The Sin Nature


by Pastor Jim Jester

January 14, 2024

Scripture Reading: Hebrews 12:1-2

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”


The subject of the doctrine on Original Sin, also known as the Sin Nature and other terms (as we shall see), always brings up questions. What is it; how many are there; is it defined in Genesis? But this is not the purpose of this sermon, so I won’t be listing the sins that occurred in the Garden of Eden or sins that similarly plague us today.

The Sin Nature, or “sin” (singular), is a part of our fallen mortal nature and personality that we inherited from Adam. It is not any particular “thing,” for many things can be sinful if they hinder our fellowship with God. It is those times when we fall short of what we, or what God expects of us. It is inward sins that we feel inside, such as: impatience, anger, or jealousy; even though we do not act upon them, for if we did, such would be literal sins that would require confession and repentance. Another example of inward sin is when the parent tells the child not to do something, and immediately the reaction is, “Oh yeah, just watch me!” That kind of rebellion over legitimate authority is as the sin of witchcraft.



CHAPTER VI.  Of the Fall of Man, Sin, and the Punishment thereof

Our first parents, being seduced by the subtlety and temptation of Satan, sinned in eating the forbidden fruit. This their sin, God was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to His own glory. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body.

They being the root of all Adamkind, the guilt of this sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation. From this original corruption, we are disabled, made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to evil.

This corruption of nature doth remain in those that are regenerated; and although it be, through Christ, pardoned, and mortified; yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin. Every sin, both original and actual (commission or omission), being a transgression of the righteous law of God, doth, bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to death.

Original sin, of our own corrupt nature, has sometimes been identified with the flesh, the world, the devil. Thus, our own sin nature must come under the sanctifying grace of the Spirit of Christ.

CHAPTER XIII.  Of Sanctification

They, who are once effectually called, and regenerated, having a new heart, and a new spirit created in them, are further sanctified, really and personally, through the virtue of Christ s death and resurrection, by His Word and Spirit dwelling in them: the dominion of the whole body [meaning unit, not our body of flesh] of sin is destroyed, and the several lusts thereof are more and more weakened and mortified; and they more and more strengthen all saving graces, to the practice of true holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

This sanctification is throughout the whole man; yet imperfect in this life, there abiding still some remnants of corruption, whence arises a continual war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. In which war, although the remaining corruption, for a time, may prevail; yet, through the continual supply of strength from the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, the regenerate part doth overcome; and so, the saints grow in grace, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. [End quote from the Confession]

To further explain Original Sin, or the Sin Nature, note this hymn.

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” verse 3:

O to grace how great a debtor, daily I m constrained to be!

Let that grace now, like a fetter, bindmy wandering heart to thee.

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.

Here s my heart; O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above.

The Sin Nature causes the “wandering heart,” and we all have felt this at times, especially as younger Christians; but not so much, if any, now. The last line gives the remedy: “Seal it” for thy courts above.” That’s the Sanctification we saw above in the Westminster Confession. Have you been sealed by the Holy Spirit? “Sealed” being another term for Sanctification.

When Adam did Fall, in one sinned all. In my view, when Adam sinned, he, the God-ordained governor of the Garden, turned over his authority from God to Satan. Jesus referred to that fallen angel in John 14:30 as the prince of this world.” Jesus also said of this being in Luke 10:18, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” Jesus was alluding to Isaiah 14:12-15, where there is a comparison between the king of Babylon and Lucifer; their characters identical in kind. Figuratively, one personality is a type of the original personality; a model of the same evil. Adam failed us, but the second Adam, Jesus the Christ, rescued us (I Cor. 15:47). For this, we are truly grateful.


The Apostle Paul spoke of this warring with the Sin Nature, or original sin, in Romans chapters 6 through 8. Here is the list of the terms used:

“The old man” (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9)

“Sin that dwells in me” (Rom. 7:17, 20)

“Evil is present with me” (Rom. 7:21)

“Sin in my members” (Rom. 7:23)

“The flesh” (Rom. 7:25; 8:1; 8:3-5; 8:8-9; 8:12-13)

“The carnal mind” (Rom. 8:7)

The Apostle’s point is that every Adamite struggles with the Sin Nature, although it is kept subdued by our good nature (a mitigated dualism).

