The effects of sin (Olivier Favre)
This article is taken from the book The good foundation by Olivier Favre
The scriptures employ a rich variety of expressions to describe the disintegration of our relationships with God, our fellow humans, the world around us, and ourselves. To sin is to miss the goal set by God, to be deprived of the enjoyment of his presence for which we were created (see Romans 3:23). It is to deviate from the right path and find oneself under the guilty verdict in front of the Eternal Judge. It is outright to rebel against a just and loving King, to be a traitor to the goodness of God (Romans 3: 10-18).
Four particular points shed light on the sad condition in which men find themselves now.
- The mutilated image of God
Genesis 1: 26-27 presents us with the initial divine model of human life. He was to be the bearer of the image of God:
God said: Let us make man in our image after our likeness, that he may rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth, and over all reptiles that crawl on the earth. God created man in his own image: in the image of God created he him, male and female he created them.
In the history of the church, several views have been expressed regarding the meaning of "the image of God". Does God have physical and bodily characteristics? Or should one look for a trinity of human qualities that could represent the trinity nature of God? Perhaps we should see it in the fact that man has a capacity for reasoning and verbal communication, like God who reveals his Word to him? "The image of God" probably means that God originally made man to reflect his holy character and his position as the rightful ruler over all of his creation. In this sense,
he is like God.
It is an incredible thing to think that man was brought into the world to be the personal representative of God on earth. The first chapters of Genesis infuse somewhat the spirit of this wonder. Man has been given the power to create (Genesis 1.28), he exercises authority (Genesis 1.26) and, like God, he is a creative worker (Genesis 2.15).
However, in Genesis 3, something happens in each of these areas to distort God's gracious plan. From the first moment he sins, a virulent disease spreads throughout human life. The latter hides himself from God in the garden (Genesis 3: 8-10); the reciprocal relationship between man and woman is distorted into deplorable resentful reprisals; the ground is cursed and man's daily work becomes a burden rather than a pleasure (Genesis 3: 17-19). All this is already very sad, but it is without counting
the alteration of the image of God.
Theologians have often discussed this interesting question. Do the scriptures teach that man no longer reflects the image of God? Or do they suggest that this image remains, although it has been markedly disfigured? In many ways, this idea is even more tragic. We would normally think that there is no greater disaster than the extinction of the likeness of God, but in fact there is.What if the image of God, which reflects his greatness and glory, ends up becoming a distortion of his character? What if, instead of reflecting
His glory, man began to reflect the exact antithesis of God? What if the image of God became an anti-god? This is, essentially, the affront that the fall of man represents for God Man takes all that God has entrusted to him to live in free and happy obedience, and turns it into a weapon which he turns. against its Creator. Through his sin, he abuses the breath that God gives him thousands of times every day. The extent of his sin is also the measure of his need to be saved. The mystery of God’s will to save man lies in his desire to restore what has been lost more ardently than one can imagine. But the old creation must pass, and a new one must be established. What was lost in Adam must be restored in Christ if it
there is some hope of tasting the glory of God from which we have fallen. No author has probably grasped this perspective better than Jean Calvin:
Adam was originally created in the image of God so that he could reflect, as in a mirror, his righteousness. But that image, damaged by sin, must now be restored in Christ. Regeneration
of the saints is indeed, as mentioned in 2 Corinthians 3:18, nothing other than the reformation of the image of God in them. But there is in this creation a much richer and more powerful grace
that in the first ... Because Adam lost the image he originally received, it is necessary that it be restored to us in Christ. He therefore teaches us that the purpose of regeneration is for us
bring back from the error towards the end it created us for.
