Is everyone born a sinner?

Question
Is everyone born a sinner?
Answer

Yes, the Bible teaches all, except Christ (who was born of a virgin), were / are born as sinners.

This doctrine is sometimes called "total depravity" or "total inability." Everyone of us has a sinful nature that affects every part of our being (Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 7:14). In this state, none can please holy God (Rom. 3:10-18; 8:7-8).

All humanity, except Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:31), is born with a sinful nature which was inherited from Adam (Rom. 5:12-19). "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12). So, every one of us was affected by Adam's sin. There are no exceptions; "one trespass led to condemnation for all men" (Rom. 5:18). We are all children of Adam (Acts 17:26), thus all share in the same condemnation.

We observe that everyone has a sin nature taught over and over again in Scripture:

Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. /p>

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

So, by nature we are the children of wrath (Eph. 2:3). Because of our sinful nature and our very sinful and corrupt actions we deserve the wrath of holy God. We are the enemies of God (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21; Jas. 4:4). We can't please God (Rom. 8:7-8). All people are by nature 'foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another' (Tit. 3:3). To put it another way, we are spiritually blind, deaf, dumb, having withered hands and crippled spiritual limbs (cf. Matt. 13:15). We are dead in trespasses and sin (Eph. 2:1). So, we lack any inherent spiritual good.

However, this total corruption does not mean we are as evil and bad as we could be. Everyone is not as bad as Judas, Stalin, Hitler, or Bin Laden. God's common grace restrains the full expression of our human sinfulness. In common grace, God shows his compassion, goodness, and kindness to all his creatures (Psa. 145:9; Matt. 5:45; Luke 6:35; Acts 14:17). He exercises longsuffering / patience toward all mankind (Nah. 1:3). Every breath that the wicked take is an example of God's loving mercy. In common grace, God kept Abimelech from touching Sarah, Abraham's wife (Gen. 20:6). God also restrained David from taking revenge on Nabal (1 Sam. 25:14, 26). As David stated, "For as surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from hurting you, unless you had hurried and come to meet me, truly by morning there had not been left to Nabal so much as one male" (1 Sam. 25:34).

This brief examination of total depravity above reveals the reason why one must be born again (John 3:1-8). All of us were born in Adam and to please God and no longer be his enemy (Rom. 5:1, 9) one must be born into God's family where we are given a new nature that seeks after God (John 1:12-13). As Paul wrote, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Cor. 5:17; cf. Ezek. 11:19; 18:31; 36:26; Jer. 24:7; 2 Cor. 3:3; Gal. 6:15). Have you been born again? (John 3:3, 5).

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).