The doctrine of man is an essential and extremely vital doctrine in Holy Scripture. If you get this doctrine wrong, you will end up with an elevated opinion of yourself. Humanity is a special creation by God. It does not take a rocket scientist to recognize the differences between humans and the rest of the created world. God created humans in a different way than dogs, cats, and the fish of the sea. Those differences are not just related to physical makeup, but more importantly, to the internal makeup of the mind and soul. Therefore, as we consider the creation of humanity, it should lead to a high respect for all human beings.
On a spiritual side, we should understand what the Bible says about man. Is man a free creature? Does he possess “free will?” Is man responsible to God for his actions and sins? Will man be judged according to God’s statutes and laws? All of these things are covered as we look at the doctrine of man in Holy Scripture. Below are several categories that I believe are essential to the complete overarching view of man in Scripture.
I. Man is a Sinner – Romans 5:12
Man is a sinner. The original man and woman (Adam and Eve) both sinned against God. The Word of God tells us that we are all related to Adam. In Romans 5:12 it tells us plainly that we are all the recipients of the curse of the original sin committed by Adam.
Romans 5:12 – Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
II. Man is a Slave to Sin – Romans 3:9-18; 23
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proveda both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Man is a slave to sin. Having been born with a nature that is sinful, each individual chooses to sin. The Baptist Faith & Message states:
In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.
It should be noted that since all of humanity is related to Adam, each individual is born with a propensity to sin. Better stated, each man is born with “free will” – but unlike Adam, each individual’s will is in bondage to sin. Note what the BF&M says, “Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.” Since man cannot keep himself from sin – his will is in complete bondage to sin. So, it is true that man is a free moral agent and not a robot, but man does not have a will that is free from sin – like Adam and Eve. It should be noted that the complete freedom of the will comes only when a person is saved by Christ. At that time, the individual is loosed from the chains of sin and given ultimate spiritual freedom by Christ Jesus – the Savior!
We sing a song in our services titled, “Amazing Grace – My Chains Are Gone” by Christ Tomlin. The words are as follows:
Amazing graceHow sweet the soundThat saved a wretch like meI once was lost, but now I’m foundWas blind, but now I see’Twas grace that taught my heart to fearAnd grace my fears relievedHow precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed My chains are goneI’ve been set freeMy God, my Savior has ransomed meAnd like a flood His mercy rainsUnending love, Amazing graceThe Lord has promised good to meHis word my hope securesHe will my shield and portion beAs long as life enduresThe earth shall soon dissolve like snowThe sun forbear to shineBut God, Who called me here belowWill be forever mineWill be forever mineYou are forever mineRomans 6:20-22:
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
III. Man Must be Saved from Sin – Ephesians 2:1-10
Why must man be saved by Christ? Because man in his bondage of sin is dead spiritually and does not seek after God (Romans 3:11). Therefore, it is God who devised a plan of redemption before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 3:20) for the salvation of “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord.”
In Ephesians 2:1-10, we see that man is a sinner and dead spiritually. To be dead spiritually does not mean that he is dead mentally. It simply means that he is guilty before God and unable to discern spiritual truth nor does he have a desire for spiritual things. While he can make decisions in the flesh, those decisions are held in bondage to his sinful nature. We see that God brings him to life (quickens him to spiritual life). It is only then that man is rescued from his state of spiritual death and saved by Grace. At that very moment – like the song says above – the chains are gone and the individual is set free!
It should be noted that if man is left to his own self, he will enjoy his sin and never turn to God. It requires the work of the Spirit of God through the Word of God to bring a person to regeneration. That is why people in the jungles are not saved by looking at creation. God has ordained the ends (salvation) through the means (preaching of the Gospel and moving of the Spirit of God on the hearts of people). God uses people to share the Gospel and then the Spirit of God pricks their dead heart and brings it to life! Man must be saved by Grace – not the works of the flesh – in order to be reconciled to God.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desiresa of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordainedb that we should walk in them.
Therefore, we must see man from the perspective of wickedness and helplessness before God. Man, in his rebellious state ran from God in the Garden after his sin and has continued down that same route throughout the history of mankind. However, God in Grace continues to come calling out to man to repent – for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand! God sent the Prophets, His Son, the Apostles, and now modern day preachers to proclaim His message. And it should be noted that there is a single way that man can be redeemed from his sin – and it is only through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Thanks be to our glorious God that He loved man enough to become man, die at the hands of His creation, and did it all as the marvelous rescue mission which was established before He said, “Let there be light.”
Pastor Josh Buice