David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

Tag: total depravity Page 1 of 2


The Total Depravity of Man – Arthur W. Pink

Arthur Pink gives an outstanding explanation of total depravity in his book The Total Depravity of Man. You can download a free e-book of this excellent work on the link given. Here are a few excerpts:

It is a sadly neglected subject. Notwithstanding the clear and uniform teaching of Scripture, man’s ruined condition and alienation from God are but feebly apprehended and seldom heard in the modern pulpit, and are given little place even in what are regarded as the centers of orthodoxy. Rather the whole trend of present-day thought and teaching is in the opposite direction, and even where the Darwinian hypothesis has not been accepted, its pernicious influences are often seen. In consequence of the guilty silence of the modern pulpit, a generation of churchgoers has arisen which is deplorably ignorant of the basic truths of the Bible, so that perhaps not more than one in a thousand has even a mental knowledge of the chains of hardness and unbelief which bind the natural heart, or of the dungeon of darkness in which they lie. Thousands of preachers, instead of faithfully telling their hearers of their woeful state by nature, are wasting their time by relating the latest news of the Kremlin or of the development of nuclear weapons.

It is therefore a testing doctrine, especially of the preacher’s soundness in the faith. A man’s orthodoxy on this subject determines his viewpoint of many other doctrines of great importance. If his belief here is a scriptural one, then he will clearly perceive how impossible it is for men to improve themselves—that Christ is their only hope. He will know that unless the sinner is born again there can be no entrance for him into the kingdom of God. Nor will he entertain the idea of the fallen creature’s free will to attain goodness. He will be preserved from many errors. Andrew Fuller stated, “I never knew a person verge toward the Arminian, the Arian, the Socinian, the Antinomian schemes, without first entertaining diminutive notions of human depravity or blameworthiness.” Said the well-equipped theological instructor, J. M. Stifler, “It cannot be said too often that a false theology finds its source in inadequate views of depravity.”

Read more here.

Something I Forget About Man-Made Organizational Structures

All man-made systems of governance, economies and organizational structures are all flawed and marred by sin. I hear someone saying, umm … yeah? This is something that is, on its face, so basic to the presuppositions of Christianity, yet in the process of taking your eyes off Christ, it is easy to get caught up in defending a system as if it were not flawed. I have fallen into this thinking, once again, and it can be very distracting from things that matter infinitely more.

Socialism is flawed in that it makes an assumption about the nature of humanity, that man’s deepest motivation is to always do the right thing and help his fellow man; that he will be, by nature, other-oriented. This flies in the face of Romans 3. Capitalism is also flawed in that it assumes the greedy won’t gain unwarranted, unbalanced power over the majority via corporate structures, which can result in fascism and dictatorial reign.

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What is Sin?

For most people, when the word sin is spoken, it is used either in a metaphorical sense or applied to people like Bernie Madoff, Hitler or Stalin, or used for exaggeration purposes, depending on the situation. When we consider our bad behavior or even the intentional harm we’ve caused others, we think of these things mainly in terms of mistakes, accidents or wrongs toward other people in particular … but sin? No, we’re not that bad! (Being facetious of course).

In our time, when we apply the word sin to ourselves in a serious manner, you will sometimes get a funny look. For instance, tell the average person you’re a sinner and it’s probable they will start wondering what major wrong you committed, or in other situations they will just say, “Oh, we’ve all made mistakes,” which is to say, it’s okay to sweep it under the rug, what’s past is past, no need to rehash something that can be left dead. Just move on!

All of the aforementioned situations presume a specific relationship in which the “mistake” plays out: between other people. But the question we must ask that is of the utmost importance is, what is sin as God defines it in His Word? Man has a definition of sin many times, and particularly in our society it is just a mistake or accident or it is very grave, depending on how you use it. But is man’s definition of sin Biblical? Is the relationship of offenses simply limited to other people? Paul lays out clearly what sin is in the book of Romans. Of course sins are committed against other people. But is that where it stops and is that the heart of what sin really is?

