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Doctrine of Sin: A Second View

June 13, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Scripture: 2 Peter 2

Scripture: 2 Peter 2


Last week we reviewed the Doctrine of Sin by looking at the true nature and character of sin.

The true nature of Sin is an act of autonomy or independency from God.

The character of sin -> Rebellion

  • Attempt of man to be like God determining for himself good and evil.

Review: The Order of Temptation

We next looked at the way in which Sin manifests itself beginning in subtle ways leading to outright rebellion with the order of temptation…

  1. Subtle Attack (Planting the Seeds of Doubt)
    1. The Goodness of God must be disbelieved
    2. Instead of believing that God is good...
    3. Man instead, decides to choose his own comfort and his own advice over God's
  2. The Not-Subtle Attack (Fanning the Flames)
    1. Man is next led to question the suitability of the Justice of God
    2. Instead of being content to rest in the judgment of God
    3. Man begins to believe that he is capable of deciding right from wrong
    4. That God is only holding him back, denying what is right and good

Once you start doubting the Goodness of God, then the you move to the last step in the order of Temptation:

  1. The Outright Rebellion (desiring to ascend to the Heavens)
    1. Man started doubting God’s ability to rightly divide right from wrong and since
    2. Man, no longer trusting in God, man steps in to do it the right way.
    3. In essence, man acts as if God is no longer Holy, Good, and Just
    4. Man says in his heart, “I must be on the same level of God as He isn't really any holier than I am”

We see, in essence, sin takes root in small, subtle ways and through sometimes, very small temptations.

As soon as we are tempted, we must be cautious....

We must remember:

  • To whom it is we belong.
  • And that He has the power to deliver us - 2 Peter 2

v9 – The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

  • And when we feel as if there is no way out, that we've reached our limit...remember - 1 Cor 10

v13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.


Let’s read again the WCF, Article 1.

Our first parents being seduced by the subtilty and temptation of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin God was pleased, according to his wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to his own glory.

  • Both the Confession and Scripture tell us Adam and Eve were responsible for their sin

James 1:13-15

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Walking the fall through James…

  • Temptation:
    • The serpent tempted Eve.
  • Lust and enticement:
    • Eve was drawn away with the desire to be like God, to be free of His rule, to be able to make decisions for herself
  • Lust conceived and the birth of sin
    • Thus, they both ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil

Therefore, sin, by one man, entered the world and thus all mankind became corrupt (Romans 5:12)

Perhaps looking at the characteristics of man, as explained by Jonathon Edwards will help provide a different perspective/ understanding on the impact of sin.

Understanding Man: Superior/ Inferior Principles

Jonathon Edwards separates the characteristics of man, as it relates to sin, into two sets of principles:

  • Inferior Principles
  • Superior Principles

Remember Jonathon Edwards…best known for:

  • The sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"
  • Written during another revival in 1741, following George Whitefield's tour of the Thirteen Colonies.

Mr. Edwards explains…

The case with man was plainly this when God made man at first, he implanted into him two kinds of principles.

Inferior principles which may be called natural;

  • Inferior principles are the fleshly aspect of man:
    • being the principles of mere human nature such as self-love.
  • Those natural appetites and passions which belong to the nature of man.
    • His love of his own liberty, honor, and pleasure.
    • What the Scriptures sometimes call flesh.

Superior principles which were spiritual holy

  • wherein consisted the spiritual image of God and man's righteousness and true holiness.
  • Spiritual holy.
  • These bring dependence on man's union and communion with God.

Impact of Sin: Superior/ Inferior Principles

When Adam sinned:

  • these superior principles left his heart.
  • The superior divine principles wholly ceased to operate in man.
    • As light ceases in a room when the candle was withdrawn and thus man was left in a state of darkness, willful corruption, and ruin.

