Christianity 201

December 5, 2018

We Have Both a Sinful Nature and a Divine Nature

A few weeks ago I shared a conversation with someone on the very topic of today’s article. We live in the intersection of two worlds; this world and the world to come; and we possess both a fallen nature and an Imago dei nature. Keith Giles is an author, podcast host, house church pastor and blogger at Patheos.  This is our third time highlighting his writing here at C201.

Please click through to read articles here at source. We post them here as a matter of record and for email subscribers, but you are strongly encouraged to send some blog traffic to the original writers’ site of origin.

Our Divine Potential

The question usually gets framed as something like: “Do you believe that humans are all born in original sin?” or “Do humans have a sin nature?”

For me, the problem is in the question itself. It assumes the answer before anyone can really consider all the variables.

As an example, we could factually say that every human being goes to the bathroom on a regular basis. So, does that mean that humans are poopers by nature? Well, yes, but is that our identity? Is that who you are?

Of course not. The fact that everyone poops is not a reflection of their nature, or their character. It’s just a fact. People poop. But, who we are is so much more!

So, the fact that people have the potential for evil, or even that we all sometimes act in ways that are selfish, or unforgiving, or hateful, or harmful, does NOT mean that this is who we are by nature. Why? Because these same people – you and me – are also constantly doing things that are thoughtful, and kind, and selfless, and compassionate, and good.

In other words, we all have the potential for both good and evil. We are no less born with a sinful nature than we are with a righteous nature. Everyone has the potential for either, or both, at any given time.

The Good News is that we also have the potential to share in the Divine Nature of Christ:

“His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:3-4; NRSV)

This is the other reason I reject the notion of Original Sin, because it keeps us in a pre-Christian state of mind where we are hopeless and helpless to overcome our darker tendencies. The Good News is that Christ empowers us to live (abide) in the life of Christ and learn to participate in his Divine nature.

In other words: We all have the potential for both good and bad thoughts/actions, but if we abide in Christ we can start to experience our Divine Potential.

The emphasis, then, is not on our sinfulness, or our tendency to fail, but on our awesome ability to be like Christ (which is the whole point of the Gospel of the Kingdom).

We are not only called to walk as Jesus did, we are empowered to do so, and have been given “everything we need for life and godliness.”

So, rather than fixate on our sinful potential, the shift we need to make is to focus on our divine potential.

You are not a sinner, even if once in a while you sin. You are a child of God who is made in this Divine image, and you have been given everything you need to grow into this new nature today.

You have a Divine Potential. Start living in that reality as soon as possible.

Why not right now?



Christianity 201 is a melting-pot of devotional and Bible study content from across the widest range of Christian sources. Sometimes two posts may follow on consecutive days by authors with very different doctrinal perspectives. The Kingdom of God is so much bigger than the small portion of it we can see from our personal vantage point, and one of the purposes of C201 is to allow readers a ‘macro’ view of the many ministries and individual voices available for reading. Please click through on titles to read articles at the site where they originally appeared.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: