Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The title of the 1966 film staring Clint Eastwood truly depicts the human condition. The good we possess is over-shadowed by the bad and the ugly. Theologically we would refer to this as our sin nature. It's not a pretty picture, and we often fight with its reality, but the truth is, we are sinners; born and bred.

The 3rd article of our Statement of Faith declares,
We believe that God created Adam and Eve in His image, but they sinned when tempted by Satan. In union with Adam, human beings are sinners by nature and by choice, alienated from God, and under His wrath. Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.
This is not a message well-accepted in our culture today, both inside and outside the walls of the church. Some have heard the Biblical truth, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) for so long that it seems as though sin has lost its sting. We quickly run to the truth, and rightly so, that for by "grace we have been saved." (Ephesians 2:8) I suppose we need to stand in the balance somewhere.

It's not that we don't acknowledge that we are sinners, it is that we don't cringe at its deadly reality. The truth is, that apart from Christ in us, we can do no good thing. Even the good we would endeavor to do, is undone by the bad and the ugly. We are sinners in desperate need of a Savior, and that saving act is a constant need. Without a full understanding of the need, we will never quite grasp the fullness of the Cross.

With this two things must be noted, first, I am not talking about beating people silly with their sin, what I am talking about is dealing honestly with the human condition. Second, in any dealing with the reality of our sin, we must also diligently declare the final sentence in the 3rd Article. It reads,
Only through God’s saving work in Jesus Christ can we be rescued, reconciled and renewed.
Therein is the gospel, that is God's redemptive work through His Son, Jesus Christ, we can be rescued, reconciled and renewed! There is the good news! As Paul Harvey used to say, "this is the rest of the story."

So, in light of the reality of our sin, let us remember the greater reality of the love of God. As the Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 5:8,
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Hallelujah!

2 comments:

gentledove said...

I believe Paul did a great job of explaining the problem and the solution in the 7th chapter of Romans. I certainly have found through my own experience (and I am no spring chicken so I have years of experience) that whenever “I” tried to practice Christ’s teachings because that is what “I” should do or because something was what “I” should not do, the more apt “I” was to fail no matter how hard “I” tried, no matter how much “I” wanted to obey God. Very discouraging. Who can save me? The good news I learned was that God can do for me and in me what “I” cannot do for myself.

Eventually, my eyes were opened and I began to realize that to the degree that I consciously realize and depend upon the Holy Spirit within me (always giving the Holy Spirit within me credit for doing His work), the more likely I was and am able to walk the walk. Just before Christ died on the cross he told his disciples he was going away and instead of being sad they should be glad because he was leaving so that their joy might be full. Why? Because only if Christ went away, could the “comforter” come. The Holy Spirit, the teacher, the power that saves us from ourselves

To not realize that we do indeed have a sin nature and desperately and continually need our savior is like a type A diabetic not admitting that their bodies do not produce insulin so they need injections. Why should a diabetic hang their head in shame just because they need medication? Why not dance for joy as one walks into the pharmacy, gets the prescription filled and thank God that death has been overcome? And what Type A diabetic would take only one insulin shot and think themselves no longer dependent upon insulin if they want to stay alive? Likewise, we need to realize how dependent we always are on God.

No need for shame because our sins have been removed and we are whiter than snow because of him and as we practice his teachings, he continues to transform us from radiance to radiance into his likeness. No need to brag though, because we do no have the power in and of ourselves to walk the walk and save ourselves.

Just a need to practice and be thankful and give him the praise, give him the credit, for what we didn’t, couldn’t and can’t do for ourselves.

Pastor Randy said...

gentledove,

Love the diabetic illustration, how true that is, thanks again for sharing.

How true that we, because of Jesus, need not carry the shame, but rather rejoice in the healing!

Amen!