THEOLOGY FOR THE
Biblical Doctrine, Plainly Stated
By William S. Plumer, 1875
MAN A SINNER
I. Man is a creature of God. Reason proves this; Scripture asserts it. Gen.
1:27; 5:1; Eccles. 12:1, 7; Mal. 2:10; Zech. 12:1. These passages claim that
God is not only the framer of our bodies, but the Father of our spirits. We
are entirely the creatures of God.
II. God made man pure in knowledge, righteousness, and
true holiness. Col. 3:10; Eph. 4:24. "Lo, this only have I found, that God
has made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." Eccles.
7:29. God made man in his own image, after his own likeness. Gen. 1:26, 27;
5:1. The image of God and the likeness of God mean the same
thing. They both denote a similitude. This likeness is either natural or
moral. The natural image of God consists in intelligence. The moral image of
God consists in holiness. Man has lost God's moral image, but retains
somewhat of his natural image. Gen. 9:6.
III. All men of whatever color or nationality are of one
race, and had a common origin. "God has made of one blood all nations of men
for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined the times
before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation." Acts 17:26. Compare
Gen. 3:20; 9:19; Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Cor. 15:22.
IV. In creating our first parents, God made our father
Adam before he made our mother Eve. This is noticed in the Scriptures as
worthy of attention and instructive. 1 Cor. 11:8, 9; 1 Tim. 2:13, 14. The
woman was last made, but she was the first to sin.
V. It seems to be God's plan to subject all the rational
beings he has made to a trial or probation. Thus the angels were tried, and
some of them fell. Thus man was tried, and he fell. His trial was very fair.
It was as slight as it could be, to be a test at all. It was simply
abstaining from one kind of fruit in the garden. Of the rest he might eat.
Gen. 2:16, 17. How long man stood before he fell we do not know, and it is
idle to inquire. By his fall man became liable to all penal evil, for that
is the meaning of the word death when used on this subject. An
immediate effect of man's sin was his expulsion from Paradise. But he was
not driven out in a hopeless manner. He had a gospel promise made him, "The
seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." Gen. 3:15.
VI. The effects of the fall on the posterity of our first
parents are just the same as on Adam and Eve. The earth still brings forth
thorns and thistles. In the sweat of man's face he still eats his bread, and
finally returns to the dust. Gen. 3:18,19. The sorrow of woman is just the
same as that which came upon Eve. Gen. 3:16.
VII. All men come into the world in a state of
and thus, exposure to wrath.
Indeed the Bible says in so many words that we are "by nature the children
of wrath even as others." Eph. 2:3. It says, "By one man sin entered into
the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men." It further
says, that "through the offence of one many are dead." "The judgment was by
one to condemnation." "By one man's offence death reigned by one." "By the
offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation." "By one man's
disobedience many were made sinners." Romans 5:12, 15-19. Language can
hardly be clearer or less liable to mistake.
VIII. Another effect of the fall was the
of man's nature. So that there is none righteous, no,
not one. Romans 3:10. Bitterly does David bewail his own native depravity:
"Behold, I was shaped in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Psalm 51:5. Compare Job 14:4; John 3:6; Gen. 6:5. On the universal depravity
of the race the Bible speaks but one language. In Romans 1:19-32, Paul
proves the Gentiles to be sinners. In Romans 2:11-29, he proves that the
Jews are sinners; and in Romans 3:10-23, he proves that the whole race of
man is apostate from God. He relies on the prophets of the Old Testament. He
might have quoted many more than he did.
IX. In his natural state man is full of spiritual
The very light that is in him, is darkness. Matt. 6:23. "The natural man
receives not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto
him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1
Cor. 2:14. In order to salvation, man as much needs divine instruction as he
does pardon or renewal; and it is great grace in God to promise to teach all
his children. Isaiah 54:13.
X. By nature man is in a state of
and yet he knows not that he is wretched, and miserable, and poor, and
blind, and naked, and has need of all things. Rev. 3:17. All the sinful
passions are in their nature tormenting. A guilty conscience is the worst
scourge ever felt. Speaking of the wicked, God says, "Destruction and misery
are in their ways." Even if a man's conscience is seared as with a hot iron,
there is no telling when his tumults will be terrific. It was so with
Belshazzar. Dan. 5:9. It was so with Herod. Matt. 14:2.
XI. By nature man is
He cannot atone for a single sin. The redemption of the soul is precious.
Psalm 49:8. It costs too much to be redeemed with silver and gold, with
tears or human sacrifices, or with any corruptible things. It can be
redeemed alone with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without
blemish and without spot. 1 Pet. 1:19. Nor can man turn himself to God by
any power that is within him. We are expressly said to be "without
strength," and to be "the servants of sin." Romans 5:6; 6:17. "The carnal
mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." By nature we
are polluted in our blood. Ezek. 16:6. "Except a man be born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3. The dead cannot raise themselves,
and men are dead in trespasses and sins. Eph. 2:1.
whole nature of man is affected by sin. The
understanding is darkened; the will is corrupt; the conscience is defiled;
the memory is polluted; the imagination is depraved; the throat is an open
sepulcher; the tongue is deceitful; the poison of asps is under the lips;
the mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; the feet are swift to shed
blood; the eyes are full of adultery; the heart is deceitful above all
things, and desperately wicked. Men yield their members servants to
uncleanness. The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. "From the
sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness--only wounds
and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil."
Isaiah 1:6. See Romans 3:10-18; 6:19.
XIII. The very names given to sin should awaken in us
uneasiness and alarm. Sin means a missing of the mark. It is transgression.
It is lack of conformity to law. It is iniquity. It is unrighteousness. It
is evil. It is wrong. It is hateful to God. It deserves all the evil
threatened against it or brought upon it. It has dug every grave. It fills
hell with groans.
XIV. Sin when finished brings forth death. Because Satan
was a seducer he was a murderer. John 8:44. It is possible to sin beyond
forgiveness. Matt. 12:32.