The non-Biblical sinful nature
The Bible does not teach that man is born with a sinful nature (not in Romans 5, not in Ephesians 2, not in any psalms, not anywhere). This illogical idea (that babies are sinners) can be traced back to Augustine and even all the way back to the gnostics.
Neither does the Bible claim that man can get an injection of someone else’s righteousness and thus magically become righteous despite living in sin. Man himself is responsible for being faithful to Jesus and to live a righteous life. Do not let anyone tell you that being obedient to Jesus is about self-righteousness, and therefore a sinful works-based salvation.
If man would be born (or conceived) with a sinful nature, we end up with many contradictions.
- The Bible is strangely silent about it and rather claims that man is guilty when he transgresses the law of God, which requires that he knows the law in the first place.
- We would have the best excuse for sin there is – our nature made us do it.
- All the church fathers the first 300 years AD would be wrong for claiming the opposite.
- Jesus would have a HUGE advantage over us from the very start since he was not born with a sinful nature, which is something that makes the holder prone to sin. We would be able to say “No wonder that Jesus could so easily refrain from sin! He was not born with a sinful nature like the rest of us!”
- Sinning is apparently something that can be found in the DNA and be inherited from person to person, and not (always) something that a man DOES.
- It is apparently a sin to have “flesh”, since this is the starting point for our sins? Jesus started to get flesh just like us during his conception, but his flesh was without those sin genes?
- God turns out to be an unrighteous judge who charges all human beings for something they are innocent of and could not help.
- The sinful nature has apparently prevented all human beings from being obedient to God from the very start, so God has either made us too weak to obey his laws, or he has made the laws too difficult for us to obey.
- Sinning is described in the Bible as transgressing God’s law (1 John. 3:4) and something that offends him, but what exactly offends God about a person being born (or conceived)?
- Babies (also newborn, and unborn babies) would be able to commit sin – even before they have hearts, despite that Matt. 15:18-19 and Mark 7:20-23 tell us that evil thoughts proceed from the heart.
- Babies are apparently spiritually “dead” already from conception when they are still tiny specks, which puts Eph. 2:1 in doubt since it claims that we are dead due to “trespasses and sins”.
- Romans 5:12 should not be saying that “death passed upon all men FOR that all have sinned”, but rather that SIN passed upon all men because Adam sinned. (Btw, the Bible itself proves in many verses that “all” does not always refer to all human beings.)
- James would be wrong for claiming that man’s own lust and giving in for temptation is the cause of sin (James 1:14-15), when in reality all people are sinful long before they can have lust and before they even have functional body parts.
- Is. 7:16 would be wrong for suggesting that a child does not know to refuse the evil and choose the good.
But … if we have no sinful nature, why do we sin? Answer: Why did Adam and Eve sin? Think about that for a moment.
But … if we have no sinful nature, then there could potentially be someone out there who could have been totally free of sin all his life. Answer: Yes.
But … if we have no sinful nature, why did Jesus have to die? Answer: Because we have sinned. We have transgressed the law of God.
We are sinners precisely because we could have chosen to obey God but chose to not do it. This makes us guilty rather than God. God is graceous and does not give us one single chance to live righteous, but if we mix sin and righteousness we have not truly repented and we are fooling ourselves.
Transferring blood to make us righteous?
“Impute” translated from the Greek verb λογίζομαι (logizomai, Strong’s 3049) = can also be translated to think, reckon, count and suppose. Note that it does not mean “transfer” or “inject”.
When we repent we become totally cleansed from our past sins (certainly not any future sins) and we are totally forgiven even if our sins are numerous and severe. We are counted as righteous because sin can no longer be found in us when we are 100% free from all sin. It is therefore no divine lie that we are counted as righteous because the fact is that this is what we have truly become thanks to the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ.
