The Bible tell us that we as mankind have a sinful nature. If this is the case, how can I live a Christian life? Is there a way to be free from that nature that I was born with as a human?
It is a typical Tuesday afternoon in my Civics class. The girl sitting next to me is doodling and the boy behind me looks as if he might be sleeping. Our teacher has just asked the question,“What do you think is the best form of government?” Silence. He tries a new approach. “Is an autocracy best? Maybe a democracy or a republic?” Before anyone really forms an opinion on the matter, he continues, “To look at how people should be ruled we need to ask the question: ‘What is their inherent nature? Is man good or evil?’” The majority of the class is unsure at first. But I wonder, what does the Bible have to say about this?
I read in Genesis 1:31: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” None of us were created for the purpose of sinning. Initially, we did not even have knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 3:5) So how did sin come about?
I continue to read about how God speaks to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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.’” Genesis 2:16-17. But Satan, the serpent, gets Eve to question what God said: “Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” Genesis 3:4-5.
Sinful nature as a result of the fall
In this manner, Satan was able to tempt Eve to disobey God. When she and Adam gave into the temptation, they received a sinful nature. This sinful nature was then inherited by all mankind who came after: “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5.
Jesus also explains how sinful man’s nature became because of the fall: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.” (Mark 7:21-22) So, if all these sins and evil desires come forth from me naturally, is there any hope that I can live a Christian life in reality?
Jesus came for this very reason; to set me free from the way that I am by nature and create something completely new in me to God’s glory. “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15. Jesus came in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3), which means that He was also tempted, just like us. However, He was faithful to the plan God had for Him, and overcame all temptations in His life.
A way to a good and victorious life
Jesus has opened up a totally new way for me to go; now I can follow Him and obey His voice in my heart, instead of being led by my lusts, pride and everything else that dwells in my human nature. He is there to help me, as it is written in Hebrews 4:16: “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” In this way, I too can live the good and victorious life that Jesus lived here on earth!
Regardless of what kind of government rules on this earth, I have a hope to become like Jesus and can look forward to a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:13) The new, divine nature I gain through faithfulness in this life will be of eternal value there! (2 Peter 1:3-4)