Original Sin – Detailed Outline
John Wesley's Text: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 6:5
How widely different is this from the fair pictures of human nature which men have drawn in all ages! …these accounts are very readily received by the generality of men. For who is not easily persuaded to think favourably of himself? But… what must we do with our Bibles -- for they will never agree with this.
I. What were men like before the Flood?
A. " the wickedness of man was great:"
a. Of man in general; universally.
b. Yet, among all this inconceivable number, only "Noah found favour with God."
B. "God saw all the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart… the whole thereof, was evil” –
a. But was there not good mingled with the evil? No; none at all:
b. Continually – “every year, every day, every hour, every moment. He never deviated into good.”
II. Are men in the same condition of sin now?
A. The Scripture gives us no reason to think any otherwise of men after the flood.
a. And after the flood: "there is none righteous, no, not one."
b. "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores."
B. Experience gives us no reason to think differently.
a. They do not know it, but this isn’t surprising.
b. Imagine “a place where all were born without sight, would they be sensible of the want of it?”
c. We could not [know God] by any of our natural faculties.
d. And having no knowledge, we can have no love of God: The fact is too plain to be denied. No man loves God by nature,
e. We have by nature no fear of God.
f. Every man born into the world is a rank idolater.
i. We have set up our idols in our hearts; and to these we bow down and worship them:
ii. We worship ourselves, when we pay that honour to ourselves which is due to God only.
iii. Satan has stamped his own image on our heart in self-will
iv. All men love of the world; …seek happiness in the creature, instead of the Creator –
v. Sensual appetites, even those of the lowest kind, have, more or less, the dominion over him.
vi. This includes "the pride of life;" the desire of praise, of the honour that cometh of men.
III. What conclusions can we draw about ourselves & Christianity?
A. This is the fundamental difference between heathenness and Christianity:
i. acknowledges that many men are infected with many vices, and even born with a proneness to them;
ii. but “supposes overall, that in some the natural good much over-balances the evil:
i. declares that all men are conceived in sin," and "shapen in wickedness;" –
ii. that there is in every man a "carnal mind, which is enmity against God, which is not, cannot be, subject to" his "law;"
iii. that "there dwelleth in" him, "in his flesh," in his natural state, "no good thing;" but "every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is evil," only evil, and that "continually."
B. All who deny this… are Heathens still, in the fundamental point which differences Heathenism from Christianity.
C. What is the proper nature of religion, of the religion of Jesus Christ? It is God's method of healing a soul which is thus diseased.
a. God heals all our Atheism by the knowledge of Himself
b. By repentance and lowliness of heart, the deadly disease of pride is healed;
c. that of self-will by resignation, a meek and thankful submission to the will of God;
d. and for the love of the world in all its branches, the love of God is the sovereign remedy.
D. If man were not thus fallen, there would be no need of all this [salvation].
You know better. “Ye know that the great end of religion is, to renew our hearts in the image of God, to repair that total loss of righteousness and true holiness which we sustained by the sin of our first parent. Ye know that all religion which does not answer this end, all that stops short of this, the renewal of our soul in the image of God, after the likeness of Him that created it, is no other than a poor farce, and a mere mockery of God, to the destruction of our own soul. O beware of all those teachers of lies, who would palm this upon you for Christianity! …Know your disease! Know your cure! Ye were born in sin: Therefore, "ye must be born again," born of God. By nature ye are wholly corrupted. By grace ye shall be wholly renewed. In Adam ye all died: In the second Adam, in Christ, ye all are made alive.”
For those who falsely believe that John Wesley taught a semi-Pelagian form of free will, this sermon should help correct that.
This is a powerful and orthodox view of the fallenness of man and the doctrine of inherited depravity.
Notice in the conclusion that Wesley's view of salvation comes through powerfully. It is not merely transactional justification, but the great goal of it -- "to renew our hearts in the image of God, to repair that total loss of righteousness and true holiness which we sustained by the sin of our first parent" -- WOW.
To learn more about a salvation theology that includes sanctification in the doctrine of salvation, you should check out Pursuing Holiness, a 40 day curriculum that teaches a theology of holiness.