1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
In my encounters while sharing the gospel, people will often give a common response. Most don’t want to be held accountable for their sin so they use the excuse, “I’m only human“.
Being human is to hold a position of weakness and vulnerability. Our sinful nature has made us prone to rebellion and is the primary reason we need God’s sanctifying work in our lives. This sinful nature can be a reason for sin but more detrimental to us moving forward, it can also be our excuse.
We often look for excuses when caught in some form of sin, and while everyone wrestles with sin, our vulnerability is often attributed to our human frailty.
Is being vulnerable to sin a reasonable excuse?
Humanness at its root has been corrupted, the idea of being found defective or weak conflicts with the pride of mankind. There is a common notion in society that people are inherently good. God has made it very clear that we are not.
Psalm 53:3 “Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.”
According to God, not only are we NOT inherently good, we cannot do any good by our own strength or ability. Think for a moment of all the seemingly “good” things you see people do and know that anything that is not of God will have no eternal reward. If goodness only comes from God, the only way for people to be “good” is to submit to the work of God in their lives.
Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
If we consider the implications of goodness, the determination to be a “good person”, takes on a completely different connotation in light of our nature. To follow a godly pattern of kindness, love, gentleness, compassion, or generosity, we must take into account what our intent really is.
Any of the attributes of “goodness” as the world deems, when done by our own intent and purpose ultimately brings glory to us. If I strive to show love to someone, is my desire for my own benefit or to honor the Lord? I place my own desires to the forefront when my pride and selfish desires rule my decisions.
From God’s position of Holiness, our good intentions are wicked before Him.
Genesis 6:5 “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
During the days leading up to the flood, mankind’s sin was great upon the earth. Noah found grace in God’s sight, and though mankind was found to be doing evil continually, there was still a way out. What was it that set Noah apart from the rest of mankind?
Genesis 6:8 “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
Noah wasn’t any less guilty before God, it’s just that he did what was necessary to receive grace. What is it that God looks for in people? Knowing we are sinners, the Lord continually is drawing us out of our sin into a renewed fellowship with Him.
Ezekiel 18:21 “But if the wicked man turns from all the sins he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is just and right, he will surely live; he will not die.”
The Bible doesn’t go into great detail for why Noah found grace, we just know based off the principles of God’s Word that he must have believed God as Abraham did and it was counted to him as righteousness. God promises a reprieve from His anger to those who repent of their sin, He has shown this consistently throughout mankind’s existence.
The Lord called Abraham out of a pagan Chaldean culture and Abraham responded with belief.
When God instructed Abraham concerning his son, even in his old age he believed and God blessed him for it. When God asked him to sacrifice his son, Abraham believed God would still make a way and God did. God formed a nation through the heritage of Abraham’s faith.
Genesis 26:5 “because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
What possible laws did Abraham keep? The Moral law wasn’t given for another 430 years. Up until the covenant with Moses, the Noahic covenant was commonly known. It was a reflection of the future Mosaic law and still indicated an expectation of righteousness for man to attain to, a righteousness that radiated the nature of God.
The Noahic covenant [Genesis 8-9] applies to the whole of humankind. In this covenant with God:
1. God blessed Noah and his sons, and told them to populate the earth [9:1]
2. Placed all plants and animals under human command [9:2-3]
3. Forbade the eating of meat with the blood still in it [9:4]
4. Murder was forbidden [9:5]
5. Humankind was commanded to shed the blood of those who shed blood [9:6]
6. The Lord promised that he would never again destroy all life on earth by a flood [9:11]
7. The Lord created the rainbow as the sign of this covenant for all ages to come [9:12-17]
Not only did Noah observe this covenant, Abraham as well as every other follower of Elohim did as well until the time of Moses. The knowledge of good and evil was made available through Adam’s fall, what people did with this knowledge varied greatly.
The Moral law, given to Moses on Sinai was a law that was known from old but was established as a covenant between God and Israel to be a holy nation. Even though the nation of Israel eventually turned its back on God, there was a remnant among the people who hadn’t.
Romans 11:2-6 “God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, “Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life”? But what does the divine response say to him? “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.”
This model of how God has retained a remnant of His people is consistent throughout history. Noah and his family were the remnant from an evil earth, Lot and his family were the remnant from Sodom and Gomorrah, Daniel, Nehemiah, Esther, were each used in times of captivity or destruction. The Lord has retained a remnant from among the world today. These remnants are the ones who retained a heritage of godliness and walk in it, who trust in Christ as the source of their righteousness.
At the end of days, the Lord will once again show forth his heritage from among the earth, He will redeem His people from a stubborn and obstinate world that chooses to reject God’s call and indulge the flesh.
Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
Humankind has a natural inclination towards its own nature.
What does human nature bring forth? Ungodliness, lust, drunkenness, disobedience, blasphemy, pride, trusting in their own ingenuity (haughtiness), while rejecting the only provision of salvation(idolatry)….Jesus Christ.
These attributes of evil are what is common to man. This is all that man has to offer.
When we act according to our own inclinations, we act according to our sinful hearts. A heart of darkness is all the world has to give. Even believers who have decided to act on their own accord and not according to the leading of the Spirit, will see their works burned up before God. During the judgement seat of Christ, we will see if our works were wrought in God or in the flesh.
Proverbs 21:3 “To do righteousness and justice is more desirable to the LORD than sacrifice.”
The sacrifice of animals according to the old law was mandated for remission of sin. What God found detestable were a people who brought the sacrifice out of ceremonial necessity and not out of an obedient heart of love. When we sacrifice our time, resources, or talents through the leading of the Spirit, we act in accordance with God’s will. Jesus modeled what a good sacrifice looks like:
Hebrews 10:5-7 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:
“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’ ”
The old sacrifice was removed when Jesus died upon the cross. There had been no redemption through the old sacrifice, only remediation of God’s anger and judgement. To those who lived before Christ, they anxiously waited for the Messiah’s promise, we now look back on this fulfillment of God’s divine promise and hold fervently to Jesus’ redeeming grace.
Hebrews 10:9-10 “then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
Even though we will not be rid of this old nature until Jesus redeems us from this earth, we have an advocate whom Jesus sent us from the Father——the Holy Spirit within our hearts.
This is the good news…for those of us who have believed in the Son of God, just like every other believer in history, we have been given a “new man”. We are not bound by our old human nature any longer. This new nature must be renewed in knowledge. Knowledge is gained by the Word of God. Knowledge is understood through obedience to the Spirit of God. Knowledge is revealed only by God to His people.
Are you counted among God’s own? If you are, don’t be bound any longer to your old nature, cast it off and be done with it, you have a whole new joy awaiting you.