For July 29, 2020
In the beginning, as God was completing His Creation of Heaven and the earth, He created man and woman and placed them in the Garden of Eden. Only a loving, omniscient, omnipotent God could combine blood, bone, tissue, and flesh with His Spirit to create such special creatures as human beings.
Eternal bliss was ours with one caveat; do not eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When our ancestors ate the fruit, spiritual and physical death happened as God warned. Our physical death occurred over time, but our spiritual death was immediate, and it contaminated the entire world with sin.
Our eternal fellowship with God was lost forever leaving us with a sinful spiritual condition that causes us to think, speak, and act in sinful ways. By sin I mean, “A lack of conformity to the moral law of God, either in act, disposition, or state.”1 Through the transgressions of our ancestors, sin became our inheritance.
As a result, we are inclined to practice sin instead of seeking after godly things, by nature. In other words, it is because of our fallen nature that we think, speak, and act—often without provocation—in ways detrimental to others and us consistently.
This fallen nature also alienates us from God since He never fell from perfection. He remains holy, righteous, and just. His holiness requires our perfection; His righteousness demands our obedience to His moral law, and His justice, which is demonstrated in His wrath, addresses our disobedience (with judgement in this life and eternal separation in Hell in the next). Concerning our wretched moral and spiritual condition, one author notes,
[Fallen humanity] will make no effort to remove his moral corruption, for he does not desire its removal. He is satisfied with the state of his heart, and lives according to its inclinations. He is the voluntary slave to sin, and is therefore pleased with the slavery. 2
To many, the fallen nature, sin, and moral depravity are all irrelevant and outdated concepts that cannot inform or instruct the twenty-first-century, sophisticated mind. To the “modern mind,” God’s intervention is unnecessary. Moreover, when asked about the need for salvation, they reply, “Why? Me, a sinner? That’s impossible! I have the ‘right’ name, and the ‘right’ connections. Besides, I have all the ‘right’ things the world can offer—I don’t need God!”
Thus, it has been said rightly that the distance between Heaven and Hell is approximately twelve to eighteen inches (or the distance between the head and the heart). So in order to clearly communicate a fundamental, essential spiritual truth, the Lord Jesus Christ appeals to the human heart by relating a most wonderful story about God, our loving Father; Himself as the One and only Son of God, and the world, or all humanity,
The Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. John 3:14-17 (NLT)
The good news is the Lord can change our fallen nature from vile and sinful to pure and holy, through the Born Again experience (Regeneration) as one theologian writes, “Regeneration is that act of God by which the governing disposition of the soul is made holy. It is God turning the soul to Himself.”3 And as the Bible teaches,
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all He has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:1-10 (NLT)
Our need for a spiritual transformation is analogous to a computer that is contaminated by a virus. Although it can still function, it cannot at its optimum level. However, once the virus is removed, the hard drive is reformatted with new software installed; the machine can function at an optimum level according to its original design.
Like this computer illustration, sin contaminated us, and we need spiritual reformatting. Here, we must acknowledge our “contamination” by confessing our sin before God. Then we turn from the continual practice of sinful behavior through repentance. We place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who installs the spirit-directed software, which enables us to function according to our original design—at full capacity!
2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, we are “new creatures.” Now, loving and pleasing God is our new all-consuming, lifelong objective. No longer do we seek the things of the world. They have become dead to us, and we are no longer subject to them. Our new aim is to emulate our Lord as we live for Him to the best of our ability for the rest of our lives.
Once proud and selfish, we are now humble and selfless; once aggressive and villainous, now we are assertive and virtuous. In place of deceit, we now practice sincerity. Once we sought to victimize others through hypocrisy, betrayal, and lies. Now we interact with God, others, and ourselves with authenticity, faithfulness, and truth at all levels. Our spiritual transformation is all-encompassing as the Holy Spirit, who now dwells within us, enables us to perform the perfect will of God on the outside.
As one author writes, “The disposition of God to impart happiness to His creatures is called His goodness.”4 We can be eternally grateful, because His mercy as reflected in His love, forgiveness, benevolence, and reconciliation through Christ is far more than we deserve and could never be earned. Won’t you trust in His goodness and mercy today?
What a Wonderful Savior!
- See: Augustus H., Strong, Systematic Theology, 31st ed., (Valley Forge: Judson, 1976) 549.
- See: James Madison Pendleton, Christian Doctrines, A Compendium of Theology, 33rd ed., (Valley Forge: Judson, 1976) 183-184.
- See: Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology, 809.
- See: James Madison Pendleton, Christian Doctrines, 53.