Disclaimer: This subject, sinful nature, as well as any other one that may be discussed on Perception Management, is not directed toward any particular individual or group of people I know. I do know of a few preachers and teachers who believe and teach this differently than what I’ve learned. Consider what follows, including the links given.
What Is The basic Belief of The Sinful Nature Teaching and How Can It Be True?
“Sinful Nature” is a name–or a term–used to represent the belief that the whole human race’s soul was ruined when Adam sinned and after being born again Christians still have the “old man”(sinful nature) residing with the new man for the rest of their lives.1 We are not born sinners because one has to sin to become a sinner. So, the explanation that “we sin because we’re sinners” doesn’t add up. After being born-again, the biblical teaching that we are to be overcomers does not harmonize with the “sinful nature” teaching. After all, as true children of God, we have been set free from sin (Romans 6:7,18,22). Another part of this teaching is that the spirit of man died when Adam fell. Wrong. The Bible refers to the fact that God stirred and hardened the spirits of different men.2
For a long time my personal relationship with Jesus was very lacking. I was always telling my self that I need to read the Bible more, I need to pray more and I need to take my thoughts captive more while at the same time of self-reproof reminding myself that if I draw close to Him He’ll draw nigh to me. That’s what I believed and I still believe it, but there was more to it than that. My flesh and spirit was always warring against each other and the flesh won so much of the time that it was sucking the life out of me. I was living a life of defeat and all the while, deep down in my gut, I knew better than to let that happen. Even so, I could also see the lack of joy in other believers but I knew I was to first deal with myself. I needed to dive beneath the surface of the sinful nature beliefs I found myself trying to get along with.
After being born again we are a new creature in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15). We are now the “new man” because the old man is now dead (Romans 6:2, 7, 11). Therefore, why is it that we’re taught that Romans 7:15-25 is what we must deal with for the rest of our Christian lives?3 What peace and joy is there for the believers of that misinterpretation of scripture? False eternal security maybe but no joy and no peace can be witnessed in such a conflicted mind.
Is The Term “Sinful Nature” Found In The Bible?
The term, “sinful nature” cannot be found in the KJV. Nor can it be found in the RV (Revised Version), ASV (American Standard Version), Bishops Bible 1568, CEV (Contemporary English Version), ESV (English Standard Version), Geneva Bible 1587 and the ISV (International Standard Version). I have not downloaded other commercial bibles to see if the term is in any of those, such as the New King James Version, the BBE, Darby, DRB, ERV, EMTV, GW, GNB, JUB, MKJV,TLV, WEB and a lot more. By the way, all of these bible versions are downloadable from e-Sword. Some have a price on them. Many are free.
But guess what? “Sinful nature” can be found in the NIV (New International Version 2011 Edition) two times. In Romans 7:18 and Romans 7:25 the word flesh, in the KJV, now is sinful nature, in the NIV:
KJV – Romans 7:18: For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
NIV- Verse 18: For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
KJV – Romans 7:25: I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
NIV – Verse 25: Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
” The New International Version (NIV) is a completely original translation of the Bible developed by more than one hundred scholars working from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.” Read more. So it seems that surely the NIV is the bible for God’s people to use. Be careful! Be convinced of what’s true and what is not. It is needful to know which Bible Version is the Word of God.
Does it Matter Whether or Not We Believe The Sinful Nature Doctrine?
It makes a difference whether or not one decides to remain ignorant about the Sinful Nature / Original Sin teaching being a true biblical doctrine. The bottom line is that God’s people will obey Him. There is work to be done in His vineyard. Saying “I believe on Jesus Christ as my Savior” and not following and obeying Him is not what God wants. He wants our will. Saying, “It is no big thing because, after all, we do have a sinful nature until we die” is a very deceptive excuse for continuing in sin after believing. There’s a difference in believing what Jesus says and believing in Him. Watch at least six minutes of the following video for a little more about this:
Where Did The Original Sin / Sinful Nature Doctrine Come From?
If the sinful nature teaching is not biblical then Where Did the Doctrine of Original Sin Come From? (Click on the link for the answer to this question.) Obviously, it had an origin and to ignore this information says a lot about whether or not we want to know what God wants us to know. There are false beliefs and teachings in the church because many pastors have been taught wrong in certain areas of their theology and pass it on to their congregations. It takes the love of Jesus Christ to come to the truth. Pride can be wounded and reputation is at stake. Making the necessary change(s) may be a very hard row to hoe. It is up to each of us who confesses Christ to come to the place where we believe in Him.
Should We Make A Choice To Follow Christ?
By choosing to not go that far, to believe in Jesus Christ, we cannot be true overcomers or even understand what an overcomer is. The evidence is in plain sight but most church members/goers don’t seem to have a clue. A few, at times, acts as though they sense a problem but can’t put their finger on what’s wrong and most of the time, drifts back off to sleep, snuggled up with their false beliefs. This does not need to be. The Bible says, “… he that doeth righteousness is righteous even as he is righteous…” and “…whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God…” That’s understandable, right? Do righteousness. Do. Then, and only then, can our faith be known by others. It ain’t what we say; it is what we do.