So how long does this righteous state of being last? It lasts as long as we remain righteous by walking in the light, which is OUR responsibility. WE are supposed to be led by the holy Spirit and be faithful to Jesus. Do not let anyone tell you that someone else will do it for you or instead of you. Jesus is “our righteousness” in the sense that he died for us and removed our sins, but this does not mean that we can get his righteousness transferred into us. Many Christians misunderstand “imputed” righteousness in Rom 4-5, because they erroneously believe it means “transferred”. This is not true, since the word rather means to be reckoned, counted or regarded as righteous. Not because of a blood transfer, but because our sins have been removed. The Bible does not teach “once righteous always righteous” (or “once saved always saved”). If a prisoner gets out of jail, it does not mean that he is now free to commit further crimes since he has
There is no way that God would count us as righteous unless we truly were, and we can never fool God by suggesting that he does not see our sins but only the precious blood of Jesus. We can never be regarded as positionally righteous while still living in sin. Always remember Satan’s famous lie “Ye shalt not surely die”. The idea that blood can be transferred into us and make us righteous (even if we sin), is an attempt from Satan’s side to trick us into feeling comfortable in our sin and to get the idea that we have a heavenly fire insurance. Even many pastors teach that it is normal for Christians to sin, and abnormal if they do not. They might even go further than that by suggesting that it is self-righteous to be completely faithful to Jesus, and that we should never believe that we can be victorious over sin. Satan could not be happier for this type of help, because it is totally backwards: “Christian sinners” (an oxymoron) go to heaven, but righteous Christians go to hell (because of the sin of self-righteousness). This sounds like the greatest sin (and the only one that can make you lose your salvation?) is to teach and believe that you can be completely faithful to God. THAT angers God the most?
1 John 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Matt. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall DO and TEACH THEM, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, YE SHALL IN NO CASE ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
God is speaking:
Gen. 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Deut. 30:11 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. —- 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it. (NASB)
Read about Rom. 5 here.
I agree. That’s just one of the reasons why I have a hard time listening to sermons today as I cringe when I hear false teaching which is becoming all too common today, or the other extreme when it seems like keeping the sheep entertained is the goal. I left full-time ministry when I realized that the Western church today bears almost no resemblance to the NT church. 1 Cor 14:26 got to me and caused me to be disillusioned with what I was doing. “What then is it, brothers? When you may come together, each has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” I have never been to a church where the Sunday service resembles this verse – except for home churches. Since we don’t follow Paul’s instructions on how the church should meet and involve the whole body instead of depending on the pastoral staff, is it no wonder that many churches are not edified/strengthened. But I’m getting off topic again so better stop here.
Yes “cringe” is the word. That’s what I often do when I hear all the “You can’t avoid sinning and that’s why Jesus died for you”, and “God loves you exactly as you are”.
I didn’t know you were engaged in full time ministry, or maybe you told me but I forgot. The pastor (one or more) have the responsibility for the teaching/the church gathering since they are supposed to be selected for this purpose, but as you say, a church service can still involve all the things you mentioned, for greater edification.
Yes, Christ’s righteousness “imputed” as in transferred to the believer does not even fit with the context of Rom 4:5. Verse 5 refers to v.6 where David is cited as an example of someone whom God reckoned as righteous apart from works. Verses 7 & 8 which follow are a recitation of Psalm 32:1-2 but David in his Psalm exclaims that God forgave him because he confessed his transgressions (Ps 32:5). God reckoned David as righteous when he confessed his sin instead of his remaining silent. Therefore we are reckoned as righteous when we like Abraham believed, and as long as we walk in a state of repentance, like David did.
I do like the podcasts of Leighton Flowers, but he really should study up about the “imputed righteousness of Christ”, because this phrase is not mentioned in the Bible and “imputed” does not mean “transfer”, as you say. He might not be aware of it, but he normalizes sin and often claims that “we are all sinners” (present tense), that we can never stop sinning etc. This is a common problem with many pastors.
I love your blog – check out what I just wrote on this topic;
Obviously I agree with you, and a person is accounted righteousness, _because_ they are living righteously. Men like Flowers are one point Calvinists and don’t even realize it. They are still stuck in the flawed Soteriology from Luther and Calvin that we can’t lose salvation, and that we can’t live righteously.
Hello Morris and thanks!
Flowers is an intelligent and humble teacher, but he is SO wrong about the topic of sin, righteousness, eternal security, etc.
Will check your blog article!