The phrase, “I’m only human,” is used far too often as an excuse for unrepentant and unconfessed sin. The phrase is a lie, for it relies on a misunderstanding of human nature. It assumes the sin nature is essential to human nature. This is assumption is incorrect.

The biblical assessment of human nature bears this out. In Genesis 1:26-28, God creates humanity—male and female—in his image and shares his authority with them, commanding them to have dominion on the earth. In Genesis 1:31, God looks at everything he has made—including humanity—and declares it all “very good.” In Psalm 8:5-6, the psalmist declares that though humanity is dwarfed by the universe, we have glory, honor, and dominion from God. This same psalm is quoted in Hebrews 2:6-8, where it also speaks to humanity. In Hebrews, humanity (not yet having all in subjection) is contrasted with Christ (as already crowned and enthroned).

To call oneself “only human” is to disrespect God as Creator and Redeemer, for to be human is not to be an “only.” The term simply does not apply. Humanity is glorious and majestic because it carries the image of its glorious and majestic Creator. The sin nature is not essential to human nature. The sin nature is brokenness; it is a corruption of true humanity. True humanity is seen in Jesus, [1] for he is the only human to have lived his entire earthly life as truly human, trusting the Father and living by the Spirit. Therefore, to be truly human is to be like Jesus. This is most certainly not an “only.”

So, what of sin? Sin is humanity’s rebellious attempt to make itself like God (Gen 3:5). Sin was and is a willful choice (Gen 3:6-7; James 1:13-15). As such, sin cannot be excused, but it can be explained.

Those who have yet to trust Jesus are in slavery to sin (Rom 6). They choose to sin and continue to place themselves in slavery to sin. Those who have trusted Jesus are free. Believers sin because, on some level—intentional or unintentional—the habits of sin remain.

The habits of sin are strong. On our own, it is impossible to replace them with habits of trust. God has graciously given us everything we need to learn habits of trust. He has given us spiritual disciplines. Silence, study, service, corporate worship, and other disciplines provide opportunities to work alongside the Spirit as he retrains the habits of our souls. He has given us one another. The community of Jesus-followers provides feedback and support, as together we become more like Jesus. Finally, he has given us himself. The Spirit lives in our hearts, working with our hearts to make us more like Jesus.

We must stop making excuses for sin and we must begin acknowledging the reasons for sin. We must confess and repent of our sinful habits. We must choose to be the human persons God has created and redeemed us to be, by choosing to trust the Father, Son, and Spirit. We must choose to walk in that trust each day.


[1] Jesus’ full humanity in no way diminishes nor detracts from his full divinity. The reverse is also true. Jesus’ full divinity in no way diminishes nor detracts from his full humanity.


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“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” http://www.esv.org/

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