Devotional: Old Sin Nature
So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (Romans 7:17)
In chapter seven of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he discusses and explains an age-old issue: The problem of sin.
Have you ever found yourself in Paul’s sandals? You know, those days when you feel prepared to take on the world, to resist temptation, but fail miserably in the heat of the moment and sin anyway? Perhaps you immediately resolve to do better next time. Maybe guilt fills your soul and you cry out to God, “What is wrong with me?” Are you really a bad person? Can you develop some self-control? Or are you simply doomed to repeatedly hurt yourself and others with your sins?
What about mankind in general? Are people basically good or evil? This is a question for the ages, and the ramifications of the answer are significant.
Many historians refer to Augustine as the father of the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox churches. Yet this man wrestled with sin in a big way. He pretty much wasted his twenties enjoying the sinful pleasures of wine, women, and heresy. He wrote extensively about his evil desires for material things, lustful indulgencies, forbidden fruit, sinful behavior, and temporary pleasures. As God pursued him, Augustine resisted the call because it would require that he give up the women in his life. Ultimately, he was compelled to believe. He sent the girls packing and never looked back. His subsequent writings on sin, and Romans 7 in particular, contain many important observations on the doctrine of original sin.
What do you understand about this subject? Do most Christians understand that everyone sins from time to time, but are human beings basically good or bad? Did we inherit a sinful nature from Adam, or are we free to sin or not sin depending on our own willpower? If a hundred other people faced the same temptation as Adam and Eve, would any of us be able to resist and claim victory?
Like it or not, we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)—far short! The truth is that even if it had been you or me or even the holiest people you know in the garden instead of Adam or Eve, every one of us would have failed. We know this is true based on Romans 5:12 (NIV) where Paul writes, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men, because all sinned.”
Of course, Paul goes on to share the good news that the free gift of righteousness has come through the second Adam—Jesus Christ. Thank God for His amazing grace that saves a wretch like me!
Heavenly Father, thank you for the blood of Jesus that covers my sin, allows me to stand in your holy presence, and declares me to be righteous in your sight. Thank you for the forgiveness of sin only made possible by the death of your Son on the cross of Calvary and the shedding of His blood. Jesus is the perfect lamb, who took the full punishment of my sin upon Himself. Now I stand by faith in Christ, the solid Rock of my salvation from sin.
If you enjoyed this devotional by Davis Carman, enjoy reading his devotional entitled A Brief Theology of Time.
Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based science and Bible curriculum. He is also the author of four illustrated children’s books designed to help kids learn a biblical worldview. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now!
Davis’s four books include: Good Morning, God, based on Deuteronomy 6, A Light for My Path, an ABC book based on Psalm 119, In the Beginning, based on the Creation account in Genesis, and Psalms to Know Early.