Another View (or Two or Three) on Original Sin (The Study of God #74)

Welcome to the Study of God Podcast. This is episode #74

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast is designed to give you a basic understanding of God, the Bible, and Christian beliefs. J. Dwight Pentecost said, “There is no higher activity in which the mind may be engaged than the pursuit of the knowledge of God.”

Let’s start out reading the Word of God Itself. Today’s passage of Scripture is 1 John 3:6 which reads: “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.”

Today’s words from a theologian are from J. I. Packer. He said: “There’s a difference between knowing God and knowing about God. When you truly know God, you have energy to serve Him, boldness to share Him, and contentment in Him.”

Our topic for today is titled “Another View (or Two or Three) on Original Sin” from “Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day” by Dr. Daryl Aaron.

Dr. Daryl Aaron writes…

At the other end of the theological continuum, a British monk named Pelagius, a contemporary of Augustine, became convinced of just the opposite: Adam’s sin did not affect the rest of us in any way. Rather, Pelagianism says we are sinners because we sin. Furthermore, Pelagius believed that because God commanded all people to be holy just as he is holy, it must be possible. God wouldn’t command us to do something we could not do. It is hypothetically possible, according to Pelagius, for a person to live a perfect and sin-free life.

Pelagius and Augustine battled it out through their writings, and Augustine “won” when the Council of Carthage condemned as heresy the teachings of Pelagius in AD 418. However, Augustine’s view was still a bit too extreme for some, so a mediating position arose. Semi-Pelagianism denies that we are totally unable to do anything about our own sinful condition, but still we are in pretty bad shape and need a lot of help from God. If we initiate and reach out to God, he will respond. This cooperative view of salvation—the individual participates, God participates; together, salvation results—is the historic view of the Roman Catholic Church.

As the debate continued, yet another mediating view arose. Like semi-Pelagianism, semi-Augustinianism holds that we are not totally powerless; however, we are unable to reach out to God for help, so God must take the initiative. When he provides the help we need, then we can and must respond. This is basically the Arminian view.

As hard as it may be to understand and accept, the Bible does not paint an encouraging picture of our sinful condition and our ability to do anything about it. Sin has had devastating effects on all of us. As much as we might resist acknowledging this about ourselves, it is absolutely necessary that we do; it is the only way we can be saved. We must depend upon the grace of God alone through the work of Christ alone.

INTERESTING FACT
Many reject the idea that Adam’s sinful act could so unavoidably affect the rest of us. It sounds unfair, and people don’t like the idea of being guilty for what someone else has done. But according to Romans 5:12–19, the sacrificial act of one person, Jesus, also can thoroughly affect the rest of us—for righteousness! He died for sin, and through him we all can be right with God. To be consistent, if we reject universal human guilt coming from what Adam did, we must also reject the availability of righteousness being fully granted to us from what Christ did. We can’t reject the first and accept the second; both are based on the same principle.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that while it is important to engage in the study of God, it is far more important that you have a relationship with God. I fear that there are a lot of people who will die knowing a lot about God, but not really knowing God. You don’t want to be one of those people.

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.

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