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Summary: Our fifth Article of Faith. Explains our definition of sin and how that differs with Calvinist theology.

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We are going to continue our walk through the Articles of Faith for the Church of the Nazarene. Let’s try to remember what we have learned so far. The first article was

I. The Triune God

II. Jesus Christ

III. The Holy Spirit

IV. The Holy Scriptures

Last week, in discussing the term ‘inerrant,’ as it relates to the Bible, I pointed out a few passages that non-Christians might look at and say that these were errors. However, I believe that God was actively involved in every aspect of the writing of His Word and I do not believe that He would allow anything that would change the fundamental understandings that we come to by reading His Word.

This morning, we are going to move to our fifth Article of Faith, which is:

V. Sin, Original and Personal

Here is the description of this 5th tenet of our faith:

We believe that sin came into the world through the disobedience of our first parents, and death by sin. We believe that sin is of two kinds: original sin or depravity, and actual or personal sin.

We believe that original sin, or depravity, is that corruption of the nature of all the offspring of Adam by reason of which everyone is very far gone from original righteousness or the pure state of our first parents at the time of their creation, is averse to God, is without spiritual life, and inclined to evil, and that continually. We further believe that original sin continues to exist with the new life of the regenerate, until the heart is fully cleansed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

We believe that original sin differs from actual sin in that it constitutes an inherited propensity to actual sin for which no one is accountable until its divinely provided remedy is neglected or rejected.

We believe that actual or personal sin is a voluntary violation of a known law of God by a morally responsible person. It is therefore not to be confused with involuntary and inescapable shortcomings, infirmities, faults, mistakes, failures, or other deviations from a standard of perfect conduct that are the residual effects of the Fall. However, such innocent effects do not include attitudes or responses contrary to the spirit of Christ, which may properly be called sins of the spirit. We believe that personal sin is primarily and essentially a violation of the law of love; and that in relation to Christ sin may be defined as unbelief.

Wow. That was quite a mouthful. This morning, I am going to not only show you the scriptural basis for these statements, but I will also attempt to simplify most of them for you as well.

I am not going to retell the story of the Fall, which you can find in Genesis 3. Suffice it to say that God made mankind in His image and He saw that it was good. However, man chose to disobey God and ‘fell’ from grace. When man disobeyed God, he brought sin into the world. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned

Before we go any further, I want to give you an easy definition of ‘sin.’ In the statement from the Manual that I read, it described sin as disobedience, which it is. However, I think a more accurate definition would be ‘selfishness.’ Sin is doing what you want to do rather than submitting to what God wants you to do. It is also not doing what God wants you to do because you don’t want to.

So, when Adam and Eve sinned, they caused a change in their DNA that has been transmitted to every one of their descendants, including you and me. Their decision not only changed them, but it changed the world around them so that death, disease, and decay began to occur to the entire world in which we live. This sin that I am talking about is called “original sin” because it emanated from our original ancestors.

You will hear many people in the world that they believe that man is basically good. Genesis 6:5 says:

The Lord saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

If you think that man is basically good, you haven’t seen the news lately, or ever. You also haven’t taken a good hard look inside your own heart.

The next thing that our statement on sin says is that original sin is still at work within the believer until and unless they are baptized by the Holy Spirit. That baptism only takes place when you have completely surrendered to God’s will in and for your life.

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