A Little Time With The 1689: Day 115

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Day 115

Of the fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.

Chapter 6, Paragraph 4.

do proceed all actual transgressions.

Scripture Lookup

James 1:14,15

Matthew 15:19

 

Reflection

Everyone’s a sinner. Oddly enough, being a sinner has become like getting a participation trophy: everyone gets one, and so it’s not so special anymore. The horror of sin has become lessened in modern evangelical churches because being a downer doesn’t bring in the crowds. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, right? So words with less serious connotations get thrown around – “mistakes”, “brokenness” – and sin gets relegated to a generalized “nobody’s perfect”.

It is true that nobody’s perfect, and we are broken. But that brokenness and imperfection is not something to accept; it is something to grieve. Adam and Eve lost something so precious in the Fall, and that was communion with God. Because of them, our nature is corrupted, and all our sin is a result of that nature. And our sin is a vile venom that poisons us and the world around us.

In short, sin is the dare of God’s justice, the rape of his mercy, the jeer of his patience, the slight of his power, the contempt of his love….We may go on and say, it is the upbraiding of his providence (Psalm 50), the scoff of his promise (2 Peter 3:3-4), the reproach of his wisdom (Isaiah 29:16).

-Ralph Venning, The Sinfulness of Sin

Reflecting on our fallen nature and the terribleness of sin is not pleasant, fun, or appealing. Yet it can be useful and encouraging. For when you realize how truly awful sin is, you begin to understand just how marvelous and wonderful was the sacrifice of Jesus. The depths of love He has to save sinners such as we are!

 

Questions to Consider

  • Have you been viewing sin lightly?

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 114

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Day 114

Of the fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.

Chapter 6, Paragraph 4.

From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil,

Scripture Lookup

Romans 8:7

Colossians 1:21

Reflection

Springing from the original corruption of Adam and Eve, sin has infected every part of you, and every part of me. Our nature is fallen. We do bad things because we cannot but sin. Do good? Not possible on our own: “the mind set on the flesh…does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so,” (Romans 8:7, NASB). Because of our fallen nature, we have no ability to do good. Not only can we not do good, we are totally unwilling to do good.

This can be a difficult truth to accept. We want so much to point to something good in us, to say “See! I’m not that bad!” But you don’t have that. I don’t have that. Stop clinging so tightly to your self-righteousness, because your self-righteousness is non-existent. “There is no one righteous” (Romans 3:10) There is no one who does good.

When we let go of our desperate desire to make ourselves righteous, and realize that we are wholly inclined to all evil, the provision of Christ is that much more glorious to us. For God’s righteousness becomes our righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. It is His perfect work we rest in, and nothing in ourselves. He justifies us, He sanctifies us, and He will glorify us. What a freeing deliverance He has granted to His people!

 

 

Questions to Consider

  • Can you see in your life how you were wholly inclined to evil before you came to know Christ?

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 113

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Day 113

Of the fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.

Chapter 6, Paragraph 3.

spiritual, temporal, and eternal, unless the Lord Jesus set them free.

Scripture Lookup

Hebrews 2:14,15

1 Thessalonians 1:10

Reflection

Adam and Eve, due to their disobedience, passed down a corrupted nature to every human born by ordinary generation. Because of this, we are slaves to sin, unable to free ourselves from the hold our fallen nature has on us. Without a Savior to free us from sin, we suffer spiritually, temporally, and eternally.

Looking at those unbelievers around us, it can be easy to think that their life isn’t all that bad. Sure, some have truly difficult and miserable lives, but most unbelievers don’t seem to be in dire distress. To think the plight of those without Christ isn’t that miserable, though, is to forget the common blessings God bestows on all His creation. Such thinking also misses how awesome and majestic He is, and how knowing such a Being is incomparable to anything this world offers without Him.

The miseries of this life are manifold. Spiritually, the unbeliever can never have peace. Their hope will always be shaken because it is not placed in Christ. While alive in this life, they are subject to the effects of sin in themselves and are sinned against by others. And when this life is over, the torment experienced for rebellion against God endures for eternity.

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 – Romans 7:25

This is why the Gospel is such good news! Left to ourselves, there is no sure for our condition. But through Christ’s provision, we are no longer slaves to sin. We are adopted as sons of God. The only true God makes himself known to us. All trials draw us closer to Him, and we will spend eternity in His presence. Such grace is amazing.

Questions to Consider

  • Do you see how miserable life is without Christ?

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 112

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Day 112

Of the fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.

Chapter 6, Paragraph 3.

the servants of sin, the subjects of death and all other miseries,

Scripture Lookup

Romans 6:20, 5:12

Reflection

You can’t change who you are.

That statement flies in the face of everything this world tells us. Children are told they can grow up to be anything they want to be. Adults encourage each other to not let anything – or anyone – get in the way of their dreams. Magazines applaud supposedly successful gender transformations. “Do it yourself” applies to all aspects of life.

Despite how high up the economic ladder you can climb, or how much weight you lose, or how you portray yourself to others, the fact is your nature is fallen and corrupted. “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23) We inherited this marred nature from Adam and Eve. This is who we are.

