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Are we sinners because we sin OR do we sin because we are sinners?

Are we sinners because we sin OR do we sin because we are sinners?

Are we sinners because we sin OR do we sin because we are sinners? Your answer will determine how much you think like Augustine, Father of the Catholic Church.
Consider the question with a word substitution based on 1John 3:4 (sin=transgression of the law)
 
Are we lawbreakers because we break the law or do we break the law because we are lawbreakers?
 
When we substitute the synonym for sin then the answer becomes very apparent….we are sinners because we sin. We are lawbreakers because we break the law.
I thought I should share this because someone made the following comment recently: >>”We are not sinners because we sin We sin because we are sinners.”<<
— I completely disagree with the statement. It is a very Augustinian view wherein we poor humans really have no say in whether we sin or not.
“Sin” isn’t some super powerful force that we can’t really overcome…it isn’t that “we just can’t help ourselves” and so we are slaves to commit sin. Paul wasn’t saying that in Roman’s 7 we were slaves to the bondage that comes with breaking the law. Once people see that Paul was referring back to the divorce that took place in Jer 3:8 between God and the House of Israel then the solution appears: God divorced the House of Israel…which meant that they were in bondage with no hope because of the broken relationship. Even if they lived righteously, which they COULD do (see Zechariah and Elizabeth – Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.)
 
If you think that you sin because you were born a sinner then you will forever be a victim and will not be the overcomer that Jesus wants you to be. However, once you realize that you are a sinner because you sin (transgress the law) then you will do as Jesus commanded – go and sin no more. It is possible to overcome sin. It is possible to be like Zechariah and Elizabeth and to be blameless before God. It is possible to be like Cornelius or Job or Daniel, Enoch, or Noah. Once you realize that you can decide to not label yourself as a sinner then you can begin taking responsibility for your actions and yearn to live for righteousness.
I pray you will do that.

About Douglas

5 comments

  1. I do believe brother Doug is speaking of the faithful in a state of salvation having received the promise of the victory over the flesh in Christ through His indwelling Spirit.

    2 Corinthians 10:
    3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
    4 (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
    5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Galatians 5:
    14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; You will love your neighbour as yourself.
    15 But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that you be not consumed one of another.
    16 Let me say this then, Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.
    17 For the flesh exercises its desires contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit contrary to the flesh: and these are continually in opposition to each other: so that you cannot do whatever you want.
    18 But if you are being influenced by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

    (essentially the reference is simply saying that if you subject your free will choices to the Spirit of God instead of the natural desires of the mind and flesh, you are fulfilling the Law and are therefore not in sin)

    So you are a sinner if you choose to sin. If you are in Him who knew no sin, how can you sin except that you have chosen to do so?

  2. Jason Martinez

    Isn’t that kind of what Mr. H is saying?

  3. Mark W. Patton

    Doug , I know I’m not as well educated as you in theology but I must disagree brother a little. I would argue that the human condition is ‘both and’ not ‘either or’. We sin because we are born with that propensity and we can’t help ourselves, but when we come to Messiah, than we no longer have to follow that inclination. It seems to me that we believers don’t realize what we’ve become in Messiah, and only continue to think like our old self. We think we are still powerless to have victory over our desperately wicked heart Jer. 17:9. But we can be very victorious once we are in Messiah Romans 7:29. We just don’t live like we believe what GOD has done for us in Yeshua’s work on the cross and sending us the counselor.

    • i agree with Mark Patton! We sin because we are born with that propensity, but when we come to Messiah, then we no longer have to follow that sin nature!! I have victory in Christ Jesus!!!

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