Okay after a long mental break, I felt ready to dive back in to the Articles. We will be engaging the college move in process in the next few weeks so I don’t know how consistent I will be. Please pray for this process. With Covid, it changes all the time. Thank you. Here we go….
Article 9: ix. of original or birth-sin
Original Sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk;) but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man, that naturally is ingendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the Spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in the Greek, φρόνημα σαρκός, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.
Greek, and Pelagius, and all the stuff that entangles us.
Article 9 begins the portion of the Articles that Roman Catholics would agree with Anglicans. Articles 1-8 dealt with things that were different than Roman Catholicism, but starting at Article 9, we begin to dig deep in to Christian Theology and not as much Anglican vs. Roman theology.
To put the first sentence, and very long sentence that it is, into non-16th century words, it would read. Original Sin does not stay with Adam, as a belief that the Pelagians do hold to, but it (original sin) is deep and ingrained in all men’s and women’s natures because we are offspring of Adam. We are far away from the perfection of Adam and our bodies and minds are constantly lusting after and desirous of things that are contrary to God’s desires, so every man deserves condemnation and God’s wrath.
So back up to the top. Original Sin, meaning the sin that Adam started in Genesis 3. That Sin has now become a part of our DNA. We are born with sin in our bodies. There is nothing we can do about it. Adam sinned, and so we too sin. The Bible says this plainly.
"The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one." Psalm 14:2-3 says "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies." Psalm 58:3
But who is this man named Pelagius? Why is Cranmer talking about him? What do those who follow him believe? Pelagius was a Celtic Monk who lived in the early 5th Century. During the years that Cranmer lived, Pelagian views once again reared their heads and so Cranmer wanted to head those ideas off at the pass. Pelgius and his followers believed that people were born with some goodness. A goodness that would allow them to choose to do good and go against sin. (Bray, Confess, 62). That belief is not held by orthodox Christians because of the Bible verses Romans 3:10 and 3:23 which say that there are none righteous and ALL people have fallen short of God’s glory. We have all sinned. We have not an ounce of righteousness in us.
We inherited that sin nature from Adam and Eve and it infects every part of our body. When we disobey even a little bit, we disobey the whole of God’s laws.
"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." I John 1:8-10
Only by grace are we to be saved, it is not something that we can do, but by Jesus taking the wrath of God upon himself, are we saved.
But we as Christians, are not instantly zapped with the ability to be obedient when we realize our need of a Saviour. Article 9 goes on, “And this infection of nature doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated; whereby the lust of the flesh, called in the Greek, φρόνημα σαρκός, which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire, of the flesh, is not subject to the Law of God.” This sentence means, that even after our coming to faith, we are still going to struggle with sin. This sin nature or (φρόνημα σαρκός-phronema sarkos) lust of the flesh, goes against all the laws of God, but it doesn’t disappear until we are in Glory.
Sin has perverted our desire for God and has turned us away from His Goodness and for that we are condemned. But…
And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess, that concupiscence and lust hath of itself the nature of sin.
Jesus took that condemnation when he died on the cross. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)” But, despite there being no condemnation, we still walk in our flesh. We still sin. We still yell at our kids. We still get mad. We still lie and cheat. Our sinful mind is fixated on worldly and temporal things. Our lust (concupiscence) for things does not die.
And so we cling. We cling to Christ. And we sing “I need thee every hour.” As much as we want to try to do good, we cannot. (Romans 7). We continue to attempt, sometimes poorly, to fix our minds on things above and much to our frustration, the farther we go in life, the bigger the battle it is to fix our minds on Christ. His continual Presence in our lives shows us that we are so sinful. Gerald Bray says it this way, “ Paradoxical as it sounds, it is probably better to measure our spiritual progress by the degree of our awareness of sin rather than by our willingness to swear allegiance to Christ, since it is the former that reveals just how much we really understand the latter. (Bray, Confess, 66). With more Godly wisdom, comes more knowledge of just how sinful we actually are.
We are completely tainted by sin, and yet through Christ, the punishment has been served. We are now living in God’s grace because of this gift. Romans 5:17 says this, “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
Let us walk this life, in light of this gift and even when we have bad days, there is Grace. We cling to Jesus.
Thanks be to God!