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The Pragmatism of the Church – John MacArthur

“Pragmatism has engulfed and swallowed up the professing church. Theology has been replaced by or subverted to styles of methodology. I think it is a strange phenomenon that throughout history denominations were established based around a common theology and now associations are established based around a common methodology. So much of current evangelical strategy is to identify what people desire and tell them Jesus will give it to them if they choose Him as their Savior. In fact, God is seen as sitting in heaven loving them so much that it’s almost irritating to Him that they won’t come to Him for the things that they desire. Few seem to be considering the fact that what the unconverted sinner desires is the last thing God wants to give him … until he desires righteousness and deliverance from sin and death and judgment.” – John MacArthur at T4G ’08 in this message (MP3)

Illustrating Total Depravity

News as entertainment dominates our culture. It has for quite a while. This can be clearly seen in the recent Caylee Anthony story, the little girl who was allegedly killed by her own mother. Of course this is an unbelievably sad story and the pain caused by such a tragic act is tremendous for all parties involved. It should break our own hearts that this kind of wickedness happens, because it breaks the Lord’s heart. I do not intend to minimize any of this with my comments. But I do intend to attack the obsession our culture has on this story and how as Christians we need to watch our own hearts that we not fall into such wicked fixation, intending to puff ourselves up in our own supposed righteousness that we are somehow better than Caylee’s mother.

For the past year or so, ever since it broke, there has been an incessant fixation of the media upon this story. In particular, Nancy Grace has “Breaking News!” every night on her program concerning this case. I can’t think of a time I haven’t flipped past CNN that she hasn’t been ranting on and on about this story. It’s just sickening to me. We make celebrities out of murderers and every shred of “new” information that comes out of this story is somehow the greatest and biggest show-stopper in our lives, like it’s a living and breathing soap opera that we are somehow attached to through TV viewing.

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Calvin: Man’s Spiritual Blindness Shown From John 1:4-5

“But we are drunk with the false opinion of our own insight and are thus extremely reluctant to admit that it is utterly blind and stupid in divine matters. Hence, it will be more effective, I believe, to prove this fact by Scriptural testimonies than by reasons. John very beautifully teaches it in a passage that I have previously quoted; he writes that: “Life was in God from the beginning and that life was the light of men; this light shines in the darkness, but the darkness comprehends it not” [John 1:4-5]. He shows that man’s soul is so illumined by the brightness of God’s light as never to be without some slight flame or at least a spark of it; but that even with this illumination it does comprehend God. Why is this? Because man’s keenness of mind is mere blindness as far as the knowledge of God is concerned. For when the Spirit calls men “darkness,” he at once denies them any ability of spiritual understanding. Therefore he declares that those believers who embrace Christ are “born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” [John 1:13]. This means: Flesh is not capable of such lofty wisdom as to conceive God and what is God’s, unless it be illumined by the Spirit of God. As Christ testified, the fact that Peter recognized him was a special revelation of the Father [Matt. 16:17].”

John Calvin, Book 2, Chapter 2 of the Institutes, pgs. 278

All that to say: Regeneration precedes Faith and any understanding of spiritual things at all. God must open our eyes, our ears, open our minds and hearts if we are to ascend to the demands for understanding, true spiritual illumination, faith, and repentance in the Scriptures. What God commands of us He gives in Jesus Christ, including the very faith and knowledge to believe in Him. Therefore, anyone attempting to ascend to understand God of himself and his own devices will completely fail in this endeavor, for knowledge about God is revealed by God Himself. Darkness cannot reveal and ascent to the light. Rather the light illumines the darkness and causes it to flee from its presence. So it is with the Lord.

Approaching the Lord Biblically

Earlier, I was talking with my brother, Stephen (who is in Baghdad right now with the Army) on instant messenger. We were talking about the Gospel and how we must be constantly fighting to center every facet of our lives upon it. Our conversations, our relationships, our marriages, our toil, our pain, our struggles, our blessings, our families, everything. Otherwise, we risk either falling into antinomianism, that is, the abuse of God’s grace with total disregard for obedience and submission to Him, or legalism, that we try and please God with our actions as the basis for our relationship with Him, which fails constantly. Both of these errors oppose the Gospel itself because both say, “I am my own Lord and Savior.”

