Dealing With the Truth of Man’s Depravity
In some ways of all the doctrines of the Christian faith sin is the easiest one to define and verify. No one who is a rational creature doubts the fact that men do bad stuff. The (question comes as to why people choose to be jerks and selfish. In today’s walk through these three inquiries from the Westminster Larger Catechism we’ll hear an answer to that and talk a little bit about how pervasive man’s depravity is. In addition time will be spent noting why it is so dangerous to downplay the wickedness of the human heart, and falsely treat people as “basically good”. Let your eyes be your guide and may the Holy Spirit-inspired Scriptures help us to see the truth for what it is so that like good physicians we can comprehend the way forward to do something about the fallenness of humanity for the blessing and betterment of whole race.
Here are the four Q/A’s for our consideration:
Q. 24. What is sin?
A. Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, any law of God, given as a rule to the reasonable creature.
Q. 25. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of that righteousness wherein he was created, and the corruption of his nature, whereby he is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to all evil, and that continually; which is commonly called Original Sin, and from which do proceed all actual transgressions.
Q. 26. How is original sin conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity?
A. Original sin is conveyed from our first parents unto their posterity by natural generation, so as all that proceed from them in that way are conceived and born in sin.
Q. 27. What misery did the fall bring upon mankind?
A. The fall brought upon mankind the loss of communion with God, his displeasure and curse; so as we are by nature children of wrath, bond slaves to Satan, and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.
Let’s define some words: 1) “want” – This in the older usage testifies to the lack of something. 2) “transgression” – Refers to the crossing of a line, usually in relation of a boundary set by someone else, in the case of our catechism that would be the law of God. Yet, the question needs asked at this point who gave God the authority to make the line in the first place? Well, to be straightforward on the matter no one made anything. The line has always been there because the law of God is a reflection of the character of God. It is an expression of His being. Here we see one of the ways that the Catechism has established something for us already. In illustrating the attributes of the LORD in Q. 7 we read that our Jehovah was truthful, hence the 9th Commandment. We also are told that He is faithful, ergo the 7th Commandment, etc…, etc…, etc… So for the human being the statutes of God are not up for debate. For to ignore what He has revealed about Himself is to deny Him, and that is exactly what we do when we sin. We substitute ourselves for the one true and living God. We establish ourselves as the arbiters of good, which when that happens is how we get evil. Giving man the freedom to define his own good is to give him the right to destroy himself, for that which is not of faith is sin, and sin leads to death. He claims to be as god, without god’s godness. This is destructive and self-hatred. We are called as Christians to help the lost find peace. No one can find that if they are being told by the Church that their sin is okay, and affirming of how God made them. For God made us good, we freely chose to sin and destroy that relationship. That’s on us.
One of the most misunderstood passages of the Bible is Genesis 3:22. In that portion of Holy Scripture our Lord makes the exclamation that man has become “…like one of us, knowing good and evil.” Some have taken that to mean God is embarrassed or afraid of man’s equality with the Triune. We know that our Lord can be neither and that created things can never come close to divinity. So what is going on there? It is a lament that man having sought that which was not his to have has now taken in something he cannot handle or be released from in his own recognizance. While the previous verses show the necessity of death and a preview of the coming salvation of man by the shedding of blood it is a sad scene. Evil has come into the world through man’s pomposity. He is going to get what he wants, good and hard. Whenever we are confronted by the realities of the consequences of Adam’s sin in everything from childhood cancer to hurricanes we must take stock of our role in these things. As long as men continue to sin, sin will continue to affect all things. The Leftists blame all the rising costs off disasters on climate change when the real reason is man’s avarice and material stupidity. Of course a storm is going to cause billions in damage when human beings build large mansions in low-lying areas.
There is something to be said for a lifestyle grounded in meekness and simplicity.
Likewise there is a rise in domestic violence against women (and men), petty crime, and illicit drug use in our days. All of these things can be traced back to man’s depravity and hatred of the law of God. Instead of finding one’s peace in the way the Lord has ordered His creation humans want to be captains of their own ship. How is that working out? Not well.
So what is the answer? It all goes back to one’s want, that is a lack in original righteousness and how we get that back. If man is interested in destroying himself there is no one to stop him. He is living out his truth and his best life now, for the life to come is his reward. There is no desire in fallen man to do something about his sin. That’s why salvation must come from without. From the one who Adam, and by him all his posterity, revolted against. Remember what I said about the attributes of God? Q. 7 notes that our Lord is, “…most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth”. That’s why despite our wickedness we still have hope.
Because of who our Redeemer is. Rest in Him. Seek Him and find true peace.
Here is another word:
Blessings in Christ,
Rev. Benjamin Glaser