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R.C. Sproul – Is Original Sin Unfair?

22 Oct

We bristle at the idea that God calls us to be righteous when we are hampered by original sin. We say, “But God, we can’t be righteous. We are fallen creatures. How can you hold us accountable when you know very well we were born with original sin?”

The illustration is as follows. Suppose God said to a man, “I want you to trim these bushes by three o’clock this afternoon. But be careful. There is a large open pit at the edge of the garden. If you fall into that pit, you will not be able to get yourself out. So whatever you do, stay away from that pit.”

Suppose that as soon as God leaves the garden the man runs over and jumps into the pit. At three o’clock God returns and finds the bushes untrimmed. He calls for the gardener and hears a faint cry from the edge of the garden. He walks to the edge of the pit and sees the gardener helplessly flailing around on the bottom. He says to the gardener, “Why haven’t you trimmed the bushes I told you to trim?” The gardener responds in anger, “How do you expect me to trim these bushes when I am trapped in this pit? If you hadn’t left this empty pit here, I would not be in this predicament.”

Adam jumped into the pit. In Adam we all jumped into the pit. God did not throw us into the pit. Adam was clearly warned about the pit. God told him to stay away. The consequences Adam experienced from being in the pit were a direct punishment for jumping into it.

So it is with original sin. Original sin is both the consequence of Adam’s sin and the punishment for Adam’s sin. We are born sinners because in Adam all fell. Even the word fall is a bit of a euphemism. It is a rose-colored view of the matter. The word fall suggests an accident of sorts. Adam’s sin was not an accident. He was not Humpty-Dumpty. Adam didn’t simply slip into sin; he jumped into it with both feet. We jumped headlong with him. God didn’t push us. He didn’t trick us. He gave us adequate and fair warning. The fault is ours and only ours.

It is not that Adam ate sour grapes and our teeth are set on edge. The biblical teaching is that in Adam we all ate the sour grapes. That is why our teeth are set on edge.

~R.C. Sproul~


Chosen By God (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publisher, 1996), 97-98.

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John Stott – God, Sin, and the Cross

22 Jan

All inadequate doctrines of the atonement are due to inadequate doctrines of God and humanity. If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to his, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it. When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely “hell-deserving sinners,” then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.

The essential background to the cross, therefore, is a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we thereby diminish the cross. If we reinterpret sin as a lapse instead of a rebellion, and God as indulgent instead of indignant, then naturally the cross appears superfluous. But to dethrone God and enthrone ourselves not only dispenses with the cross; it also degrades both God and humans. A biblical view of God and ourselves, however–that is, of our sin and God’s wrath–honors both. It honors human beings by affirming them as responsible for their actions. It honors God by affirming him as having moral character.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 111.

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R.C. Sproul – Sin Is Cosmic Treason

16 Jan

Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward the One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, “God, Your law is not good. My judgment is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.”

~R.C. Sproul~


The Holiness of God (Carol Stream, IL; Tyndale House Publishers; 1998) p. 116

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John Stott – The Two Ways of Looking at the Cross

18 Dec

Is is essential to keep together these two complementary ways of looking at the cross. On the human level, Judas gave him up to the priests, who gave him up to Pilate, who gave him up to the soldiers, who crucified him. But on the divine level, the Father gave him up, and he gave himself up, to die for us. As we face the cross, then, we can say to ourselves both, “I did it, my sins sent him there,” and “He did it, his love took him there.” The apostle Peter brought the two truths together in his remarkable statement on the Day of Pentecost, both that “this man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge” and that “you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross” Peter thus attributed Jesus’ death simultaneously to the plan of God and to the wickedness of men. For the cross which, as we have particularly considered in this chapter, is an exposure of human evil, is at the same time a revelation of the divine purpose to overcome the human evil thus exposed.

~John Stott~


The Cross of Christ (Colorado Springs, Colorado; Navpress; 2011) p. 64-65.

