Sin or Disorder? The Two Are Not
All sin amounts to sickness and disorder in the spiritual sense; hence the common term sin-sick souls. We read in Isaiah 1:4-6 (italics added) “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. 5 Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even unto the head [there is] no soundness in it; [but] wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.”
The fall of mankind corrupted our very flesh, our very being. Generation after generation, man is born into this fallen state, inheriting it from our first (earthly) father, Adam, in light of his transgression. We are utterly corrupted and totally depraved by nature as a result, though the restraining (or better yet, the foreordaining) Hand of God keeps us from acting in full accordance with our sinful depravity. Thus, though we do not act as negatively as we could, or speak as negatively, or think as negatively, our underlying total, sinful condition is ever-present with us. Indeed, the fall affected us, corrupted us, down to our very DNA; our genetic code is compromised and contaminated by it, and their is no escaping this reality. I would not be surprised, not even for a second, if science found a corresponding gene, or some other aspect of our human make-up, associated with every sin that we commit.
If you doubt this link between sin and our physical makeup, consider that we already know that brain damage can increase the manifestation of sin, or lead one to engage in sins that they previous did not engage in, and likely would not have engaged in beforehand. We know that reactions to drugs and alcohol, hormonal and other bio-chemical imbalances, certain tumours, and other such factors, can significantly increase the manifestation and degree of sin. Even pain, discomfort, stress, and/or lack of sleep can make us more prone to transgress the word of God. Thus, the link between our sin and our nervous and endocrinological systems, psychiatric/psychological conditions, etc. should be as clear as day. Yet, this physiological/biological link in no way excuses our iniquity nor does it lessen our culpability before God concerning it. This very reality of sin, and the propensity we have within us towards it, should cause us all the more to flee to Christ as our only Hope of spiritual healing, wholeness, and salvation.
Even if we could correct our DNA completely, reverting our physical forms back to a pre-fall (Adamic) state, it would do us no good. We would simply fall right back into that damnable, fallen condition because we have no spiritual life by nature, no spiritual power to be or do good, and thus, no strength to keep ourselves. In fact, Adam would have had a far better ‘chance’ at not falling than we would (if such carnal restoration was possible), and yet, consider how it turned out for him. This is why our fallen flesh has no hope of improvement or redemption, none whatsoever. No good can come of it, in and of itself… for in it lies a bastion of sin, a storehouse of iniquity, and that is why it can rightly be called a body of death. This is why we must, by God’s grace, “keep under [our bodies], and bring [it] into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:27) and “through the Spirit…” “mortify the deeds of the body” (Romans 8:13), that it may not have the dominion over us for a season, or seasons, at a time (though, sadly, this ends up being the case from an experimental, temporal point of view). Our bodies can be used for good, they serve many a useful purpose, so it isn’t that having a physical body, in itself, is bad. It is the sin nature that dwells therein that we find so very problematic; even ‘the motions of sins, which were by the law, [and which] did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death’ and which still work in our members when we walk after the flesh and not after the Spirit.
Now, it is true that if we are in Christ, when He returns, He will give us all new spiritual bodies; however, this in no way means that our current fallen flesh, our current carnal bodies, will be cleaned up and made perfect before the Lord. No, this flesh must be destroyed, it must be removed, it must make way for the spiritual body that only God can provide. No flesh shall glory in the presence of the Lord, not in deed, not in state, nor in any other manner. We read in 1 Corinthians 15:50-57:
Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 56 The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. 57 But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Yet, sin does not start or stop with our physical bodies; it isn’t just wrapped up in this flesh. There is still a spiritual component and this spiritual component is more deadly and damning than the physical one. All of the fallen children of Adam are (spiritually) dead in trespasses and sin by nature; we are all immersed in spiritual wickedness. This is why we need the grace of the Father, the Person and blood of Christ, and the washing and renewing of the Holy Spirit to cleanse and save us. Yet, even regenerate saints are admonished as follows “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Finally, I understand that many will reject the reality (or what I believe to be the reality) that sin is embedded in our very makeup and that certain genes/chemical changes/etc. can make one more or less likely to commit certain sins. For instance, some may deny the truth that chromosomal differences can make some more prone to violence and aggression (amongst other things) than others. Some may deny that our neurological ‘wiring,’ our bio-chemistry, our environmental exposures, etc. can affect the manifestation of sin. However, that is for them to work out and discern for themselves, as God ordains… one way or the other. For me, I see our sin-sickness as one that has truly invaded every aspect of our being by nature (soul, spirit, and flesh) and that this reality highlights (amongst other things) why we must be healed, why we must be saved, and why we must born again. Indeed, we must not only be born again, but we must be spiritually kept thereafter, preserved by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit, in light of the finished work of Christ on the cross. The Lord Jesus Christ is the great Physician, the spiritual Balm of Gilead, and (through the Spirit of God) the only perfect Remedy for our fallen, sin-sick condition. He, alone, is “the Sun of righteousness” who arises “with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2) and “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases” (Psalm 103:3). May it be that we be found in Him, not with our own works and righteousness, but with His and His alone; for God promises concerning His people, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from Him” (Hosea 14:4).
To God be the glory, forever and ever, amen.