Man / Sin ~ 20200504 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

04/27 Foundations: Mankind and Sin; Audio available at:

Humanity/Mankind - The Nature of Man

This is our foundations study on the basics of Christian belief; what Christians believe. We have looked at what Christians believe about the Bible, the word of God, about God himself, about Jesus the God-man, and today we are going to look at what Christians believe about humanity, mankind.

Man Part of Creation

We’ve looked at the essential Creator/created distinction when we looked at the nature of God; God is the uncreated Creator of all that is. He had no beginning; he eternally exists; he always was. Everything outside of God was created by him and for him.

In Genesis 1, God created the heavens and the earth. On day one God spoke light into existence. On day two God spoke atmosphere, or heavens, or sky into existence, separating the waters above from the waters below. On day three, God separated the surface waters, bringing land out of the watery chaos, and he created vegetation. On the fourth day, God created sun, moon and stars. On day five, God created living creatures, birds and sea creatures. On the sixth day God created land creatures and man.

Created in God’s Image - Dominion

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

Mankind was created on the same day as other land creatures, but man was created unique from the rest of his creation. Man was created in God’s image. What does that mean?

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

The image of God in man is not described by any physical characteristics; remember, we learned that God in essence is Spirit, not physical. The image and likeness of God in man is authority. God created mankind to have dominion, to rule over all the rest of his creation under him. Man was intended to reflect God’s generous care and provision toward all that he had created.

Created Male and Female

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Notice, ‘man’ refers to male and female; mankind. From the very beginning, God created gender, sexuality, reproductive capacity. And he commanded them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. This was by God’s design and was from the beginning was very good.

Genesis 1:29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning,

God saw everything he had made, and look, it was very good. Man was created very good. God was pleased with the way he had made everything.

Created For Relationship

Genesis 1 puts man in the context of that God had made; with dominion over all that lives on the earth. Chapter 2 goes back and zooms in on the creation of man, giving resolution and detail not given in chapter 1.

Genesis 2:7 then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ...15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

The Lord created man differently than the rest of his creation. For all the rest of his creation, God said ‘Let there be ...and it was so.’ But for man, he stooped down so to speak and got his hands dirty. He didn’t merely speak; he formed the man from the dust of the ground, and he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. This is close, intimate creation. This is mouth to mouth life giving breath.

In the words of the prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, you are our Father;

we are the clay, and you are our potter;

we are all the work of your hand.

Genesis 2 focuses on the distinct creation male and female.

Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”

It is not good for man to be alone. He needs a counterpart corresponding to him. He needs help. God first parades the animal kingdom before the man for him to name them, and to see that they came in pairs, to make him feel his lack.

Genesis 2:20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.

God first showed Adam his need, his alone-ness, his need for help.

Genesis 2:21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

The one thing in all of God’s good creation that was not good was the man without the woman. God created mankind for intimate relationship. Man and woman are created different, yet the same. They were created to rule creation together, under God and in relationship with God.

Created With Purpose

God created man with purpose. In the words of Genesis 1

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

And in the words of Genesis 2,

Genesis 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

This was not pain and toil, thorn and thistle, sweat and curse. That we brought in chapter 3. This was pleasant purpose; protection and provision, creative benevolent authority. It was work as it was meant to be, good and beautiful. It was satisfying and fulfilling.

God created us to make visible his invisible goodness in his creation, to reflect him and to bring him glory. In the words of Isaiah

Isaiah 43:7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”

Psalm 8 says:

Psalm 8:1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. ...3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? 5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, 7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, 8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Man was created as God’s image to extend his good authority and display his character to all his creation and to bring him glory.

Created With Accountability

And we were created with accountability:

Genesis 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ...15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Man was placed in the garden God had designed for him with every good thing he needed. But he was to remain under God’s good authority. Would he be satisfied with all that God had given him, or would he want more?

In Genesis 3, the serpent twisted God’s word to make him seem restrictive, contradicted God’s word, assuring there would be no consequences, questioned God’s goodness, painting him as stingy and self-protective, withholding good from his people. He tempted them with the prospect of being like God, no longer being under his authority, but choosing to make their own rules, to determine for themselves right and wrong.

They disobeyed, and their eyes were opened. They attempted to cover their shame and to hide from the presence of God. Disobedience drove a wedge between them and God, and it began to create division in their relationship with each other as they began to avoid responsibility and blame and accuse.

God’s Image Distorted

Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created. 3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.

The image of God was still there, but it was twisted, distorted, skewed. Man continues to exercise dominion over creation, but no longer to bless, to protect and provide, no longer to bring glory to his Creator, but rather to use for his own ends, to make himself great and rob glory from God.

Adam passed on this distorted defaced image of God to his descendants.

Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.

