We like to think of ourselves as free moral agents with the ability to control our own destinies. We don’t want to have anyone tell us what we can or can’t do. We are taught that such freedom is our birthright and no-one should be able to take this away from us.
But those of us who are in Christ and have accepted his provision for us have had that guilt removed. We are no longer under condemnation (see Romans 8:1). We can begin to rise above the misery of this life and experience joy in our relationship with God.
Churches can have an inward focus (all about nurturing the members) and/or an outward focus (all about reaching those outside the church). It is my belief that in a healthy church, these two should both be present. I have been to churches that were so focused on body life that they became ingrown and unfriendly to outsiders. […]
Malcolm Muggeridge has written, “The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.” One does not have to work very hard to find evidence that something is very broken in the world. If we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that there is something very broken inside of us.
You might take issue with the idea of the fall of man as recorded in the book of Genesis. You might not attribute the state of man to sin, but you would have to work very hard to avoid the evidence that man is prone to misery.
Even a superficial reading of the news provides ample evidence that there is something wrong with man. Stories of war, crime, assault, abuse, neglect and selfishness can be found on every page. We see all around us the effects of the fall of man.
It seems to me that even those who would not acknowledge the idea of sin still have feelings that they should be better than they are. Almost any sentence that begins with the words, “I ought . . .” would give evidence in support of this assertion.
Every good story has some tension or a struggle in the plot followed by a happy ending. The story of the people of God is no exception. I will repeat the summary of the Bible that I quoted in my post about Question 12, “God made it, we broke it and Jesus came to fix it.