Man's Sinful Condition
evangelist who preaches for eternity is never great on numbers. He is not apt to count hundreds of converts where there is
no restitution, no confession, and no glad cry which proclaims, ‘The lost is found, the dead is made alive again!' "
E. M. Bounds
of humanity believes that some amount of good works is sufficient to gain them entrance into heaven. This belief is due to
a faulty concept of man's true condition. Helping people understand the concept of "original sin" will enable them
to see their need for the Savior.
Two things are meant by the expression
"original sin": the first sin of Adam, and the sinful nature possessed by every person since Adam, due to Adam's
first transgression. This sinful nature is called "depravity." Depravity consists of four things, which are true
of every individual when he is born:
1. He is completely
void of original righteousness. "Behold, I was shaped in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm
2. He does not possess any holy affection toward
God. "They changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who
is blessed for ever" (Romans 1:25). "There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there
is none who seeks after God" (Romans 3:10, 11). "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, ... lovers of pleasures
more than lovers of God" (2 Timothy 3:2-4).
is nothing from without a man, that can defile him; but the things which come out of him, these are they that defile the man.
"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness,
wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, and
defile the man" (Mark 7:15, 21-23).
4. He has a continual
bias toward evil. "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagining of the
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).
the term "depravity" be misunderstood, it is well to note the following, quoted from Lectures in Systematic
Theology by Henry C. Thiessen:
From the negative standpoint, it does
not mean that every sinner is devoid of all qualities pleasing to men; that he commits, or is prone to commit every form of
sin; that he is as bitterly opposed to God as it is possible for him to be ... Jesus recognized the existence of pleasing
qualities in some individuals (Mark 10:21; Matt. 23:23).
... From the
positive standpoint, it does mean that every sinner is totally destitute of that love to God which is the fundamental requirement
of the law: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Dt. 6:4, 5). See Matt. 22:35-38; that he is supremely given to a preference
of himself to God (2 Tim. 3:2-4); that he has an aversion to God which on occasion becomes active enmity to Him: "because
the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7); that
his every faculty is disordered and corrupted: "having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God
through the ignorance that is in them because of the blindness of their heart" (Eph. 4:18); that he has no thought, feeling,
or deed of which God can fully approve: "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" (Rom. 7:18); and that he has entered upon
a line of constant progress in depravity from which he can in no wise turn away in his own strength.
The result of man's depravity, or sin nature, is his willful rebellion against God. Such an attitude
cannot but bring forth evil results. The awful results of sin are obvious. It is not possible for men to continue sinning
and receive anything but a harvest of sorrows of the worst kind. Paul states in Galatians 6:8, "For he that sows to his
flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption." Hosea said concerning Israel, "For they have sown the wind, and they
shall reap the whirlwind" (Hosea 8:7). He also declared, "You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped iniquity;
you have eaten the fruit of lies" (Hosea 10:13).
One would have to
be blind not to see the result of sinful depravity in the minds and bodies of the human race today. Superstition, barbarity,
and the grossest iniquity are seen in every land where the gospel has not yet gone. Where the message of salvation from sin
has been preached and rejected, the condition is almost worse, for here is added the condemnation of light that has been rejected.
In the United States, probably the richest Christian nation in the world, every institution of correction, every prison of
punishment, every sanitarium and asylum is bulging with the results of sin. Every policeman in the country is a silent tribute
to the reality of sin.
So devastating is its influence upon the human
consciousness that now sin is glamorized until it is being recognized in society as the thing to do. A great man once said,
"Our greatest defense against sin is to be shocked at it"; and when this attitude ceases, sin has accomplished its
direst results. Paul, in that terrible list of gross iniquities in Romans 1:24-32, climaxed the whole dread situation when
he said, "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same,
but have pleasure in them that do them" (v. 32). When sin loses its sinfulness, and men take pleasure in the grossest
of sinful practices, there is little hope left ... but for the grace of God.
 Cameron, K., & Comfort, R. (2004). The school of biblical evangelism: 101 lessons: how to share your faith simply, effectively, biblically-the way Jesus
did (pp. 161-164). Gainesville, FL: Bridge-Logos Publishers.