In this article I will be taking on the topic of original sin. As Christians our primary focus should always be Christ. We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law and this faith is a gift from God. The reason we must have faith is because of sin. I will attempt to lay out the different types of sin, original and actual.
Actual sin is a breaking of God’s law found in the ten commandments. This is done in thought, word, and deed. By what we have done and by what we have left undone. When we sin as Christians, we eventually feel guilty. This guilt is a good thing brought on by the Holy Spirit to bring us to repentance.
“7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. 12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:7-14 ESV
What is Original Sin?
Original sin is a corrupted nature that is inherited by our original parents, Adam and Eve, When they disobeyed God and ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, throwing the whole universe into a desperate state of despair and an inclined will of evil. When this occurred, God in his mercy acted and immediately promised a savior.
“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15 ESV
Original sin is the state that every single person since Adam is born into, hostile towards God and hating him by nature.
“21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” Col 2:1-21-22 ESV
“1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Eph 2:1-3 ESV
There is no biblical text for an age of accountability or any other text for that matter that would leave anybody innocent in the sight of God without faith. We are born dead in trespasses and sins and we cannot make ourselves alive anymore than we can control weather.
So what does scripture teach us about all mankind and sin since Adam?
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psa 51:5 ESV
“12 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— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification.” Rom 5:12-16 ESV
Notice above the correlation between sin and death. If one were to assert an age of accountability, it would also follow that nobody would die before the age of accountability. We know that babies and small children are born in sin though, if for no other reason than because they can and sadly do die.
“22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph 4:22-24 ESV
“22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor 15:22 ESV
Notice it says that “all die” at the point of Adam. Not everyone was even born yet at this point yet all were condemned.
So we can conclude from scripture that we are by nature born children of wrath and hostile towards God in original sin. We believe, teach, and confess that Christ has died for all and that God grants faith through word and sacrament. We know infants can have faith and that God desires all to be saved.
“41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Luke 1:41-42 ESV
Here we have an infant ( John the Baptist) leaping in the womb at the unborn Christ. Faith is always accompanied by works as a fruit of the Holy Spirit and John has this from the word being preached, responding with faith.
“16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. ” Luke 18:16 ESV
Here we have the command of Christ telling us to bring the children, with no age restrictions, to hear his word and to be granted faith.
Original sin and death is what we inherited from Adam. The wages of sin is death and we see death often. If people did not inherit original sin there would be no death. My advice is to always trust scripture alone. If you are pregnant, get to Church, read your bible out loud, and have your child baptized. Baptism is all grace and a covering of Christ righteousness as a gift from God, but I will save that for another time. The peace of Christ be with you all.