Sin: Is "any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God"
(1 John 3:4; Romans 4:15) in the inward state and habit of the soul, as
well as in the outward conduct of the life, whether by omission or
(Romans 6:12-17; 7:5-24) It is "not a mere violation of the
law of our constitution, nor of the system of things, but an offence
against a personal lawgiver and moral governor who vindicates his law
with penalties. The soul that sins is always conscious that his sin is
1. intrinsically vile and polluting, and
2. that it justly deserves punishment, and calls down the righteous
wrath of God.
Hence sin carries with it two inalienable characters,
1. ill-desert, guilt (reatus); and
2. pollution (macula).", Hodge's Outlines.
The moral character of a man's actions is determined by the moral
state of his heart. The disposition to sin, or the habit of the soul
that leads to the sinful act, is itself also sin
(Romans 6:12-17; Galatians 5:17)
(James 1:14,15) The origin of sin is a mystery, and must for ever
remain such to us. It is plain that for some reason God has permitted
sin to enter this world, and that is all we know. His permitting it,
however, in no way makes God the author of sin. Adam's sin
consisted in his yielding to the assaults of temptation and eating the
forbidden fruit. It involved in it,
1. the sin of unbelief, virtually making God a liar; and
2. the guilt of disobedience to a positive command. By this sin he
became an apostate from God, a rebel in arms against his
Creator. He lost the favour of God and communion with him; his
whole nature became depraved, and he incurred the penalty
involved in the covenant of works. Original sin. "Our first
parents being the root of all mankind, the guilt of their sin
was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature were
conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by
Adam was constituted by God the federal head and representative of all
his posterity, as he was also their natural head, and therefore when
he fell they fell with him
(Romans 5:12-21; 1 Corinthians 15:22-45) His probation
was their probation, and his fall their fall. Because of Adam's first
sin all his posterity came into the world in a state of sin and
1. a state of moral corruption, and
2. of guilt, as having judicially imputed to them the guilt of
Adam's first sin.
"Original sin" is frequently and properly used to denote only the
moral corruption of their whole nature inherited by all men from Adam.
This inherited moral corruption consists in,
1. the loss of original righteousness; and
2. the presence of a constant proneness to evil, which is the root
and origin of all actual sin. It is called
(Romans 6:12,14,17; Romans 7:5-17)
b. the "flesh"
d. the "body of sin"
e. "ignorance," "blindness of heart," "alienation from the life
It influences and depraves the whole man, and its tendency is still
downward to deeper and deeper corruption, there remaining no
recuperative element in the soul. It is a total depravity, and it
is also universally inherited by all the natural descendants of
(Romans 3:10-23; 5:12-21; 8:7)
Pelagians deny original sin, and regard man as by nature morally and
spiritually well; semi-Pelagians regard him as morally sick;
Augustinians, or, as they are also called, Calvinists, regard man as
described above, spiritually dead
(Ephesians 2:1; 1 John 3:14) The doctrine of
original sin is proved,
1. From the fact of the universal sinfulness of men. "There is no
man that sinneth not"
(1 Kings 8:46; Isaiah 53:6; Psalms 130:3)
(Romans 3:19,22,23; Galatians 3:22)
2. From the total depravity of man. All men are declared to be
destitute of any principle of spiritual life; man's apostasy
from God is total and complete
(Job 15:14-16; Genesis 6:5,6)
3. From its early manifestation
(Psalms 58:3; Proverbs 22:15)
4. It is proved also from the necessity, absolutely and
universally, of regeneration
(John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
5. From the universality of death
Various kinds of sin are mentioned,
1. "Presumptuous sins," or as literally rendered, "sins with an
uplifted hand", i.e., defiant acts of sin, in contrast with
"errors" or "inadvertencies"
2. "Secret", i.e., hidden sins
(Psalms 19:12) sins which escape the
notice of the soul.
3. "Sin against the Holy Ghost" (q.v.), or a "sin unto death"
(Matthew 12:31,32; 1 John 5:16) which amounts to a wilful rejection of