- Man under the rule of sin and death
The threat of sin and death arose at the beginning of the Genesis account. By his command in Genesis 2.17, God placed man in a kind of probationary period: "But you shall not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat from it you will die. . But Satan came in the disguise of a serpent to destroy the fellowship between man and God. He took issue with the idea that man would come under the rule of death: "You won't die at all!" ”(Genesis 3.4). He also questioned the goodness of God by suggesting that God regretted their presence in the garden (Genesis 3: 4-5). The rest of Genesis 3 tells the sad story of the man who gives in to temptation and, before we even turn the page, we read that “… sin lurks at your door, and his desires (are carried) towards you… ”(Genesis 4: 7). The image of sin is that of a wild animal, ready to pounce on its victim. The same reality is found in other words in the teaching of Jesus: "Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin" (John 8:34). Paul emphasizes the same point in Romans: men are "under sin" like slaves. Indeed, in Romans 5.12 to 6.23, the Greek generally refers to sin as Sin, as if it were personified.
As a result, men are helpless. Although the will is powerful, “I do evil which I do not want” (Romans 7:19). The result is eloquently described in the same epistle:
To have the tendencies of the flesh is death ... For the tendencies of the flesh are enemies of God, because the flesh does not submit to the law of God, it is even incapable of it ( Romans 8.6-7).
iii.The man guilty before God
These first two dimensions of the human condition draw our attention to the effects of sin on human life. But the Scriptures also insist that his sin also distorts his relationship with God. The man is guilty. In addition to living the consequences of sin through human suffering, he falls under the condemnation of God.
The clearest description of this principle is found in Romans. In Romans 2: 1-16, Paul lists the principles God uses to come to a verdict on our lives. He asserts that God's judgment is always according to truth and reality (verse 2), that it is always given according to works (verse 6), and that it is also measured in the light of revelation which men have. received (verses 12-15). This is a judgment which Christ will administer (verse 16) and which accordingly will take into account all the secrets of men's hearts. These words have sometimes been used to attribute to God an indulgent attitude in His judgment. Yet this is to misunderstand God and to misinterpret Paul. In this part of his letter, Paul is demonstrating guilt
of all men before God. These principles are the means by which the true nature of our sin will be revealed. We have no work to justify us. We have failed to live by the light God has given us. By the standards of Christ's life, we are guilty sinners. God's judgment is therefore true to the truth! Paul can argue for a guilty verdict and a sentencing sentence on any of these grounds. No excuse will be valid on the Day of Judgment. Every mouth will be closed and every man will be declared guilty before God (Romans 3:19).
Paul does not mean that a man feels guilt, whether he is or not. It describes the divine verdict and not human psychology. On the other hand, an even more terrible thing accompanies this verdict, because on its
shoulders rests the wrath of God, revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice (Romans 1:18). The apostle of love said that without Christ “anger remains.”
- The man in the grip of Satan.
It is an established fact in the Bible that the more vivid the revelation of God, the darker the resistance will be against it. Light reveals the true nature of darkness. When it comes to exposing the powers of evil, this truth is undeniable. The Old Testament contains references to Satan and his work, as well asfeatures
of his character and his evil intentions, but it is only in the full light of Christ that his face appears to be exposed, unmasked, and identified. This is why we find illuminating passages in the New Testament like Ephesians 2: 1-4, where men are not only described as leading a lifeless existence in sin, dominated by the course and the vagaries of this world, but also as being under the domination of the evil one. John even goes so far as to suggest that the whole world is under his power. It puts in effect
emphasizes that Jesus described him as the “Prince of this world” (1 John 5.19; see also John 12.31; 16.11). The great tragedy of man in his knowledge of himself is that he believes himself to be free, that he experiences the feelings of a free agent, but that he does not see that he is a slave to sin and that 'he serves the will of Satan.So what are the vital needs that are met in the gospel message?
- We need to be recreated in Christ so that the image of God, which sin has distorted, can be restored
- We need to be delivered from the dominion of sin in order to live freely for God.
- We need to be rescued from the power of Satan in order to surrender our lives to the Lord as the happy slaves who belong to Him.
- We need to be saved from the wrath of God so that, freed from this most terrifying condition, we can live the lives of forgiven sinners.