6. Q: Did God create people so wicked and perverse?
A: No. God created them good and in His own image, that is, in true righteousness and holiness, so that they might truly know God their creator, love Him with all their heart and live with Him in eternal happiness for His praise and glory.
7. Q: Then where does this corrupt human nature come from?
A: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise. This fall has so poisoned our nature that we are born sinners–corrupt from conception on.
8. Q: But are we so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good and inclined toward all evil?
A: Yes, unless we are born again, by the Spirit of God.
from the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 3.
People from time to time ask me if I was born gay. The prevailing notion is that if I was born gay, then that must be the way God made me and I should rejoice in that, treat it as a gift, and strive to live in that gift, embracing it as a blessing in my relational outlook on life and possibly pursue a mate in keeping with that orientation.
But the rebellion narrative of Genesis paints a very different picture. The rebellion of Adam and Eve in the Garden filters down. As a covenant head of humanity, Adam’s sin reaches even me, multiple thousands of years later.
In short, the fish rots from the head.
Some folks dispute this, asserting that mankind is essentially good. I’m not sure anyone can biblically defend this without ripping the Bible up into tiny pieces since it’s clear that the intentions of man are evil from birth. They aren’t misguided, or poisoned from without. Instead, the very condition of men’s hearts are evil from the very start.
So what am I to do with this? Am I supposed to simply embrace it? Or am I supposed to fight it? Is there a third option?
The Gospel seems to indicate a third option that makes the second option viable. Christ’s death on the cross and subsequent gift of faith to me enables me to do good works which God has ordained for me to do, as his quickened (aka, made alive) child (Ephesians 2:10). Apart from this union in Him, I cannot do anything worthwhile to fight sin at all…even sin so deeply ingrained it feels as if it’s just the way I am.
This is why, in dealing with sinners (which is, by the way, everyone), it’s important to remember (and disclose) the Gospel. Fighting sin has its practical outworkings…avoid porn, pray, read one’s bible, etc. But if those things are done while assuming rather than resting in the Gospel, we have a big problem. Without the Gospel, one cannot adequately fight sin. Without the comfort of the Gospel, we grow weary of fighting and prefer instead to embrace that which seems comfortable and natural.
Pastors, especially, must give this sweet assurance to their congregations every week. Preach to show the sweetness of Christ; behavior change rooted in faith will follow the proclamation of the Gospel. It’s the promise of Scripture.