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The Bible gives us answers to questions about this life and the one to come, which can be found nowhere else, and offers illumination to its readers. Those who take in this life-saving knowledge are freed from the misunderstandings of life that dominate billions of others. For instance, here is one that might come to us as a shock. We are all Mentally Bent toward Evil.
Psalm 51:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
5 Look, I was brought forth in error,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
King David had his adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband exposed, for which he accepted full responsibility. His words about the human condition give us one reason for the evil of man. He says, “I was brought forth in error.” What did King David’s inspired words mean? Error: (Heb., ʿāwōn; Gr. anomia, paranomia) The Hebrew word awon essentially relates to erring, acting illegally or wrongly. This aspect of sin refers to committing a perverseness, wrongness, lawlessness, law breaking, which can also include the rejection of the sovereignty of God. It also focuses on the liability or guilt of one’s wicked, wrongful act. This error may be deliberate or accidental; either willful deviation of what is right or unknowingly making a mistake. (Lev. 4:13-35; 5:1-6, 14-19; Num. 15:22-29; Ps 19:12, 13) Of course, if it is intentional; then, the consequence is far more serious. (Num. 15:30-31) Error is in opposition to the truth, and those willfully sinning corrupt the truth, a course that only brings forth flagrant sin. (Isa 5:18-23) We can be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.–Ex 9:27, 34-35; Heb. 3:13-15.
David stated that his problem was a corrupt heart, saying; surely, I was sinful at birth. He entered this world a sinner in nature long before he became a sinner in thinking, words, and actions. In fact, this internal corruption predated his birth, actually beginning nine months earlier when he was conceived in the womb. It was at conception that the Adamic sin nature was transmitted to him. The problem with what he did, sin, arose from what he was, a sinner. Anders, Max; Lawson, Steven (2004-01-01). Holman Old Testament Commentary – Psalms: 11 (p. 266). B&H Publishing. Kindle Edition.
What is sin? Sin: (Heb. chattath; Gr. hamartia) Any spoken word (Job 2:10; Ps 39:1), wrong action (Lev. 20:20; 2 Cor. 12:21) or failing to act when one should have (Num. 9:13; Jam. 4:17), in mind and heart (Prov. 21:4; Rom. 3:9-18; 2 Pet 2:12-15) that is contrary to God’s personality, ways, will and purposes, standards, as set out in the Scriptures. It is also a major sin to lack faith in God, doubting in mind and heart, even subtly in our actions, that he has the ability to carry out his will and purposes. (Heb. 3:12-13, 18-19). It is commonly referred to as missing the mark of perfection.
What is a sinner? Sinner: (Gr. hamartōlos) In the Scriptures “sinners” is generally used in a more specific way, that is, referring to those willfully living in sin, practicing sin, or have a reputation of sinning.–Matt. 9:10; Mark 2:15; Luke 5:30; 7:37-39; John 9:16; Rom. 3:7; Gal. 2:15; 1 Tim. 1:15; Heb. 7:26; Jam. 4:8; 1 Pet 4:18; Jude 1:15.
David is not here casting the blame onto his mother, as God never intended mothers to conceive and give birth to children who would sin. Nevertheless, when Adam and Eve rebelled, they were expelled from the Garden of Eden, they lost their ability to pass on perfection. Therefore, every child was born missing the mark of perfection. The Hebrew term translated “sin” is chattath; in Greek, the word is hamartia. Both carry the meaning of missing the mark of perfection, namely, falling short of perfection.
The verbal forms occur in enough secular contexts to provide a basic picture of the word’s meaning. In Judges 20:16 the left-handed slingers of Benjamin are said to have the skill to throw stones at targets and “not miss.” In a different context, Proverbs 19:2 speaks of a man in a hurry who “misses his way” (RSV, neb, KJV has “sinneth”). A similar idea of not finding a goal appears in Proverbs 8:36; the concept of failure is implied.
Genesis 6:5 The American Translation (AT)
5 When the LORD saw that the wickedness of man on the earth was great, and that the whole bent of his thinking was never anything but evil, the LORD regretted that he had ever made man on the earth.
Genesis 8:21 The American Translation (AT)
21 I will never again curse the soil, though the bent of man’s mind may be evil from his very youth; nor ever again will I ever again destroy all life creature as I have just done.
All of us have inherited a sinful nature, meaning that we are currently unable to live up to the mark of perfection, in which we were created. In fact, Genesis 6:5 says we all suffer from, ‘our whole bent of thinking, which is nothing but evil.” Genesis 8:21 says that ‘our mind is evil from our very youth.’ Jeremiah 17:9 says that our hearts are treacherous and desperately sick.” What does all of this mean? It means that prior to the fall, our natural inclination; our natural leaning was toward good. However, after the fall, our natural inclination, our natural leaning was toward bad, wicked, evil.
We should never lose sight of the fact that the unrighteous desires of the flesh are not to be taken lightly. (Rom. 7:19, 20) Nevertheless, if it is our desire to have a righteous relationship with God, it will be the stronger desire. Psalm 119:165 says, “Abundant peace belongs to those loving your law, and for them there is no stumbling block.” We need to cultivate our love for doing right, which will strengthen our conscience, the sense of what is right and wrong that governs somebody’s thoughts and actions, urging us to do right rather than wrong. It is only through studying the Bible that we can train the conscience. Once it is trained, it will prick us like a needle in the heart, when we are thinking of doing something wrong. It will feel like a pain in our heart, sadness, nervousness, which is the voice saying, ‘do not do this.’ Moreover, if we ignore our voice, it will grow silent over time and will stop telling us what is wrong.–Romans 2:14-15.
James 1:14-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
We have a natural desire toward wrongdoing, and Satan is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:3-4), and he caters to the fallen flesh. James also tells us “each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:14-15) We resist the devil by immediately dismissing any thought that is contrary to God’s values found in his Word. When any wrong thought enters our mind, we do not entertain it for a moment, nor do we cultivate it, causing it to grow. We then offer rational prayers in our head, or better yet, out loud so we can defeat irrational fleshly thinking with rational biblical thinking. The Apostle Peter, referring to the Devil wrote, “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.” (1 Pet. 5:9) While the Bible helps us better to understand the gravity of our fallen condition, this should not cause us alarm as the Bible also shows us how to control our mental bent toward evil. We can renew our mind (Rom 12:2), acquire the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16)), take off the old person and put on the new person (Eph. 4:20-24; Col 3:9-10), among other things.
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