Where Does Sin Originate?
The Bible teaches us that human sin does not come from the devil, and that’s one of the most important truth that anybody has to learn. You might say, “The devil tempted Adam.” He did not. The devil tempted Eve, and 1 Timothy 2:14 makes it clear that though the woman was deceived by Satan, Adam was not. He sinned with his eyes wide open. Adam’s sin was what theologians call a de novo transaction; there was no connection between Adam’s rebellion and the devil’s rebellion. They were alike. The devil had been given a free will and had said, “I will.”
Then man was given a free will, and he too said, “I will,” but he was not deceived. Eve had been deceived. She thought she had done a good thing, but Adam saw the fruit as the symbol of a dependence on God that he hated, and he ate. “Well,” someone says, “where did that come from?” It was the exercise of the will in opposition to God’s will.
That is what Jesus is teaching here. Sin does not come from the outside world or from the devil. It comes from the heart. I remember preaching this truth for the first time some years ago, and a woman said to her friend, “That was a very disturbing sermon, because the devil has been such a comfort to me.” Believe me, God never meant the devil to be a comfort to anybody. But what she meant was that she had looked around at evil in the world and said, “It’s the devil; what can we do about it?” But the source of sin and evil and misery in this world is not the devil; the source is man.
What about the fact that the devil tempts us? True, but our sin does not originate in the devil. Satan is merely trying to make you his ally, but he cannot force you to sin. He doesn’t need to! Adam’s rebellion is reproduced in every generation, and redemption must be presented to every generation too. This is what Jesus was teaching His disciples. He began by forbidding His disciples to participate in the formalism of the washing of hands, and then He went back to the reason why. Physical acts are not the problem, says Jesus. The thing that will cause you trouble in ten million directions is what comes from the heart, unless your mind, heart, and will are yielded to the Lord.
- What is sin?
- Where did sin originate from?
- Who is responsible for our individual sins?
- Does Satan tempt us?
- How does Satan tempt us?