This is Part 1 of a two part answer to the question, “In what ways are people guilty before God?” which is part of the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.
There is no doubt that this may be the most difficult question and answer to deal with in this book. How can so many people who were innocent of the suffering they incurred have guilt themselves? Millions have been killed by vicious dictators, merely for being born in a particular country or culture, or with the “wrong” skin color! Any wrongdoing of their own seems to pale in comparison to the horrendous and unjust manner in which they have suffered worldwide throughout history!
Everyone in the Human Race Carries Guilt
The reality is, however, that everyone in the human race carries guilt. When Adam and Eve chose to defy God’s command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they sinned and therefore bore guilt. Adam’s sin nature has been passed to every member of the human race through the human fathers according to Paul’s statement in Romans, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12 NKJ) Hence, Adam was the “federal representative” (because he was the first, he represented us all) for the entire human race (except Jesus, because He had no human father), and everyone bears the guilt of Adam’s original sin. Therefore, all mankind is spiritually separate from God at the point of conception, “For the wages of sin is death (spiritual separation from God).” (Rom 6:23 NKJ)
We see the immediate effects of that guilt in Cain’s life when he chose to directly disobey God’s admonition to control his sin nature (Gen. 4:7-8). Outside of Jesus Christ, every person was born with a sin nature and therefore carries guilt.
In fact, there have been many times in history when God said, “Enough is enough!” and imposed Divine discipline. When Israel’s sin of hypocrisy and self-righteousness had grown very great, God declared through Isaiah, “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats.” (Is. 1:11 NKJ) The guilt grew so that at certain points God imposed Divine discipline.
Guilt is Revealed in Actions
We see the culmination of guilt in the sinful choices of the human race prior to the flood. God saw the wickedness of man, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5 NKJ) Therefore, He chose to wipe out all of mankind and begin anew with Noah. But Noah carried guilt and that guilt was passed through his sons to the rest of the human race, to the present day.
After God again imposed Divine discipline – this time on the nation of Israel – and sent them into exile, He gave them time to think about their wrongdoing (sins).
And when Israel rejected Jesus at His first coming, God scattered them so they could not enjoy His presence in Jerusalem.
Toward the end of the Church Age, Christians will fall away due to the deception of the enemy. The “great falling away” at the end of the Church Age and will be clearly seen in the Tribulation,
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God1 in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Thes. 2:3-4 NKJ)
There will be another great falling away at the end of the Millennium, when Satan will be loosed from the abyss. The rebellion he instigates will be called the “Gog and Magog” revolution (Rev. 20:8-9).
Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.