And Stephen said something really practical and encouraging that has helped in his pursuit of Christ while out in the Arabian deserts of Iraq, in particular a war zone, that on its face we may all inherently know but often forget as a rudimentary part of our daily approach to God. I’m simply unpacking what he said to give it some backing. It may help some of you in your respective ministries in helping people towards Christ. He said, “I’ve figured out it’s a matter of taking the time to meditate on who I am and who God is,” to which I then added, “Then we must consider what He did in Christ to bring us to Himself.”

Those three things are vital for the Christian life. When we approach God, these are things we must always consider: 1) who we are, 2) who God is, and 3) what God had to do to bring us to Himself.

All of this is sobering, humbling, and yet because of the third point, all of it brings about the most glory possible for God and the most joy possible for us who believe in Christ, because we are now finally, ultimately accepted before the only One who ever mattered. The first point involves the doctrine of sin and total inability as sinners, as MacArthur spoke about at the T4G conference this past week (MP3). We are enslaved to sin, rebellious toward God. We are desperately sick, rotting on the inside, and arrogant toward Him in our actions and words. The second point involves who God is, His nature, His essence, His character, His justice, His wrath against our sin, and His holy, correct regard for the highest value in all the universe: His name, honor, and glory. But then, the third point, we must always consider what it took for God to bring us to Himself, which reveals His infinite love and mercy toward sinners who disregard Him in all they do.

1) Who we are.

This gets right down to a good, solid, Biblical understanding of who we are as humans in Scripture. If we fail to get this, none of the other parts of the Gospel make any sense: the hell we deserve for that sin, Christ’s blood as necessary to appease God’s wrath, as just two examples, will be regarded as absolute foolishness if we believe we are not this bad. If we merely compare ourselves to others around us in regard to our righteousness, we will not appreciate the Gospel at all. One fault here in our understanding of who we are will taint our understanding of the lengths God had to go in Christ to make us acceptable in His presence. However you cannot have this proper understanding of who you are until you have rightly and Biblically compared yourself to the majesty and holiness of God (in the second point). Isaiah got it in Isaiah 6. So did Ezekiel in Ezekiel 1. And finally, so did Paul in Acts 9. And they got it only because the Lord acted upon them. Ask God to act upon you to show you your desperate condition before Him, and then patiently wait upon Him to act.

Until you see yourself in stark contrast to His nature, His character, His perfections, His frightening majesty, you cannot appreciate how awful you really are before Him. We need Scripture to see this reality, that when the Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men (all of us) to see if there are any who are righteous, He finds not one (Psalm 14:2-3). We need the Holy Spirit, coupled with Scripture, to show us our awful estate before Him, for apart from this, we do not see ourselves as nearly as bad as we should. It is necessary to getting the Gospel right.

2) Who God is.

We must not disregard the Old Testament pictures of who God is in His justice and wrath. Many say the Old Testament presents us with a God of wrath, but the New Testament shows us a God of love and that’s who we need to focus on. This is fallacious. God is both at the same time, always has been, always will be. We must focus on all His attributes, summed up in the person of Christ. Both the Old and New Testaments show us a God of justice and love, paradoxically.

This is most clearly seen in the cross, where Christ, in His love for sinners, satisfied the justice and wrath of God in Himself. God is holy, regards His name and honor above all things in the universe, and our sinning against Him has so greatly offended Him, because each sin treads His glory, name and honor, the essence of His being, in the ground. We cannot be accepted in His presence unless something is done about our offense. We are separated from God because of our rebellion.

There is one and only one God, and yet God Himself exists in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is a mystery, but is clearly presented in the Scriptures, particularly when Jesus says Himself, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) Three persons, One God, united in being and essence.

