By Nature The Children of Wrath
By Michael Saia:
The last few words of Ephesians 2:3 are sometimes presented as a proof of an inherited sinful nature—“And were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” By itself, this might look like a proof for original sin, but again, the context simply does not support this interpretation. Starting with verse one, the Apostle is clearly talking about how people live, not how they are born, and concludes that by walking in sin, people become “children of wrath.” Besides, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” God’s wrath is not revealed against little babies because of some inherited evil nature, but against deliberate sins people commit while they suppress the truth to gratify their own selfish desires. But if sin is not an inherited nature, then why do people sin? There are plenty of explanations for the universality of sin without having to presuppose a sinful nature in man. The world is fallen, and along with it our bodies. From our youth we tend to submit our wills to the desires of our bodies, rather than to the truth. We develop habits of self-gratification at a very early age. Then, when we come to a knowledge of the truth and have to say “No” to our wills, it is hard to do what is right, since we are fighting against firmly entrenched habit patterns that influence us to gratify ourselves rather than choosing for the good of others. There are moral agents around us, both human and demonic, who encourage us toward a life of selfishness by their example and/or influence. Thus, our fallen bodies provide an influence toward self-gratification, our corrupted environment presents us with temptation, and our rebellious fellow humans encourage us to live against the truth. What more do we need to go wrong? Lastly, it is interesting that Lucifer sinned without a sinful nature. He did this as a perfect being, in a perfect environment, with only godly influences. Adam and Eve also had no sinful natures, had unfallen bodies, and with the exception of the devil’s presence, had a perfect environment, yet they managed to rebel against God. It seems evident from these examples that the only requirement for rebellion is to have a free will.
Understanding the Cross (pg. 95)