What Is My Personal Basic Observation and Understanding About Man Having A Sinful Nature?
There is no such thing as a Sinful Nature. For those who would say otherwise I ask, “But! What if it were true that there was no such thing as a sinful nature?” It would probably be hard to cross the fence and hear what someone on the other side has to say but the biggest help to me has been to be able to understand so many more scriptures that seem to be left out in sermons promoting the sinful nature teaching. For instance, in the third chapter of First John I have noticed some verses, especially within the first ten verses, that are always omitted in sermons promoting the sinful nature doctrine.
1John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
There are things that could be brought up in most of these verses that could and should cause us to think. But there seems to be more lack of understanding verses six through ten. If they were understood then there would be so much more clarification available for other scriptures, such as First Peter 5:8 where the word “devour” means what it says but is sometimes given another chosen meaning in order to support a doctrine (Or doctrines. For example: Once Saved Always Saved) that allow a sinning Christian to remain in his “once-saved-always-saved, sinful nature” bubble.4
The doctrines of Perfection, Sin, Original Sin and Sinful Nature differ with preachers and teachers and of course, laymen. For instance, some teach that they don’t believe in Original Sin-that man isn’t born guilty of Adam’s sin but do teach that the Sinful Nature is inherited from Adam. All people of God should have a Godly/Biblical understanding concerning these doctrines. The bottom line is, is it sin or perfection or both? (More on this here.)
Our view of sin in the Christian life should align with God’s view of it but is it so with most Christians? Our view of sin has a major influence on our understanding of who God is. If we knew God well enough to have true fellowship with Him, we would also have a righteous hatred for sin. This hatred would play a major part in whether or not we submitted to a temptation to commit sin. Sin is a crime against God and against humanity–not some sort of unfortunate mistake. Sin is living for self. Righteousness is living for God. We should take to our mind, heart and will the third chapter of First John. If this is ignored then it is righteousness left undone. So, “Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God.” We cannot believe we have our sinful nature and believe what the Bible says in 1John 3:6-10 at the same time. One or the other has to go.
Have You Ever Thought About This?
Here is an observation about the Sinful Nature and the Original Sin doctrine which I came upon recently and realized that this was true of my experience as well. There is no way that if you had been brought up in a Christian home–in my case, with a King James Bible–and went to church where you never heard of a “sinful nature”, never heard your parents talk about it, etc., that just by reading and memorizing Bible verses as a child and continuing through the ups and downs of life reading and studying God’s Word, one could ever come to know the “Sinful Nature” teaching. I’ll say it again, taking the Bible for what it says, there is not anywhere in it that teaches this particular doctrine. One more time, there is no way anyone would ever come to believe such a thing by just reading the Bible. So, how is it learned? It is taught. It has been taught for about 1500 years. Then the next question would have to be, “Where and who did this teaching come from and why?” Here is an answer: Read the book, “Are Men Born Sinners”. (See the book link in the right column.)
How Long Have I Believed There Is No Such Thing As A Sinful Nature?
I was introduced to teachings concerning this subject, that came from Michael Pearl, fifteen years or more ago. It happened because I was interested in why a major denomination I was attending church with didn’t seem to place much emphasis on Christians living righteous lives. It seemed to me that the pro-sinful nature conscience didn’t care much about the biblical authenticity of a true believer. The sinful nature doctrine was often reinforced. Being free from sin took second place; after all, “…if you’ve ever believed…” then you’re safe. Here is the four part teaching concerning the “Sinful Nature” teaching:
Mike Pearl He can be found at www.nogreaterjoy.org.
I sincerely and prayerfully hope this helps someone to do as God would have them to do and know that God is to be glorified in their lives.
- This reference (link) is given only to show what so many understands as truth but isn’t: Nature of Man
- Genesis 41:8, Deuteronomy 2:30, 1 Chronicles 5:26, 2 Chronicles 21;16, 2 Chronicles 36:22 There’s more.
- Like other scriptures in the Bible, this passage is totally misinterpreted. Watch this one hour video (Episode 11) of Michael Pearl’s series on the book of Romans.
- This note added 10-21-2018: This is not a condescending statement. The use of the word, “bubble” is because it best describes the encapsulation of thinking abilities when outside the box of denominational beliefs cannot be realized (Denominational beliefs can be easily found in most Catechisms.) The apparent necessity of slanting the interpretation of scriptures can go to obviously biased extremes, which, as evidenced, closes the mind to deeper truths that would otherwise transform believers’ ways of thinking. This past Tuesday a paraphrase of a quote was shared with me–“Our understanding of who God is determines our idea of worship”. Enough said.