We must see that God is the highest essence of being in the universe, that His glory emanates forth in such beautiful and frightening array, both at the same time. There is no potential in God as if He could become greater than He already is, for He is infinitely great in every way already. He is the most courageous and powerful in all the universe, and yet He is the gentlest, mildest, and meekest of all. He is nothing like us. He is holy and burning with righteousness. Should we approach the throne of God without His righteousness on our side, we would be obliterated in destruction forever, because we are filthy, despicable sinners who have despised His name in all our ways.

3) What it took for God to bring us (sinners) to Himself.

When we approach God through Christ though, God come in the body of a human, by His righteousness on our behalf through faith, we can stand upright in the face of God’s judgment, and boldly approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown through Christ our own (Charles Wesley). Through Christ’s life-work, from His birth to His resurrection after His crucifixion, and we, being united to Him at every point through faith, do not have to fear the eternal judgment-obliteration spoken of in the last point.

But what lengths God had to go to make us acceptable before Him! He could not just let us pass before Him without regard to His honor and name that have been trodden in the dirt. Something had to be done to bring us to Himself. From eternity, this was the plan of God, to reconcile to Himself a people for His own possession, through the sacrificial death of His own Son for us, all to the glory of His grace (Ephesians 1:5-6). Christ, from eternity past, glorious in all His perfections, infinitely intertwined in the love of the Father and the Spirit, emptied Himself by becoming a human in history, taking on our very existence. In doing so, He could sympathize with us in our weakness. As a human, He lived perfectly as we never have though, loving the Father with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength, thus fulfilling the entirety of the Law. He did this to the satisfaction of the Father, who then proclaimed at the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11)

Whereas we have all fallen infinitely short of God’s standards of righteousness and can never succeed in making Him love us with our deeds (Isaiah 64:6), He succeeded in doing so, fulfilling the Law on behalf of those with the faith of Abraham. The only one in all the universe, infinitely worthy of glory, gave up all His rights and instead stood in the place of condemn sinners, taking in Himself the full measure of the wrath of God by His blood on the cross. The love He had with the Father and the Spirit from eternity past was cut off at the cross and He experienced hell, a hell beyond anything we humans can comprehend, because this was the God-man who was made utterly miserable. He gave up His life willingly so that He could save many (Mark 10:45). By His wounds we are healed (Isaiah 53:5).

Death did not conquer Him though, but He rose triumphant over sin, death, the devil, and hell. These historical acts, in particular His resurrection, confirm that all He said and did were true. Those who believe and trust in Him and His work for them are truly free and no longer does condemnation breathe down their neck with every breath they take. Rather, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).

Keeping these three points in our approach to God gives us a proper sense of the reverential fear we should have before Him, and at the same time it gives us the freedom to approach Him without any hindrance, namely our sin. These two results coming from the Gospel creates within us a joy the far exceeds anything in the world. Our response should be, “Why did you save me? A Sinner of sinners? How can it be!?” Praise Christ for triumphantly achieving a reward for those who believe, a reward we don’t deserve: the enjoyment of God forever, the highest of joys, and then giving Him glory for accomplishing that enjoyment for us through Christ!

Further reading on Christ and all of His excellencies:

The Excellency of Christ – Jonathan Edwards

Together for the Gospel – Day Two

Man, where do I begin? So much information. Basically all of the messages were their own keynote addresses, with tons of great information. I’ll just try to briefly go through each speaker, chronologically, and then give what I gleaned from each speaker. I was not “able nor willing” (yes, that’s a pun; will make sense in the next paragraph) to blog as frequently as I initially desired, 1) because there was no internet at the convention center, and 2) because I really wanted to spend my time absorbing all that was said. Tim Challies live-blogged the event, so if you want to get a different perspective from mine on this, check it out @ www.challies.com . Great stuff.

