Jonathan Edwards on Original Sin (Part 24)
Observations on Rom. 5:6-10 and Eph. 2:3 with the context, and Rom. 7.
I. Some say that when Scripture indicates that people are "under wrath," etc., it is only referring to the Gentiles collectively; in answer to this, we must consider:
A. The Gospel is calculated to overthrow both pride and distinction between persons.
B. Christ reproved the Pharisees for failing to recognize that they themselves were sinners.
1. He opposed the Pharisees in His parables.
2. He opposed the Pharisees in His instructions to His disciples.
3. He opposed the Pharisees in His words to Nicodemus about the necessity of the new birth.
C. Before the epistles were written, the apostles were taught not to call the Gentiles unclean.
D. The Apostle Paul in particular sought to remove the dividing wall between Jews and Gentiles.
E. The Apostle Paul was also the one who strove most mightily to prove that both Jews and Gentiles are all sinners.
1. The Law, far from making the Jews more righteous, made them more culpable for their sin.
2. Justification by faith in Christ proves that the Jews, as much as the Gentiles, were under sin.
F. It is clear that by "sinners" the Apostle does not mean to indicate "Gentiles," but those who are "morally evil."
G. It is especially clear that "sinners" does not mean "Gentiles" because Paul identifies himself with the term: "while WE were sinners."
1. An objection: Paul means "Gentiles" when he says "WE sinners" because he is the apostle to the Gentiles; but this would be as absurd as:
a. A father saying "we children" to his children;
b. A doctor saying "we sick people" if we were not sick.
2. An objection: Peter distinguishes the sins of the Gentiles (1 Pet 4:3); answer: with this language, Peter simply indicates particular kinds of sins for which the pagan nations are notorious.
II. "By nature" (cf. Eph 2:3)
A. The word in its original signification refers to the begetting of children.
B. The word in this phrase is actually grammatically parallel to the word "children" in the previous phrase.
C. This phrase stands as a contrast to the Jews' perception of themselves as the "children of Abraham" and as a comparison to the Jews' notion of the Gentiles as sinners by nature.
D. "By nature" is contrasted with "by grace."
Labels: Reformation Theology