Are We Sinners By Nature?
We are not sinners by nature. Thus, we are not born sinners. Sin is not because of our fallen sinful nature in any way. The truth is – “Sin is the transgression of the law” – 1 John 3:4.
When one reads the Scripture without the context of the whole Bible, it is very easy to misinterpret it. Let’s take an example in 2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
Though it is mentioned that "God hath made Jesus to be sin for us," however, we do not interpret it to mean that He was a sinner. He never became a sinner. Therefore, whoever misinterprets the above text to say that Jesus became a sinner to reach us would be contradicting the Bible. Jesus became one like us in nature. He had a fallen sinful nature but never sinned. He did not inherit sin nor the sinfulness (evilness, wickedness) of man.
Similarly, we are going to read other Scriptures that may seem as if they are saying that we are sinners by nature.. However, if we were to look into the context of the Scriptures, we would then be able to see that those bible texts cannot be misinterpreted to mean, “We are sinners by nature,” otherwise they would contradict the Bible.
“Are We Sinners by Nature?”
1. Can the Ethiopian or the leopard change his skin or spots?
Of course not! Jeremiah 13:23 – “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
2. Can God change the skin of the Ethiopian and the spots of the leopard?
Yes! Jeremiah 32:27 – “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?”
3. Can a person change his wicked heart?
Of course you can How? By choosing Jesus Christ to be the Lord of his/her life. Why choose the devil? You have a choice between good and evil, Jesus or the devil. To change your heart by your own power without Christ, it is impossible to change the heart. But by choosing Jesus Christ, Yes, it can happen.
Why the heart is deceitful and evil? It is because of one’s choice to do evil. Since we all have the power of choice, one cannot put the blame on one’s fallen sinful nature as the cause for doing evil.
The power to change one’s heart from evil to righteousness comes from God. But the choice to change one's heart comes from the individual person before God can do the work of transformation.
4. What does it mean when Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
The mind of a person and the heart are often used interchangeably in Scripture. None understands or knows the evil that goes through in the mind of another person. The evil thoughts in a person’s mind are not because of his fallen sinful nature, but by his own choice.
For example, the evil thought that was in the mind of King David to kill Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, nobody knew – 2 Samuel 11. King David’s evil thought was not because of his fallen sinful nature, but by his own wicked choice to do evil.
5. Can God change the heart of a wicked person? Absolutely!
Jeremiah 17:10 - I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
6. Will God change the heart of a wicked person who does not want to?
No, He won’t! God stands outside the door and knocks until one decides to open – Revelation 3:20. If you don’t open the door, God won’t force Himself to you. He gave us the power of choice.
One’s heart is wicked not because of his fallen sinful nature but because that person chose wickedness instead of God’s way. If one yields his/her heart to God to change from wickedness to good, He will do it for him/her. The choice is ours.
Apparently the heart that is wicked will always want to do evil and will reap its result. But the heart that is willing to be changed by God, He can change completely. Jesus says to Nicodemus, “You must be born again by water and the Holy Spirit” – John 3:5. He that is born of God do not commit sin – 1 John 3:9; 5:18.
7. What about Ephesians 2:3 that says, “You…were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
(i) Paul writes to the church in Ephesus.
(ii) Paul says to them that at one time before they accepted Jesus Christ, they did not walk with God.
(iii) In their past, their fallen nature desires of the flesh were in control of their lives because of their choices against Jesus Christ.
(iv) But now, they have accepted Christ, and their life is different and should be different,
In this context, Paul says that they were the children of wrath by nature; referring to their past when they chose to serve the devil, not because of their fallen sinful nature that caused them to sin. They had a choice to choose Christ or the devil. But now since they have chosen Jesus Christ, they should be changed, though their fallen sinful nature is still with them. What is it that made the difference now? The difference now is because they had chosen Jesus Christ who gives them divine power to overcome the inclinations of their fallen sinful nature.
8. THERE IS NO EXCUSE TO SIN:
The belief that says, “We are sinners by nature” is an excuse to sin. Sin is not due to one’s nature. Sin is the transgression of the law – 1 John 3:4.
Ellen G. White says, “His grace alone can enable us to resist and subdue the tendencies of our fallen nature.” Evangelism, p. 602.
9. THE POWER OF CHOICE:
We have THE POWER OF CHOICE to be EITHER on the DEVIL’S SIDE and commit sin, or to be on GOD’S SIDE and cease sinning. Suppose none of us have the power of choice to choose Jesus Christ and His divine power to overcome our traits of the fallen sinful nature, ONLY then, can we be justified to say, we are sinners by nature.
BUT BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST BECAME MAN’S SUBSTITUTE FROM THE VERY START AFTER ADAM AND EVE SINNED, HIS POWER WAS MADE AVAILABLE FOR OUR OVERCOMING, THEREFORE, NONE SHOULD EVER SAY THAT SIN IS DUE TO OUR NATURE,
Revelation 21:7 says, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”
Ellen G. White says, “In order to inherit all things, we must resist and overcome all sin.” The Great Controversy, p.540.
To continue to believe, preach, teach, or to say, “We are sinners by nature is”:-
(i) To deny the power of God that was already made available for our overcoming of all temptations.
(ii) To deny the power of choice given to all of us by God’s love that none should serve Him arbitrarily, but voluntarily.
(iii) To excuse sin.
(iv) To promote a license to sin.
(v) To advocate immortality of sin.
(vi) To take no responsibility for your own sins.
(vii) To say that God is responsible for sin.
(viii) To sell the notion that says, “It does matter what we do, still we will always sin until Jesus Christ returns.”
(ix) To make one believe that “Sin is a state or a condition.”
(x) To promote the idea that God is a liar, and the devil is not.
(xi) To sell the idea that one who is born with the fallen sinful nature is born a sinner.
(xii) To sell the idea that Jesus Christ can never be born with the fallen sinful nature like us; hence, He would become a sinner by birth.
(xiii) To sell the idea that sin is inherited and cannot be overcome.
- So, are we sinners by nature? Absolutely NOT! – [1 John 3:4]
- Are we sinners by the transgression of the law? YES! – [1 John 3:4, Romans 4:15]. Lucifer did. Adam and Eve did.
- Are we sinners by our own choice? YES! Ezekiel 18:20.
- Are we responsible for our own sin? YES! – Ezekiel 18:20
- Is there a power available to help us overcome all temptations so that we do not sin? YES! – [1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:13; Jude 1:24; Matthew 19:26.]
- Should we continue to believe the lie that says, “Our nature is the cause of sin and that we will always sin?
NO! NO! NO! NO! Unless we no longer believe in God who is ALL POWERFUL to help us overcome the inclinations of our fallen sinful nature.