nature of religion, of the religion of Jesus Christ. It is qerapeia yuchs, God’s method of healing a soul which is thus diseased. Hereby the great Physician of souls applies medicines to heal this sickness; to restore human nature, totally corrupted in all its faculties. God heals all our Atheism by the knowledge of Himself, and of Jesus Christ whom he hath sent; by giving us faith, a divine evidence and conviction of God, and of the things of God, — in particular, of this important truth, “Christ loved me” — and gave himself for me.” By repentance and lowliness of heart, the deadly disease of pride is healed; that of self-will by resignation, a meek and thankful submission to the will of God; and for the love of the world in all its branches, the love of God is the sovereign remedy. Now, this is properly religion, “faith” thus “working by love;” working the genuine meek humility, entire deadness to the world, with a loving, thankful acquiescence in, and conformity to, the whole will and word of God.

    4. Indeed, if man were not thus fallen, there would be no need of all this. There would be no occasion for this work in the heart, this renewal in the spirit of our mind. The superfluity of godliness would then be a more proper expression than the “superfluity of naughtiness.” For an outside religion, without any godliness at all, would suffice to all rational intents and purposes. It does, accordingly, suffice, in the judgment of those who deny this corruption of our nature. They make very little more of religion than the famous Mr. Hobbes did of reason. According to him, reason is only “a well-ordered train of words:” According to them, religion is only a well-ordered train of words and actions. And they speak consistently with themselves; for if the inside be not full of wickedness, if this be clean already, what remains, but to “cleanse the outside of the cup?” Outward reformation, if their supposition be just, is indeed the one thing needful.

    5. But ye have not so learned the oracles of God. Ye know, that He who seeth what is in man gives a far different account both of nature and grace, of our fall and our recovery. Ye know that the great end of religion is, to renew our hearts in the image of God, to repair that total loss of righteousness and true holiness which we sustained by the sin of our first parent. Ye know that all religion which does not answer this end, all that stops short of this, the renewal of our soul in the image of God, after the likeness of Him that created it, is no other than a poor farce, and a mere mockery of God, to the destruction of our own soul. O beware of all those teachers of lies, who would palm this upon you for Christianity! Regard them not, although they should come unto you with all the deceivableness of unrighteousness; with all smoothness of language, all decency, yea, beauty and elegance of expression, all professions of earnest good will to you, and reverence for the Holy Scriptures. Keep to the plain, old faith, “once delivered to the saints,” and delivered by the Spirit of God to our hearts. Know your disease! Know your cure! Ye were born in sin: Therefore, “ye must be born again,” born of God. By nature ye are wholly corrupted. By grace ye shall be wholly renewed. In Adam ye all died: In the second Adam, in Christ, ye all are made alive. “You that were dead in sins hath he quickened:” He hath already given you a principle of life, even faith in him who loved you and gave himself for you! Now, “go on from faith to faith,” until your whole sickness be healed; and all that “mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus!”

  5. You wrote: Bjork, you do realize that this is an evangelical Arminian blog and not a heretical pelagian blog, don’t you?

    Does that mean that other views are not allowed to be expressed? And what were the views of Pelagius? He was against the sinful nature just like ALL church fathers before him (without any known exception the first 250+ years AD). I have quotes from them on my Blog. So it makes no sense to single out Pelagius, as though he had different views than Ignatius, Ireneaus, Clement, Origen, Tertullian, etc, who lived before him. The only ones who believed that man is born with a sinful nature were the gnostics, and Augustine was a former gnostic who brought the heresy “original sin” into church and made it popular. Luther and Calvin continued to spread it and fooled the world. We have drifted far away from the views of the early church fathers. Augustine certainly believed Pelagius was an heretic, but I’ve chosen to not correct my views based on either Augustine or catholic councils. Most importantly, the Bible doesn’t teach the sinful nature.

  6. Bjork,

    For the record, JPC doesn’t necessarily speak for me or this blog. I do hold to total depravity and that is part of what being Arminian means. I think that was JCP’s point. On a blog called “Arminian Perspectives” it should be obvious that my approach to Hebrews 4:15 would not include denying the sinful nature.

    I don’t have a problem with you holding to Pelagian ideas about the nature of man, if you truly find that to be Scriptural. But I do wonder about your claim that Augustine introduced the idea to the church when he wasn’t born until almost 350 AD. You said this doctrine was unheard of prior to 250 AD. If that is the case, then that is over a 100 year gap (since Augustine wasn’t teaching anything as an infant). So what about between 250 AD and 350 AD?

    God Bless,
    Ben

  7. <<For the record, JPC doesn’t necessarily speak for me or this blog.

    Don't worry. I don't judge you based on others :)

    <<On a blog called “Arminian Perspectives” it should be obvious that my approach to Hebrews 4:15 would not include denying the sinful nature.

    Of course, and that is also what I expected.

    <<I don’t have a problem with you holding to Pelagian ideas

    It's better that you phrase it "Ireneausian, Ignatusian, Clementian, or Origenean ideas, because these old church fathers lived long before Pelagius did and held to the view of the sinful nature. I get your point though.

    << You said this doctrine was unheard of prior to 250 AD

    Not "unheard" of since the gnostics believed in the sinful nature.

    << So what about between 250 AD and 350 AD?

    I don't think that you will find any church fathers who believed in the sinful nature during those years either, but I usually use "250" as the year just to be sure. None of the church fathers before AD 250+ years believed in the sinful nature – and there is no known exception. It could very well be that Augustine was first (apart form the gnostics) and it looks like he misunderstood some of Cyprian's texts.

    God bless

  8. Bjork,

    The reason I used “Pelagian” instead of what you would prefer, is because I need to investigate your claims further. While I haven’t seen anything that sounds like depravity from the writers you just mentioned, I have at least seen things that seem to affirm depravity from Tertullian prior to 250 AD. Could I be reading them wrong? I suppose, but that can be a difficult thing to demonstrate. When I get some time, I will post them here. And I have not read the church fathers exhaustively either.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  9. Ben, I certainly do not speak for you or this blog so my apoolgies if my post came accross that way. I assumed since you are an evangelical arminian, that you hold to the doctrine of original sin as you would hold to the doctrine of the Trinity. If you do not believe that denying the sinful nature is a heresy than honestly that would shock me.

    Bjork, I assume that you also deny the Trinity on the same specious grounds as the anti-trinitarians use the exact same fallacious argument that you are trying to present.

    As you may or may not be aware, a doctrine can be taught explicitly or implictly. It is clear that the doctrine of original sin must be believed implictly as it is connected with many other doctrines. For example, the need for atonement (since you deny the sin nature you must hold to a moral influence theory of the atonement which is also a heresy). Also, the confidence that the writers of the Bible have of the universality of sin. If there is no sin nature as you propose then a righteosness can be obtained by the law which the Scripture states would mean that Christ died for nothing. So there goes the Gospel as well for a healthy person does not need a physician only the sick. Much more could be said but I will leave it at that.

  10. <<The reason I used “Pelagian” instead of what you would prefer, is because I need to investigate your claims further.

    You can for instance check an interesting video here about Augustine who brought so many false teachings into church (Jesse Morell):

    http://bjorkbloggen.com/2013/01/25/did-augustine-corrupt-the-church-with-gnostic-doctrine-yes/

    Quotes: (sinful nature and free will)

    http://bjorkbloggen.com/2012/05/08/quotes-from-old-church-fathers-supporting-free-will-and-objecting-to-the-sinful-nature/

  11. <<Bjork, I assume that you also deny the Trinity on the same specious grounds as the anti-trinitarians use the exact same fallacious argument that you are trying to present.

    I assume you're an American, and that must mean you adore Obama?

    Quite honestly, you should avoid making unnecessary generalizations. What does the trinity issue have to do with the sinful nature issue? The trinity is taught in the Bible and the church fathers believed it. The sinful nature is not taught in the Bible and the church fathers did not believe it. It appears I'm on the side of the church fathers. If I'm a heretic for believing in the sinful nature, then ALL the church fathers the first few years were as well.

    << For example, the need for atonement (since you deny the sin nature you must hold to a moral influence theory of the atonement which is also a heresy).

    Why did Jesus have to die? Because we have sinned. Not because we have inherited sin, because that would hardly be our fault. Is it the sinful nature that makes us sin? Then I have a question for you: "Why did Adam and Eve sin?

    << If there is no sin nature as you propose then a righteosness can be obtained by the law which the Scripture states would mean that Christ died for nothing.

    Have someone obeyed the law of Moses to 100%? No? Then it's not possible to be saved by the law. That is only a possibility if we have obeyed it.

    If the sinful nature is true, it's strange that it can be found nowhere in the scripture, and ALL the church fathers were fooled since they denied it, and were heretics. I assume we must praise Augustine for finally entering the scene to get it right.

  12. JPC,

    I didn’t suggest that you thought you were speaking for me or this blog. I suggested that Bjork might not understand that you were not necessarily speaking for me or this blog based on his reply which seemed to imply that.

    You were right to affirm that I hold to original sin (as in total depravity), and the Trinity. I also agree that the doctrine is derived from Scripture largely by way of implication, and that’s fine. I do hold that denying the sinful nature is heresy in that I think that is error. Likewise, Bjork would think that holding to a sinful nature is heretical in that he thinks such a concept is not Biblical. So calling each other heretics doesn’t seem very helpful to me, that’s all.

    Now, I do think you are wrong in assuming that denial of the sinful nature means we are not in need of salvation or that the atonement doesn’t become necessary. I think Bjork’s view would be that we are all sinners in need of salvation. He would just deny that we are born with a sinful nature. Universality of sin doesn’t necessarily equate to us being born with a sinful nature either, though I do think it is strong evidence in its favor. I am sure Bjork wouldn’t mind sharing his views on all of that, and I think we should let him do it before jumping to such conclusions.

    You are welcome to share your views here as well. I would just suggest holding back on calling people heretics as it doesn’t seem to foster fruitful discussion.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  13. It looks like Bjork did explain more while I was writing this post.

  14. <<Likewise, Bjork would think that holding to a sinful nature is heretical in that he thinks such a concept is not Biblical.

    I used to believe in the sinful nature as well, due to being influenced by Luther, but I certainly didn't believe it out of spite/rebellion but only because I didn't know any better. Likewise, I don't believe God is disappointed with people who don't know any better. I believe he looks at our conscience. Agreed, calling each other heretics won't help.

    << He would just deny that we are born with a sinful nature. Universality of sin doesn’t necessarily equate to us being born with a sinful nature either, though I do think it is strong evidence in its favor. I am sure Bjork wouldn’t mind sharing his views on all of that, and I think we should let him do it before jumping to such conclusions.

    Thanks, you can refer to me as a "she" :) (My fault…)

  15. Bjork,

    My apologies. Is your name Bjork, or is that just a screen name. That sounds Norwegian. Is that right? Pardon my ignorance. I will be posting those quotes by Tertullian soon.

    BTW, holding to a sinful nature is not the same as holding to racial guilt. I personally reject racial guilt, so I wouldn’t say we are condemned for just having a sinful nature, or that God holds us guilty for Adam’s sin in the garden. You probably know that, but just in case.

  16. OK, just checked your blog and see that it is probably Swedish. I was close.

  17. My name is Annika Björk, and it’s Swedish. :) I think we are Facebook friends, but you’re no longer active? (Or maybe I’m wrong.)
    There were a few quotes from Tertullian in one my links, but the quotes are more clear when it comes to many of the other church fathers.