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Russell Moore – You Are on the Verge of Wrecking Your Life

17 Oct

If the ancient Scriptures are right (and I’m wagering my life, and the next one, that they are), unseen spiri- tual beings out there are disturbed by what you are remind- ing them of. By the “you” in the last sentence, I don’t mean a generic colloquial use of “one” or “humanity” in general. I mean you personally and specifically.

You may not be a Christian or even particularly religious, but if you’re human, some cosmic rulers see in you the threat of an ancient oracle—that one day someone like you, a human born of a woman, would crush their skulls (Gen. 3:15). You may never have thought of yourself as similar to Jesus. But you are more like him than you know, or maybe even than you want to be.

The cosmic story of horror interrupts your personal story, and it’s dangerous if you can’t see where. But between Eden and you, there’s a Judean wilderness. That’s where Jesus stood down every test, every strategy you’ll ever encounter—and he won. That’s why, though we are “regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” (Rom. 8:36), “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom. 8:37).

But in order to conquer, you must face reality. Don’t mistake the stillness of your conscience for freedom from temptation. The Scripture says that temptation is “common to man” (1 Cor. 10:13). The issue isn’t whether you’re tempted, but whether you’re aware of it and striking back. You are on the verge of wrecking your life. We all are.

~Russell Moore~




Tempted and Tried (Wheaton, Illinois; Crossway Books; 2011) p. 58-59.

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D.A. Carson – Is God Offended by Sin?

16 Oct

21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God ‘s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. – Rom. 3:21-26

We live in an age where the one wrong thing to say is that somebody else is wrong. One of the impacts of postmodern epistemology is that we all have our own independent points of view, and we look at things from the perspective of our own small interpretive communities. What is sin to one group is not sin to another group. But not only does the Bible insist that there is such a thing as sin, it insists that the heart of its ugly offensiveness is its horrible odiousness to God—how it offends God. Thus, Romans 1:18 begins not with analyzing sin from a social perspec- tive but by observing God’s response to it: “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” Then chapter 2 shows that religion by itself does not help, and chapter 3 concludes that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under wrath. All of this is climaxed by the list of quotations cited from 3:9–18. Even though this is very hard to absorb in our culture, I cannot too strongly insist that unless this stance is understood, Romans 3:21–26, will make very little sense because we will not grasp the nature of the problem being addressed.

~D. A. Carson~


Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2010) p. 42

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D.A. Carson – Jews, Greeks, and the Power and Wisdom of God

5 Sep

22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:22-24

“Jews demand miraculous signs” (1: 22).
Thus the demand for signs becomes the prototype of every condition human beings raise as a barrier to being open to God. I will devote myself to this God if he heals my child. I will follow this Jesus if I can maintain my independence. I will happily become a Christian if God proves himself to me. I will turn from my sin and read the Bible if my marriage gets sorted out to my satisfaction. I will acknowledge Jesus as Lord if he performs the kind of miracle, on demand, that removes all doubt. In every case, I am assessing him; he is not assessing me. I am not coming to him on his terms; rather, I am stipulating terms that he must accept if he wants the privilege of my company. “Jews demand miraculous signs.”

“Greeks [i. e., Gentiles] look for wisdom” (1: 22).
We have already discovered what this means. These people may not erect conditions that God has to meet, but they do something just as bad. They create entire structures of thought so as to maintain the delusion that they can explain everything. They think they are scientific, in control, powerful. God, if he exists, must meet the high standards of their academic and philosophical prowess and somehow fit into their system, if he is to be given any sort of respectful hearing.

In both “Jews” and “Greeks,” there is profound self- centeredness. God is not taken on trust. Both the demand for signs and the pursuit of “wisdom,” and all the countless progeny they have spawned, treat God as if we have the right to approve him, to examine his credentials. This is the most reprehensible wickedness, the most appalling insolence, the most horrific mark of our deep rebellion and lostness.

~D. A. Carson~


The Cross and Christian Ministry (Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Book House Company; 1993) p. 20-21.

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