Woke up after getting a good nights’ sleep (definitely providential that God would get my mind ready for the onslaught of amazing sermons yesterday). The first guy to get up there was John MacArther. MacArther gave an excellent, Biblically-cited dissertation of the doctrine of Total Human Inability, that is that man, in himself, is incapable of doing anything good that is pleasing to God. Obviously, this is not to say that man does no good to his fellow man, but it is to say that even in those good works, if they are not done in faith, they do not only displease God, but they further incur wrath upon the sinner. The writer of Hebrews states that, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Paul states, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8) This doctrine could not be clearer and those who would seek to snuff out this blatant language of Scripture oppose Christ Himself who makes utterly clear that, “No one can come to [Him] unless the Father who sent [Him] draws him (the person).” (John 6:44) Jesus also makes plain that, “… Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) And finally, Paul’s crescendo of his statements in Romans 1-3 summed up in Romans 3:9-18. This could not be clearer.

MacArthur spoke on this topic in particular to show how if you try and water-down this point, this central, fundamental starting point of the message of the Gospel, the rest of it will make no sense. He stated that if you don’t preach or teach on the severity of this point, and if people will not accept and own this point themselves, all of the other points of the Gospel will neither make sense nor will they be able to understand why God had to go to such great lengths to bring us to Himself through the sacrifice of His own Son at Calvary. So in essence, if this point is either not emphasized at the beginning of presenting the Gospel to someone or if they totally reject it as nonsense, then you have nothing else to discuss with them. As I previously said about Ligon Duncan’s sermon, this to me was another “Amen!” sermon where we affirm and totally agree with everything he said pertaining to this doctrine. I think for a majority of people in the room, it was just great to hear a good, Biblical reiteration of this central truth of the Gospel for our own hearts, for both in our teaching and to personally apply to our own hearts in humility.

The next speaker was Mark Dever. Whereas MacArthur before him spoke of a solid truth that we know well in the Reformed tradition, at the very least as a stated doctrine (though by no means do we know it in our hearts as we should, don’t get me wrong), Dever spoke in such a way so as to provoke new thinking as it pertains to the Gospel itself and the resulting effects of it. More specifically though as the main point, he showed how we must be very careful not to confuse the two. Many nowadays, in attempting to make Christianity palatable to a culture that embraces uncertainty, would make the results of the Gospel the gospel itself and remove the offense of the cross in an attempt to win people for the Gospel. However, history shows this never works. “We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” As Dever pointed out, this is a fatal error and is exactly what theological/religious liberal scholars and preachers did in the 19th and 20th centuries before us. I assume he was obviously speaking of emergents in particular. However, I can also clearly see this in the marketing movement within the church (who ironically the Emergents oppose with a vengeance), where the Rick Warren’s of the world seek to make their primary aim in preaching, teaching and ministry, the outworking effects of the Gospel as the gospel itself (though not stating it so overtly). And it is clearly made apparent simply by their way of doing preaching, teaching and ministry.

But, as stated so clearly in all of these sermons, our primary goal in the church itself (though not in anyway excluding our obligation to reach the world in local and global missions) is to faithfully proclaim the Gospel itself and let it function as the fundamental catalyst for producing all of the other effects of it. Does the latter take work and effort? Absolutely, and we should give it our all. But we should be doing it in order to bring a pure, clear Gospel message, not making it the outflow of the Gospel the end itself. Even philanthropic atheists make this their end with no reference to God at all. Our end as believers though is proclaiming and heralding the Gospel in all contexts for the glory of God. Our end is the glory and uplifting of the grace of Christ in His cross-work and doing exactly that through the faithful and clear proclamation of the Gospel. And I would say that if the church is floundering in its reach to a lost world, that it has lost the core message of the Gospel and thus the power of it to not just transform the culture around us, but mainly bring glory to God for the salvation of lost souls that He brings about, as He sees fit. So in summing up in one sentence, the main point that I found most interesting and thought-provoking was that we must dare not confuse the effects of the Gospel with the Gospel itself. This is vital for a healthy ministry.

After that was a panel discussion on what both MacArthur and Dever spoke about. The panel discussions are always awesome and really help clarify statements or bring certain aspects into greater focus. For the time being, I won’t go into those as awesome as they were.

