Do Humans Have A Sinful Nature ?

Eccl 7:29 teaches that infants certainly aren’t born that way: Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes. (NKJV)

But what about Eph 2:3 which says the Ephesians "were by nature the children of wrath"?

First if Eph 2:3 means that people are born sinners, then Rom 2:14 would teach that people are born righteous → but it can’t be both ways !

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law

And if Eph 2:3 means that humans are born with a sinful nature, that would mean that Jesus (who was human, "born of a woman") was also born with a sinful nature. (the Catholic church had to invent the "immaculate conception of Mary" doctrine to get around this point)

Notice how Thayer defined this word "nature" in Eph 2:3 – "a mode of feeling and acting which by long habit has become nature"

Jer 13:23 talks about people "that are accustomed to do evil." That is all Eph 2:3 is talking about. After practicing something for so long, it just becomes “2nd nature.”

The Ephesians had “given themselves over unto” sin (Eph 4:19); they weren’t born that way. Eph 2:3 doesn’t have anything to do with inherited sin; instead it is simply saying that the Ephesians had been habitual sinners.

The following illustrations show a meaning for “by nature” other than “by birth”:

• New York City residents are by nature a more cautious people, due to the high crime rate in that area.

• Don Knotts played Barney Fife so much/well, the part became second nature to him.

The Ephesians were “by nature” the children of wrath, not by birth/inheritance, but for what they did (NASV):

verse 2 walked according to the course of this world

verse 3 lived in the lusts of our flesh

verse 3 indulging the desires of the flesh

The very point of Eph 2:3 is that the Ephesians were (past tense) by nature the children of wrath. But they weren’t anymore. So the Bible teaches people are not born with a sinful nature, but develop one by choosing a habitually sinful life. And that when they became Christians, they repent and get rid of their sinful nature (habits) and life.

Points to remember:

– we are not born with a "sinful nature"

– we develop a sinful nature as sinners through committing habitual sin

– as Christians we are not supposed to have a sinful nature anymore (Eph 2:3)


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