    I believe we are sinners when we transgress the law of God, and to be able to do that we must first be aware of the law. I believe sinning is something we might choose to do, and nothing that we can inherit. Adam’s sin has still affected us in a major way, because we can’t reach the tree of life due to him.

  18. I am no expert on the Church Fathers, but here are some quotes I found from a brief internet search:

    Justin Martyr (c.100-165): “Mankind by Adam fell under death, and the deception of the serpent; we are born sinners … No good thing dwells in us … For neither by nature, nor by human understanding is it possible for me to acquire the knowledge of things so great and so divine, but by the energy of the Divine Spirit … Of ourselves it is impossible to enter the kingdom of God … He has convicted us of the impossibility of our nature to obtain life … Free will has destroyed us; we who were free are become slaves and for our sin are sold … Being pressed down by our sins, we cannot move upward toward God; we are like birds who have wings, but are unable to fly.”

    And then this link has a number of quotes:

    http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/26217/are-there-any-writings-from-the-church-fathers-teaching-original-sin-before-augu

  19. I think I’ve read that quote before, and I I’m trying to find the context. I agree with him that we fall under death due to Adam (physical death), and also that we can’t save ourselves in our bodily nature. I will get back to you about this because naturally Justin doesn’t contradict himself. Justin Martyr is one of the easiest church father to check the views of, because he wrote extensively against the sinful nature.

    You can check his quotes here:

    http://www.jarom.net/justin_martyr.php

    And here:

    For He fore-knows that some are to be saved by repentance, some even that are perhaps not yet born. In the beginning He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative Chapter 28

    Let some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever occurs happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to THE MERIT OF EACH MAN’S ACTIONS. Now, if this is not so, but all things happen by fate, then neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it is predetermined that this man will be good, and this other man will be evil, neither is the first one meritorious nor the latter man to be blamed. And again, unless the human race has the power of avoiding evil and CHOOSING GOOD BY FREE CHOICE, they are not accountable for their actions. (c. 160, E), 1:177

    But neither do we affirm that it is by fate that men do what they do, or suffer what they suffer, but that each man by free choice acts rightly or wrongly…The stoics, not observing this, maintained that all things take place according to the necessity of fate. But since God, in the beginning made the race of men and angels with free will they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed, and this is the nature of all that is made, to be capable of vice and virtue. For neither would any of them be praiseworthy unless there were power to turn to both. (vice and virtue) 2 Apology ch.7 (+ The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p.354)

    In the beginning, He made the human race with the power of thought AND OF CHOOSING the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God. (c. 160, E), 1:172

    I have proved in what has been said that those who were foreknown to be unrighteous, whether men or angels, are not made wicked by God’s fault. Rather, each man is what he will appear to be through his own fault. (c.160, Vol. 1, p. 269)

    Neither do we maintain that it is by fate that men do what they do, or suffer what they suffer. Rather, we maintain that each man acts rightly or sins BY HIS FREE CHOICE….Since God in the beginning MADE THE RACE OF ANGELS AND MEN WITH FREE WILL, they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed. (c. 160, E), 1:190

    He created both angels and men free to do that which is righteous. And He appointed periods of time during which He knew it would be good for them to have the exercise of free will. (c. 160, Vol. 1, p. 250)

    I hold further, that those of you who have confessed and known this man to be Christ, yet who have gone back for some reason to the legal dispensation, an have denied that this man is Christ, and have not repented before death – you will by no means be saved . c.160

  20. That Justin Martyr quote you gave does not argue against the sin nature. It seems like you think arguing against necessity is arguing against the sin nature. But that is false. The sin nature does not necessitate any particular sin. So sin is still by choice even in the unsaved. But the sin nature does make sin inevitable by its constant pull toward sin and its orientation of the heart toward sin. But in no instance does it make sin necessary.

  21. I tried to find the source for the quote, but couldn’t find it. I did find a page which used one source for the first part of the first sentence, and another source for the second part. That would be an amalgamation of Justin’s views.

    The question is if we are labeled as sinners before we sin. If we are born with a sinful nature, then we are sinners by necessity. We can read that Justin’s idea is that we are sinners by our own fault. If we inherit Adam’s sin, it’s not our own fault.

  22. We will justly suffer for the sins we have committed. Not for what other have committed. It’s not possible to inherit another person’s sin, and be guilty for what someone else has done. We are all capable of avoiding evil from start. If we had no power to do good/evil, we couldn’t be blamed for our actions. Sinning is something we do:

    “But since God, in the beginning made the race of men and angels with free will they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed, and this is the nature of all that is made, to be capable of vice and virtue. For neither would any of them be praiseworthy unless there were power to turn to both. (vice and virtue)”

    If we are born with a sinful nature, we are guilty from start. We have no choice but to be sinners in need of a savior. We have no power to completely avoid all evil, since being sinful is evil. If we have no choice in the matter (no one asked to get a sinful nature) we could not be accountable for it:

    “And again, unless the human race has the power of avoiding evil and CHOOSING GOOD BY FREE CHOICE, they are not accountable for their actions”

  23. I think you misunderstand the doctrine of the sinful nature Bjork, at least one of the Arminian versions of it. On that view, we are not sinners before we sin. We do have a sinful nature, but it does not necessitate any particular sin and so sin is not by necessity but by choice. The sin nature is more about a propensity to sin, an inclination that does not determine sin, but powerfully influences toward it, but can be resisted and is not necessarily followed in any given instance, though it is inevitable that it will be followed at some point due to its pervasiveness etc. So we are sinners by our own fault. We do not inherit Adam’s sin, but we inherit a sinful nature from him.

  24. I believe too that there are different views about the sinful nature, for instance depending on if it’s from a calvinistic perspective or a free-will perspective. Most that I talk to believe that babies are born as sinners, and I’m glad that you seem to disagree with this idea. I’m also glad that you say that you don’t believe we have inherited Adam’s sin!

    If we are not sinners before we sin, then it would in my view be misleading to say that we are born with a sinful nature. It would be better to say that we are born with the capability to obey/disobey, and that we have an equal ability to choose either one.

    Also Adam and Eve had the opportunity to choose between obeying/disobeying and they didn’t have a sinful nature either. I believe we have the same kind of flesh and abilities as they had.

  25. Bjork, as Arminian stated to say that we are born with a sinful nature and that we are born sinners is two different things. We are not born sinners but since we are born with a sin nature once we reach the age of accountability we are guaranteed to sin (this is why all infants go to heaven). It may vary in degree or type of sin but once the knowledge of the law comes we are slain by sin.

    “But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died” Romans 7:9

    Now you just stated this:

    “It would be better to say that we are born with the capability to obey/disobey, and that we have an equal ability to choose either one.Also Adam and Eve had the opportunity to choose between obeying/disobeying and they didn’t have a sinful nature either. I believe we have the same kind of flesh and abilities as they had.”

    If we have an equal ability to obey or disobey than it would stand to reason that some have chosen to obey. Has anyone ever followed the law perfectly? If not, why? You mean to tell me that of the billions and billions of people that were born on this earth perfect that 0 have chosen the right path even though they were all on equal ground to choose sin or righteousness? If we are born neutral then you would see evidence of this and there would be 2 forms of justification:

    1. When you are born you have the ability to live a perfect life according to you. If you choose the right every time then you will be justified by the works of the law.

    2. If you happen to fall like Adam when you had the equal choice then there is justification by faith since we are now sinners.

    This would fly in the face of the Gospel which pronounces all men under sin. How can Paul be so sure of this (that all men have sinned)?

    “For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Romans 7:14-25

    Also, you keep saying Church Fathers like they are final word in any of this. We can reference their writings but to say that Wesley and Arminius and many of the other great theologians have no place in the discussion because they were not born in the first 300 years of the Church is just silly. The final word is God’s word and as I just quoted, Romans 7 (along with chapters 6 and 8) are undeniable proof of the sin nature. You can read Wesley’s book online for free if you want a more thorough discussion on this and I can provide a link if you are interested as I believe that you are in serious error.

  26. << We are not born sinners but since we are born with a sin nature once we reach the age of accountability we are guaranteed to sin (this is why all infants go to heaven)

    If we are guaranteed to sin, as in sinning by necessity (?), we are not guilty for such sin. If you mean we will sin by our own choice, I would agree, but then again this has nothing to do with a sinful nature.

    <<“But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died” Romans 7:9

    I've written an article about Paul, who called himself holy, righteous, blameless and with a perfect conscience. It's important to read also Rom. 6 and 8.

    <<If we have an equal ability to obey or disobey than it would stand to reason that some have chosen to obey.

    Why do you believe that? Adam and Eve were placed in a perfect garden and yet they sinned. Why wouldn't it be possible that all other people chose to sin after them? One sin is enough….We sin due to selfishness, and each time we choose to sin, we could have chosen to not to sin.

    << If we are born neutral then you would see evidence of this and there would be 2 forms of justification:

    We are born neutral:

    Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, NEITHER HAVING DONE ANY GOOD OR EVIL,

    But if you suggest we are NOT born neutral, then you must mean that we are born…sinners?

    <<1. When you are born you have the ability to live a perfect life according to you. If you choose the right every time then you will be justified by the works of the law.

    Very true. But the Bible says that we are not justified by the law, and the reason is that we have disobeyed it.

    <<This would fly in the face of the Gospel which pronounces all men under sin. How can Paul be so sure of this (that all men have sinned)?

    He probably knows that it's enough with one single sin to be guilty.

    <<Also, you keep saying Church Fathers like they are final word in any of this.

    The Bible is the final word, but if you call me an heretic for not believing in the sinful nature, then so are Ignatius, Ireneaus, Origen, Clement, Justin Martyr, Origen, etc. ALL the church fathers apparently got it wrong. Only the gnostics got it right.

    << The final word is God’s word and as I just quoted, Romans 7 (along with chapters 6 and 8) are undeniable proof of the sin nature

    I've read the Rom. 6-8. Where is the sinful nature? Being able to choose sin is not the doctrine of being born with a sinful nature.

    <<. You can read Wesley’s book online for free

    He lived a long time after the church fathers.

  27. I see there has been some discussion while I was compiling these quotes. I haven’t yet read through all of that, though I did see what Arminian said about the sinful nature as not necessarily causing sin and I would say that is the view being expressed in the quotes I have listed below.

    So here are several quotes that seem to infer the idea of an inherent weakness in our nature towards sin. Some quotes are stronger than others. The views expressed in these quotes may not be exactly as all forms of depravity are described today, but again, they typically affirm a tendency towards sin in our natures after the fall and owing to the fall. Most of these are from Tertullian prior to 250 AD, and only a few are after 250 AD, though still before Augustine.

