October 10, 2022
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What is Original Sin? Is sin the same for Christians as it is for Mormons?
Today we are breaking down 5 facts about biblical sin.
What is Original Sin?
“Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.”Romans 5:18
What is Original Sin? Is sin the same for Christians as it is for Mormons? 5 facts about biblical sin.
In the church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, LDS, the Mormon faith, we are taught in the second article of faith, “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” The articles of faith were written by Joseph Smith in 1842. These 13 statements explain the basic doctrines and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
But did we ever really talk about what this meant? And you may be thinking, “this never even seemed like a big deal to me. It was waaaay less important than, say, the fourth article that laid out the steps to the celestial kingdom that we had songs about and all. Why does the second really matter?”
I would argue that this is probably the most foundational and important difference between the theology of the LDS faith and Biblical theology.
It is the underlying basis for everything. Truly.
And today we are going to talk about the 5 reasons why the fall of man versus the idea of falling up and the big bad word sin changes everything.
First, let’s do a simple review:
In the LDS church, we all lived in pre-existence with Jesus and God (human God and big brother Jesus). When Eve ate the apple and gave it to Adam they didn’t listen to God, but not listening was all a part of God’s plan. You see, they were not able to procreate and start the process of populating the world and bringing all of us from the spirit world to Earth until they committed this much-needed sin. So how could we be punished for this? I wasn’t really a sin in the first place. It was God’s plan. Therefore, we are not punished for Adam’s transgressions, but rather for the ‘sins’ we commit in our lives when we do things that would keep us from going to the celestial kingdom. Basic stuff. This wasn’t the fall of man. You may have never even heard this term. It was falling up. It had to happen so women could have babies and you could get a body. Sin is synonymous with mistakes. You are capable of living a perfect life if you don’t make mistakes. Fortunately, you have atonement from Christ if you follow the path of salvation, and repent of those mistakes.
Now for a different take and pretty much the foundation of the Christian faith. This is may feel very foreign, but here are the 5 things you need to know about sin as a Christian that is different from the LDS idea of sin.
- What is sin?
Is sin a mistake we make? Is it breaking a rule, something simple we can say sorry for and pick up and move on like being tardy to class or having that one beer before you were 21? Systematic theology by Wayne Grudem defines sin as this: any failure to conform to the moral law of God in act, attitude, or nature.
It is not just an act, but an attitude. Desire, lust, selfishness, lovelessness. And most of all, pride.
Sin is not only acts and attitudes against God’s moral law, but is even bigger, in nature. This is the one that may feel the most foreign. Before we surrender to Christ and are born again as an adopted child of God, we are sinners. We are going to get more into this in future episodes. Romans 5:8 says, “While we were still sinners Christ died for us,” and Ephesians 2:3 says, we “were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.”
Simply put, as 1 John 3:4 says, “sin is lawlessness.” It separates us from God and keeps us from being with Him, walking with Him, and having him in our hearts. It is us against God in act, attitude, and our very nature.
But if we are by nature children of wrath and sin, where did it come from?
- God did not create sin:
Sin was not part of God’s plan. God is incapable of sin himself. It says in James 1:13- “God cannot be tempted with evil, and He Himself tempts no one.” God is not to blame for sin.
“It was human beings who sinned, and it was angels who sinned and in both cases, they did so by willful, voluntary choice. To blame God for sin would be blasphemy against the character of God.” (Systematic Theology)
“The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he. Deuteronomy 32:4
- We inherited guilt and are counted guilty because of the original sin of Adam.
I know, right!?!
“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— …Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” Romans 5:12, 18
We are condemned, not thought righteous, sinners as sons of Adam. Of the flesh, born of the flesh of this world we are sinners, unable to have God’s spirit with us. This is one of the biggest things that was almost hard for me to say or admit coming to the Christian faith. The world wants to affirm all matters of wrong, lawlessness, and absence of God’s moral code and stick a label on you that you are good. In the Mormon church admitting that I sinned was like the worst word ever, something that was put so far away from me because it really wasn’t sin, right? Pride, pride is what I would call that attitude, that nature, that act. By saying I was not a sinner or not admitting that I was sinful I actually was postulating the greatest sin there is: pride. Before we come to Christ we are living with inherited sin from Adam. Think I’m crazy? Go read Romans. Do it in one sitting front to back. It will change your life. You, me, my friend we are sinners and when we come to Jesus we will be born again of God, but we will always battle the flesh until we walk again with God in the new Eden.
- We are forgiven of Sin when we accept Jesus’s Sacrifice
How do we get around sin? If it is inherited from Adam and this is how we innately are then can we overcome sin? Can’t we be perfect?
We cannot overcome sin, but fortunately, we don’t have to. We do have to accept the free gift of God. We cannot beat sin, we cannot outsmart it. We can’t deny it. We can’t win at it. We have to surrender our will to God and stop thinking we can be perfect on our own and we know good and bad on our own. Good and bad does not save you. We have to ask Jesus into our lives and accept His sacrifice. At that moment, we are then born again of God, accepted into His adopted family, and then and only then are we blameless children of God. Before that, we are condemned sinners, sons of Adam. We set our pride aside, and realize we cannot be perfect, blameless, powerful, or strong enough without God. We need Him and only Him and the gift He gave us, the Lamb of the World, the perfect sacrifice to wipe out all sin for those who believe.
- Can God be with us if we are sinful people?
God and sin cannot exist in the same place. In the OT days, if you wanted to be in the presence of God you had to make a sacrifice at the temple to forgive you of your sins and be close to God. You had to do this regularly, because, again we are sinners. When Jesus died on the cross and He proclaimed that it was finished the veil (a super heavy curtain that protected the holiest part of the temple where God could be) was torn. The ultimate sacrifice had been made. Then God sent His helper, His spirit into the world to reside in the hearts of all those that accept this gift, the sacrifice of Jesus. Can God be with us sinful people? When we are born again, yes! And that is when we are truly transformed.
All of this rests in one story. We started this today by reviewing the idea of falling up. Now, we are going to look at this biblically as Christians and this is going to be about as basic and fundamental Christain theology as it gets!
We are going to talk about the fall of man.
In the beginning, literally, the first pages of the Bible and the beginning of mankind were Adam and Eve. We were just a thought from our creator. We did not exist in any form yet, but He knew we would as He stands outside of time and space. Go back to episode 73 if you are confused here and learn about pre-existence not existing. Adam and Eve were good. They walked with God, and talked with God and Eden was a place where God could be because there was no sin.
Satan, a creature from the spirit realm took the shape of a serpent and tested Eve. He told her she could be like God. Pride. Sound familiar. He told her God’s was not the way that bring her the most knowledge. Didn’t she want to be like God? And so she relied on her own understanding, her own strength, her own will to be perfect, and did not trust God. She gave Adam the apple and He did the same. He believed in the world and the world’s way, not God. And this is known as the fall of man. There was nothing good about it. It brought pride and deceit and all the lawlessness into the world. It was not what God wanted for us, but with the fall God saw how we would all sin. We, like Adam, as sons of Adam are incapable of life without sin. God clothed Adam and Eve in skins, no doubt a bit of foreshadowing in the Bible that a sacrifice must be made to cover sin. And we were going to need it.
We are all in need of a savior.