Wednesday, 29 January 2014

What is man(kind)?

To say that humans tend to have a high opinion of themselves and their abilities is an understatement.  We are so convinced of our "selfness" that we think we know ourselves better than anyone else.

"You don't know me."  "Who are you to tell me?"  "I know what's best for me!" 

With eyes only for ourselves we cannot see the prison of our own thinking.  The prison of our "(un)freewill".  We think either "I can do it" or "I know I cannot do it."  We are unable to consider other options.  How dare you suggest there even is one!?!

But what about when you are blind to the fact that you cannot do it?  When you don't know you are enslaved?  What about when you think you are free - you believe you are free - but that "freedom" is a lie keeping you from seeing your prison?

Enter God's Word.

The Psalmist writes, "Who can discern his errors? (Psalm 19:12)

Jesus says, "Truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin." (John 8:34)

Luther expounds, "Scripture represents man as one who is not only bound, wretched, captive, sick and dead, but in addition to his other miseries is afflicted, through the agency of Satan his prince, with this misery of blindness, so that he believes himself to be free, happy, unfettered, able, well and alive.  For Satan knows that if men were aware of their misery, he would not be able to retain a single one of them in his kingdom, because God could not but at once pity and succour them in their acknowledged and crying wretchedness, seeing he is so highly extolled throughout Scripture as being near to the contrite in heart [Ps. 34:18]...  Accordingly, it is Satan's work to prevent men from recognizing their plight and to keep them presuming that they can do everything they are told."  (The Bondage of the Will)

St. Paul writes, "the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (2 Cor. 4:4)

The will of man is not only bound and incapable of freeing itself, it is blind to its bondage.  It doesn't even know that it is dead.

Who then can be saved?

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Eph. 2:8-9)

God's grace is for you.  This gift is for you.  No, you can't choose it.  No, you can't earn it.  But you don't have to.  You don't have to do anything.  You've been chosen by God.  Chosen to receive the gift of true freedom.  Chosen to have His undeserved loved and mercy despite and in the face of all of your sin.  Believe it.  This is Christ on the cross.  God's Only Son dead where you should be dead.  The innocent Lamb of God bled dry for your wrongdoings.  It happened.  It is finished.  And to you go all the benefits.  You have been made new, made by God, made for God.  Special.  Chosen.

What is man(kind)?  A race God made.  A race God entered.  A race God redeemed.  For you.

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