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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Original Sin part 4

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Ephesians 2:1–5

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Original Sin 

Some contend that original sin is not a corruption in human nature, but only bondage, or a condition of mortality (not an innate evil nature, but only a blemish or imposed burden) that those descended from Adam suffer because of the guilt of another (namely, Adam's sin), instead of any depravity of their own. They add that no one is condemned to eternal death on account of original sin, just as those born of a bond-woman are slaves and bear this condition without any natural blemish, but because of the circumstances of their mother (while they are born without fault of their own and therefore, original sin is not an innate evil, but just a defect and burden that we bear since Adam, but that we are not on that account personally in sin and inherited disgrace). To show that this impious opinion is displeasing to us, we mentioned "concupiscence," and with the best intention, explained it with the term "diseases," that "the nature of men is born corrupt and full of faults." The entire person, not a part, in his entire nature is born in sin as with a hereditary disease.

Pulling It Together

We discover that we are sinners from a very early age. Every one of us is known to walk in sin, and so, Scripture teaches that we are dead in our trespasses. This corruption of human nature skips no one. It is not as though this were some habit that every soul ever born learned from others. Everyone is born with a sinful nature and therefore, inherits the same condemnation as all others naturally born. Because of original sin, we are—every one of us—children who deserve the wrath of God. We not only have the inclination to sin, we are corrupt from the start, born in sin. This does not mean that we are headed toward a life of sin; it means that we are already living in sin.

But God being rich in mercy, and loving humanity with a great love, sent his Son to save us from our sinful birth. This is why Jesus tells us that we must be born again (John 3:3). We must be reborn with a new nature, one that is alive instead of already dead. In Christ alone, by the grace of God, we are saved from the old life of sin and reborn to new life.

Prayer: Thank you, God, for giving me new birth into a living hope through Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Amen. 

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