The title might have you scratching you head for a moment. It is a term that is very unfamiliar to most people today; but church goers a hundred years ago would know and understand the term. Today, the closest we come to it is part of the teaching of Calvinism: Total Depravity. Many churches back in the pre 1900s did not hold to the five points of Calvinism, but most Bible believers then accepted the fact that we inherited death from our father Adam.
1 Corinthians 15:22 reads, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Further, Bible believers then accepted that we also inherited sin nature. No one in church circles today would argue the point that we die. In fact, we start to die from the moment we are born. But many today would argue against the idea that we inherited sin nature from Adam also. However, this idea has been taught and held by most Bible believers since the world began. King David himself said, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). David knew he was born with sin nature.
Most American children even learned this doctrine in school. Consider this quote from The New England Primer dated 1777 in the first lesson for children under the Letter "A": It says, "In Adams Fall, We Sin All."
Notice that the primer was used to teach little children, not adults! Parents, teachers, and pastors back then knew that their precious little children had sin nature; even babies could sin.
So what has happened to the so-called Christian today that he can not believe his little Jack or Jill is a sinner and has sin nature? Blame it on most of the “Christian” churches teaching a false picture of God. They love to teach that God is love. Love, love, love. Yes, this is true. The Bible itself says, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (I John 4:16).
There they stop. They do not teach the full picture of God, that He is more than love. He is holy: “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Corinthians 3:17).
Wow, that is a pretty harsh statement, one which most churches do not like to teach, even though it is in the New Testament!
1 John 1:9 reads: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Yes, He is also a just God—and so many more things. He is not just a God of love.
The Apostle Paul understood this inner nature, this inbred sin. We find him exclaiming, “Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me” (Romans 7:17-21).
No one is innocent, not even children. No one is righteous, and the verses that say so nowhere exclude children or include an age of accountability.
Romans 3:10 reads, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Further, Romans 3:23 records this: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Instead of leading with our hearts, we need to read and study God's Word. Perhaps we are afraid for our children's sake that they have this inbred sin. But God has provided a plan for them. Remember how He loved the little children and included them when he said, “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
In 2 Peter 3:9, we read, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
The Apostle Paul taught us, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Ephesians 2:1-3).
These verses tell us that Christ has quickened, "made alive," that which was dead in trespasses and sins—not dead physically, but dead spiritually—in an inherited death from Adam!
Christ had to be the perfect sacrifice for us, sinless, blameless, without spot. Of what need was there for Him to be born of a virgin, unless it was to cut off or prevent His inheriting this inbred sin?
Heidelberg Catechism (1563)—REFORMED CHURCH
Question 56 - What dost thou believe concerning the forgiveness of sins?
That God, for the sake of Christ's satisfaction, will no more remember my sins, neither the sinful nature with which I have to struggle all my life long; but graciously imparts to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may nevermore come into condemnation"
Confession of the Church—John Calvin
Art. XI - Even after baptism it is still the nature of sin, but the condemnation of it is abolished for the children of God, out of his mere free grace and love, and further, that it is a perversity always producing fruits of malice and rebellion, so that the most holy men, although they resist it, are still stained with many weaknesses and imperfections while they are in this life.
Church of Scotland—Art XIII
For so soon as the spirit of the Lord Jesus, which God's elect children receive by faith, taketh in the possession of the heart of any man, so soon doth he regenerate and renew the same man, that he beginneth to hate that which he before loved, and to love that which he before hated; and from thence cometh that continual battle which is between the flesh and the spirit which is in God's children.
Church of England—Art IX
And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerate.
There remaineth still some remnants of corruption in every part, whence ariseth a continual war, the flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.
In his sermon "Sin in Believers," John Wesley said, "It hath been observed before, that the opposite doctrine—that there is no sin in believers—is quite new in the church of Christ; that it is never heard of for seventeen hundred years!"
Charles Wesley in Hymn #491 - the Methodist Hymnal
Let us in Thee Inherit,
Let us find that second rest, take away my bent to sinning,
Speak the second time, be clean.
Take away my inbred sin.