This is the third, and final post of this series.
To review: I spoke in post #1 about the “Divine Exchange”, how we are invited to come to God and give Him our junk and in exchange we get His goodness (!). In post #2 I pointed out the reality that we ALL (every person on the planet) NEEDS Jesus, and must receive his salvation and forgiveness. This is all VERY good news. Losing the strength of these truths causes the Gospel to be “no news”.
So, say you receive the salvation that Jesus offers. What is the full impact of this? You are forgiven (awesome!), you are given right standing before God (awesome!), and you have an eternal home in Heaven (yeah, awesome!).
But, is there MORE to it?
“Does there need to be more?”, you may be thinking. In fact, yes, there IS more and actually, there MUST be more than this. I tell you, if you have received salvation in Christ, the truth is you HAVE been changed. You are NOT who you once were!
2 Corinthians 5:17-18 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ
We were born into sin, condemned and worthy of hell, predisposed toward all kinds of evil; sin even written into our genetic code!
Romans 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
Through the first man (Adam) all of humanity was tainted with sin — affecting us spirit, soul and body. But through the obedience of Jesus, those who receive him will be MADE RIGHT. That means, through Him, and in our receiving Him ALL the wrong things should be made right:
1. Our sinful nature is removed and we are given a NEW nature: a righteous nature that is no longer pre-disposed to sin, but made for holiness.
Romans 6:2,4 We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? . . . . just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
2. Our sickness and disease are healed.
I Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
3. All of our emotional brokenness, baggage, disorders, etc. (infirmities) are taken away.
Matthew 8:17 “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
When sin entered the world, all of creation was subjected to corruption. All of creation: humans, animals, nature, et al, have been tainted by sin. And, all long to be redeemed and brought back into the perfection for which we were created. There is a longing, and even more than that, a NEED to be CHANGED and TRANSFORMED.
Romans 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
We, who are children of God, have ALREADY been liberated (and we will be completely freed from decay when Jesus returns and we are given our glorified bodies). Soon, ALL of creation will be re-created (“Behold, I am making all things new” Revelation 21:5). Until that day, we have the glorious privilege of living out NEW LIFE right here, right now, and bringing that to our world.
Unfortunately, there’s a problem. Somewhere, someone convinced many Christians that because we are “born in sin”, we will forever be broken and sinful.
REALLY?? What kind of Gospel is that, that leaves us the same way it found us — lost in sin, brokenness and corruption? That is not good news at all! No, it is NOT the Gospel. It is a LIE. For, while it’s clear that we are born in sin and with it comes much brokenness, we have been delivered OUT of that kingdom and are being made into the image of God. THIS reality is what brings TRUE GLORY to God. Consider this story:
John 9 1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 7 the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
So, we see here that from no choice of their own (the parents or the blind man), the effects of fallenness were evidenced in this mans life – he was blind. This condition was NOT okay with Jesus, so what did He do to show us how God works in our situation? He HEALED HIM.
This is our story. And, it MUST be our story. We cannot accept the broken state we are born into (by nature) as “okay”. We must declare it “NOT okay” and let Jesus heal us. We may be born in any number of fallen conditions: physical deformities, broken families, pre-disposition to alcoholism, homosexuality, violence, mental difficiency . . .
Even if it could be proven that these things might be written into our DNA as some suggest (but has never been qualitively proven), does that make them ok and good? Nope, because we are born in fallenness, whether or not it’s encoded in our genetic makeup is irrelevent. If we can find evidence of our behavior in animals, does it mean that it is God-ordained? Nope, because nature is still under the oppression of fallenness, and therefore does not reflect the true intention of God.
What if we are “born that way”? Well, we are all “born that way”!! We are born into iniquity– fallenness, sin (see Psalm 51:5; I Corinthians 5:22; Romans 5:12-21)! We are born in a corrupted image– human, created in the image of God, yet marred by inherited sin; born under sin’s curse.
HOWEVER, Jesus redeemed us from the curse, and became the curse, FOR US, so that we NO LONGER are obligated to live according to the ways of sinful humanity (Romans 6:1-6)! Those who are in Christ are a NEW creation — He makes us anew! So, perhaps you can find a genetic code to expalin why someone has a natural inclination to be a murderer, or and alcoholic, or homosexual . . . and some say they have. They were “born that way” and can’t help it. Does this mean that God “made them that way”? Or, does it mean that they’re simply bearing the marks of sin nature? And, if the sacrifice of Jesus is to set us free from that, then surely He WILL re-create us in His imagine AND free us from the natural propensity to sin, EVEN IF it’s genetically encoded!
I understand that we want to validate people and let them know that they are valuable. YES! Every human being is valid and VERY valuable! THIS is WHY the Son of God would come to redeem us to Himself and transform us into His very own image (without sin!). Some people may get offended when it’s suggested that what feels so “right” is said to be wrong. Perhaps that is the offense of the Gospel.
I bet it felt very normal and natural for the man born blind to not see. I mean, it’s all he ever knew!! But, Jesus knew he was meant to see, so, He took the man’s blindness, and gave Him sight!! And, the man was VERY glad that Jesus did!
Isn’t this our story? It should be. THIS is good news. This is the Gospel. Jesus came to make all the wrong things right, staring with you and me. Let us not be found embracing brokenness and sin, calling it “natural”, “good” or “right”. And may we never forsake others in blinded darkness, calling their blind condition “good” just because they were “born that way”. Let’s invite Jesus to come and give us REAL SIGHT! May the Lord forgive us for embracing what He came to save us from. Amen.