Study 4 – Man, Our True Nature

True knowledge of ourselves destroys self confidence' - John Calvin.

How do you see man? Is he basically good, or bad? Perhaps one of the most important things we need to know is the truth about ourselves.

Man is made by God and therefore each person has dignity and worth.

What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

This can be seen in terms of the structure of our personalities and in our relationships.


Even now, man, like God, has immortality and spirituality. He is able to think, has a moral sense and is creative. He is able to love.

In what ways can we apply this idea today?

Because we are all made in the image of God, each of us has dignity and value from the very beginning of life until its end, from conception to death. Evolutionary views of life, i.e. that man is an animal, have produced terrible brutality during the last 100 years. They still do so, e.g. abortion, euthanasia.

Man in his original state was free from death, holy, perfect, free and able to obey God's commands.

Why did all this change?

Read the conditions God set Genesis 2:16-17. See how Adam and Eve disobeyed. Genesis 3:1-24

What were the results of the fall?

1) Broken relationships:

2) The curse of God upon them Genesis 3:14-19, a broken relationship with creation.

Note the encouraging feature. Genesis 3:15

[Why is Adam's objective, historical sin important?

Adam is seen by God as man's representative head. He sinned and fell and the whole human race has been viewed as sinners since then and also inherited his corrupt nature. Romans 5:12-21]

What is sin?

It must be seen in relation to God. It is missing the mark (God's), breaking God's law, not doing as God commands, not having faith in God.

See Romans 3:23; 1 John 3:4; James 4:17; Romans 14:23

Sin has the following effects on us:

1) We are dead spiritually and therefore unable to respond to God.

2) By nature we are sinners we have a sinful heart and therefore sin.

3) All of us are sinners.

Sin results in:

Sin therefore produces corruption, guilt, condemnation and death. It affects every part of our nature. Even our best works are spoilt by sin. [Isaiah 59:1-4, 59:20, 64:6]. This condition is sometimes called total depravity.

These verses indicate how helpless and hopeless we are as sinners, and how we need God to help us if ever we are going to be saved. We are powerless but God is able. In your own time look up:

If you see yourself as a sinner and are moved by that awareness, see what the Bible says you must do.

If God has saved us we should be thankful. There is no room for boasting about ourselves.