EFCA Statement of Faith, Article 3: What I Believe

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THE HUMAN CONDITION

 We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.

 

Scripture clarifies that all of creation is good, but that the creation of man prompted God to call creation very good (Gen. 1:31). Man is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27; Jam. 3:9). In other words, God created mankind in the likeness of Himself. Man images God in various ways such as exercising dominion (Gen. 1:28), being in relationships (Gen. 2:23-24), and making cognitive decisions (Gen. 4:7). However, mankind fell into sin through the rebellion of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-24). The sin of Adam not only earned him banishment from the Garden, but also served as the doorway of sin and death into the world, and ultimately, all of mankind (Rom. 5:12-14).  Thus, the original sin of Adam and Eve has led to various implications concerning the human condition.people condition

First, all humans throughout all time are sinful by nature and choice. Concerning man’s nature, all are sinful from the time of birth (Ps. 51:5; Eph. 2:3). That is, the heart of man is totally depraved (Jer. 17:9). There is not one area in the life of man that is not some how affected by sin (Matt. 15:19; Rom. 1:18-24). Though people can be “upright citizens” apart from God, it remains that righteousness and perfection is unattainable by work or deed (Rom. 3:23; Eph. 2:8-9). Moreover, mankind consciously rebels against God and His created order (Rom. 1:18-23). Mankind willingly disobeys God and chooses the fleeting pleasures of sin over the joy found in God (1 Jn. 2:15-17).

Second, man’s inherent sinful nature and cognitive choice of sin leads to alienation from God. Sin drives a wedge between God and man and therefore produces alienation and estrangement (Eph. 4:18; Col. 1:21). In other words, man’s choice of hostility and evil deeds yields alienation from God (Eph. 2:1-2, 12; Col. 1:21). Moreover, sin also leads to God’s wrath, or severe anger. In other words, God’s purity and holiness necessitates that He hate and punish sin (Is. 13:11; Rom. 2:5). In the same way that sinful disobedience led to estrangement and punishment in the case of Adam, so too do all who follow in Adam’s footsteps receive the same end (Rom. 5:18).

In light of these truths, man’s situation is utterly hopeless before God as the Righteous Judge. However, God does leave mankind to fend for himself, but rather made a way for sinners to be justified before Him (Jn. 14:6; 1 Cor. 15:55-56). Man’s only hope to defeat the power of sin is the power of the cross of Jesus Christ (Col. 2:14-15). Only by grace through faith can any man be reconciled to God (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:22). Furthermore and finally, only through Jesus Christ can man experience the freedom over sin and death (Rom. 6:14, 8:2).

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