Because our nature is corrupted, we are servants of sin, or as some translations of Romans 6:20 say, slaves to sin. There is no program you can follow to stop sinning. No amount of positive self-affirmation will release you from its deathly grip over your life. On our own, we will never measure up to God’s law.

The world cries that we can change ourselves if we just work hard enough or think hard enough or follow the right system, Scripture declare that there is nothing that we can do to remedy our condition. Pride must be removed, and we must acknowledge that we need a Savior.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

-Romans 7:24

Questions to Consider

  • Are you still trying to change yourself on your own strength?

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 111

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Day 111

Of the fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.

Chapter 6, Paragraph 3.

and by nature children of wrath,

Scripture Lookup

Ephesians 2:3

Reflection

Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

-Ephesians 2:3

“Children of wrath.” Doesn’t that phrase initially strike you as a little too much? We’d expect to see it as the title of a horror movie, or the name of a heavy metal band. But to say that we are all children of wrath? Isn’t that just the product of some dour-faced minister from centuries ago? Haven’t we progressed past that?

It won’t be the title of Joel Osteen’s next book, but it is a truthful statement to say that all humanity bear the title of “children of wrath”. Scripture states plainly in Ephesians 2 that without Christ, we all deserve God’s wrath. Because of Adam and Eve’s sin, we inherit a corrupted nature that does not fade away on its own. The child that seems so sweet, the kindly elderly lady, the hardworking man, are all corrupted by sin. Despite how they look to us, they are at enmity with God, and as such are children of wrath.

Realize, then, that the title “children of wrath” is not too strong a statement for mankind. There is something dreadfully wrong with the human race. There is something dreadfully wrong with us. But Scripture does not leave us to stare morbidly at the wretched condition of humanity: it points us to Christ. Because of His work and sacrifice on the behalf of His people, those who turn from sin and trust in Him are no longer “children of wrath”, but are part of God’s household. (Ephesians 2:19)

See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.

-1 John 3:1

Questions to Consider

  • Is it hard to accept that, without Christ, all of humanity are “children of wrath”?

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 110

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Day 110

Of the fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.

Chapter 6, Paragraph 3.

...being now conceived in Sin,…

Scripture Lookup

Psalm 51:5

Job 14:4

Reflection

Philosophers throughout the ages have pondered the moral state of humans. Are we created as blank slates, which our environment then writes on to our benefit or detriment? Are we naturally good people, who just need a little help to keep from doing wrong? Or are we slaves to our biology, able to act only in accordance with our DNA?

When Adam and Eve transgressed God’s covenant, they plunged humanity into sin and misery. Their human nature, originally upright and able to keep God’s law, was now corrupted. This corruption has been our inheritance ever since. It is there at the moment of our conception, and our nature remains so throughout our time on earth.

Our fallen nature is one reason why the life of Jesus is so amazing. Because we all are now conceived in sin, we had no knowledge of what a human nature free from the effects of the Fall was like – until He came. Jesus was not born by ordinary generation, so He did not have a corrupted nature.  His life was perfectly holy, without any sin whatsoever. When you contrast that with ourselves, you are left marveling at His beauty and majesty.

Questions to Consider

  • What thoughts come to mind when you realize that there was never a time when you did not have a corrupted nature?

A Little Time With The 1689: Day 109

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Day 109

Of the fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof.

Chapter 6, Paragraph 3.

They being the root, and by God’s appointment, standing in the room, and stead of all mankind; the guilt of the sin was imputed, and corrupted nature conveyed, to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation,...

Scripture Lookup

Romans 5:12-19

1 Corinthians 15:21,22,45,49

Reflection

“Legacy” is a popular term nowadays. People are concerned about what kind of legacy they will  leave after they are gone. What deeds will they be remembered for? What family life did they establish? Adam and Eve did leave a legacy behind them, but it is safe to say that what they left, imputation of guilt and a corrupted nature, is not something anyone would desire to have. Yet our first parents definitely had a profound impact on all the generations that have come after them.

Adam represented the human race when he disobeyed God’s command to not eat of the fruit. This standing in our stead is sometimes referred to as Adam being our “federal head”.  He was in covenant with God, and failed to keep that covenant. As our representative, when he fell, we fell with him. His guilt is imputed to us. We are declared guilty due to his transgression, much like how when a leader of a nation declares war, the residents of that country are now considered at war with the opposing nation as well.

Not only are we declared guilty because of Adam and Eve’s sin, the corrupted nature they possessed after they sinned has been transmitted down to us. Every child conceived normally with human parents has this corrupted nature. Notice, though, that the Confession makes note that it is all of Adam and Eve’s posterity who descend from them by ordinary generation that receive this fallen nature. Was there anyone who was a descendant of Adam and was not born by ordinary means? Yes – Jesus! As a descendant of Adam, yet conceived miraculously, Jesus did not have the corrupted nature conveyed to Him.

Questions to Consider

  • If corrupted nature is conveyed by ordinary generation, then is the virgin birth an important doctrine?