    There are two motions in us, the desire of the flesh and the desire of the soul. And these differ from each other. For these reasons, they have received two names: virtue and vice. (Methodius, c. 290)

    “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God…By “flesh,” he did not mean the flesh itself, but the irrational impulse towards the immoral pleasures of the soul. (Methodius, c. 290, as quoted by Photius)

    Adam was the first man who fell….and he conferred on us also what he did, whether of good or of evil. For he was chief of all who were born from him. As a result, we die through his means. For he, receding from the divine, became and outcast from the Word. (Commodianus, 240)

    In baptism, the coarse garment of your birth is washed.” (Commodianus, 240)

    You have Satan constantly upon your lips. Yet, he is the very one we hold to be the angel of evil, the source of error, the corrupter of the whole world. Because of him, in the beginning man was trapped into breaking the commandment of God. And the entire human race went over to death as a result of his sin. For they were tainted in their descent from him. They were made a channel of transmuting his condemnation.”
    (Tertullian, c. 197)

    Fallen as the soul is, it is the victim of the great adversaries machinations. Yet, it does not forget its Creator. (Tertullian, c. 197)

    When once he succumbed to impatience, man entirely ceased to be of sweet savor to God. He completely ceased to be able to endure heavenly things. Thereafter, he became a creature given to earth and ejected from the sight of God. He began to be easily turned by impatience into every use that was offensive to God.
    (Tertullian, c. 200)

    So many and so great sins of human temerity have been committed. They were begun by the first of the race, Adam, after the condemnation of man. This became the dowry of the world, after man’s ejection from paradise and his subjection to death. (Tertullian, c. 203)

    Man was condemned to death for tasting the fruit of one poor tree. From that, there preceded sins with their penalties. And now all are perishing, even though they have never seen a single sod of Paradise. (Tertullian, c. 207)

    The irrational element [in man- comparable to the sinful nature?], however, we must understand to have accrued later. It proceeded from the instigation of the serpent- the very fruit of transgression. From then on, it became inherent in the soul, and it grew with the soul’s growth. (Tertullian, c. 210)

    The attributes that belong to its proper condition are namely immortality, rationality, sensibility, intelligence, and freedom of the will. All of those endowments of the soul are bestowed on the soul at birth. Yet, they are obscured and corrupted by the malignant being who, in the beginning, regarded them with an envious eye. As a result, they are never seen in their spontaneous action, nor are they used as they should be. (Tertullian, c. 210)

    Every soul then, by reason of its birth, has its nature in Adam until it is born again in Christ. Moreover, it is unclean all the time that it remains without this regeneration. And because it is unclean, it is actively sinful. (Tertullian, c. 210)

    It is clear that sins, lusts of the flesh, unbelief and anger are ascribed to the common nature of all mankind. However, the devil has led that nature astray, which he has already infected with the implanted germ of sin. (Tertullian, c. 207)

    The flesh of Christ, which committed no sin itself, resembled the flesh that had sinned. I mean, it resembled it in its nature, but not in the corruption it received from Adam. For that reason, we also declare that there was in Christ the same flesh as that whose nature in man is sinful. (Tertullian, c. 210)

    We are prone to err, and to yield to various lusts and appetites through the fault of our innate weaknesses. (Arnobius, c. 305)

  28. <<I see there has been some discussion while I was compiling these quotes.

    It's good that you look for quotes, but did you have a chance to look on the quotes that I offered you? What did you think about them?

    <<So here are several quotes that seem to infer the idea of an inherent weakness in our nature towards sin.

    I don't disagree with the idea that we CAN sin, and that temptations are indeed tempting, and that man can easily choose to fall for sin. Adam and Eve had no sinful nature, and they chose to sin anyway. They are evidence for that it's not a sinful nature that makes us sin. But if the idea is that it's Adam's fault that we lean more towards sin than the choice to NOT sin, then we can partly blame him for our sins. But the Bible says that we will have no excuse for our sins on judgment day. If we inherit a "weakness" from Adam, does this mean that Adam himself was free from such a weakness, but we were forced to be born with one?

    I've skimmed through the verses, but I didn't find anyone who disagree with what I'm saying. These verses seem to say that our flesh wants one thing and our soul something else, but again I don't disagree with that. It's the same as Paul is describing in Romans. Paul's solution is that we obey the Spirit and not our flesh. Flesh is not sinful in itself.

    And we certainly die physically due to Adam. If we also sin like he did, we also die spiritually. And we have.

  29. Maybe we are more in agreement than disagreement? Calvin and Luther were both of the idea that it was important to baptize a child as soon as possible, due to the sinful nature. I’m glad we seem to agree that this is absurd. Are we also in agreement about that each time we choose to sin, we could have chosen not to? Are we in agreement about that it’s not possible to inherit a “weakness” or “nature” from Adam, other than the one he is already created with by God? Are we in agreement about that we are not sinners until the day we choose to transgress the law of God?

    Tertullian: I find, then, that man was constituted free by God. He was master of his own will and power…For a law would not be imposed upon one who did not have it in his power to render that obedience which is due to law. Nor again, would the penalty of death be threatened against sin, if a contempt of the law were impossible to man in the liberty of his will…Man is free, with a will either for obedience of resistance. (c. 207, Vol. 3, pp. 300-301)

    No reward can be justly bestowed, no punishment can be justly inflicted, upon him who is good or bad by necessity, and not by his own choice. (c. 207) (Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 61, published by Truth in Heart)

    Ignatius: I do not mean to say that there are two different human natures, but all humanity is made the same, sometimes belonging to God and sometimes to the devil. If anyone is truly spiritual they are a person of God; but if they are irreligious and not spiritual then they are a person of the devil, made such not by nature, but by their own choice. Pg.61 vol. 1.

    Clement:The Lord clearly shows sins and transgressions to be in our own power, by prescribing modes of cure corresponding to the maladies. (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 363)

    Justin: For He fore-knows that some are to be saved by repentance, some even that are perhaps not yet born. In the beginning He made the human race with the power of thought and of choosing the truth and doing right, so that all men are without excuse before God; for they have been born rational and contemplative Chapter 28

    Methodius: Because there is nothing evil by nature, but it is by use that evil things become such…man was made with free-will, not as if there were already evil in existence, which he had the power of choosing if he so wished, but on account of his capacity of obeying or disobeying God. For this was the meaning of the gift of free will.

    Lanctantius: We should be free from vices and sin. For no one is born sinful, but if our affections are given to that direction they can become vices and sinful, but if we use our affections well they become virtues.’ Ch16 bk 4 Divine Inst.

    Ireneaus: But man, being endowed with reason, and in this respect similar to God HAVING BEEN MADE FREE IN HIS WILL, and with power over himself, is himself his own cause that sometimes he becomes wheat, and sometimes chaff. (c. 180, E/W), 1:466

  30. Bjork,

    I told you before that I didn’t find much evidence of the sinful nature in many early Christian writers. But that isn’t the point. You claimed none of them taught anything like it before Augustine (or at least before 250 AD). Early church writers were not all in agreement on every theological issue. But if some held to the idea that our nature tends toward sin because of Adam, then your claims are false. I think that is hard to deny based on these quotes (and some of them seem pretty strong on the issue). I also think that many quotes by Tertullian that speak of not sinning by necessity are in harmony with us having a sinful nature as the sinful nature does not irresistibly cause us to sin.

    I don’t disagree with the idea that we CAN sin, and that temptations are indeed tempting, and that man can easily choose to fall for sin.

    I never suggested you denied that.

    Adam and Eve had no sinful nature, and they chose to sin anyway. They are evidence for that it’s not a sinful nature that makes us sin.

    Again, neither in this post or in my comments did I claim that the sinful nature irresistibly causes us to sin. Instead, I said it was an inward pull or tendency towards sin. I also never suggested that without a sinful nature we cannot sin. I know that Adam sinned without a sinful nature. He fell to external temptation. But we are different in that we face both external and internal temptation due to the corruption he passed on to us (which I made clear in the post).

    But if the idea is that it’s Adam’s fault that we lean more towards sin than the choice to NOT sin, then we can partly blame him for our sins.

    Not really, since that tendency does not irresistibly cause sin. We still yield to it freely in actual sin and therefore have ourselves to blame.

    But the Bible says that we will have no excuse for our sins on judgment day.

    Yes, because we freely yield to the corruption of our nature and to temptation. Also, we are provided a means of escape through the grace of God in the atonement. That is why judgment is primarily based on belief versus unbelief (John 3:16-18, 36).

    If we inherit a “weakness” from Adam, does this mean that Adam himself was free from such a weakness, but we were forced to be born with one?

    Basically yes, though I would say that when Adam sinned, he was also corrupted and therefore had this same weakness (though he did not have it prior to the fall).

    I’ve skimmed through the verses, but I didn’t find anyone who disagree with what I’m saying. These verses seem to say that our flesh wants one thing and our soul something else, but again I don’t disagree with that. It’s the same as Paul is describing in Romans. Paul’s solution is that we obey the Spirit and not our flesh. Flesh is not sinful in itself.

    I am not saying that it is sinful in itself, but corrupted and bent towards sin. Why does our “flesh” want what it wants? If our flesh has no pull towards sin, why does it want to sin?

    Look at these two quotes:

    Every soul then, by reason of its birth, has its nature in Adam until it is born again in Christ. Moreover, it is unclean all the time that it remains without this regeneration. And because it is unclean, it is actively sinful. (Tertullian, c. 210)

    The flesh of Christ, which committed no sin itself, resembled the flesh that had sinned. I mean, it resembled it in its nature, but not in the corruption it received from Adam. For that reason, we also declare that there was in Christ the same flesh as that whose nature in man is sinful. (Tertullian, c. 210)

  31. Are we in agreement about that it’s not possible to inherit a “weakness” or “nature” from Adam, other than the one he is already created with by God?

    No, we are not in agreement on that. The nature God created was corrupted by the fall, but we are not held accountable for that nature, only with what we do with it.

  32. Bjork you stated:

    “If we are guaranteed to sin, as in sinning by necessity (?), we are not guilty for such sin. If you mean we will sin by our own choice, I would agree, but then again this has nothing to do with a sinful nature.”

    Sinning by necessity and sinning because we have a sin nature are two different things. If by necessity you mean we are guaranteed to sin in some way then I agree but if you are advocating fatalism then I disagree. You yourself said that everyone sins so you implicate yourself. How do you know that everyone sins? Have you met everyone? If everyone can make the right choice then there must be proof of this. Give me just 1 person who lived perfect? We will be held accountable for our sins which we commit due to having a sin nature. Unless there is an atonement that both relieves us of the penalty of our sins and frees us from the power of sin (the sin nature) so that we can be Holy.

    You said:

    “I’ve written an article about Paul, who called himself holy, righteous, blameless and with a perfect conscience. It’s important to read also Rom. 6 and 8.”

    Of course you must know that this was stated after he was a Christian (unless you are referencing Philippians where he was stating what he was outwardly as a Pharisee. But Jesus corrected that by showing the Pharisees that the outside of the cup was clean but the inside filthy. Romans 7 was the inside of Paul when he was a Pharisee). If he was all those things before faith then he did not need faith as he had his own righteousness of the law which would nullify the Gospel. This Holiness was by grace through faith part of which was rendering the sin nature powerless. That is why we can be Holy as Christians but only wicked as unbelievers. As unbelievers we are “slaves to sin”.

    You said:

    “Why do you believe that? Adam and Eve were placed in a perfect garden and yet they sinned. Why wouldn’t it be possible that all other people chose to sin after them? One sin is enough….We sin due to selfishness, and each time we choose to sin, we could have chosen to not to sin.”

    Just because Adam sinned doesn’t mean that I have to sin according to your logic. So it could not be possible (according to your logic) that hundreds of billions of people chose to sin like Adam but not even one person chose not to sin. In fact, if what you say is true (which it is not) then there would be proof of this. I am talking about 1 sin. How do you know everyone will sin? If we have an equal choice then there must be some people who choose not to sin. Where are they? Of course this is not true but there must be something that happened at the fall that causes everyone to sin without exception. What could that be? …Wait for it…the sin nature! You also said we sin due to selfishness but where does selfishness (sin) come from if we are born neutral? …Wait for it…the sin nature!

