Christianity is not a “head trip”. Satan knows more about God and the Bible than any living creature. The Christian faith is a way of life. A person can be very religious and not be saved. Worship is an important part of our faith, but only a part. And our best worship is in love and service of others; it is easy to sing and pray, “God, I love you”, etc.
We know these things from the Bible. If we did not have the Bible we would not know right from wrong, truth from error. For example, even Abraham had more than one wife.
Doctrine (theology, catechism) is a summary or digest of the Bible, to help understand and apply, practice what the Bible says. But doctrines are not inspired; they don’t all agree (such as, who should be baptized, and how?) and have to be improved, added to, as the Holy Spirit (invisible Jesus) keeps on teaching us; the Holy Spirit is the one who inspired the Bible. For example, in the part of Catechism we are studying, the word “we” is used sometimes to describe us as human beings (who all descended form Adam and Eve) and then again, as Christians, who are new people, changed, day-and-night different from non-Christians, unbelievers.
That is why many people have the impression – and say so- that every human being is a sinner. That is simply not so. I may be able to sing, but that does not mean I am a “singer”; to fix little things on my car, but not call myself a “mechanic”. The Bible tells us – though nobody has to be told; we all have a conscience – that everybody sins; some much, some little, But the Bible nowhere calls a Christian a “sinner’, even a “forgiven sinner”, such as you find on bumper stickers, many hymns, etc. We are saints. Because Christ lives in our hearts (think of the song, “I serve a risen Savior….”) we are new people, perfect people. (Can Christ be half-perfect?) We have been born twice, a second time.
And that doesn’t mean that we are Siamese twins, schizophrenics, Jekyl-Hydes. Our natural self, our “old” nature, the person that we were before we were born again, was replaced, substituted, actually died when we became a Christian. (When a sub goes into a game, one of the former players has to come out, stop playing.)
That new “you”, which is Christ-in-you, does not have to sin. Some people think we just have to sin constantly, that we can’t help it. That is a cop-out. The Bible says we do not have to. (I Cor. 10:13 Also many verses in I John.) That new you will never die; Hebrews says that Christ died just once, and can never die again. It will never face a judgement; if he or she is perfect, as the new you is, what can it be judged for?
But what about the times we do sin? (And “sin” includes mistakes we make in school as well as failing to do good things that we ought to. A person sins if he stays in bed all day, without doing a single “bad” thing, because he OUGHT to be doing this or that for good.) Well, when a chicken has its head off, it can still do a lot of “damage”; an auto that is going down the highway may run out of gas and the motor be “dead”, but it keeps on going a while, even able to kill somebody. And after we become a Christian, (a new person; somebody been been buried), it can “coast” or keep on kicking for the rest of our life (tho’ less and less), in habits that we do without thinking, etc. But that is not “you”; they are like knee-jerks on a doctor’s table. (Romans 7:17,20)
And where did we get those old habits? We inherited them from our parents, just as we got our skin-color, specific sex, musical ability or math skill from our folks or grand-parents, and they, of course, got theirs from previous ancestors. And it all, of course, started with Adam. That is what we mean by “original” sin – how it started, originated.
But there is a simple way to repudiate all that. Conscientious objectors to fighting in Vietnam, just because the President “declares war” on a country, can escape killing (and being killed), by going to another country. And we can reject Adam, refuse to have anything to do with him, by uniting with Jesus, the Second Adam, who started a new race, a new humanity, of perfect people. Faith is an acrostic for: Forsaking Adam, I Take Him (Jesus). Then you an say with Paul, Who cares what Adam did? Look at what Christ did! For me, and in me.
That’s what Romans 5 is all about (and Paul keeps on explaining until he says in Romans 8:1 – Now, therefore, there is NO condemnation – for Adam’s sin or any of our own – for those who are IN Christ Jesus). The only reason the Bible explains how we and Adam are connected is to give us a poor picture of how much better and closer we are connected to Christ. Who wants to keep looking at a poor picture of a person when you have the “real thing” right beside you?