These inferior principles, these appetites

  • which were given only to serve; became reigning principles.
  • And now there being no superior principles to regulate or control them.
    • Man immediately set himself up as the object of his private affections.
    • the appetites became supreme as they took the place of God.

We can see evidences of this in:

Cain and Abel

  • Abel offered a better sacrifice b/c it was by faith Heb-11:4
  • Cain's offering was not accepted by God
    • because it was not offered by faith
    • Because that which is not of faith is sin Romans 14:23
  • Cain killed his brother because his works were evil 1 John-03:12

We see evidence in the flood story where things had so degraded:

Gen 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

We see evidence in story of the tower of Babel

  • Babel was a part of Nimrod, a descendant of Ham. (Gen-10)

We remember that the descendants of Ham were cursed because of the manner in which Ham treated Noah, his father, when he was found naked.

  • The people of Babel wanted to make a name for themselves, to reach unto heaven (sound familiar)
  • Their inferior appetites had taken over so much so that:
    • there appeared to be no end to their corruption, pride, and arrogance
    • to once again think that they would ascend to God on their own achievements
    • to think that they could defy the Lord God and become, once again, their own masters

Communion with God, upon which these principles depended, entirely ceased.

  • man lost communion with his Creator This is what we read in Article 2 of our Confession:

By this sin they fell from their original righteousness, and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.

Their consciences had been defiled by the sin of Adam that there was nothing pure left in them to allow any communion with God as they had enjoyed in the garden.

Titus 1:15

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

Man, as we learned

  • was made in the image of God
  • was a being morally bound to God

But with this sin, the fleshly aspects of man become the predominant principles.

  • They caused man to become self-centered.
  • They caused man’s appetites and passions for sin to become the reigning element in his life.

Man replaced the principles of God with his own appetites.

  • Making himself to be the god of His own law and his own life.
  • or rather, encouraged the illusion that man was the master of his own law and life.


This first sin, the original corruption of mankind

  • stemmed from the disobedient act of Adam and Eve in the garden.

These actions of sin, from the very beginning, consisted of:

  • man taking and eating in the garden of Eden
  • man violating the teaching and the will of God

These actions, by man,

  • took him out of a relationship of being obedient to Go
  • put him in a relationship of trying to be autonomous from God.
    • in a relationship of desiring to be like God.
  • No longer as a dependent being who seeks to commune with God and enjoy God and glorify God

The immediate impact of sin was a complete wickedness and defilement of his nature. (total depravity)

  • No part of him was untouched
  • Every part was corrupted and defiled by sin
  • and the result was a condition of spiritual death (Eph 2:1, 5, 12; Eph 4:18)
  • and the result was a condition of physical death. (Gen 3:19, Rom 5:12)

Man lost the true image of God in a most restricted sense of that word.

  • True knowledge of God
  • True righteousness
  • True holiness was affected.

Heinrich Bullinger

“Sin is the natural corruption of mankind and the action which arises out of it contrary to the law of God whose wrath that is both death and sundry punishments it brings upon us the nature of man was good.

Yes, now we being born in sin of a sinful progenitor have sin
by descent as our natural property.

Thus, evil doth by descent flow from our first parents into all their posterity.

So that at this day sin does not spring from elsewhere but of ourselves that is to say of our corrupt judgment to will and obey the suggestion of the devil.

For the root of evil is yet remaining in our flesh by reason of that first corruption from which it brings forth a corrupt branch in nature like unto itself.

God created man good but man being left to his own counsel did through the persuasion of Satan and by his own action and depraved will corrupted the goodness that God created in him.”

Man is left with a sinful nature that binds him to the work of the kingdom of darkness.

  • Man is not freed to the kingdom of light to do what is right before God any longer.
  • Sin is the corruption of the good nature which was made by God.
    • This nature was there when God created man good.
  • This nature was corrupted.
    • By man’s own counsel
    • By man thinking independently
    • By man action autonomously
    • By man, being contrary to the good and necessary counsel of our God.  


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