    You said:

    “We are born neutral:
    Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, NEITHER HAVING DONE ANY GOOD OR EVIL,”

    Again, there is a difference between being born with a sinful nature and being born sinners. This verse does nothing to prove your point against a sin nature. Moreover, Paul is not even talking about the sin nature but Gods right to choose which nation he will fulfill his purposes through. He sovereignly made the choice to use Jacob and not Esau. That is his prerogative. He also chose to create Adam and allow him to sin thereby plunging the human race into a catastrophic fall that includes being born with a sin nature. He chose this before you were born or had done any good or evil.

    You said:

    “But the Bible says that we are not justified by the law, and the reason is that we have disobeyed it.”

    How do you know everyone has disobeyed the law? With what confidence can you assert the universality of sin on one hand and the ability for every human born to be able to equally choose good or evil on their own without any assistance on the other? Seems quite contradictory to me.

    You said:

    “The Bible is the final word, but if you call me an heretic for not believing in the sinful nature, then so are Ignatius, Ireneaus, Origen, Clement, Justin Martyr, Origen, etc. ALL the church fathers apparently got it wrong. Only the gnostics got it right.”

    Where did they deny the sinful nature? They taught we could be righteous on our own without any grace first? Then yes, they are heretics. Pelagianism states we can be righteous on our own without any assistance. Semi-Pelagianism teaches we need Gods’ grace but we can still make the first move towards God. Arminianism/Calvinism and all evangelical denominations teach that we are fallen creatures and we cannot be righteous on our own or turn to God on our own but need God to first come to us by grace before we can repent, believe and be saved. Where do you stand? Which denomination do you affiliate yourself with? I am curious to know.

    You said:

    “I’ve read the Rom. 6-8. Where is the sinful nature? Being able to choose sin is not the doctrine of being born with a sinful nature.”

    Romans 6-8 teaches it by way of inference and by Paul comparing our new life in Christ to the previous life without him. Look at a few quotes:

    “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin….So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.. But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness…But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord….For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit….For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him…For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

    You said:

    “He lived a long time after the church fathers.”

    What does it matter how long he lived after the “Church Fathers” which are really not Church Fathers as the real Church Fathers are the Apostles and Prophets which were the foundation of the Church.

  33. <<I told you before that I didn’t find much evidence of the sinful nature in many early Christian writers.

    You're a fast reader. I showed you loads of quotes. :)

    << You claimed none of them taught anything like it before Augustine (or at least before 250 AD).

    Yes, I stand by that. Augustine believed infants who died before they were baptized would not go to heaven. He believed we have inherited Adam's sin, and that we are sinners when we are born. Only the gnostics shared such views with him.

    << Early church writers were not all in agreement on every theological issue.

    Early church fathers were in complete agreement about the sinful nature and that we have not inherited sin from Adam. But it looks like you don't believe we have inherited sin from Adam, so this must mean you agree with those early church fathers?

    <<But if some held to the idea that our nature tends toward sin because of Adam, then your claims are false.

    Do we inherit something from Adam that makes us more prone to sin than to not sin? Where is that in scripture? How is it possible to inherit such a trait, and didn't you say that we did not inherit something sinful from Adam? If we inherit some gene that makes us more prone to sin than not to sin, doesn't this mean that we have great excuses before God when he asks us why we have sinned? I would agree with "more prone to sin", if we by this mean that our FLESH wants to sin, as in Paul's words when he talks about the flesh wanting one thing, and our mind something else, but he also promises us that none of us must obey the flesh.

    << I think that is hard to deny based on these quotes (and some of them seem pretty strong on the issue). also think that many quotes by Tertullian that speak of not sinning by necessity are in harmony with us having a sinful nature as the sinful nature does not irresistibly cause us to sin.

    I asked you what you thought of my quotes since they seem to deny that we have inherited some particles that makes us more prone to sin. Maybe this isn't what you believe either, and then it's all fine.

    <<Again, neither in this post or in my comments that claim that the sinful nature irresistibly causes us to sin. Instead, I said it was an inward pull or tendency towards sin.

    Right, so we don't sin by necessity, but we are still born with a weakness that we could blame Adam for? If I could choose, I would not be born with such a weakness, but it was forced on me? And Jesus was exempted from this weakness and had an advantage over us?

    <<I also never suggested that without a sinful nature we cannot sin.

    I didn't say you did.

    <<Not really, since that tendency does not irresistibly cause sin. We still yield to it freely in actual sin and therefore have ourselves to blame.

    So do you believe that Adam's choice to eat or not to eat was 50/50 but we were forced to be born with a weakness (that no one asked to get) where the odds are rather 70/30 for us to be sinning?

    <<Yes, because we freely yield to the corruption of our nature and to temptation.

    Where does the BIble say our nature is corrupted? If it is corrupted, doesn't this give us an excuse to sin?

    <<Basically yes, though I would say that when Adam sinned, he was also corrupted and therefore had this same weakness (though he did not have it prior to the fall).

    How does this corruption materialize? I mean, what is the outcome and how does it affect Adam?

    <<Why does our “flesh” want what it wants? If our flesh has no pull towards sin, why does it want to sin?

    Due to selfishness. We know that it couldn't be our sinful nature, since we seem to be in agreement with that its not our sinful nature that makes us sin. Adam found his flesh wanting to eat, and he chose to eat. Not due to a sinful flesh/nature.

    <<Every soul then, by reason of its birth, has its nature in Adam until it is born again in Christ. Moreover, it is unclean all the time that it remains without this regeneration. And because it is unclean, it is actively sinful. (Tertullian, c. 210)

    Yes, Adam is created with flesh, and so are we. We can choose to sin with our flesh, and we have. Just like Adam. The reason that we must be born again is because we have sinned. It's not a sin to be conceived or born. A newborn baby must not hurry up to be born again. We are eagerly expecting to get new heavenly bodies.

    <<The flesh of Christ, which committed no sin itself, resembled the flesh that had sinned. I mean, it resembled it in its nature, but not in the corruption it received from Adam. For that reason, we also declare that there was in Christ the same flesh as that whose nature in man is sinful. (Tertullian, c. 210)

    If we are sinful as soon as we get some flesh on our bodies, then this applies to Jesus too. But he was not considered a sinner, and that is because he has not sinned. We are getting corruption from Adam, because we can't reach the tree of life due to him. Our flesh can be tempted and it sometimes wants to live in the world and do sinful things, but Paul teaches us that we don't have to give in for our flesh. We can choose to walk in the spirit. Jesus was tempted like us, but chose to avoid sin.

    I notice that you didn't comment my quotes from Tertullian. He doesn't contradict himself, and it's not like the other quotes go away :) I also posted other very clear posts from others.

    But again, maybe we are in agreement about certain things anyway.

  34. I saw another reply:

    <<No, we are not in agreement on that. The nature God created was corrupted by the fall, but we are not held accountable for that nature, only with what we do with it.

    So the fact that we are corrupted is not a sin that we can be accountable for? Can we still say that we are clean, and spiritually alive despite our corruption? If we are not clean and spiritually alive in our corruption, why not? Is it not true that we die spiritually when we sin? Sinning is when we offend God by trespassing the law. Is the corruption a sin from our side, and have we offended God by being corrupted?

  35. << . You yourself said that everyone sins so you implicate yourself.

    I've said that each time we choose to sin, we could have chosen to not sin. I believe we always have a fair chance, and I believe Jesus had the same chances to avoid sins as we do.

    <<How do you know that everyone sins?

    I don't know, but I believe all who can sin have chosen to sin. I certainly can't prove it.

    << If everyone can make the right choice then there must be proof of this.

    How do you expect me to prove it?

    <<Give me just 1 person who lived perfect?

    I can't (apart from Jesus). I believed all who can sin have chosen to sin.

    <<We will be held accountable for our sins which we commit due to having a sin nature.

    I asked you before why Adam and Eve sinned. Due to a sinful nature? So we will be punished for something we couldn't help doing?

    << But Jesus corrected that by showing the Pharisees that the outside of the cup was clean but the inside filthy.

    Yes, they were sinners.

    <<Romans 7 was the inside of Paul when he was a Pharisee).

    Amen

    <<If he was all those things before faith then he did not need faith as he had his own righteousness of the law which would nullify the Gospel.

    But the pharisees and Paul did NOT have their own righteousness since they were sinners. They were not clean. Our righteousness must exceed their if we want to be saved.

    <<This Holiness was by grace through faith part of which was rendering the sin nature powerless. That is why we can be Holy as Christians but only wicked as unbelievers. As unbelievers we are “slaves to sin”.

    We are slaved to the one we choose to obey, and none of us must choose to obey sin. We are saved by faith and not for being born jews, which was Paul's point. His point was certainly not that we can remain saved even if we hate, steal and commit adultery. We are not under the law of Moses, but there are still laws from God to obey. Just like there was before the law of Moses.

    << Of course this is not true but there must be something that happened at the fall that causes everyone to sin without exception.

    Again, 100% of all people who lived before the fall sinned. Apparently it's not the sinful nature that makes us sin, which I've said all along.

    <<What could that be? …Wait for it…the sin nature!

    Yeah! That is why Adam and Eve sinned. God created them with a sinful nature! Of course. Why didn't I think of that.. (Sarcasm)

    <<You also said we sin due to selfishness but where does selfishness (sin) come from if we are born neutral? …Wait for it…the sin nature!

    Ok, so you DO believe that our holy God created Adam and Eve with a sinful nature? Why do you believe he did that?

    << Moreover, Paul is not even talking about the sin nature but Gods right to choose which nation he will fulfill his purposes through.

    Very true, but when he did this he also mentioned these boys.

    <<Where did they deny the sinful nature?

    In their quotes. And then I mean that they deny that we have inherited a sinful nature by Adam – that makes us sin by necessity. We are not born sinners.

    <<They taught we could be righteous on our own without any grace first?

    That is not what they taught, that is not even what Pelagius taught but loads of people have ascribed this view to Pelagius.

    <<. Pelagianism states we can be righteous on our own without any assistance.

    Nope. Wrong again.

    <<Romans 6-8 teaches it by way of inference and by Paul comparing our new life in Christ to the previous life without him. Look at a few quotes:

    I've read and nowhere does it say that we have inherited Adam's sin.

    <<What does it matter how long he lived after the “Church Fathers” which are really not Church Fathers as the real Church Fathers are the Apostles and Prophets which were the foundation of the Church.

    It's more interesting to read the views from people who lived shortly after Jesus died, rather than reading views of people who lived recently.

  36. I’m going to bed, but, JPC, maybe this is helpful for you about Pelagius. It’s a comment on Amazon concerning a book with Pelagius commentaries about Romans.

