What Causes People to Sin Today?

From infancy, it appears, we struggle for control to get what we want, when we want it, and in the way we want it. This independent drive to be in charge lies behind every struggle for power, every prejudice, every conflict, and every abuse of relationship since the dawn of time. But where does this inner compulsion — which started with Adam and Eve — come from?

Because Adam sinned, says Scripture, “sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Romans 5:12). This means we start off from birth with a self-centered, self-serving nature. So it’s not the devil, or anyone else, who makes us sin. Our sinful nature exists because of our broken relationship with a holy God. People often say that terrible acts caused by humans are “inhumane and inhuman.” The reality, however, is that they are thoroughly human —- the result of people’s depraved nature. The human race has an unimaginable capacity for evil. Scripture says, “All have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!” (Psalm 14:3). The cause of sin is from within, not from outside forces.

The good news, however, is that God sent his only Son to forgive us of our sins and purify our hearts. Though we continue to sin because of our sinful natures, we can daily approach God with confidence because Jesus has bought those sins through his death. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:80). God knows of your struggles with sin. He doesn’t ask for perfection, but a contrite spirit that earnestly seeks after him.

Question: Do you believe that your sinful nature is the root of sin —- or would you prefer to blame it on the devil?
Question: If you have a heart after God, are you sometimes surprised at just how spiteful, unkind, and selfish you can be? What does that tell you about man’s sinful nature?

Content adapted from Josh and Sean McDowell’s book, 77 FAQs about God and the Bible.

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