Through out this chapter, you will see click targets like the one above. Click on these targets to proceed.
Charles Darwin once remarked that
“Or has any reason to,” Mark Twain later added.
This observation that while man is immoral, he also recognizes the shame of it, affirms the biblical portrait of the fall.
We are conflicted in our corruption; the traces of God’s image that remain inside us groan over the sins we have committed. The blushing face may be the truest reflection of our current reality:
At its root, it’s a move away from God; its many fruits wreak harm and destruction upon us and those closest to us.
However, because we are loath to blush, we come up with many ways to
If we say we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
1 JOHN 1:8-10
As the Bible states in 1 John 1:8-10, we subtly “claim we have not sinned.”
We use a wide range of strategies designed to minimize, deny, dismiss, excuse, blame, beautify, and/or rationalize - everything but admit our sin.
Often this state of numbness to our sinfulness is accomplished in complete passivity – we simply don’t think about it.
Rarely engaging in self-reflection, we remain strangers to ourselves, so that when God calls out to sinners, we respond with,
We may be tempted to sidestep the truth of our sinfulness, thinking that such an admission can only lead to a sense of dejection.
However, in sweeping our sinfulness under the rug, we end up missing out on surprising news from God:
Although we live in a culture bent on denying, normalizing, or even glamorizing sin, this resilient sense that there is something fundamentally wrong, even corrupt, within each of us must not be suppressed. Any person who seeks self-understanding must begin with
Ironically, the recognition of one’s sinfulness may be most difficult for those who are conventionally considered
Being accustomed to measuring ourselves only outwardly, we can easily believe that as long as we keep a clean record in the eyes of others, then we are cleared from the label “sinner.”
The biblical assertion of human sinfulness sounds
During Jesus’ time, there was a group of religious elites called Pharisees who had a very similar problem. They were
and complying with all the rules. So they had a hard time relating with Jesus’ invitation for all sinners to come to him.
In response to them, Jesus said that the true source of uncleanness does not depend on the outside but rather
"What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
Jesus pointed to the heart. That’s the question that we must ask ourselves:
If our secret actions, motivations, and thoughts were somehow known to others, we probably would not have a hard time feeling convicted of our sinfulness.
It turns out, then, that our “difficulty” in embracing our identity as sinners is a fiction that can only be maintained as long as our sinful hearts remain unknown to others.
But God, who knows us perfectly, tells us that
That is why the Bible characterizes mankind in such unambiguous terms.
Though we may cringe at this description of our hearts, it is a painfully true picture of ourselves.
In Romans Chapter 3, we read these words:
as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good,
We generally manage to maintain an image of civility in the presence of others, but
Right underneath the façade of politeness, how many of us truly care about anyone other than ourselves?
Even in the midst of talking with our friends, how often are our thoughts just about ourselves?
We envy our closest friends and cannot rejoice at their good fortune. Behind pretended interest in other people, we find ourselves asking,
How much do you agree with the Bible's assessment of mankind that "all have sinned"?
For further reading, a PDF version of Chapter Four can be found here.
Here are three stories of how some people came to see the truth of their sinfulness.