Q. I’ve heard you say, “We’re not sinners because we sin. We sin because we’re sinners.” Would you be kind enough to elaborate on this statement in a little more depth. I must say that my thick head is having difficulty seeing the difference between the two sentences.
A. It means we don’t start off pure and acquire the habit of sinning by doing it repeatedly over time. We are born sinners and our sinful behavior is a manifestation of our nature. We have no choice about it.
In Psalm 51:5 David said, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” He wasn’t just talking about himself there. From the moment of conception we all had a sin nature and sinful behavior would become one of the defining characteristics of our life. The phrase “sin nature” means it’s in our nature to sin, and that will be the case until we die or are raptured.
That means even after we’ve been saved and have the seal of the Holy Spirit we can’t completely stop sinning because being saved does not remove our sin nature. Christians who think they no longer sin don’t understand how pervasive our sin nature really is. They believe sin is just a type of behavior, when actually it’s a built in flaw in the system that controls way we think and feel. Therefore, it’s not what we do that makes us sinners, it’s who we are that makes us sinners.
Cleaning up our behavior is a good thing to do. But thinking that means we’ve stopped sinning makes us like the white washed tombs Jesus spoke of in Matt. 23:27, beautiful on the outside but still full of everything unclean on the inside.
This is why we so desperately need a Savior. Had Jesus not been willing to die in our place to pay the penalty for our sins we would have been unable to save ourselves from the consequences of our sinful lives.
Paul said, “What a wretched man I am. Who will save me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)