How many times have we heard, after someone makes a mistake, or acts sinfully, “Well, he was ONLY HUMAN, after all”? Perhaps many times. But do we ever wonder why this is used as an excuse for the sinful action? Is there something IN US that MAKES us sin against our will?
There are a lot of clever excuses we can use to avoid doing what's right – or even actively doing what is wrong. We can say others around us “forced” us to do these things – and peer pressure can indeed be a strong factor. We can say we couldn't avoid doing them – and if we put ourselves in situations in which sin is happening a lot, that can certainly influence us. And we can also say that we were born so flawed that we CANNOT do anything BUT sin and rebel against God – that we are “only human.” This last excuse is perhaps the greatest lie to ever infect Christendom - and the vast majority of Christians today believe it.
If it’s true, just BEING among those pressuring us means that we will cave in to sin every time. But that’s not true. We CAN resist, and Jesus and the Bible teaches us that we can, and must, do so.
It's important to know exactly what "sin" is. John said he wrote so that people "will not sin" (1 John 2:1.) That's not to say that we are going to immediately stop all sinning once we are exposed to the teachings of Jesus, but early Christians clearly expected new converts to make all effort to put behind them the sins they previously did. This was true of stealing, lusting, cheating others, lying, and more.
If what's being called "sin" is inherited from our birth, it cannot be called "sin", which is an act, not a thing. If it is a compulsion from birth, we cannot be guilty for being compelled unavoidably. But if sin is a choice, and we can avoid it, we must. Turns out, God told Adam's son that sin is a choice. (Gen. 4:7-8) That he chose falsely means he earned punishment. Only an individual’s ACTS of sin are punishable, and we are not liable for the sins of anyone else (Ezek. 18:19-24.) If we are sinful by nature, and yet we sin, we are NOT guilty, according to God.
In the Genesis story, Adam's very own son had the ability to not sin. Sin, therefore, cannot be inherited and passed down through either a man's "seed" or a woman's womb to us.
We must trust God when He told Cain - and us - that we NEED NOT SIN, and instead, must work to not sin any longer, instead asking God's forgiveness, which is granted freely upon repenting of our past behavior. We are assured that God has given all people the ability to stop sinning (Deut. 30:11-14; 19) and that we have Jesus as our example that a human being need not sin, and in fact can obey God. Jesus’ example is a model upon which we can shape our actions.
We must trust Jesus when he said we must seek Godliness and that we could become Godly and complete – not by ourselves without God or without God’s chosen example, but with God's ongoing help and with the example of Jesus always before us.
We are called to commit our lives to obedience to God's chosen Son, Jesus, the Anointed Prophet of God, and submit to humbly walk with him, relying, as he taught, on God's grace and forgiveness and growing into the Righteous Perfection that God knows we are capable of achieving.