augustine.jpgIs it truly in our nature to sin?  What effect does sin have on our lives?  How deep do the roots of sin go?  God’s Word tells us that all men sit under the condemnation of sin “because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12-21)  Paul says that sin entered the world through the trespass of one man.  His trespass led to the death of all mankind.  How is it fair to hold Adam’s sin against us?  To ask this question would be to assume that you would not have made the same choice as Adam.  Indeed we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  If we had been created first instead of Adam, we would have eaten of the fruit just as he did.  How do I know?  Scripture says that we are all sinful and corrupt in our flesh.  We all have flesh so that includes each of us.  Do I really have to press this point further?  It should not take much convincing to understand that something isn’t quite right with the way things are.  It should not take much convincing to determine that we all sin and fail to live perfect lives.  Even the good things we try to do sometimes turn out bad.

Augustine had a strong conviction regarding sin.  His book, Confessions, begins with reflection on the early stages of his life and the sin that was prevalent even as a young child.  Though Augustine can not directly recall his infant years, he uses the testimony of others as well as the study of infant behavior to determine that man is corrupt from the very beginning.  Augustine says that “none is pure from sin before you, not even an infant of one day upon the earth.” (p. 9) From kicking and screaming to loud cries, Augustine felt that infants inherently knew how to manipulate people into fulfilling their own desires whether they needed it or not.  He would argue that it is so engrained in who we are that sin comes naturally.

The effects of sin are too numerous to name in a single post.  Due to sin, death entered the world.  We were not made to die in the beginning but death was the consequence for sin.  Sin can put a deceiving twist on the best and worst things.  Sin can cloak the worst of choices and actions in a mask of goodness.  Sin can also turn good intentions and ideas into a disaster.  Sin has a blinding effect on our lives.  When we are caught up in it, sin can blind us from the reality of the situation as well as the recognition of what is truly happening.  One might say that sin acts as cataracts over our eyes, making everything around us blurry.  The senior pastor at my church, Randall Jackson, said something quite interesting in his message this evening regarding sin.  As Christians, we are always looking forward to the second coming and the resurrection that will take place.  However, there is another type of resurrection that we should flee.  It is the resurrection of our old selves.  Though our old lives are dead, they lie in anticipation of the perfect moment to spring back to life, blinding and corrupting our hearts, minds, and lives.  So there is a constant battle between the old and new.  We would do well to keep a watchful eye on the old self so that we may subdue its desires when it attempts to regain control.

The effects of sin are devastating and powerful.  Yet we know that Christ died on the cross in our place to reap the consequences of our sin for us.  He died to defeat death and overcome it by his resurrection.  Thus he made it possible for us to also defeat and overcome death.  How?  By repenting of our sin and professing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  By pledging and devoting your life to Jesus, you can overcome the effects of sin and can be born again unto a new life.

ADDENDUM: I should clarify what I meant by “overcome the effects of sin” in the last line. I do not mean that you can lead a sinless or perfect life here on this earth. I simply mean that the wage of sin is death and since this wage has been paid by Jesus we can overcome death by placing our faith in Him. By devoting your life to Jesus, you also break the chains of sin in your life so that it no longer enslaves you. Though you may wrestle with sin throughout your life, in Christ you have the freedom to turn away from sin and to pursue godliness.

0 Replies to “Sin and Augustine

  1. “…By pledging and devoting your life to Jesus, you can overcome the effects of sin and can be born again unto a new life…”

    Can the effects of sin ever really be overcome? The wages… end result… of sin is death, but if you’re talking of “effect” in terms of the way it impacts our daily life, I would argue that we’re never free of that in this life. Sinful things from the past are always coming back to haunt – maybe in the form of guilt, ongoing temptation, etc.

  2. Burns…I wholeheartedly agree with you. I should’ve been a little more clear on what I meant. I was speaking of the end result which is death. Wage would have been a better word to use. Though I would argue that we are no longer slaves to sin. As I mentioned earlier, none of us are perfect and I would go on to say that we never will be on this earth even as Christians (not even to the degree of John Wesley’s semi-perfection). That’s why I think Randall’s statement about the resurrection of our old self is a helpful and needed warning. Though it no longer has mastery over us, sin is always just around the corner. I hope that clears things up a bit. Thanks for challenging me on it. I always appreciate your thoughtfulness.

  3. Very good, i agree with you on this. It’s encouraging that as Christians we are no longer in slavery, and that sin does not hold the eternal power over us that it once had; it’s depressing and aggravating and frustrating to have the knowledge that when we do sin, we do so not out of bondage but out of willing disobedience. Randall’s warning is very true.

What Do You Think?