    “Pelagius is probably the most lied about individual in church history. You can go anywhere on the Internet and find a site claiming that Pelagius said men can save themselves by their works and don’t need God’s grace at all, but if you read his actual commentary on the book of Romans you will find that he taught grace much moreso than Augustine (who is widely credited with saving the doctrine of grace from Pelagius the “heretic” who was supposedly hell-bent on destroying it). What you will find in reading Pelagius’ own words (which is the only honest thing to do if you are going to be commenting on Pelagius in any capacity) is that Pelagius teaches a form of salvation by faith alone that is wide enough to include baptism and obedience to the teachings of the New Testament as parts of faith (probably by viewing faith more as trust than mere head belief), and that Pelagius very frequently speaks of the necessity of grace to salvation. He never once says that men can save themselves without grace. Read it for yourself and see how the famous Calvinist writers have been lying to you. The real disagreement between Augustine and Pelagius is on whether men are condemned to hell at the point of conception by inheriting Adam’s sin (as Augustine teaches) or whether Adam’s sin condemns only the body and the soul is not condemned until one personally sins (as Pelagius teaches), and on whether men are puppets and their salvation or damnation depends on predetermined deterministic fate (as in Augustine) or election is based on foreseen faith (as in Pelagius’ view). Read it for yourself, and if you aren’t willing to put in the time to read it, then never dare say “Pelagius was a man that taught….” because if you’ve never read what he wrote, you are just regurgitating lies that someone made up about him.”

    You can also read more about Pelagius own views here, and I recognize his views too well when I read the quotes from the early church fathers. One thing is clear. Pelagius shared the views of the church fathers before him:

    http://www.libraryoftheology.com/writings/pelagianism/PELAGIUSOnFreewill.pdf

    I believe that the “flesh” (or nature) might want to live in the world and do something that it shouldn’t, just like Paul tells us in Romans, but I don’t believe this is sin itself but “temptations”. Paul himself says that he controls his body and make it obedient. I believe Jesus did the same his whole life. I believe we are just as “prone” to sin as Adam was, meaning we have an equal choice to sin or not to sin – and that this doesn’t sway in any direction. I don’t believe we inherited some negative trait from Adam which made the odds more unfavorable for us.

  37. Bjork,

    I wrote,

    <<I told you before that I didn’t find much evidence of the sinful nature in many early Christian writers.

    You responded,

    You’re a fast reader. I showed you loads of quotes.

    I think you misunderstood what I wrote. Look again and note the parts in bold.

    Yes, I stand by that. Augustine believed infants who died before they were baptized would not go to heaven. He believed we have inherited Adam’s sin, and that we are sinners when we are born. Only the gnostics shared such views with him.

    But that is racial guilt. That is different than holding that we have a sinful nature. This has been explained to you. Why do you keep bringing that up when none of us apparently hold to racial guilt?

    Early church fathers were in complete agreement about the sinful nature and that we have not inherited sin from Adam. But it looks like you don’t believe we have inherited sin from Adam, so this must mean you agree with those early church fathers?

    “Sinful nature” means a tendency towards sin. It does not mean that we inherit sin. It is not the best descriptor, I agree, but many who hold that we have a sinful nature only mean that we are bent towards sin by nature; not that our nature is sin or that we are guilty of sin because of our nature. Again, this has been explained to you.

    Right, so we don’t sin by necessity, but we are still born with a weakness that we could blame Adam for? If I could choose, I would not be born with such a weakness, but it was forced on me?

    Correct, but having a weakness doesn’t mean we must sin, so why does it matter if this is “forced” on us? Having a weakness doesn’t give us an excuse not to overcome that weakness. There are a lot of things we don’t get to choose about ourselves when we are born.

    And Jesus was exempted from this weakness and had an advantage over us?

    Exempted? Yes. Advantage? Not necessarily (which is the point of my post).

    I wrote: I also never suggested that without a sinful nature we cannot sin.

    You responded: I didn’t say you did.

    But you kept making the point that Adam sinned without a sinful nature, hence my comment.

    So do you believe that Adam’s choice to eat or not to eat was 50/50 but we were forced to be born with a weakness (that no one asked to get) where the odds are rather 70/30 for us to be sinning?

    Why are you so troubled by the idea that due to our nature we are not in the exact position as Adam? Wasn’t Adam at a disadvantage because he was temped directly by Satan? Wasn’t he at an advantage because he was a direct creation of God and walked with God in the garden? Don’t get so hung up on advantages and disadvantages.

    Where does the BIble say our nature is corrupted? If it is corrupted, doesn’t this give us an excuse to sin?

    No. This has already been explained to you as well. Why do you keep repeating the same things that have already been answered? You have already been given Biblical reasons for affirming this corruption and tendency towards sin. You have also been provided quotes from early church writers prior to 250 AD and prior to Augustine who affirm the same.

    How does this corruption materialize? I mean, what is the outcome and how does it affect Adam?

    It materializes in our desires that are contrary to the will of God.

    I wrote: Why does our “flesh” want what it wants? If our flesh has no pull towards sin, why does it want to sin?

    You responded: Due to selfishness.

    Is selfishness sinful? Do we have a tendency towards selfishness? If so, where does that come from?

    We know that it couldn’t be our sinful nature, since we seem to be in agreement with that its not our sinful nature that makes us sin.

    And here you go again. Our sinful nature can be a resistible cause of sin without being an irresistible cause of sin. It is an influence within us, and that internal influence is not as we were intended to be. Hence, it is a corruption of our nature.

    Adam found his flesh wanting to eat, and he chose to eat. Not due to a sinful flesh/nature.

    OK. I am not talking about Adam, and the desires of the flesh go beyond just hunger in Scripture and in the quotes I provided.

    Yes, Adam is created with flesh, and so are we. We can choose to sin with our flesh, and we have. Just like Adam. The reason that we must be born again is because we have sinned. It’s not a sin to be conceived or born.

    Nobody said it was a sin to be conceived or born. It’s like you are arguing with someone else.

    If we are sinful as soon as we get some flesh on our bodies, then this applies to Jesus too. But he was not considered a sinner, and that is because he has not sinned. We are getting corruption from Adam, because we can’t reach the tree of life due to him. Our flesh can be tempted and it sometimes wants to live in the world and do sinful things, but Paul teaches us that we don’t have to give in for our flesh. We can choose to walk in the spirit. Jesus was tempted like us, but chose to avoid sin.

    We can choose to walk in the Spirit because the Spirit dwells within us, regenerates us, and overcomes our nature (Rom. 8).

    Nobody said that “just having flesh” makes one sinful. We said the sinful nature makes us tend towards sin. Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit, so we have no reason to think he inherited the weaknesses of the sinful nature. That is the exact distinction Tertullian is trying to make.

    We are getting corruption from Adam, because we can’t reach the tree of life due to him.

    Well, that is an interesting take on it, but Tertullian doesn’t say that. What he does say is: “For that reason, we also declare that there was in Christ the same flesh as that whose nature in man is sinful.”

    I notice that you didn’t comment my quotes from Tertullian. He doesn’t contradict himself, and it’s not like the other quotes go away.

    I explained how his other quotes can be in harmony with the ones I provided. I also think it is possible that he did contradict himself at times or that his theology developed and changed. He wasn’t infallible. Scripture doesn’t contradict itself, but men often do. Still, I think there is a way to find a harmony so that there is no contradiction as I explained before.

    Yes, we agree on much, and it is not my duty to convince you about what we do not agree on. If you disagree, that is fine with me. But I do think that your claims about a consensus among the early church fathers was an overreach that is not supported by the facts. I also think that much of your arguments are against a form or “original sin” that we do not hold to.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  38. Hello Ben

    <<I told you before that I didn’t find much evidence of the sinful nature in many early Christian writers.—-
    Annika: You’re a fast reader. I showed you loads of quotes.
    I think you misunderstood what I wrote. Look again and note the parts in bold.

    I'm not sure that I understand, but just be to sure I ask you again if you read the quotes that I showed you (from jarom, from my blog and those that I listed here). For instance:

    I find, then, that man was constituted free by God. He was master of his own will and power…For a law would not be imposed upon one who did not have it in his power to render that obedience which is due to law. Nor again, would the penalty of death be threatened against sin, if a contempt of the law were impossible to man in the liberty of his will…Man is free, with a will either for obedience of resistance. (c. 207, Vol. 3, pp. 300-301) Tertullian

    It looks like he believes that it's in our own power to obey, and that the odds for avoiding sin is not to our disadvantage.

    <<But that is racial guilt. That is different than holding that we have a sinful nature. This has been explained to you. Why do you keep bringing that up when none of us apparently hold to racial guilt?

    Because you told me:

    "<< You claimed none of them taught anything like it before Augustine (or at least before 250 AD).—
    But if some held to the idea that our nature tends toward sin because of Adam, then your claims are false.

    I had to point out why I stick with my initial claim, and my claim is that the early church fathers do not believe that we have inherited Adam's sin which is what people *normally* understand the sinful nature to be. You're the only one that I've come across who believes in the sinful nature but not that we have inherited Adam's sin. I even told you:

    "But it looks like you don't believe we have inherited sin from Adam, so this must mean you agree with those early church fathers?"

    Which shows that I DO recognize that you don't believe in what you call "racial guilt", which is a term that I have not come across before (in relation to this subject). Notice that the above is a question (because I don't want to misrepresent you), so I had hoped that you would answer if you do feel that your views are quite similar to the old church fathers, where none of you believe we have inherited Adam's sin. My claim has all along been that the church fathers do not believe we have inherited Adam's sin. Are you following me?

    <<“Sinful nature” means a tendency towards sin. It does not mean that we inherit sin.

    It's not for you to decide, because loads of people would disagree with you and they would claim that it means mankind has inherited Adam's sin. This is also what you would find it you looked up "sinful nature" which is also called "original sin".

    << It is not the best descriptor, I agree, but many who hold that we have a sinful nature only mean that we are bent towards sin by nature; not that our nature is sin or that we are guilty of sin because of our nature.

    Yes, you can of course have a different view about the sinful nature than the ordinary one, and your view is a lot better than most. I've also asked you questions about this idea of being "bent" towards sin (about the odds) and maybe if I continue to read I will see answers.

    <<Again, this has been explained to you.

    Yes and why do you believe that I have not understood that this is your view? I have not forgotten that even once.

    <<Correct, but having a weakness doesn’t mean we must sin, so why does it matter if this is “forced” on us? Having a weakness doesn’t give us an excuse not to overcome that weakness.

    I understand that your view is that we don't have to sin, but the issue matters if you believe Adam caused us to get worse odds. If Adam is the reason that the odds for us avoiding sin decreased to 70/30 instead of 50/50, then it looks like we inherited "something" from Adam?

    <<Exempted? Yes. Advantage? Not necessarily (which is the point of my post).

    But surely Jesus had an advantage over us if his odds for avoiding sin is 50/50 just like Adam's? And our odds are 70/30 (?) against us?

    <<But you kept making the point that Adam sinned without a sinful nature, hence my comment.

    Yes, this is what I believe he did. I'm stating my position.

    <<Why are you so troubled by the idea that due to our nature we are not in the exact position as Adam? Wasn’t Adam at a disadvantage because he was temped directly by Satan?

    If our odds are worse than Adam's, then it looks like we inherited something from Adam after all, even if it's not the ordinary sinful nature (that most people understand it to be). I find it troubling if our odds are worse than the odds for Jesus. We might be able to say "No wonder that Jesus could avoid sinning, because his odds were only 50/50 but our odds were 70/30 and we had to carry a heavier burden". I believe that Jesus was tempted exactly like us, but if his odds are better I'm not able to see how this can be reconciled. It does look like he had an advantage over us. Do you understand my concern?

    Annika: Where does the BIble say our nature is corrupted? If it is corrupted, doesn’t this give us an excuse to sin?

