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ORIGINAL SIN - PART I

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Evening, May 20, 2012

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).


The little Greek word “tŏ” is left untranslated in the KJV. It means “the.” Putting this word into the translation gives more clarity. It would then read,

“For as by one man’s disobedience [the] many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall [the] many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

The 1599 Geneva Bible gives this comment,

The ground of this whole comparison is this, that these two men are set as two stocks or roots, so that out of one, sin by nature, out of the other, righteousness by grace...So then, sin entered not into us by following the steps of our forefather, but we take corruption of him by inheritance.

One of the reasons this passage in Romans is often overlooked today is because preachers are often unconsciously influenced by Darwinianism. By “unconsciously” I mean that they are influenced by the thoughts of their congregations. They don’t want to introduce the thought of creation into their talks on salvation. But they should not be influenced by what their congregations think. They should realize that we live in a time when Darwinianism is being seriously challenged by science. So great is this challenge that Darwinists like Richard Dawkins are being forced to attribute the origin of life to little green men bringing it to the earth from another planet! How life originated on that “other planet” he is, however, as unable to explain as he is the origin of life on earth! Against the confusion of evolutionism, the Bible gives a simple, straightforward answer – God created a man. He created that man as a perfect creature. But Adam rebelled against God and became a sinner by nature. His sin-nature passed to every one of his descendants – that is, to the entire human race; as the Geneva Bible put it, “we take corruption of him by inheritance.”

“For as by one man’s disobedience [the] many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall [the] many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

That text shows the parallel between Adam and Christ. It tells us that both condemnation and justification are the direct results of the actions of these two men. All mankind was “made,” “constituted” or “formed” as sinners. Dr. Lloyd-Jones pointed out, “Paul did not say that in Adam all were constituted sinful, but that we are constituted sinners” (Romans: An Exposition of Chapter 5, Banner of Truth, 2003 edition, p. 276).

He was right to say we are not merely sinful, though we are. But we are sinners. By our natures, inherited from Adam, we are sinners – sinners in our very natures, in our very sinews and bones, in our mental and spiritual lives – in all that is within us – we are sinners. Adam sinned, and by his action he constituted, or made, every human being after him a sinner by nature.

The famous Darwinian philosopher Lord Bertrand Russell objected to that on the ground that it was unjust for God to impute Adam’s sin to us because we never knew him, and many people on earth never even heard of him. Yet Bertrand Russell’s argument is not logical. There is no “injustice” in the fact that we speak English in America, is there? Yet we speak English because King James I (1603-1625) allowed several Englishmen to settle in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. Now, you may never have heard of King James. I’m sure many people in America know little or nothing about him. Yet because of his decision most of you speak English today. You were made English-speakers because of something one man did over 400 years ago – a man you may not even know about. I realize that is an imperfect illustration, but it comes close enough to show that there is nothing unjust in us speaking English simply because James I spoke it! Nor is there anything unjust in us being “made sinners” because Adam sinned.

Let me give one more illustration. My grandfather William Hymers left Canada and came to California in the 1920s. I never knew him. He died before I was born. Yet, because of what my grandfather did, I am an American instead of a Canadian. I was “made” an American by the act of a man who lived before I was born. There is nothing unjust or unfair about it. It is a simple fact of life. I was made an American by the act of a man who lived before I was born. And I am a sinner by nature because of one act of a man who lived before I was born. No injustice, just a fact. And because of the act of a man who lived before we were born we are all English-speakers. So, by the act of one man long ago, we are constituted sinners. As the Apostle put it, “By one man’s disobedience [the] many were made sinners...” (Romans 5:19). As Dr. Isaac Watts put it,

Lord, I am vile, conceived in sin,
   And born unholy and unclean;
Sprung from the man whose guilty fall
   Corrupts the race, and taints us all.
(“Lord, I Am Vile” – Psalm 51 – by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

There is nothing “unfair” or “unjust” about it as Bertrand Russell thought. It is merely a fact of life. “By one man’s disobedience [the] many were made sinners.” Look around you. Do you know anyone who isn’t a sinner? Of course not. So how did they become sinners? “By one man’s disobedience [the] many were made sinners.”

Some people think that Adam’s sin was a “small” thing, far too small to have made the whole human race sinners. But it would also seem that an old Canadian farmer’s decision to come to America was a small thing. And yet his “small” action resulted in all his offspring being “made” Americans. And you are hearing this sermon because he did that long ago. I think you see the point. “By one man’s disobedience [the] many were made sinners.”

Now, how does Adam’s original sin affect us? Adam’s original sin brought to all his descendants a corrupted nature. The term “original sin” is described in the Bible by such phrases as “evil treasure of the heart” (Matthew 12:35), “corrupt tree” (Matthew 12:33), “heart from which proceed evil thoughts” (Mark 7:21), “stony heart” (Ezekiel 11:19), “carnal mind” (Romans 8:7), “flesh” (Romans 8:4), among others. According to Dr. Shedd original sin is “also equivalent to the theological phrases corrupt nature, sinful inclination, evil disposition, and apostate will” (W. G. T. Shedd, Ph.D., Dogmatic Theology, P and R Publishing, 2003 edition, p. 566). What does original sin do to us? How does it affect us?

I. First, original sin has blinded you to the reality of spiritual things.

Original sin blinds and darkens the understanding by destroying the consciousness of spiritual things. The Apostle spoke of this when he said that unconverted men have “the understanding darkened...through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4:18). Again he said,

“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14).