After lunch, we started the afternoon session off with a masterful sermon by R.C. Sproul entitled the Curse Motif. This struck at how many times within a Gospel presentation in preaching, exhorting, teaching, whatever the situation, we ignore the Scriptural fact that Jesus became the curse Himself on the cross, taking on the full measure of the wrath of God in His body on the tree. The text he used to demonstrate this truth was Galatians 3:13 which says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.'” He then took us on a Biblical journey through the Old Testament to show us how this unfolded throughout history, and starting with Moses he worked his way forward, bringing it to its climax in the person and work of Christ Himself. What really struck me was how he contrasted the blessings of God and the curse of God. To demonstrate the stark contrasts and level of intensity within each of these actions of God, Sproul used Numbers 6:24-26 which says, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” I believe it was the first half of his sermon in essence that he honed in on this. There is no greater blessing that to be favorably looked upon by the very One who gave you life and breath to begin with. And then half-way through his sermon (maybe a little more than that) he turned his attention from the ultimate of blessings of God (namely the enjoyment and delight in God Himself) to show that the curse of God is the antithesis of Numbers 6:24-26. This could seem like, well yeah, that makes sense.

But to really grasp and feel the weight of the contrast between the two is to gain a greater grasp upon the very Gospel itself because in it we see Christ taking that curse in Himself and in fact becoming the curse for us. Sproul did a wonderful job of displaying this by taking the verses of numbers and reversing the meaning in curse-language, “May the Lord curse you, and abandon you; May the Lord keep you in darkness, and give you only judgment without grace; May the Lord turn His back upon you, and remove His peace from you forever.” Man. This is what awaits all those outside of Christ and what should be me. That is frightening. How frightening! But Sproul’s main point was not to discuss the judgment upon those who refuse the Gospel, but to emphasize that it was that very curse previously quoted that Christ willingly and voluntarily took in Himself upon the cross. Consider that the God of the universe, who united Himself to us, took in Himself this very curse. When you really ponder and meditate upon that reality, that the Son was cut from the Father in a way none of us can even begin to understand or peer into, it strikes you in the core of your being (at least it should in some manner if you confess Christ as your ransom) to what lengths He went to not only rescue His mercifully chosen people from damnation (i.e. the curse) but also to bring us to God that we may enjoy the opposite of the curse, namely, His blessings! OH the glories of the cross and the confirmation of what took place there in His resurrection! How wonderful a truth. This really fed my soul. There is nothing like Gospel-feasting, because in it we encounter Christ Himself, our supreme joy, the end for which He came!

The last message of day two was given by Al Mohler entitled, Why Do They Hate it So? The Doctrine of Penal Substitution. Mohler, as usual, going on about 24 tracks and wave-lengths at the same time in his thinking (something that was joked about throughout the conference), Mohler brought citation after citation of scholars, priests, clergy, and others within Protestantism (which entails both liberals and, unfortunately, now many evangelicals) who are either deliberately seeking to diminish or subtly lighten this doctrine because of its offense and (seeming) foolishness. Mohler made clear that he was not primarily speaking about the unregenerate who reject it, but those who claim the name Christian, as well those who claim the name evangelical. The one citation he gave that was really gut wrenching of someone doing this was a person (unknown at the moment) who stated that child abuse in the West is a direct result of the historic Christian doctrine of substitutionary atonement, because in it (according to this guy at least) God is portrayed as the one who takes delight in sadistically abusing His Son. Ugh. You could feel the whole room groaning inwardly after hearing their Savior’s work slammed by this guy in the quotation in such a specifically Satanic way. However, this doctrine must be contended for if the Gospel is to remain ablaze in the West. Otherwise, we risk the Gospel slipping back into the darkness, similar to that of the Dark Ages and Medevil times, prior to the Reformation (i.e. the recovery of the Gospel), the very thing we were there celebrating together. We must contend for and refuse to back down on substitutionary atonement though the world hates it so. It is at the heart of the Gospel message we proclaim. Diminish it, dampen it, water it down, take out the violent images of blood-sacrifice and dark, fearful wrath, and risk losing the only thing by which people may be saved: the very Gospel itself.

