We have been looking at our core beliefs. What is it that we believe at Christian Holiness Daily? We have given a broad overview. We proclaimed that we believe in one God it the persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Last week we spoke of our belief in the divine inspiration of Scripture. Today, in part 4, we look at mankind’s sinful nature.
Early one morning, Jesus walked from the Mount of Olives to the Temple where He began teaching. He was interrupted by a group of Pharisees who presented to Him a conundrum: a woman caught in the act of adultery. What should be her punishment, they asked Him. You know the story.
It was a trick question, designed to discredit Jesus, whose popularity scared the Jewish leaders. According to the Law, she should be stoned until dead. According to Jesus’s own words, He did not come to condemn. If He commanded she be set free, He would break the Law. If He commanded that she be stoned, He would not be true to His teachings.
Jesus ignored their question, stooped to the ground and began to write in the dirt. After a few minutes, He rose to His feet and addressed the men. “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.”
He knelt and again wrote on the ground. One by one, the Pharisees and scribes left. When Jesus looked up, He asked the woman, “Where did everyone go? Is no one left to condemn you?”
She was, perhaps, afraid to look up, and, when she did, she was astonished. Only Jesus remained. “No one, my Lord,” she said, voice quivering.
“Neither do I condemn you,” He said with the faintest of smiles. “Go and sin no more.”
How could Jesus know that not a man there would be without sin? Because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. You see, we were all born into sin. We are a fallen people living in a fallen world.
It all goes back to the beginning. Adam and Eve were created with free will. They were made innocent, free of sin, a part of God’s family. It seems that Yahweh visited with them daily in the Garden of Eden, His earthly home. They lacked nothing, and were able to eat of any and all of the fruit-bearing trees and plants in the garden. All but one. Their needs were fully provided. They had been given jobs. They were to rule over the world with their Creator.
Then the Tempter approached them, twisting and turning through the garden, just as he twisted and turned the truth. He convinced Adam and Eve to sin. When Adam sinned, all humanity was cursed.
There is no lack of evidence of man’s fallen nature. Everyone I know has sinned. My mother is a saint, but she sinned. My sister is the most holy woman I know, yet she sins. No one had to teach my children to lie; rather, they had to be taught not to lie. David says in Psalm 51:5 that he entered this world as a sinner, as do we all. Paul says in Ephesians 2:3 that we are “by nature children of wrath.” Genesis 8:21 finds God declaring that it is a human inclination to be evil, even from childhood.
Romans 5:12 tells us that both sin and death came into this world because of Adam. That is why we are unable to steer clear of sin. We are cursed.
You may be thinking, “That seems mighty unfair.” And you are right, but for three things. First, you and I would have sinned just like Adam and Eve had we been created first. In fact, I have no doubt that my sin would have been much greater than Adam’s. Second, to curse the human race because our progenitor committed a sin, seems unusually harsh, even cruel. It would be cruel had God not already provided for redemption, even from the foundation of the universe (Revelation 13:8). Last, we do not have to continue to live in sin. Just as Adam brought sin into the world, and as a result, caused all mankind to be condemned, so one man – Jesus, the Son of God – brought redemption into the world.
One righteous act, the crucifixion of Jesus, has made those who trust in him justified and made righteous. Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God washes our sins away with His grace so that we may reign with Him in righteousness eternally (cf. Romans 5:17-20).
Holiness is, perhaps, the most misunderstood concept in Christianity. Anyone who has striven to follow the life of Christ can likely tell you that it is impossible to do. No one can match His love, His grace, or His compassion. For no one but Jesus is perfect. Once the believer is filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit, though, he or she is filled to the brim with the love of Christ, and desires nothing more than to please God and follow in Christ’s steps. The love of sin is gone. In its place is a love and passion for others. That is Christian Holiness. This is Christian Holiness Daily.