The Bible doesn’t say that God punished humanity for one man’s sin, but that the disposition of sin entered into humanity by one man. Then another man, Jesus Christ, took the sin of humankind upon himself and put it away (Hebrews 9:26)—an infinitely profounder revelation.

The disposition of sin isn’t immorality and wrongdoing; it’s the disposition of self-realization, the natural-born inclination that says, “I am my own god.” This disposition may show itself in immoral acts or in acts that appear moral, but underneath them all is a single claim—the claim to my right to myself. Our Lord faced people with all the forces of evil inside them, and he faced people who were clean-living and moral and upright. But he never paid attention to moral achievements or to moral failings. He looked for something we do not see: the disposition beneath the act.

The disposition of sin is a thing I am born with and cannot touch. Only God can touch sin, and he touches it through redemption. In the cross of Jesus Christ, God redeemed the whole of humanity from the possibility of damnation through the heredity of sin. Being born with this heredity doesn’t condemn me. But if, when I realize that Jesus Christ came to deliver me from this disposition, I refuse to let him do so, from that moment I begin to get the seal of damnation. “This is the verdict”—the moment of judgment—“Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light” (John 3:19).

Wisdom from Oswald

It is perilously possible to make our conceptions of God like molten lead poured into a specially designed mould, and when it is cold and hard we fling it at the heads of the religious people who don’t agree with us. Disciples Indeed, 388 R