    <<No. This has already been explained to you as well. Why do you keep repeating the same things that have already been answered?

    Where in this thread have you told me your view about your definition of the word "corruption"? You haven't. I ask you questions in order to not misrepresent you, and most people would understand "man's corruption" to be something that man must be blamed for, i e a sin. That is why I made sure to ask you about this. I read your posts very carefully.

    <<You have already been given Biblical reasons for affirming this corruption and tendency towards sin.

    I already know your position about "tendency towards sin", but I was curious to know your exact view about a certain word – "corruption", since I have not come across anyone who believes we are corrupted at the same time as it's NOT a sin to be corrupted.

    <<You have also been provided quotes from early church writers prior to 250 AD and prior to Augustine who affirm the same.

    Your quotes don't show anything else than what Paul is stating in Romans 6-8, that our flesh wants one thing and the spirit something else. I don't have a problem with that. So far it looks like the only thing we are in disagreement about is the odds, and whether we can blame our worse odds on Adam. Your quotes don't mention those type of decreased odds, but only focus on similar things as Paul in Romans. The reason why I have stored quotes from the early church fathers is to refute the idea that we have inherited Adam's sin, but again, you don't seem to argue against them about this. I have to admit, that if I knew that you did not hold to the more common view about the sinful nature, I wouldn't bother writing my first post to you on your Blog, because I would be satisfied with that you don't believe the ordinary view of the sinful nature. That's good enough!

    <<It materializes in our desires that are contrary to the will of God.

    I'm confused. It sounds like it's against God's will that we are "corrupted", and yet, we can be born corrupted and yet not be sinners yet? So first we are corrupted and NOT sinners, and later in life when we choose to sin we become sinners?

    <<Is selfishness sinful? Do we have a tendency towards selfishness? If so, where does that come from?

    Adam and Eve had the option to obey their flesh or God. They were tempted to eat and the fruit looked good. They might visualize how it would be to take a bite of such a delicious fruit, and they might also think about Satan's words and how it would be to be their own gods. I do not believe they sinned at this point (and please don't claim that I claim anything about your views just because I tell you about my views), but I believe they sinned when they actually ATE. Being tempted is not a sin, but giving in for temptations is a sin (and I know you have not claimed the opposite). Flesh cannot be sinful in itself, and Jesus was tempted like us. If he could not feel unlawful desires in his body (like eating when it's not time to eat), he could not be able to be tempted. I wouldn't phrase it my own view "having a tendency to sin", because that would sound like the odds are worse than 50/50. We have an equal tendency to obey or disobey God.

    Annika: We know that it couldn’t be our sinful nature, since we seem to be in agreement with that its not our sinful nature that makes us sin.

    <<And here you go again. Our sinful nature can be a resistible cause of sin without being an irresistible cause of sin. It is an influence within us, and that internal influence is not as we were intended to be.

    It seems like you're irritated because I said that we are in agreement about that it's not our sinful nature that makes us sin. But this IS what you believe, so why being irritated? Not once have I forgotten your stance on this matter, and I have asked you questions where I feel the need to. So there is no need to say "here you go again".

    <<Hence, it is a corruption of our nature.

    See my questions about "corruption" above. Maybe there is a better word than "corrupted" because most people would understand being born corrupted as being born as sinners with a sinful nature that makes us sin by necessity, and we already know that this is not your position. It can be misunderstood.

    <<OK. I am not talking about Adam, and the desires of the flesh go beyond just hunger in Scripture and in the quotes I provided.

    Adam is essential, and it's about being fully able to obey God.

    <<Nobody said it was a sin to be conceived or born. It’s like you are arguing with someone else.

    I did not say that you believe we are born as sinners just because we are conceived or born, but I'm only informing you how I understand the necessary outcome to be with a certain position. I already know your view so don't suggest to me that I don't know it. I do. You can start to criticize me when I have incorrectly stated your views, but not before.

    <<Nobody said that “just having flesh” makes one sinful.

    Nobody said they did. Just let me state my position.

    <<We said the sinful nature makes us tend towards sin. Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit, so we have no reason to think he inherited the weaknesses of the sinful nature.

    I know that you don't believe that Jesus inherited a sinful nature, but I only explained that it's the necessary outcome with a certain theological position.

    <<That is the exact distinction Tertullian is trying to make.

    I have not seen any quotes from Tertullian where he claims that we have different odds than Jesus to avoid sin.

    <<Well, that is an interesting take on it, but Tertullian doesn’t say that. What he does say is: “For that reason, we also declare that there was in Christ the same flesh as that whose nature in man is sinful.”

    Where in that verse does he say that Jesus was not affected by something from Adam, but the rest of us were? Did you read other quotes from Tertullian, and quotes from other church fathers on jarom or my blog?

    <<I also think it is possible that he did contradict himself at times or that his theology developed and changed. He wasn’t infallible.

    That is certainly true, and he did change his theological position about things. That's why some scholars make sure to make a distinction when it comes to his text before his conversion and after.

    <<. But I do think that your claims about a consensus among the early church fathers was an overreach that is not supported by the facts.

    Where is the quote that contradicts what I've been saying all along? Remember, that I didn't highlight the church fathers based on *your* view about the sinful nature, but about the most common view that we have inherited Adam's sin. My quotes are clear that none of the early church fathers agreed with Augustine concerning his view of the sinful nature, and Augustine, Calvin, Luther, etc did not have your view of the sinful nature, but the most common one – that man has inherited Adam's sin and are born as sinners. Hence, the need for infant baptism.

    God bless you

  39. Bjork, you keep saying that the odds of everyone choosing to sin or choosing to be perfect (prior to conversion and being born again) are 50/50. Now come on, you cannot really believe this? That is patently absurd. if I flip a coin, odds are 50/50 that it could be heads or tails. Now what if I told you that I have flipped the coin 500 billion times and every time it came up heads? Would you still say that the odds are 50/50? If you would say yes in the face of the data I can safely say that you are deluded. Now what if I told you further that if you flipped that coin 100 trillion more times that it will still come up heads every time? Would you still say that the odds are 50/50? So I guess you can believe that 2+2=5 if you just believe it enough. If we did not inherit a sinful nature from Adam and we can just as easily choose to be righteous (prior to conversion) as we can chose to be wicked then there would be proof of this and we could be justified by the works of the law. It would be possible (according to your view) so please give me an example of someone who has never sinned?

    Also you contradict yourself because you say that it is not fair that we are punished (or suffer) for Adam’s sin (by being born spiritually dead and with a sin nature) but you can turn right around and admit:

    1. That we die physically because of Adam’s sin. Why is that? Why should I be punished for Adam’s sin? All infants should be immortal and immune to disease according to this view and immortal until they commit their first sin but this again would be absurd.

    2. That we were expelled from the garden due to Adam’s sin. Why should I be punished for Adam’s sin? That is not fair. I should be born in the garden of Eden like he was. We should only be kicked out when we sin but again it is obvious that this is not the case.

    Furthermore, why do we put clothes on babies? If we were all born like Adam, then we should be clothed by the glory of God and not be ashamed of our nakedness or even notice it. Adam did not know he was naked until after he sinned. We should let everyone walk naked until they reach the age of accountability and if they commit a sin then they should put on clothes. Again, this would be absurd. Have you ever seen someone clothed with the glory of God? I thought not. Why not? That’s right…the fall.

    Also, Adam walked directly with God and spoke to him face to face. Are we born with this ability as well? Its funny because I have never seen God or spoken to him face to face, have you? Why not, that’s not fair? It is because of the fall.

    Also, you want to assign blame to God if we are born with a sinful nature but who does the Bible blame?

    “And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:15-19

    It is Adam’s fault that we are in this condition not God’s. God provides the remedy for the predicament Adam has placed us in:

    “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:20-21

    Thank you Lord for providing forgiveness for our sins and by destroying the power of the sin nature which enslaved us to sin as non-believers! Now we can fulfill the law as Christians but never as Non-Christians.

  40. Bjork,

    I don’t have much time right now and I haven’t looked through your whole response, but I want to help you with the first quote you continue to misunderstand. Here is what I wrote,

    I told you before that I didn’t find much evidence of the sinful nature in many early Christian writers.

    Read that carefully. I am saying that from the beginning I said that in my reading of the early church fathers I did not find much evidence that they held to a belief in the sinful nature. So I basically agreed with you from the start. You seem to think I said the opposite of what I said here which is why your further comment about my reading the quotes doesn’t make any sense.

    My point was that I agree that many of the early church fathers do not seem to hold to the concept of the sinful nature, from what I have read. That’s not a problem. I never claimed they did. But you claimed that none of them held we have a sinful nature passed down from Adam. That is demonstrably false. Some did. It doesn’t matter that many did not seem to hold to the idea of a sinful nature as I have described it since that was not the claim I was addressing. I was addressing the claim that none held to anything like it prior to 250 AD or prior to Augustine.

    I also realize that you are often fighting against a different concept of original sin (racial guilt). I explained the difference very early on. I also explained from the start and even in the post you responded to that when I speak of the sinful nature I am speaking of the tendency towards sin in our nature. That is the same concept those quotes I provided back up. All the rest about us being guilty of Adam’s sin (racial guilt, which I deny), or being condemned for just having a sinful nature, do not represent the view I have presented here. I understand that some hold to such views, but many do not.

    Since I have made it clear what view I am defending, it is strange that you do not want to interact with that view. Instead, you want to argue against a view that I do not hold. That makes for a difficult discussion.

    Maybe I can get to the rest of what you wrote later.

  41. Ben

    << I am saying that from the beginning I said that in my reading of the early church fathers I did not find much evidence that they held to a belief in the sinful nature. So I basically agreed with you from the start.

    I understand your point now, but sadly ..I'm confused, and that's because, you continue to say:

    << But you claimed that none of them held we have a sinful nature passed down from Adam. That is demonstrably false. Some did.

    So why don't you prove me wrong by showing me a church father with a different view? You have only showed me Tertullian, and I've 1) explained the quotes and pointed out that they don't say that we have inherited Adam's sin or are guilty because of him, and 2) showed you quotes from him where he says the opposite. That means that I must ask you what you mean with "demonstrably false"? WHO had another view, and where is the evidence? (Note, that I'm not saying you have the above view, but I defend myself against your claim that I'm in error.)

    << I was addressing the claim that none held to anything like it prior to 250 AD or prior to Augustine.

    Yes, and I have explained why I still stand by that since no one has so far showed me anything to the contrary. At best, we can conclude that Tertullian disagreed with himself. At worst, it's as I have explained above, and I still wonder if you have read the quotes that I*ve showed you from others, because they show that there is a consensus among the church fathers about the sinful nature.

    <<I also realize that you are often fighting against a different concept of original sin (racial guilt). I explained the difference very early on

    Which I read. I also explained to you that your personal view does not change the fact that the most common view is different than yours, and it's THAT view that I had in mind with both my claim and my quotes. I must also continue on this path since you say I'm in error.

    .<< I also explained from the start and even in the post you responded to that when I speak of the sinful nature I am speaking of the tendency towards sin in our nature.

    Why do you time and again assume that I have not read or understood what you meant with your view. I do understand and I have never got it wrong.

    << All the rest about us being guilty of Adam’s sin (racial guilt, which I deny), or being condemned for just having a sinful nature, do not represent the view I have presented here

    Which I've understood all along.

