Westminster Confession 6.4-6

westminster2To those that reject the Bible’s teaching on the fall of man sin and wickedness in the world is a mystery.  I remember sitting through class after class as a psychology major with a sociology minor in a secular university  hearing vastly different theories as to what makes man tick and why people do “bad” things.  Some blame ignorance but education has not fixed the problem, some blame a lack of leadership and government but men rebel against the best and worst of governors, some blame poverty and disadvantage but the rich are just as often fools and scoundrels, some blame a lack of love and support but even the loved turn on those who care for them and do wrong.

The bible says that behind this reality is the fall of man.  We saw last week that Adam fell from his original righteousness and communion with God and became dead in sin and defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body.  We also saw that he fell as our representative and so the guilt  and corrupted nature resulting from his first sin have been conveyed to all his decedents ever since.

Section 4 says that this original corruption is that from which all actual transgressions that we commit flow.  That original corruption and depravity explains the “mystery” of sin.  It also reminds us of how radical a salvation we need.  We don’t just need to be rehabilitated, we need the Spirit of God to give us new life, that is to say we need to be born again if we are to repent, trust in Christ, and walk with God.

This idea of course seems ridiculous to modern sensibilities yet denying it and seeking other explanations for human depravity and therefore solutions not grounded in the true nature of the problem have failed again and again and will continue to do so.

Section 5 reminds us that some measure of corruption of nature remains even in Christians renewed by the Spirit, forgiven in Christ, and enabled to put to death much sin and corruption.  And even though we are accepted in Christ the remaining corruption in is and the actions or motions of it whether in thought, feeling, or deed are truly and properly sin.  This shows us how far we are from being able to stand before God by our own righteousness and how much we need the perfect righteousness to clothe us and make us acceptable to God.

Section 6 reminds us that both the original sin that is ours by nature and the actual sins we commit from it are contrary to the law of God, are transgressions, and so make us guilty before God.  This is part of they mystery of God’s wrath being revealed from heaven or (the problem of pain) that people often struggle with.  No one but Christ has ever been a truly innocent sufferer (Romans 5).  Because of the guilt of our sin we are bound over the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and so made subject to death and all its miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal.