In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Last week we saw what sin is: lawlessness. This week I want to look at what it means that humans are in a state of sinfulness.
Firstly, it must be understood that all humans sin. Paul says: ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23). We even have in our society proverbs like, ‘to err is human’. Thus few people would brazenly deny a connection between sin and humans – everyone admits that all humans sin.
But the Bible doesn’t just tell us that all humans sin, it tells us that we are in a completely sinful state – meaning we sin continuously, never doing what is right. Paul makes this clear when he quotes from the Old Testament and says: ‘”There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”‘ (Romans 3:10-18). Paul is clear that man is totally disabled and corrupt, opposing everything that is spiritually good and wholly inclined to all evil. This is a frightening assessment of the human race, and even more frightening when we consider that it is true. We can see evidence in our lives and the lives of those around us that humans are indeed totally inclined to their own selfish interests rather than the interests of God. They are unable to help themselves (or each other) while stuck in a sinful state.
But thankfully God doesn’t leave us in our totally sinful state. Paul finishes the words that I quoted above with a glorious truth: ‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood’ (Romans 3:23-25). Through faith in Christ’s blood shed at the cross for us, we can start to emerge from our sinful state into a glorious sin-free state that is completed when Jesus returns.
Do you recognise that your fallen state of sinfulness is a state of total corruption? Have you trusted in Jesus to bring you out of your sinful state?