The Fear of the LORD is Hatred of Evil

“The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” – Proverbs 8:13

Within the church many times, we consider “gross” sins to be homosexuality, excessive drinking, fornication, adultery, thievery, murder, cursing, etc. And while those are in no way minimized in the Scriptures as sins that are destructive both personally and relationally (and above all in relation to God Himself), the passage above speaks just as strongly against those who are prideful and arrogant within themselves. In fact, as the passage says, wisdom hates pride, arrogance, the way of evil, and perverted speech, all of those together. Seeing as how the Scriptures are the Word of God breathed out, these are His thoughts. The LORD hates pride and arrogance with a just and righteous passion.

While even unbelievers should be humbled by the fact that God doesn’t bring His hand down to crush them at this instant, how much more humbled should we be who claim to have been shown mercy at the hand of God through Christ? And yet so often, this is not the case. We so quickly turn our judgment to the outside world and what they’re doing wrong, when we need to be turning the cutting standard of the Word inwardly and analyze ourselves, measuring ourselves against it, and not our own ideals of what is morally better and worse. What about our pride and arrogance against those very people who need Jesus and are running from Him in defiance? Is this pride we possess not just as wicked in the eyes of the Lord as the evil committed outside the church? What about our hatred of those who run wholeheartedly away from the Lord? Shouldn’t you have been the one that ran away from God? What made you humble and willing to believe in Christ, yourself or the grace of God alone?

I’m in no way saying I am exempt from having committed these sins myself and speak to myself just as much as anyone reading this. I’m a sinner and have fallen in so many ways. But regardless, it seems to be a spirit within many churches where others, those outside the church, are looked down upon as greater sinners who do not hold to our own personal moral standards, when in reality, we are murderers in our hearts just like those in prison who have committed the outward act. When we hate or look down upon people for their sins, the Lord sees our hearts much like He sees Jeffrey Dahmer’s. Meditate on that for a minute in light of Romans 3:9-18. We are commanded to be pursuing holiness through faith in Christ, and yet it seems we have forgotten the fundamentals of how we were saved.

So how do we come to hate what is evil, namely pride and arrogance within our own hearts? The answer is in the verse above. “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.” What does it mean to fear the Lord? “I thought we weren’t supposed to fear Him at all because of Christ?” There is one sense in which that is true. Those in Christ have been ultimately accepted for eternity. There is no fear of condemnation for those who believe. And yet at the same time, even as believers, we are called by Scripture to fear the Lord. This fear is humility. Andrew Murray talks about three separate ways in which we should be humbled as believers: 1) as a creature, 2) as a sinner, and 3) as a saint.

As a creature: There is great amount of humility we should have in being a creature subject to the King of glory. He created us without our permission, for His own glory and purposes, and He has freedom over us that we do not have over Him. This is abundantly clear in Scripture. He is the Creator, we are the creatures.

As a sinner: We should also be greatly humbled that as sinners, we have slapped God in the face and told Him, “No, you do not have control over me, in any sense. I control myself and my own destiny,” and yet He is extremely patient toward our evil toward Him. It is God’s sheer grace toward both believers and unbelievers that He doesn’t stomp us out right now for the vile that comes out of our hearts through our mouths, hands, and feet. We have offended an infinitely holy God and therefore the wrath justly due to us is infinite and eternal. This is greatly humbling and strikes right at the heart of human pride, and is one of the biggest reasons people cannot accept it. They are hardened to this message because they do not want to hear it.

As a saint: Having been rightly humbled by our willful disobedience against the King of Glory, how humbled should we be to see that this holy God who owes us nothing but wrath made a way for us to be accepted through taking that wrath Himself on our behalf at the cross? We should be greatly humbled and possess an honest fear at the greatness of the frightening power and unfathomable depths of the love of God. As a saint we are humbled to not be objects of wrath, but now, because of Christ’s perfect work, we are objects of mercy. Did He have to save you? No. Why did you believe while another person in a similar position that heard the same Gospel message did not heed the call? Why did you willingly say yes to Christ? Was it not the grace of God who Himself made you willing? Ultimately, this is humbling and should move us to love the things Christ loves and hate the things He hates more and more. “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.” All kinds of evil, including our own self-righteous pride and arrogance.

