Sin is the default nature of mankind, as soon as one becomes cognizant that they can exercise their free will without personal repercussions from others, they will do so. That age arrives at a different time for each of us, but needless to say it comes when we are very young. It is not a toddler saying “No” to his parents, nor is it open rebellion to any form of human authority, these are constructs of the human mind, it is the inner knowledge that what we are doing, whether or not we understand fully that the action or thought, is wrong, is against God’s will for how we are to act or think.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10)
All are made in the image of God, and the realization of this comes to us in that very early age when, if you will, that feeling comes upon us that knows without a doubt that the deed or thought is not right, that it goes against how we are to conduct ourselves externally and internally. The moment we realize we have free will is the moment we sin, none have been able to not do so, only the Lord Jesus Christ was sinless.
Eve thought about eating the fruit before she did so, Adam contemplated the words of his wife before he did the same. Once they knew that they would not die in the terminology of the meaning of the word as they understood it, they ate, and we do the same, punishment for sin, sin against the Living God is rarely swift and immediate, and so we become emboldened, and, if not checked, will been given over to a reprobate mind.
The beginning of the call of the Lord is the realization of the truth of this inner knowledge of the difference between good and evil, the recognition of that feeling that one is pleasing in His eyes and the other is not, even before we have even heard the word “God,” even before we understand the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness, we know, even at a very young age what is right and what is wrong.
Satan in the garden of Eden knew full well these truths, and also knew that works performed by mankind solely for the purpose of abating those bad feelings and replacing them with good ones could best be accomplished by a works-based pattern of life, that doing good deeds, that thinking good thoughts would deceive men into believing that they were good, that they could become acceptable to God by their own manufactured ideology of what He would accept.
The laws of man are meant to attempt to reign in incorrect moral actions and thoughts, to keep man from expressing himself in ways that would cause mankind to fall into total depravity and thus chaos.
We have failed at this.
More than an example was set by the Lord Jesus Christ, more than the actions and thoughts we are to perform was shown to us by Him, He made it quite clear, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) You cannot just study what Jesus Christ did, you must understand fully why He did so.
Faith my friends is what is pleasing to God, faith in the fact that His Word is true, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only means to our salvation, that no work we do, none of our “good” thoughts will ever be good enough.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Eph. 2:8)