The Structural Sin

Pastor Jeff Struecker

If you’ve been with us for a while, we have been discussing humanity. The crown jewel of all that God created way back at the beginning of the Bible in the garden of Eden was human beings that were made in His image. And we’ve spent a couple of months talking about what happened to us when our first parents, Adam and Eve, committed that first sin. Well, we’re going to take the topic of personal sin that we’ve been talking about for several weeks now, and we’re going to move that topic one step further. 

The bible scholars and theologians call this topic structural sin. When you hear the phrase structural sin, I want you to think about it like a thread of sin woven into the fabric of humanity. Every part of society is somehow touched by sin. Actually, the best way to describe structural sin for you is this regular pattern of rebellion that started with Adam and Eve when they ate the forbidden fruit. And that rebellion has continued in every person and society you and I live in. 

The idea of the pattern of rebellion is really what we mean by structural sin, and I have this clip from United Nations that talks about societal or structural racism. Now, I don’t want you to think of only the United States or one color of skin. And I’ll tell you what they’re going to say in this clip. Every single state and every country in the world has elements of societal or structural racism in it. And if it’s true for every single country on the planet, then it must be something about humanity. 

I want you to hear what the Bible says about this because, essentially, the Bible will tell us that this is true all over the planet. It’s true of all people, at all times; you and I inherited this from our parents, Adam and Eve. I’ve got a verse from the Bible, and I really need you to put the effort in this week to memorize Daniel 9:11. This verse is longer than the usual verse from the Bible because this verse talks about structural sin. We’re not just talking about racism, but there is a pattern of rebellion in all people, all places at all times. And this also tells you how God feels about it and God’s plans for it. 

Memory Verse

There’s some pretty powerful stuff in this one long verse. It’s a verse that uses the language all, and it is a verse that describes what’s happened inside our hearts. It also tells us that God warned us about this in the book of Exodus when God gave the law to Moses. He warned his people that we have this innate rebellion inside of us. Actually, what God told Cain, Adam and Eve’s son, is you have rebellion inside of you, and you got to get it under control, but Cain didn’t get it under control, and he killed his brother Abel. That same rebellion is inside us, and it’s also inside the fabric of our society. 

Unfortunately, it’s what causes us to look at a guy who has a different color of skin different from us. It’s what drives us to take advantage of one type of person instead of a different type of person. I want you to hear that we worship a God who is perfect, a God who created everything, the Lord of heaven and earth, and when He created us, He created us perfectly. Now that we have learned about structural sin, I want you to be very honest with yourself, and if you’re in the family, parents, I want you to have a conversation with your children. 

A Challenge

This isn’t just about the United States, but every country has elements of this. And maybe you don’t even notice it because you walk right by it. If you were to take a half step for just a second, a half step backward, and look at it from a bigger angle. Where do you see structural sin? And then the next question should be, how can you be God’s advocate to try to make that structural sin go away in your neighborhood, city, or country?