The Struggle of the Flesh and Spirit Does Not Exist in These

The struggle between the spirit and the flesh is the struggle of the regenerate person.  The unregenerate, natural man has no such struggle.  He is in bondage to sin, acting according to the flesh, living according to the flesh, and choosing according to the flesh, living according to the flesh, and choosing according to the flesh.  He chooses according to the inclination that is dominant at the moment, and this inclination is never a desire to honor God out of a natural love for him.  The desires of the unregenerate are wicked continuously.  This is the bondage or spiritual death with which the doctrine of original sin.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 134

We Have Lost All Ability

Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself there unto.

– Westminster Confession

as quoted by Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 128

To Be In the “Flesh” Means…

To be in the sate of original sin is to be in the state of Scripture calls the “flesh.”  This does not refer primarily to things physical, but to a condition of moral corruption.  In the flesh we are not able to please God.  Indeed we have no desire to please him.  We are estranged and alienated from God.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 127

Martin Luther on Original Sin

According to the apostle and the simple sense of him who is in Christ Jesus, it is not merely the lack of a quality in the will or indeed merely the lack of light in the intellect, of strength in the memory.  Rather it is a complete deprivation of all rectitude and of the ability of all the power of the body as well as the soul and of the entire inner and outer man.  In addition to this, it is an inclination to evil, a disgust at the good. a disinclination toward light and wisdom; it is love of error and darkness, a fleeing from good works and a loathing of them, a running to what is evil.

– Martin Luther

as quoted by Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 124

John Calvin on the Augustinian View of Human Corruption

John Calvin followed Augstine in this view of human corruption:

This is the heredity corruption to which early Christian writers gave the name Original Sin, meaning by the term the depravation of a nature formerly good and pure…when it was clearly proved from Scripture that the sin of the first man passed to all his prosterity, recourse was had to the cavil, that it passed by imitation, and not by propagation.  The orthodox, therefore, and more especially Augustine, laboured to show, that we are not corrupted by acquired wickedness, but bring an innate corruption from the very womb.

– John Calvin

as quoted by Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 123-124

Radical Corruption, Total Depravity and Original Sin

The condition of radical corruption, or total depravity, is the fallen state known as original sin.  The doctrine of original sin does not refer to the first sin committed by Adam and Eve, but to the result of that first sin.  Original sin is the corruption visited on the progeny of our first parents as punishment for the orignal transgression.  Virtually every Christian church has some doctrine of original sin.  Though liberal theology, deeply influenced by humanistic assumptions, often decries original sin, all the historic confessions include the doctrine.  To be sure, the degree of corruption involved with original sin has been a perennial point of debate among theologians.  The consensus of historic Christianity, nevertheless, is that the biblical view of the fall requires us to affirm some concept of original sin.

Sproul, R.C.; Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; copyright 1997; p. 121

Leadership and Original Sin

To lead, [Robert E.] Lee well understood, one first had to be the master of oneself.  Original Sin taught him to expect human failure.  But a Christian and a gentleman was obligated to do better.  Lee believed that the more one approached the divine, the more one successfully imitated Christ, the more one fulfilled one’s duty as a Christian gentleman.  

 

by H.W. Crocker, III, Robert E. Lee on Leadership, copyright 1999, page 16