The Planks of the Faith: Remembering for Re-Membering, Part 9
Happy New Year, beloved of God… running the good race!
Who of you have experienced what I would call an “uncommonly common dilemma” (rare except for those whom regularly feast on the Word of God and share with others) along the lines of being so particularly enlivened by a passage of Scripture, and a paradigm shift that accompanies it, that you want to say to someone, “OMG! THIS is the most important truth I have ever discovered… again!”
In your Spirit-driven excitement, and as you listen to yourself explain the new revelation, you feel sort of “never cry wolfish in a good way”: “I know, I know… the last time I said that THAT insight about God’s Word, His Love, and His Truth was THE most amazing and important… but… no really… as I was reading today…”
Once being born-again, justified, living by faith, and feasting on God’s Word begins, our faith is an organic, living, active, and transformative faith and life!
New and fresh insights about the Trinity, Truth, and Love act as a form of revitalization and growth that makes us want to gobble-up more, and spread the Good News… more and more, and each and every day!
For me, today’s Plank of the Faith, The Doctrine of Original Sin, resonates so deeply, so personally, and so universally that being reminded of its True Truth threw open more windows into what is most likely one of the most common and understandable questions… desperations… of our day, to put it simply, “What in the bloody hell is wrong?”
Well, that’s the British version, but you get my point: We post-modernists have so far suppressed, forgotten, or never been informed about how the Trinity perfectly created; how Adam and Eve, the first of humankind, were given free will to choose; and how they chose poorly to disobey God and infected with sin and sinful behavior ALL mankind thereafter…
That we can err… by not only misunderstanding how people can make such dreadful choices, but why pretty much anything such brilliant creatures as human beings get involved in can go so horribly, badly, terribly, intolerably… awry.
Shocked and re-surprised each and every day, with no foundations to slow the freefalls of our incredulity, we are despairing for answers… having put aside The Answer in the form of God’s inspired Bible—“the handbook for humanity”.
Life lived out in a state of perpetual and circumstance-driven despair is controlled by anxieties of the past, worries of the future, and a pathology of fear about all sorts of things in the present.
This is no way to live… But True Truth can set us free!
Lastly, as a preface for today’s plank of the faith, as I was preparing for today’s menu I recalled a very popular book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”, written in 1981 book by Harold Kushner, a Conservative rabbi. The book is dedicated to the memory of his young son, Aaron, who died at age 14 in 1977 of the incurable genetic disease progeria.
Allow me to offer three brief insights about this book (and ideas):
1) It came out at just the right time as we (culturally-speaking) were moving further and further away from Biblical “theodicy” (explains the problem of suffering in light of an all-powerful and all-loving God);
2) It likely provided a great deal of solace to a father (or an entire culture) who had experienced a tragic loss of an “essentially good, but diseased” child; and
3) It poses a question that was never answered on the basis of True Truth: There are no good people.
But that ascertain is the basis of an entirely different mindset… book… and resolution!
Article 15: The Doctrine of Original Sin
“We believe that by the disobedience of Adam original sin has been spread through the whole human race.
It is a corruption of all nature—an inherited depravity which even infects small infants in their mother’s womb, and the root which produces in man every sort of sin. It is therefore so vile and enormous in God’s sight that it is enough to condemn the human race, and it is not abolished or wholly uprooted even by baptism, seeing that sin constantly boils forth as though from a contaminated spring.
Nevertheless, it is not imputed to God’s “children” (defined as a person who has realized their sin, confessed it to God, and sought God’s grace in forgiveness by way of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross for their sinfulness and sins) for their condemnation but is forgiven by his grace and mercy—not to put them to sleep but so that the awareness of this corruption might often make believers groan as they long to be set free from the “body of this death.” (Rom. 7:24)
Therefore we reject the error of the Pelagians* who say that this sin is nothing else than a matter of imitation.” (Article 15, The Belgic Confession of Faith, 1561—footnote added)
Please Note… and Read “The New Birth”:
*Pelegius Theory, E.g., ”…despite the ravages of the fall, man still has an island of righteousness left in his soul, by which he still can accept or reject God’s offer of grace. This view, so widely held in evangelical circles, argues that one must believe in Christ in order to be born again, and so the order of salvation is reversed in this view by maintaining that faith precedes regeneration.” (RC Sproul, The New Birth, Ligonier Ministires—emphasis added)
May God richly bless your running the good race in the New Year, one day at a time, one chance at the time, to glorify God and bless others.
“Original Sin”, Answers in Genesis