Nobody particularly enjoys reading about human sinfulness or God’s wrath. We much prefer blog posts that celebrate His goodness, love and mercy. I’m stating the obvious, of course, but I do so because I suspect some readers may believe I take some misanthropic pleasure in writing about God’s judgment.
Frankly, I can appreciate that sentiment. I also would rather read (and write) about God’s grace. I like thinking about how much He loves me. I don’t want to be confronted with my wretchedness, or to realize my utter dependence on Christ’s righteousness because I have no righteousness of my own. Humility often feels distinctly distasteful to me.
Scripture, however, has absolutely no interest in making people feel good about themselves. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit inspired the prophets and apostles to compose scathing indictments against humanity.
10 as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” ~~Romans 3:10–18 (ESV)
Clearly, the apostle Paul’s compilation of Old Testament Scriptures doesn’t exactly paint a pretty picture of the human race. Yet he doubles-down on the theme of human depravity all the way through Romans 7 so that his readers will comprehend our desperate need for a savior.
Romans 7, as a matter of fact, spotlights Paul’s personal struggles against sin, escalating to a point of hopelessness just before he presents the only hope of deliverance.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. ~~Romans 7:21-25 (ESV)
Our wretched condition, repulsive as it is, allows us to see how precious God’s love, mercy and grace really are.
Sadly, postmodern Western society has not only bought into the lie that people are basically good, but it perpetuates that lie in a plethora of ways. To make matters worse, evangelicals now adapt their theology to accommodate that lie!
Consequently, I emphasize human depravity in my articles with the goal of accentuating how glorious the grace of God truly is. Until we come to terms with our inescapable wretchedness, we regard His goodness lightly. Sometimes we even convince ourselves that He owes us His love (a ridiculous proposition).
I long to write posts praising the Lord for His unfathomable grace and mercy. As a woman who has seen her own vile rebellion forgiven, I well know that I best understand the wonder of His grace when I face the ugliness of who I am apart from Him.