A Question I Was Asked:

'Is Original Sin Enough to Condemn Us All On It's Own?'

The Actual Question

'Is the 'bottom line' on Sin and Salvation that Adam's Original Sin has passed to all so all are condemned apart from redemption in Christ? Are some, or all, people condemned simply because of 'Original Sin'? Or is more needed for condemnation?

My Reply

Whilst your opening comment might serve as a brief summation, much more needs to be brought out for a proper, thoroughgoing explanation. While 'Original Sin' does earn condemnation, our Lord never requires condemnation on that basis alone. Theoretically, every person who has ever lived is justly condemned through inheriting the sins of Adam and through piling their own individual sins on top of that. Escape from that hopeless situation is only brought about through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross and in the resurrection, so - yes - that is the bottom line. However, more needs to be said, so please read on...

Biblically, salvation is explained as being obtained through the grace of the Lord Jesus - absolutely nothing we can ever do to earn it!

However, condemnation is different. Biblically, we do earn that by our own behaviour. The Scriptures are truly abundant to back up this point. So when the older Calvinists (and some modern ones too!), state that 'double predestination' is the biblical position they are totally incorrect! In this way of reasoning, and frankly it is indeed human reasoning, the majority are doomed for Hell and a very few only are the Elect of God. But the Bible only ever speaks about predestination in association with the saved, and insists that the wicked bring condemnation upon themselves. It goes on insisting this from cover to cover. Let us just look at a few examples of this:

Mat 7:23: And then I will say to them I never knew you! Depart from Me, those working lawlessness!

Mat 16:27: For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He shall reward each one according to his works.

Mat 25:42: For I was hungry, and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink;
Mat 25:43: I was a stranger and you did not take Me in; I was naked, and you did not clothe Me; I was sick, and in prison, and you did not visit me.
Mat 25:44: Then they will also answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to You?
Mat 25:45: Then He shall answer them, saying, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.

John 3:36: He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him.

Rom 1:28: And even as they did not think fit to have God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do the things not right,

Rom 2:1: Therefore you are without excuse, O man, everyone who judges; for in that in which you judge another, you condemn yourself, for you who judge do the same things.
Rom 2:2: But know that the judgment of God is according to truth on those who practice such things.

Rom 2:6: who will render to each according to his works;
Rom 2:7: indeed to those who with patience in good work are seeking for glory, and honor, and incorruptibility, everlasting life.
Rom 2:8: But to those who indeed disobeying the truth out of self-seeking, and obeying unrighteousness, will be anger and wrath,

1 Cor. 6:9: Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor abusers, nor homosexuals,
1 Cor. 6:10: nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Col 3:25: But he who does wrong shall receive justice for the wrong which he did, and there is no respect of persons.

Rev 20:12: And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 20:13: And the sea gave up the dead in it. And death and hell delivered up the dead in them. And each one of them was judged according to their works.

Rev 22:12: And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each according as his work is.

Those are just a very few examples, of which there are several more, which insist that the wicked earn their own destiny. This, then, is not an 'other side of the coin' issue at all (as Calvinism has so incorrectly taught). The righteous are saved by grace through faith, they are the subjects of Divine Election, but the wicked fully earn their destiny.


All humans are born born under 'Original Sin' (which is legally sufficient for condemnation), this is why even little toddlers quickly become selfish and spiteful if they don't get their own way. However, this inheritance never seems to result in actual condemnation without wilful sin and/or rejection of Christ! So whereas 'Original Sin' might be sufficient for condemnation, our merciful God apparently never requires condemnation on that basis alone.

And what of those who have lived and died without ever even hearing the Name of Christ? They are not condemned for that reason. God is able to judge those things by the amount of spiritual truth which He has brought into their lives! Surely some - perhaps very many - will have lived under the grace of Christ without even hearing His Name; they will have manifested the love of Christ and will be 'elect believers.' In exactly the same manner, the saints of the Old Testament are included in the efficacy of Christ's sacrifice even though living hundreds, or thousands, of years before His birth in Bethlehem.

Christ, then, is ontologically necessary for salvation (there is no salvation without Christ), but not epistemologically necessary (knowledge and understanding of Him and his work may vary). This seems to be the only way to read all the relevant Scriptures.
Robin A. Brace, April 4th 2009.