What the Bible teaches about man and sin

The doctrine of man: The consequences of the fall.

Below are questions from the Westminster Shorter Catechism with answers and supporting Scripture proofs. Explanatory notes follow.

 

Q: Into what estate did the fall bring mankind?

A: The fall brought mankind into an estate of sin and misery1.

1 Romans 5:12Romans 5:12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: for that: or, in whom  

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. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.


Q: Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?

A: The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adams first sin1, the want of original righteousness2, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called Original Sin3; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it4.

1 Romans 5:19Romans 5:19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  

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. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

2 Romans 3:10Romans 3:10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  

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. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.

3 Ephesians 2:1Ephesians 2:1
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  

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. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.

Psalms 51:5Psalms 51:5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. conceive...: Heb. warm me  

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. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

4 Matthew 15:19-20Matthew 15:19-20
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.  

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. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man.

 

Q: What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?

A: All mankind by their fall lost communion with God1, are under his wrath and curse2, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever3.

1 Genesis 3:8, 24Genesis 3:8, 24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. cool: Heb. wind 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.  

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. Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. So he drove out the man.

2 Ephesians 2:3Ephesians 2:3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. desires: Gr. wills  

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. And were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Galatians 3:10Galatians 3:10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.  

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. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

3 Romans 6:23Romans 6:23
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  

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. The wages of sin is death.

Matthew 25:41. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

 

The Fall of mankind in Adam had tragic consequences. It is important for us to understand the effect of the Fall upon the nature of men and especially in relation to their standing before God. There are two areas of discussion raised by Q. 17-19. The result of the Fall was that mankind now was found in a state of 1. SIN and 2. MISERY. Both aspects of the Fall are taught in Rom 5:12Rom 5:12
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: for that: or, in whom  

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.

 

MAN’S SINFUL STATE

A. Original Sin.

Original sin is that sinful state that all mankind are in quite apart from their own personal sin. It is the iniquity and sin that each member of the human race is conceived in. Original sin consists of three parts:

  • The guilt of Adam’s first sin. The guilt of this sin is real and is imputed to each member of Adam’s race with the exception of Christ. That guilt is imputed to the individual by God. Cp Rom 5:12Rom 5:12
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: for that: or, in whom  

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    , 19.
  • The lack of the original righteousness with which he was created. Cp Rom 3:10Rom 3:10
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  

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    . God created man holy and righteous — in perfect harmony and conformity to His Law which was written on his heart. To lose that righteousness was to be without that which the Law demanded and therefore to be guilty of sin by omission. The want of original righteousness also affects the mind, I Cor 2:14; and the inclinations of the will, Rom 7:18Rom 7:18
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    18 For I know that in me dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  

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    .
  • The corruption, or depravity of his whole nature. The nature that fallen man has is depraved in every part. Man died spiritually the day he fell and just as death affects every part of the body so spiritual death affected every part of man’s constitution. Rom 3:11-18, 6:13. This corruption of nature is passed on from generation to generation—though the exact nature of its transmission is a matter for theological debate since it relates to the issue of the propagation of the soul. Cp Gen 5:3Gen 5:3
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:  

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    , John 3:6John 3:6
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  

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    .

B. Actual sin.

The sinfulness of man’s state also consists of the actual sins committed by the individual. By actual sin here is meant sins of omission or commission, sins of the heart, mind and actions.

 

MAN’S STATE OF MISERY.

There are various elements of the misery that sin brought men into detailed here.

1. The loss of communion with God. Cp Gen 3:8, 24Gen 3:8, 24
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. cool: Heb. wind 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.  

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. Mankind is so far removed from the communion with God as the dead are from the living. This is indeed a great misery! God is our chief source of good, joy, comfort, rest etc.

2. What man is brought under in this life. The curse of God rests on men because of their fallen and sinful state. Cp Gal 3:10Gal 3:10
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.  

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, Eph 2:3Eph 2:3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. desires: Gr. wills  

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, John 3:36John 3:36
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.  

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.

3. What man is made liable to in time and eternity. He is made liable to:

  • The miseries of this life. The sorrow, disease and heartache of the world is traceable to sin and the Fall. God in His sovereign providence does not bring all men into the same experience of misery though all are equally liable to all possible misery. If our lot is better than another’s it is because of the mercy of God and not because we deserve better! There are many spiritual miseries too that men are liable to. The misery of being the slave of Satan, the miseries of torment of soul that come from alienation from God, Is 57:19-21Is 57:19-21
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    19 I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him. 20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. 21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.  

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    ; the misery of an accusing conscience; the misery of being given up to sin and a reprobate mind, Rom 1:26-27Rom 1:26-27
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  

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    , II Thessalonians 2:11-12.
  • Death. Death came into the world because of the Fall. It followed in the wake of sin and is “the wages of sin”. All mankind are dying even as they live and all will return to dust. The only exception to this general rule is that group of saints that are alive at the return of Christ who will not die but be changed.
  • The pains of Hell forever. This is the zenith of the misery of mankind’s fallen state. Men suffer punishment in Hell in two ways: A sense of loss of glory; and a sense of inflicted torment. The suffering of Hell is felt in both the soul and the resurrected body of the damned. It is a place of everlasting destruction — everlastingly being destroyed without annihilation. Cp Matt 25:41Matt 25:41
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:  

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    .

 

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