The Apostle confines himself here in chapter 7, to an examination of what man, even at his best, is in his mere mortal nature; of what thoughtful observers may perceive him to be. It is a philosophical rather than a theological analysis, and one that might commend itself even to heathen philosophers, some of whom have, in fact, expressed likewise. Thus, it is not until Romans chapter 8, where man s regeneration is portrayed, that the spiritual principle in himself comes into view. And it is seen that this very idea pervades the whole chapter. This essential distinction between the two chapters is sufficient to disprove the theory that the regenerated state is described in Romans chapter 7. This chapter ends with, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24)Then Paul hints at the victory found in the next chapter, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 7:25)

Some theologians have used Paul’s discourse in the latter part of chapter 7, to make excuse for committing sin. But this cannot be true for two reasons: the context doesn’t allow for it, and the entire New Testament abhors such an idea of a license to commit sin. Paul is not saying he actually and deliberately sins. [NOTE: “Dr. Taylor says Paul is using figurative persons with the pronouns, I.” (Clarke Commentary)] What Paul is conveying here, is that he can “see,” or acknowledge, the struggle with the Sin Nature; as all Adamites experience. Paul says, “But I see another law[sin nature] in my members [soul or psyche], warring against the law of my mind [the good], and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin [original sin] which is in my members.”(Rom. 7:23) Perhaps the word “see” should have been added by the translators at the end of v. 15 and v. 19 to clarify the meaning. [we often see this in the KJV]

As seen above, Paul used many terms to bring attention to Original Sin. Most notably, in these two chapters, he used “the flesh” to mean the sinful nature within mankind’s personality. But there are other times when the term “flesh” simply means the flesh, blood, and bone of the mortal body we live in (not original sin). Of course, there is nothing sinful about God’s creation of mankind, for He said, “it was good.”

This brings us to a related issue. The concept of inner sin should not be confused with the common belief that “sin is in the flesh (mortal body).” Then, sometimes following this concept, another assumption is logically added that “sin is the devil,” and in turn, those proponents use this to say that “there is no devil.” This idea is not new. Note these examples:

1. Many have promoted this idea, at least in the first part, i.e., “sin in the flesh;” beginning with Gnosticism during the time of the Apostle Paul. Gnostics considered material existence flawed or evil; thus, the human body was the source of sin. Paul fought against this on many occasions. The theory has since passed on to others.

2. Most prominently, the Catholic Church has equated the mortal flesh with the devil. Therefore, they have tortured themselves, sometimes literally, hoping that it would bring them closer to God, and priests were forbidden to marry. Well, that idea has kinda backfired on them, to say the least. All this nonsense, because the flesh was the devil and must be punished in some way — such an absurd view, which makes ourselves our own worst enemy, which is not necessarily true.

3. In more recent history, pastor Pete Peters claimed to have evidence that a certain Jewess prophetess, as she called herself, worked for Morris Dees. Peters claimed to have had trouble with her at Branson, Missouri, and that she had influenced many pastors (including himself), in the Christian Identity movement, to believe that Satan is merely “the flesh.” This concept is rooted in Gnosticism.

But in fact, the flesh itself is not the devil. However, the flesh body, along with the Sin Nature, could possibly manifest the works of the devil, if they so desire. Our mortal flesh body is not what we are fighting. Paul says: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12)

Further, regarding the assumption that “sin is the devil,” and concluding that there is no devil: Just because it can be shown that a devil is a man, or is symbolic of a political power, does not preclude (or rule out) that Satan exists. Figuratively, one personality (a king, e.g. Isa. 14) is a type of the original personality (Lucifer); both being a model of the same evil nature.

So what follows next after “no Satan?” No Trinity? No Deity of Christ? No Virgin birth? What have you? I see this as a jewish attack upon Christianity — nothing but jewish subterfuge.

When it comes to the other races, they do not have two natures in their personality; therefore, they just do as they will with no conscience or respect toward God. It seems that Romans chapter 7 is much like the writings of Solomon that depicts the hopelessness of man when left to himself — vanity of vanity, all is vanity.


Leaving the hopelessness in chapter 7 of Romans, we now come to a drastic change of tenor in chapter 8:

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:1-4)

What a victorious difference here! It appears there is deliverance from the Sin Nature, the “sin in the flesh.” And, as in most cases in the New Testament, when the word “sin” (singular) appears, it is in reference to the origin and nature of our disobedience to God.

That we can have deliverance from the Sin nature, is certainly good news. Is this a real possibility? Why not? Is there anything too hard for God? Is there anything that happened in the Garden that cannot be remedied by the Atonement of our Christ redeemer? There have been many who have testified to such an experience in their Christian walk, but they did not always describe it in the same manner. Most church Confessions referred to this as Sanctification, often a subsequent work of grace following Justification, being either instantaneous or gradual in the life of the believer. The Confession also mentions a “remaining corruption” but that may, or may not, necessarily be the case in every situation. So let us simply exercise our faith to receive what we need from our Father.

Now, let us go on into this chapter to further discover why we need this cleansing from Sin (the nature, not an act).