    << I understand that some hold to such views, but many do not.

    I agree with that too. True, you're of course the first person that I've come across with your particular view about the sinful nature, but that's perfectly fine. Hopefully you understand why I assumed you believed the same thing as most other people when you said in your article that you hold to the sinful nature. I had no idea that it was possible to believe in the sinful nature without believing that we are born sinners. I'm also glad that I have not misrepresented you a single time since you explained your view to me, which you did in post 2.

    <<Since I have made it clear what view I am defending, it is strange that you do not want to interact with that view.

    Did you forget why I contacted you? It was because I believed you held the ordinary view of the sinful nature. You told me that you didn't, and I understood it from the start. It could have ended there, but you proceeded to show me quotes, and you charged me with"But you claimed that none of them held we have a sinful nature passed down from Adam. That is demonstrably false. Some did.". THAT is what I spend time responding to here. I defend myself, and I'm not talking about your personal view.

    <<Instead, you want to argue against a view that I do not hold.

    I'm not arguing against your view but about the ordinary sinful view, and our claim that I'm in error.

    My claims are still:

    1) Pelagius held the very same views as the early church fathers before him about the sinful nature. He was far from first. (I showed this with quotes.)
    2) The early church fathers the first few years (I choose AD 250-300+ years to be sure, but it's probably longer) were in complete agreement about their view – that we have not inherited a sinful nature from Adam, which some call "the original sin", and which makes us all born as sinners. Yes, I know that this is not your view, but since I feel the need to defend myself and my initial claim (since you say I'm wrong), this is where we are now.

    GBU

  42. JPC

    << Now what if I told you that I have flipped the coin 500 billion times and every time it came up heads? Would you still say that the odds are 50/50?

    No, and that is because it's not :) You will not even find this happening if you flip the coin 20 times and it came up heads. This was not a very good analogy since it has not happened in reality. Sinning is about choosing to obey/disobey. The BIble doesn't say that the odds are to our disadvantage, and definitely not that Jesus odds were more advantageous than ours.

    <<. If we did not inherit a sinful nature from Adam and we can just as easily choose to be righteous (prior to conversion) as we can chose to be wicked then there would be proof of this and we could be justified by the works of the law.

    I've asked you what proof you would accept? If I told you that my neighbor has never sinned, would you believe it? Or if I told you that someone who lived 1423 AD has never sinned? Of course you wouldn't believe it. Neither did I say I could prove it. The Bible seems to say that all have sinned and fallen short, and that is why I tend to believe all who can sin have chosen to sin. I can't prove it.

    <<1. That we die physically because of Adam’s sin. Why is that?

    Because it would be an even higher punishment to NOT die! Just the thought of living in this world forever would be scary. Remember also, that a physical death is not as dramatic as a spiritual death. Agreed?

    <<Why should I be punished for Adam’s sin? All infants should be immortal and immune to disease according to this view and immortal until they commit their first sin but this again would be absurd.

    Where do you get the idea that babies can not die physically unless they have sinned? Jesus died physically…Again, we die physically because we don't have access to the tree of life. Praise God for that. I believe babies go straight home to God when they are aborted, so it's not that they will end up in hell due to Adam.

    <<Furthermore, why do we put clothes on babies? If we were all born like Adam, then we should be clothed by the glory of God and not be ashamed of our nakedness or even notice it.

    No one forces you to put clothes on babies. Ask yourself why you do it. We can read that Adam and Eve realized they were naked in Eden (unlike before), and the same goes for us. That is not the same as inheriting someone else's sin.

    << We should let everyone walk naked until they reach the age of accountability and if they commit a sin then they should put on clothes.

    No, THAT would be a sin to let large children walk around naked, because you never know what kind of wicked people that might be tempted when they look at naked bodies.

    <<Also, Adam walked directly with God and spoke to him face to face. Are we born with this ability as well?

    God is a holy God, and he could be with Adam and Eve when they were holy as well. But not when they were no longer holy due to their choice to sin.

    <<Also, you want to assign blame to God if we are born with a sinful nature but who does the Bible blame?

    Wrong. I do not want to blame God for sin, BUT if we are born with a sinful nature (not as Ben understands it, but the ordinary view), then God must be blamed.

    <<It is Adam’s fault that we are in this condition not God’s.

    When God asks us why we have sinned, we can say "Because we have inherited Adam's sin of course. What did you think? Did we have an option to NOT be born with a sinful nature"?

    <<Thank you Lord for providing forgiveness for our sins and by destroying the power of the sin nature which enslaved us to sin as non-believers!

    I personally wouldn't ask for forgiveness for something that is not my fault. I wouldn't mean such an apology, so I feel it's better to be honest.

    GBU

  43. Bjork, you said:

    “This was not a very good analogy since it has not happened in reality. Sinning is about choosing to obey/disobey. The BIble doesn’t say that the odds are to our disadvantage, and definitely not that Jesus odds were more advantageous than ours.”

    It is a good analogy because this is exactly what has happened in reality which you yourself acknowledge. You say that odds are 50/50 but 100% of people sin. This has happened billions of times yet you ignore the data. Keep pleading ignorance but at least you acknowledge that all men sin. Problem is though you say that God made us this way and we are not in this predicament because of the fall. Yet, Paul says that all men are sinners because of one mans disobedience. I guess that you disagree with the Apostle and Scripture since you see no connection between Adams sin and all men being sinners.

    You said:

    “I’ve asked you what proof you would accept? If I told you that my neighbor has never sinned, would you believe it? Or if I told you that someone who lived 1423 AD has never sinned?”

    If you said that I would say that you were a liar which is my point. The Scripture states with confidence and clarity that no man will be justified by the works of the law. How can Paul be so confident of this since he never met everyone? According to your view, he cannot because since it is possible to follow the law perfectly surely there has to be some out there that have done this. That would invalidate Paul’s argument and there would be a way to be justified by the law which means that Christ died for nothing.

    You said:

    “Because it would be an even higher punishment to NOT die! Just the thought of living in this world forever would be scary.”

    In light of your argument that we are all born exactly like Adam was then this is ridiculous. Everything that God made is good and if the fall did not corrupt man then everything is still good. The wages of sin is death. Yet you say that death is good and preferred over life. This is really convoluted.

    You said:

    “Where do you get the idea that babies can not die physically unless they have sinned?”

    I said this would be true according to your view. The wages of sin is death. And I am not referring to murder as in the case of Jesus. Do you believe that Jesus would have died if he was not murdered? Also, he rose from the dead because he was Holy (both born with no sin nature – by a virgin – the second Adam – and committed no sin) and death had no hold on him. Therefore, according to your view babies should not die from disease and even if they do die, since they have no sin nature and are holy, they should be able to rise again. But again they do not and their flesh sees corruption as well. Although since they have committed no actual sins, they will be safe in heaven. Remember there is a distinction between being born with a sin nature and being born a sinner.

    You said:

    “No one forces you to put clothes on babies. Ask yourself why you do it. We can read that Adam and Eve realized they were naked in Eden (unlike before), and the same goes for us. That is not the same as inheriting someone else’s sin.”

    I do it because we are born with a sin nature as a result of the fall. We are dead spiritually so our nakedness is apparent. This is one of the consequences of the fall. You do not have to acknowledge it but you already do when you put clothes on babies. Also, we do not inherit Adam’s sin. That is a distortion. It was because he fell and became dead spiritually and since something clean cannot come from something unclean we are brought into this world as fallen creatures. That is why Adam’s child was born in his likeness. A tree can only bear fruit according to its kind. Can a bad tree bear good fruit?

    You said:

    “God is a holy God, and he could be with Adam and Eve when they were holy as well. But not when they were no longer holy due to their choice to sin.”

    Yet, he is not with us as he was with Adam and Eve in the garden when we are born. Do you believe that children have direct access to God and walk with him in the garden like they did? That they are clothed with the glory of God until they sin? That they talk to him face to face? Obviously they do not but they have not committed actual sins so ask yourself why is God not with them like he was with Adam? Hold on….the sin nature!

    You said:

    “Wrong. I do not want to blame God for sin, BUT if we are born with a sinful nature (not as Ben understands it, but the ordinary view), then God must be blamed.”

    No, I was right. According to your view God is to blame for sin since we are all born just like Adam yet we all sin. If this (the sad state of the world) was not caused by the fall then this is exactly how God has made us. You also want to have it both ways. You say that Adam’s sin has no affect on us but when pressed to account for the fact that all men sin your answer is…..because Adam did! I thought that what Adam did has nothing to do with me (according to you) so please stop using him as an example of why all men sin. Also, to try and compare 2 people to many billion is absurd. If I did any study on human behavior and my conclusion was that all people do something or behave in a certain way and if you asked me for my data and I said that I was sure because I observed 2 people and they both did the same thing what would you say? You would say I was crazy and no one would take my conclusions seriously. Yet, that is exactly what you are doing. Also, like I said in my previous post the Bible clearly states that Adam is to blame for our condition in Romans 5. God is gracious because he provides the remedy for our malady.

    You said:

    “When God asks us why we have sinned, we can say “Because we have inherited Adam’s sin of course. What did you think? Did we have an option to NOT be born with a sinful nature”?”

    This is fallacious as no one believes that only you. We have all sinned and we have to account for our sins. Did you miss that? We do not have an option to not be born with a sinful nature but if we did then Jesus would never have needed to come to earth to save men from their sins. In that scheme we could save ourselves and be justified by the works of the law. But we know that this is not the case.

    You said:

    “I personally wouldn’t ask for forgiveness for something that is not my fault. I wouldn’t mean such an apology, so I feel it’s better to be honest.”

    In response to me saying this:

    “Thank you Lord for providing forgiveness for our sins and by destroying the power of the sin nature which enslaved us to sin as non-believers! Now we can fulfill the law as Christians but never as Non-Christians.”

    Now your response is incredible here. Read carefully. I did not ask for forgiveness for other peoples sins but was praising God for the atonement (forgiveness of sins) that he provided in the death of Jesus Christ. The atonement is provisional in nature and must be applied personally by faith. “Behold the lamb of Gad, who takes away the sin of the world” Amen, but you would have a problem with John the Baptist.
    It was not an apology. It was honest and if don’t like that maybe you would prefer the prayer of the Pharisee? Maybe that would be more to your liking. Also, you did not respond to my last statement, can we fulfill the law as non-Christians?

    Also, for clarification (and so I can better understand where you are coming from) what denomination do you belong to and what current authors do you recommend?

  44. JPC

    <<It is a good analogy because this is exactly what has happened in reality which you yourself acknowledge.

    No, I did not acknowledge that it's a good analogy, nor that it was what happened. How many times does CHOICE affect the coin that you toss? Not a single time. It's always random, and you can't blame anyone for what side turns up. Are you saying that CHOICE is never involved when we sin?

    <<You say that odds are 50/50 but 100% of people sin.

    Yes, but not due to randomness but due to choices.

    << Yet, Paul says that all men are sinners because of one mans disobedience.

    He didn't put it quite like that, but if you read Romans 5:18-19, you can read ALL both when it comes to Adam and when it comes to Jesus. If you teach that ALL are automatically sinners in Adam, then the exact same ALL are automatically justified in Jesus. Are all going to be saved?

    << The Scripture states with confidence and clarity that no man will be justified by the works of the law.

