Romans 5:19; I John 2:16; 2 Timothy 3:1-4
By one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners.
All that is in world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.
STEPHEN CHARNOCK (1628-1680): How came it to pass that man’s wickedness should rise so high? Whence did it spring?
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The whole case of the Bible from beginning to end is this: that life, and man, and the world simply cannot be understood until we see everything in the light of, and in the context of the truth of God…Now, you cannot begin to solve the problems of mankind until you know what man is like. How futile it must be to attempt it! You must start with the character, the nature, the being of man―what sort of a creature is he?
C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Man is a reeking mass of corruption…As the salt flavours every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature.
PHILIP MELANCTHON (1497-1560): Original sin is an inclination born with us, a kind of impulse which is pleasing to us, a kind of force which draws us into sin, and which has been transmitted by Adam to all his posterity. As there is in fire a native force which carries it upward, as there is in the magnet a natural power to attract steel, so there is in man a primary force disposing him to evil.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Here we are given the only real and adequate explanation of why there are such things as wars―Why is it that men kill one another, and have even gloried in war. Why? What’s the explanation of it all? Well, there’s only one answer: it’s because man is like this―you remember how James puts it in that fourth chapter of his epistle? Whence come wars among you? And he answers the question: Even of your lusts, that war in your members. That’s the cause of war. It’s man in his fallen condition.
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791): Here is the first seat of war. Hence proceeds the war of man with man, king with king, nation with nation.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Man today is as rotten as he was the moment he fell in the Garden of Eden…
Now I say that this is something that is absolutely vital for us as a starting point. This is true of nations, it’s true of classes, it’s true of individuals. And surely there is nothing that is quite so pathetic, as the way in which people think along one line when they’re thinking of nations, and along another line when they’re thinking of individuals. It’s no use talking eloquently about the sanctity of international contracts, while you are dealing with people who break their own marriage contracts, and other personal contracts. Because nations consist of individuals; a nation is not something abstract; you cannot expect conduct from a nation which you do not have from an individual. Now this is a principle which operates from top to bottom, from the individual, to the nation, to the continent, to the whole world itself. And you see the explanation is this: that man is governed by these desires of the flesh and of the mind. He isn’t so interested in whether a thing is right or not, he’s interested in that he wants it, that he likes it, and that he must have it.
ADAM CLARKE (1760-1832): Lusts. This was the principle from which all the wars that have afflicted and desolated the world have proceeded. One nation or king covets another’s territory or property; and, as conquest is supposed to give right to all the possessions gained by it, they kill, slay, burn, and destroy, till one is overcome or exhausted, and then the other makes his own terms.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Of course, we stand back aghast when a nation does that. When Hitler walks in and annexes Austria, we are horrified! Yes, people are horrified, who do that very thing in their personal lives. They do it, I say, in the matter of another man’s wife; they do it in the matter of a man’s post or position. It’s the same thing exactly. There is the principle then: it is this lust that governs mankind. The first deduction therefore is, that here and here alone do we have an adequate explanation of, and an adequate understanding, of why things are as they are.
D. L. MOODY (1837-1899): Man in his best day, under the most favourable circumstances, is nothing but a failure.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Very well, let’s leave that. The second deduction I think follows very logically, which is this: while man continues to be like that, the world will continue to be as it is. I think it’s obvious if it is the state of man in sin that has been responsible for the history of the past, then obviously while man remains like that the history of the future is going to be the same…And we have specific teaching from our blessed Lord Himself, who said there will be “wars, and rumours of wars,” Matthew 26:6.
D. L. MOODY: I don’t find any place where God says the world is to grow better and better―I find that the earth is to grow worse and worse.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Here we come face to face with the optimism of the natural man, who is always so sure and confident that somehow or another we in our generation can put things right. Whereas all other generations have failed who have gone before us, we are in a different position, we’re in a superior position; we are educated, we are cultured, we know―they didn’t―but we’ve advanced so much, we must do it, we’re going to do it! Now I say if you believe this Biblical doctrine of man in sin you must see at once that that’s a fatal fallacy. It’s impossible! If it is this question of the lusts that are in man in sin, while they are there, there will be wars.
C. H. SPURGEON: It is not the nature of sin to remain in a fixed state. Like decaying fruit, it grows more rotten. The man who is bad today will be worse tomorrow.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: “As they were in the days of Noah” Christ says, “even so they shall be in the days of the Son of Man,” Luke 17:26-30; “As they were in Sodom,” He says, “even so they shall be.”
C. H. SPURGEON: Worse still, if worse can be: those who dare walk our streets after sundown tell us that Sodom, in its most putrid days, could scarce exceed this metropolis for open vice…Deep is our shame when we know that our judges are not clear in this matter, but social purity has been put to the blush by magistrates.