“For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind isenmityagainst God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you…” (Rom. 8:6-9)

The “carnal mind” (or Sin nature) is enmity and cannot be subject to the law of God? Wow, that’s pretty bad — no wonder a Christian would want to get rid of such a traitor on board. It’s like that little rebellious spirit we had as a child. This is why we need cleansing from the “carnal mind,” because it cannot be forgiven, “neither indeed can be,” as is the case with outward sins, which are subject to the law of God. This corruption or propensity must be cleansed out (not forgiven).

And “flesh” in verse 8? Does that mean our flesh, blood, and bone house that we live in cannot please God? No, for we all have bodies that are a living sacrifice to Him. The God-ordained mortal body is not sinful in itself. Jesus himself had a body, and He pleased God! He suffered in the flesh, He died in the flesh, and He’s coming back in the flesh. So, “flesh” here is the term, once again, for the Sin nature within (not our body). Verse 9 confirms this, “…ye are not in the flesh.” Not in the flesh? How can that be? If “flesh” here is the physical body, then you’re dead! So, in this passage, “flesh” is the Sin nature, carnal mind, or original Sin. And, the contrast is then made in verse 9, that we are in obedience to the Spirit!

From our opening text we read:

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Heb. 12:1)

Now, while this verse can be speaking of any kind of sin that would slow us down in the race set before us, it also applies to the Sin (singular) that does “so easily beset.” What Sin is that? I submit again, that it is the inward corruption of Sin that is “standing well around” the individual. This is really and truly the heart of the verse, and that is the meaning of the word “beset.” It is a perfect description for the original Sin that plagues every child of Adam.

From Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible:

As applied to Christians it means that they should remove all which would obstruct their progress in the Christian course. Thus, it is fair to apply it to whatever would be an impediment in our efforts to win the crown of life. It is not the same thing in all persons. In one it may be pride; in another vanity; in another worldliness; in another a violent and almost ungovernable temper; in another a corrupt imagination; in another a heavy, insensible heart; in another, some improper and unholy attachment. Whatever it may be, we are exhorted to lay it aside, and this general direction may be applied to anything which prevents our making the highest possible attainment in the divine life.

“And the sin which doth so easily beset us”— The word which is here rendered easily beset” — euperistaton” —does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It properly means, standing well around,” and hence, denotes what is near, or at hand, or readily occurring. So Chrysostom explains it. Passow defines it as meaning easy to encircle.” Tyndale renders it the sin that hangeth on us.”Bloomfield supposes… that it means the sin which especially winds around us, and hinders our course.” (Barnes)

In this verse we find no better definition for the nature of Original Sin and how it affects Adamkind. It exists very closely around the individual? Truly and surely, there is nothing closer than indwelling Sin; the worst enemy of the Christ-life.

John the Baptist also confirms a further act of the Spirit’s work after repentance:

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and withfire: 12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:11-12)

What does fire do? It burns, it cleanses, it destroys the chaff, the dross of Sin in man’s soul or psyche. This is what took place at Pentecost, which John pointed to.


This story of the inward conflict teaches us many lessons. It should teach us to be watchful and prayerful. It should teach us to cultivate the higher, the heavenly side of our nature. It should teach us humility. It should teach us charity toward others. It should teach us to look for and depend upon, the Divine strength of our Savior and the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.

It is normal for the Christian to have a hatred of sin and a thirst after holiness. We loath the corruption of that Sin nature, that “root of bitterness” (Heb. 12:15) within that is so offensive to our spiritual sense.

Like mud, sin may still clog the feet of the Christian and sometimes cause him to stumble, but he is never satisfied with such a condition and calls out for aid. Would that this sense of the Sin nature, the “carnal mind,” were more prevalent; that, like a speck of dirt in the eye, there could be no ease until it be removed. Sin is a foreign body, a disturbing element, an intruder.

A biblical example of this sanctification (or cleansing) from original sin, is in regard to the disciples of Jesus. All the disciples had their times of weakness and lack of faith. You may recall at one point that Peter, denied the Lord three times, but after Pentecost and the cleansing of his heart from that original Corruption, we find that he had new strength and became the great leader in the church at Jerusalem. And I believe we can say this of all the disciples, whom we now call Apostles.

“And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.” (Acts 15:8-9)

Most of us have never been taught that there was a work of the Holy Spirit to remedy Original Sin: “Purifying their hearts by faith.” But many have taught this since the Reformation. Why not seek the Lord in this matter?

So, if anyone here feels like that struggle with the “old man” (Sin) is just too much and would like a more victorious Christ-like life, it behooves us to go to our prayer closet and ask our Father to grant the Holy Spirit in his cleansing power; so that we too can bring to fruition God’s will in our life.