We must constantly reorient ourselves with our humble position as creatures, sinners, and as God’s adopted people through the work of Christ. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) And at the same time, There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” These are both different forms of humility, one in which we despise ourselves for our rebellion and yet know that we are accepted. Reorienting ourselves with the Gospel daily should bring about a correct response of both acceptance and fear of God’s might and power. God had mercy on you through the work of Christ while you were still unwilling to submit to Him by yourself. And He did this by turning your heart and giving you a willing spirit that was sensitive to heed the call of the Gospel. Praise God for His grace in moving us to faith when we wanted nothing of it until He opened our eyes to His beauty! May that squash our pride and arrogance against an increasingly pagan society. Just remember, that should have been you and would have had God not intervened and gone underneath your entire being to move you to love Him.

Surely I was sinful at birth … Psalm 51:5

“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” – Psalm 51:5

http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/chri … 20pretend/

Interesting … science backing up the Scriptural, spiritual reality of our hearts. We are sinful from birth, even from the time our mothers conceived us, just as David says in this Psalm. Well, we at least begin lying at six months old, as this article states. Before this study, it was thought babies did not lie prior to 4 years old. Now the bar has been lowered to six months. This study simply confirms that which is stated in the Scriptures: we are sinners from the womb. Our disposition, from the very beginning, is bent on evil, namely a suppression of the glory and righteousness of God. We must be delivered from this very nature by the work of Christ alone in order to even see Christ at all as worthy of our praise. The only difference between a grown up and a baby is that the adult has the means to carry out the wickedness that lies within the heart. Babies can’t talk in tangible language, they have very little strength to exert, but they can throw tempter tantrums, scream until they get their way, and as shown in this article, they have scientific proof babies begin conceiving deception in their hearts as early as six months. As cute as babies are, this is the reality of all of us and it starts at conception (just as the Psalm said). “It is hard to exaggerate the importance of admitting our condition to be this bad.” (Piper) We must be saved utterly by the work of God in Christ to deliver us from the deadness and nature of our hearts that are turned away from the glory of God. It is by grace alone (God granting regeneration, repentance, and faith) through God-wrought faith alone, in Christ alone that we are saved. Praise God for His mercy and may He move on my daughter Adelaide to turn her heart from the natural deadness that lies within, turned away from God, and draw her to Himself. May He raise her up, by His pure mercy, even now, and grant her regeneration unto salvation. We are prone to wander unless God holds us back by His mercy. This verse and this science both show this to be the case.

NOTE: I am NOT in any way saying I believe that babies who die either in the womb or at a very young age go to hell, as someone may think I lean based on my above statements. But unfortunately, there is not a lot of Scriptural evidence pertaining to this subject, except for one place that alludes to it in 2 Samuel 12:22-23. David has committed adultery with Bathsheba, she conceived, and now as a result of God’s punishment on David for committing the sin he did, the baby died. It states, “[David] said, ‘While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, “Who knows whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?” But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.'” In other words, as it seems the Scripture says here, I shall go to the child in heaven upon dying, but he will not come back to me in this life. Other than this, there are really no other places that speak of what happens to them upon death. And really this statement begs a lot of questions pertaining to the subject in my mind. Having affirmed the “sinful from conception” verse above that David himself wrote in the inspiration of the Spirit, whatever level of sinning a baby can do must be covered by the blood of Christ. So it is likely God, in His mercy, delivers children at this age from wrath through the work of Christ. But you must believe in order to be saved, someone may say. Right. So, how does that work? I have no clue, nor does Scripture say. We have this one ambiguous verse pointing that direction. And that’s about it. All in all, it is speculation to delve too deep into the subject, but rather we should simply trust the Lord that He knows what He is doing and know His actions are wise, just and righteous. This is an area where I believe we are forced to trust the Lord and know that He is good and find comfort in Him, not in answers to things that are not revealed. So really all I can do is leave it there.

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