Let us hear, first of all, what God Himself has to say about this disease. When we are stricken with sickness, it is not for us to say what the nature of our trouble is. It is for the physician to diagnose our sickness and, if that is possible, to prescribe a cure. Men may have their own views of sin, but if these deny or contradict what God says about it in His Word, they are to be rejected as false and spurious and of no importance at all. He who is our Creator is the One who knows all things. He has made a diagnosis of this disease, and if we are wise it is to listen to His Word. This subject, however, is so vast, so deep and terrible that we can only mention a few aspects of it.
The first thing that God says about this disease is that it is a universal condition. “All have sinned.” “There is none righteous, no not one.’ Adam was the federal head of mankind; so that when he fell away from God we all fell and sinned in him and with him. And the loathsome disease, which took possession of his nature, extends to all men. None of those who enter this world by ordinary generation has escaped this deadly plague. Its destructive power works in the hearts and lives of all men.
It is a disease, which is also co-extensive with the whole of our being. There are those who say that although man has fallen a prey to sin he is still capable of doing good, and that there is still much in his nature which God accepts and recognizes as good. While by human categories we classify men as “good” and “bad”, God, who knows the heart, pronounces us all without soundness or health. Before His eyes the heart of man is “desperately wicked” and, in the depth of its depravity, it is known only to Him. And when God speaks of the “heart” He means the whole of our nature and the whole bent and bias of our minds, our wills and of all our inward desires. We were “born in sin and shapen in iniquity”, and to our original sin we add actual transgressions which greatly aggravate our state and plight. The world in which we live is, for example, a pale reflection of the heart of man. From whence come the wars, the confusions, the lawlessness, the indescribable abominations, which threaten our destruction in these days? They have their source in the human heart, and if the present process of degeneration continues one wonders how long can the Lord bear with us.