When we speak of “knowing” Jesus, the unconverted mind, blinded by original sin, thinks we are foolish. He only knows about Jesus from hearing what we say about Him. What he knows about Jesus is only by hearsay, by rumor, by what he heard a Christian say about Him. He has no more personal knowledge of Jesus than a man who was born blind has of colors. You can explain to a blind man what colors are, but he cannot know what those colors really are by his own experience. He can only hear us talk about colors. He has no personal experience of them.

You can hear us sing about the love of Jesus, but it sounds like foolishness to you because original sin blinds your understanding so that you do not know the love of Jesus yourself. You can hear the truths of the Bible, and even memorize Bible verses, but they seem unreal to you because original sin blinds your mind. You are described as “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Timothy 3:7). You can never have a “perfect knowledge” (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown) of the truth because original sin blinds your mind. Only the operation of the Holy Spirit in regeneration can make spiritual things become real to you. You can hear the truths of the Gospel for years without knowing Jesus personally. Only God can open the spiritual eyes of anyone, for all are blinded by original sin. Your first birth leaves you blinded by original sin. You must be born again to have sight. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

II. Second, original sin has seared your conscience.

The Apostle said, “Even their mind and conscience is defiled” (Titus 1:15). Sins that they commit do not seem important to them because their consciences are defiled by original sin.

We talk to you about Jesus cleansing your sins, but this seems like a very small and unimportant thing to you. Why? Because your conscience is “seared with a hot iron” (I Timothy 4:2). Only when the Spirit of God convicts you of sin (John 16:8) to the point that your sin becomes unbearable to you – will you seek Jesus to “purge your conscience” with His own Blood (Hebrews 9:14). Unless God’s Spirit makes sin intolerable to you, you will remain asleep in a state of death because of original sin. You will feel no real need for Jesus unless God’s Spirit convicts your defiled conscience. Only the Spirit of God can apply Christ’s Blood to cleanse your conscience.

III. Third, original sin has corrupted your will.

By the “will” we mean that faculty that decides, that makes decisions, such as the decision to trust Christ. The Catholic Church taught that the will was injured, but not dead. In his book, The Bondage of the Will, Luther (1483-1546) argued from the Scriptures that man’s will is not merely injured, but is dead. The whole foundation of the Reformation rested on the doctrine of man’s will being dead. Only God could bring a man’s will to life. And that was the belief of every Protestant and Baptist for centuries, until Finney came along in 1821.

So powerful is original sin that man’s will is dead toward God. The Bible says that those of you who are unregenerated and unconverted are “dead in your sins” (Colossians 2:13); “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). Dr. John L. Dagg was the first Southern Baptist theologian. Speaking on the effect of original sin on man’s will, he said,

The Scripture representations of man’s inability are exceedingly strong. They are said to be without strength [Romans 5:6], captives [II Timothy 2:26], in bondage [II Peter 2:19; Romans 6:16, 17]...dead [Ephesians 5:14; Colossians 2:13], etc. The act by which they are delivered from their natural state, is called regeneration, quickening or giving life... and it is directly ascribed to the power of God...Our views concerning our...condition by nature are wholly incorrect, if we imagine that a little work [a little “decision”], which we can effect at pleasure, will set all right...A true sense of our inability would drive us to him who is able to save (John L. Dagg, D.D., A Manual of Theology, Southern Baptist Publication Society, 1858, p. 171).

In other words, how can a person whose will is “dead in sins” (Ephesians 2:5) make a “decision” to trust Christ? Dr. Dagg said it is not possible. So did all Baptists and Protestants before Finney poisoned evangelism by attacking original sin.

Take a look at yourself. See how hopeless and helpless you are! Say with Joseph Hart, “None but Jesus, none but Jesus, can do helpless sinners good.” Please stand and sing that hymn. It’s number 8 on your song sheet.

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden, Bruised and broken by the Fall;
   If you tarry till you’re better, You will never come at all:
Not the righteous, Not the righteous, Sinners Jesus came to call!
   Not the righteous, Not the righteous, Sinners Jesus came to call!

Lo! the incarnate God, ascended, Pleads the merit of His blood;
   Venture on Him, venture wholly, Let no other trust intrude;
None but Jesus, none but Jesus, Can do helpless sinners good.
   None but Jesus, none but Jesus, Can do helpless sinners good.
(“Come, Ye Sinners” by Joseph Hart, 1712-1768).

(END OF SERMON)
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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Romans 5:15-19.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Lord, I Am Vile, Conceived in Sin” (by Dr. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).


THE OUTLINE OF

ORIGINAL SIN - PART I

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous” (Romans 5:19).

(Matthew 12:35, 33; Mark 7:21; Ezekiel 11:19; Romans 8:7, 4)

I.   First, original sin has blinded you to the reality of
spiritual things, Ephesians 4:18; I Corinthians 2:14;
II Timothy 3:7; John 3:3.

II.  Second, original sin has seared your conscience,
Titus 1:15; I Timothy 4:2; John 16:8; Hebrews 9:14.

III. Third, original sin has corrupted your will, Colossians 2:13;
Ephesians 2:1; Romans 5:6; II Timothy 2:26; II Peter 2:19;
Romans 6:16, 17; Ephesians 5:14; 2:5.