Man / Sin ~ 20200504 ~ Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org
04/27 Foundations: Mankind and Sin; Audio available at: http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20200504_man.mp3
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
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?
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
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.
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.
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:
Genesis 2 focuses on the distinct creation male and female.
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.
God first showed Adam his need, his alone-ness, his need for help.
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
And in the words of Genesis 2,
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
Psalm 8 says:
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:
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
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.
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:
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.
From Adam, we have all inherited condemnation and death. By Adam’s disobedience we were made sinners. This is how it can say:
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:
God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.
There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins. We have turned – every one – to his own way.
What does it mean to ‘fall short of the glory of God’? Romans 1 tells us:
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
But they argued ‘we have never been enslaved to anyone’
Jesus said they were enslaved to sin and needed to be set free. Paul echoes this in Romans 6 where he says:
He says in verse 16
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
No one seeks for God. No one understands. He says in 1 Corinthians 2
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
He says in Romans 8
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:
Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org