Inherited Sin

In Romans 5, Paul holds up Adam as a type of the one to come, and compares and contrasts the first man Adam with the last Adam, Jesus Christ. We are going to focus today on only one side of this comparison, but if you think having Adam act as your representative and inheriting his consequences is not fair, remember, this points to the good news of a greater representative, in whom you and I can inherit all that is coming to him. Romans 5 describes us as weak, ungodly (5:6), sinners (5:8), God’s enemies deserving God’s wrath (5:9-10). Romans 5:12 says:

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—

Sin came into the world through one man. Death entered the world through the one man’s sin. Do you realize, death was not a part of God’s good creation? God said that death would only enter his creation through our disobedience. And that death has spread to all. Not only all people, but all creation. Romans 8 tells us that all creation was subjected to futility, the whole creation has been groaning, waiting, and one day the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption (Rom.8:19-22). Sin entered through one man, and the consequences of sin, death, spread to all.

Romans 5:15 says ‘many died through one man's trespass’; verse 16 says ‘the result of that one man's sin ...the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation’. Verse 17 ‘because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man’; verse 18 ‘one trespass led to condemnation for all men’; verse 19 ‘by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners’.

Sin affects everyone. We today feel the effects of that one trespass. We have all inherited the consequences of one man’s sin. Remember, this is one side of the equation, the ugly side. But the point of the comparison is to point to the other side, the hope and beauty of the gospel.

Romans 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.

From Adam, we have all inherited condemnation and death. By Adam’s disobedience we were made sinners. This is how it can say:

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

Ephesians 2:1-3 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–– among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Sinners from birth, by nature children of wrath, dead in trespasses and sins in which we walked.

Sin as High Treason

The preacher in Ecclesiastes 7 says:

Ecclesiastes 7:20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. ...29 See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.

God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way…

There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. We have turned – every one – to his own way.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

What does it mean to ‘fall short of the glory of God’? Romans 1 tells us:

Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. ...25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Sin is high treason. We have betrayed God. We have belittled God. Sin is failing to give God the glory that is his due. Sin is failing to honor God as God or give him thanks. Sin is trading in his glory and giving his glory to lesser things. Sin is worshiping created things in place of the Creator who alone is worthy of praise.

Slaves to Sin

Jesus told some who would follow him

John 8:31 ...“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

But they argued ‘we have never been enslaved to anyone’

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

Jesus said they were enslaved to sin and needed to be set free. Paul echoes this in Romans 6 where he says:

Romans 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.

He says in verse 16

Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.

Sin is slavery. And slaves don’t have a choice. Not until they have been set free.

Inability to Do Good

Jesus taught that ‘apart from him we can do nothing’ (Jn.15:5). He taught that people both refuse to come to him’ (Jn.5:40) and ‘cannot come to him unless drawn to him by the Father’ (Jn.6:44).

Paul resonates with this when quotes the Psalms in Romans 3

Romans 3:10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

No one seeks for God. No one understands. He says in 1 Corinthians 2

1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

We do not accept, and we are not able to understand, unless the Spirit of God open our blind eyes. Paul laments in Romans 7

Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. ...24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

He says in Romans 8

Romans 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

We are incapable of pleasing God, we cannot even seek God apart from God’s Spirit doing a work in us. Apart from Christ, even our righteous deeds according to Isaiah are offensive in God’s sight.

Pelagius (c. 354-418)

Pelagius taught that men are born morally neutral with an equal capacity for either good or evil, the ability to sin or to not sin. He taught that Adam's sin did adversely affect his descendants, but only by way of setting a bad example. Pelagius was a moralist who embraced a natural human ability to do what is right, and rejected Paul’s teaching that we can do nothing but sin apart from God’s grace. He believed that any moral inclination or inability would destroy our human responsibility.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Augustine wrote extensively against Pelagius. He taught that the fall brought condemnation and guilt on all mankind, and so mankind is inherently corrupt. No part of our humanity is unaffected by the fall; our mind, emotions and will have all been affected. We are now and inclined toward evil. We have the ability to choose, but our wills are governed by our sinful nature. We sin because we are by nature sinners. We are not able not to sin without God’s intervening grace.

Theology Leads to Doxology

This is the bad news about us. Created by God very good, in the image of God, but we have all gone astray. We are sinners by nature and choice, and fully deserve the wrath of the holy God that we have ignored. This is the bad news, but all theology should lead us to doxology; a right understanding of who we are will lead us to deeper worship of God. Let me end with a few quotes:

He that wishes to attain right views about Christian holiness must begin by examining the vast and solemn subject of sin. He must dig down very low if he would build high... Dim or indistinct views of sin are the origin of most of the errors, heresies and false doctrines of the present day. If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul's disease, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies.” J.C.Ryle, Holiness, p.1 (1879)

My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things; That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.” John Newton (1725-1807)

'O man, consider the greatness of thy sin, by the greatness of the price paid for sin.’’ Augustine (quoted by Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, sec.5)


Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~