Why do we sin?

14) Did God create us unable to keep His law?

No, but because of the disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, all of creation is fallen; we are all born in sin and guilt, corrupt in our nature and unable to keep God’s law.

“Just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

Adam sinned

The first human beings had a direct relationship with God (Genesis 2:7). They had a commission to populate the earth and look after it, and a secure environment (the garden of Eden) in which to begin their life of discovery. And they had freedom – freedom to do whatever they wanted, with one crucial exception: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17)

When Adam broke God’s very first command to the human race, he set a precedent for all his descendants. There were consequences not only for him and his wife (Genesis 3:17-19), but also for the whole human race. From him we have all inherited not only his sinful nature but also its outcome: estrangement from God, judgement, condemnation and death.

All have sinned

But it is also true that we die for our own sins. Our own lives, beginning from our earliest childhood, recapitulate Adam’s story. Like him, we all rebel against God – and we all die, whether we are basically ‘good’ people or ‘bad’. The human condition is rightly described as a curse: we cannot change our underlying human nature, and so there is no escape, and no hope for us.

And yet… Adam’s story is not the only possible story. Jesus lived a radically different life: a life of obedience to God, from start to finish. We do not have to share Adam’s condemnation; we can share in Jesus’ righteousness instead. “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)

 

God our Saviour,
Look on this wounded world
In pity and in power;
Hold us fast to Your promises of peace
Won for us by Your Son,
Our Saviour Jesus Christ.
                   (Collect for 3rd Sunday after Trinity)

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