Embraced  by  Truth . . .
                                    reflections on theology and life

THEOLOGY > Sin > Man's Disobedience > Pattern of Rebellion  


Adam’s rebellion established the pattern or sequence for all sin: his sin was internal and then external; that is, his sin was initiated on the inside before it manifested itself on the outside. Sin is always from the mind to the actions.

Outward heinous acts, and seemingly innocuous deeds of misconduct, do not originate and exist independently of any other consideration. All external acts have roots, and the roots reach to the inner nature of the individual guilty of the acts. This affirms that evil constitutes a two-step process: invisible contemplation and visible act. Man covets before he steals; he hates before he is guilty of murder; he lusts before he commits immorality. There is evil on the inside before there is evil on the outside.

In his thinking Adam was inclined away from God, and in that leaning away from God and His Word is found the internal sin that was the initial sin—the creature was turning from the Creator, and in the turning Adam sinned. In the turning there was a rejection of God and His right to rule. In the inner life of Adam an evil desire was arising, and in the rising desire there was the introduction of sin into the race. This internal disposition of Adam is the original sin of man.

Adam’s rebellion was an assertion of self-rule: Adam’s desires verses God’s direction, or Adam’s will versus God’s will; it was an assertion of moral autonomy and an expression of human autonomy. In rejecting God Adam established himself as the authority; he exercised selfish and self-centered sovereignty, declaring himself free of God, and by his action asserting his freedom from God. All sin is an attempt to dethrone God.

Following this inward deliberation and decision on the part of Adam, a consideration which established a determination to disregard the command of his Creator, Adam actually took the literal fruit that Eve offered and visibly ate, and in eating he revealed the outward and logical conclusion of the inward process.

In this progression of Adam we see the pattern that is emulated by every sinner; his example becomes our practice. Scripture confirms this sequence:

Keep your heart with vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23);

The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick (Jer. 17:9);

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil (Matt. 12:34-35; Lu. 6:45);

What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person (Mk. 7:20-23; Matt. 15:18-20);

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh . . . for to set the mind on the flesh is death . . . for the mind that is set of the flesh is hostile to God (Rom. 8:5-7);

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death (Jas. 1:14-15).

Regarding the inward source of evil, these Scriptures speak of the “heart,” “from within,” and “desire”; these words address the inside and affirm that the inside is the initiating point of the acts that become outward. Man’s problem is a problem of the heart; therefore, conduct cannot be changed unless there is supernatural conversion.

Because of this inner danger, the peril of the heart, the Scriptures reveal numerous warnings to the believer in regard to the inner life and the musings of the mind:

I have stored up Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You (Ps. 119:11);

Keep your heart with vigilance (Prov. 4:23; NIV: “Above all else, guard your heart”; NKJV: “Keep your heart with all diligence”);

Those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit . . . to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace (Rom. 6:5-6);

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col. 3:2).

The heart must be guarded and kept; this is accomplished through the introduction of the Word into the heart, that is, the mind, the internal, the moral and intellectual side of man. The life must  be set on that which is good, resulting in the propensity for good deeds.

For politicians or social planners to think that manipulation of external circumstances will improve or tend to mitigate evil in the culture indicates that they do not understand or deliberately reject the above pattern. Evil is not caused and enhanced by that which is around me but that which is within me; evil conduct arises from what I am, not what I am exposed to. The problem of man is man. Improved living conditions and advanced educational attainment do not inhibit the perverse inclination of the heart.

Reformation does not overcome sin,
that is only accomplished by a Supernatural transformation—
a new heart is mandatory.

Return to: Man's Disobedience; Next Article: The Speaking Serpent

For overview of THEOLOGY, see: Site Map - Theology
Copyright © Embraced by Truth
All rights reserved.
Materials may be freely copied for personal and academic use;
appropriate reference must be made to this site.
Links are invited.