    Which is true, because it's enough with one sin before you're lost. Besides, Paul was trying to get the jews to understand that they are not saved only because they are born jews, but they need to move over to the new covenant where people are justified by FAITH in Jesus Christ, and by being led by the holy Spirit.

    <<According to your view, he cannot because since it is possible to follow the law perfectly surely there has to be some out there that have done this.

    Paul doesn't say it's impossible to obey the law. He says it's not possible to be justified by law. The reason could be – because all who can sin have chosen to sin at least once. Jesus did not die for nothing since we have all chosen to sin.

    <<. Everything that God made is good and if the fall did not corrupt man then everything is still good.

    Babies are not corrupt or evil. They are not sinners unless they grow up, become aware of the law and choose to break it. If you believe babies can sin, please list some sins that they might do.

    << The wages of sin is death.

    Yes, we don't die spiritually unless we choose to die. That's why a baby does not deserve spiritual death if he dies.

    << Do you believe that Jesus would have died if he was not murdered?

    Jesus came to earth to die for us. His physical death does not mean he was a sinner.

    <<Also, he rose from the dead because he was Holy (both born with no sin nature – by a virgin

    How come Jesus escaped the sinful gene despite being born of a mother who had male ancestors? And where does it say that Jesus had an advantage over us?

    << Therefore, according to your view babies should not die from disease and even if they do die, since they have no sin nature and are holy,

    No, I keep saying that physical death does not mean the person has sinned. Jesus died physically. But it would be a huge punishment to force people to live for ever in this present world. That wouldn't be something I would look forward to. I long for the day when we will get new heavenly bodies and live in the new Jerusalem.

    <<Remember there is a distinction between being born with a sin nature and being born a sinner.

    What is the difference according to you? When does a person become a sinner?

    << We are dead spiritually so our nakedness is apparent.

    So we are spiritually dead BEFORE we sin?

    << It was because he fell and became dead spiritually and since something clean cannot come from something unclean we are brought into this world as fallen creatures.

    Let's not add poetry into this, as in the book of Job. So we did not inherit Adam's sin, but somehow his sin affected our genes so that we were all born with a sinful nature anyway? And we're born fallen, corrupt and spiritually dead long before we sin?

    <<That is why Adam’s child was born in his likeness.

    Seth looked like Adam.

    << A tree can only bear fruit according to its kind. Can a bad tree bear good fruit?

    We decided what trees to become. If we are bad trees, it's our own fault. We could have chosen another direction. Are we bad trees at birth?

    << Do you believe that children have direct access to God and walk with him in the garden like they did?

    Eden is long gone.

    << Obviously they do not but they have not committed actual sins so ask yourself why is God not with them like he was with Adam? Hold on….the sin nature!

    Strange that the Bible doesn't say that. Or that we are spiritually dead long before we sin. It doesn't sound like sin is such a big deal after all, since we can't be more than spiritually dead, which we are already – before we sin.

    << According to your view God is to blame for sin since we are all born just like Adam yet we all sin.

    Please don't pin views on me that I don't have. I'm telling you that God is absolutely NOT to be blamed when we sin since we are NOT born with a sinful nature and because each time we sin we could have chosen not to sin. That is the exact opposite of what you said.

    << If this (the sad state of the world) was not caused by the fall then this is exactly how God has made us.

    God did not make us into sinners. He created Adam and Eve with the possibility to obey or not obey. Their descendants have the same choice. The only other alternative is to create us as robots.

    <<You say that Adam’s sin has no affect on us but when pressed to account for the fact that all men sin your answer is…..because Adam did!

    I did not say that Adam's sin had no affect on us. It had a HUGE affect on us since we can't reach the tree of life due to him. We therefore die physically due to him. And I did not say that the reason we sin is because Adam sinned. That would put the blame on him. But why do PEOPLE sin? It's due to temptations, selfishness, wanting to fulfill the lust of the flesh, etc. We are human beings just like Adam, and just like Adam we can choose to obey or disobey.

    << Also, like I said in my previous post the Bible clearly states that Adam is to blame for our condition in Romans 5.

    Romans 5 does not put the blame on Adam. We have not inherited bad genes from him.

    <<This is fallacious as no one believes that only you.

    Wrong, I believe the same thing in this issue as the early church fathers the first 250-300 years.

    <<We have all sinned and we have to account for our sins.

    Exactly, and we can't blame a sinful nature/Adam.

    <<We do not have an option to not be born with a sinful nature but if we did then Jesus would never have needed to come to earth to save men from their sins.

    Have we sinned? Then Jesus did not die in vain. Do we sin due to a sinful nature? No, because Adam and Eve sinned.

    << In that scheme we could save ourselves and be justified by the works of the law.

    Yes, and have anyone obeyed the law perfectly? You and I can only guess. I believe all who can sin have sinned, but I could be wrong. Maybe Enoch didn't sin. I wouldn't know.

    << Also, you did not respond to my last statement, can we fulfill the law as non-Christians?

    Rom. 2: 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

    But even if they CAN, it doesn't mean anyone has. We can only speculate.

    <<Also, for clarification (and so I can better understand where you are coming from) what denomination do you belong to and what current authors do you recommend?

    I don't think my denomination will help you to understand where I'm coming from, since I don't agree with everything taught in the church which I'm a member of. I'm in a Pentecostal church.

    GBU

  45. The scripture has to be the final authority. Hebrews 4 verse 15 says Jesus was in all points tempted like as we are. We should be careful not to find ourselves saying ” hath God said?”, when the bible is clear on a matter.

  46. Here’s a brief expose of that quote attributed to Justin Martyr.

    QUOTE: Justin Martyr (A.D. 150): “Mankind by Adam fell under death, and the deception of the serpent; we are born sinners…No good thing dwells in us…For neither by nature, nor by human understanding is it possible for me to acquire the knowledge of things so great and so divine, but by the energy of the Divine Spirit…Of ourselves it is impossible to enter the kingdom of God…He has convicted us of the impossibility of our nature to obtain life…Free will has destroyed us; we who were free are become slaves and for our sin are sold…Being pressed down by our sins, we cannot move upward toward God; we are like birds who have wings, but are unable to fly.” (“Putting Amazing Back into Grace”)

    Most of this is not from Justin Martyr. Some is from Tatian, and some from Theophilis. It may well be that none of it is from Justin.

    The center quote, “Free will has destroyed us; we who were free are become slaves and for our sin are sold,” is from Tatian, (Address to the Greeks, Chapter 11). The full quote continues: “but we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it.”

    The “bird without wings” portion comes from Theophilis in his books “To Autolycus.” Here’s the quote in context:

    “…wild beasts [were created by God as a typology] of some men, who neither know nor worship God, but mind earthly things, and repent not. For those who turn from their iniquities and live righteously, in spirit fly upwards like birds, and mind the things that are above, and are well-pleasing to the will of God. But those who do not know nor worship God, are like birds which have wings, but cannot fly nor soar to the high things of God. Thus, too, though such persons are called men, yet being pressed down with sins, they mind grovelling and earthly things.” (To Autoclys, Book II, Chapter 17)

    To clarify his position, several paragraphs later he writes:

    “God made man free, and with power over himself. That [loss of immortality], then, which man brought upon himself through carelessness and disobedience, this God now vouchsafes to him as a gift through His own philanthropy and pity, when men obey Him. For as man, disobeying, drew death upon himself; so, obeying the will of God, he who desires is able to procure for himself life everlasting. For God has given us a law and holy commandments; and everyone who keeps these can be saved…” (Ibid, Chapter 27)

    Theophilis seems to think every individual has the ability to turn to God and thus wing their way heavenward, if they but obey the gospel (2 Thessalonians 1:8) and follow the law of Heaven (Mark 12:30-31).

  47. The Desert Fathers would identify our struggle with sin on two levels: one is the draw to prioritize our bodies and intellect over God (which was part of the sin of Adam and Eve), and the other is to seek deification apart from God (which was also Adam and Eve’s sin – they were already in the image of God, and being a partaker of the divine nature and likeness of God can only happen in fellowship with God, not independently). Perhaps the Author of Hebrews is writing with post-regenerate Christians in mind: we have our free will restored, we are ‘dead’ to sin and filled with God, and ought to be on the path of theosis. In this state, Adam is no longer our head, but we have Christ as our new Adam. So maybe the question should be turned around: Since Christ never sinned, and He imparts His nature to us and has restored us to Himself (not merely legally and forensically, but in real participation), then can we say that just as Christ was tempted and was without sin, we can (through His grace and our yielding) accomplish the same? This is to say, that the verse is not saying Christ was tempted like an unregenerate person, but it is saying He was tempted in the same way a Spirit-filled Christian is.

  48. Dearest Ben,
    thank you for your post! God has used it to bring a truth that I knew to be right, to an understanding of How it actually works functionally ! Which means nothing other than when Jesus said ,”you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free !”
    It is the truth that as Christians we have been given power (victory) over sin! Or put in another way, we are able like Paul says to resist all temptations!
    I have experienced at least 2 periods of in my life during which God’s presence was so real that during those times I also knew what it meant to have victory over sin! The reason for this was that He filled me with His presence to such a degree, that I was complete and nothing this world had to offer had any attraction to me whatsoever ! However as the experience of His presence subsided, I started to experience the pull of the world again and succumbed to sin again. Having had these experiences and knowing my ability to resist sin had nothing to do with me, I have been seeking God to perform this miracle in me permanently, believing this to be what needed to happen to all true believers to enter into this victory ! I have now come to see that those experiences are special times of intimacy with God which He grants us.
    Hebrews 12:4
    Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

    Scriptures like this one caused me to wonder if my expectation of how I was to know victory over sin, was correct ! Also seeing Jesus sweating Blood resisting sin In the Garden seemed contrary to my experience which took absolutely no effort of my own.
    So the difference between us in the unregenerate state and Christ is only one thing, He is alive to God His Father and we are not ! So temptation has the same effect on Him as it has on us, with again the only difference being, He was able to resist!
    This is what happen to Adam in the Garden, spiritual death( which lead to physical death), which broke Adams relationship with God not just for himself but all of His offspring. So we are born spiritually dead and are lost unless, as Paul sais in 1Cor.7, at least one of the parents is in a living relationship with God through Jesus Christ His Son. For Paul sais then only will the children be holy, and we all know that without holiness it is impossible to please God !
    Now when we are born again, we become again alive to God and just because of this I now am in the same position as Jesus was while He was on earth, and therefore able to resist sin ! This does not mean I do not experience the pull of sin no, I most definitely will, but because of me being alive to God, I can say no !
    God inspired me to write a hymn some time ago of which one of the verses goes like this,

    Do you proclaim His work of grace
    and think yourself therein,
    but justify in God’s word
    day in day out your sin !

    This is exactly what I have been doing, I have blamed my so called sinful nature for giving in to sin, in spite of having been made alive to God the Father though Jesus Christ His son !

    What actually enabled Jesus to resist that temptation in the garden in the end? It was not His love for us, for whom he actually did it, but it was His love for His Father . Did He not say,” Luke 22:42
    Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

    Yes I may still succumb to sin, but if I do, now I will not only repent of what I have fallen into, but also the far greater sin, of loving my sin more than my Saviour !
    This is how we can see where we stand with God in truth. To what temptations do we succumb?
    The greater the temptation we resist the greater God’s love is revealed in and through us !

    This is why Jesus said, ” you can do nothing without me !”

    Many thanks again
    in Jesus love

    Rudi

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