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A Problem of Perception

July 29th, 2013

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins …

Ephesians 2:1

A deep, pervasive spiritual blindness has taken captive millions of hearts today, and I personally seem to see it in an increasing measure. This blindness is the attitude and perspective that removes all responsibility from humanity and places all blame for our problems on God. This attitude is specifically against God, not a true denial that He exists, but rather a refusal to acknowledge Him as God – the attitude that because of what “He has done to us” He does not deserve my acknowledgement, and certainly not my obedience.

That this is more attitude than concept should be clear – not a denial of God based on logic, but a refusal to acknowledge Him based on personal issues with authority or blame or responsibility. This is “logic” is similar to that of a person in the direct line of attack of a charging bear who refuses to acknowledge the bear because he does not think him a very nice bear – the attitude of an immature and angry spouse who pouts and refuses to speak to their mate, or acknowledge their existence because of some hurt feelings. This has nothing to do with reality, or even perceived reality, but rather blame, shame, and guilt.

Of course, God is not like a charging bear or an insensitive spouse. He is much more frightening than these. He is God Almighty, holy, awesome, but also loving and merciful. There is no safety in numbers here, for this God, The God is not afraid to condemn the whole lot of us. He holds us accountable, not just as individuals but as a race. In the West our extreme individualism and low power distance makes us want to disassociate ourselves from every other person and claim our right to existence based on our personality or our being alone. We make ourselves gods in our minds, and imagine that we created ourselves, invited ourselves and have no one on earth or in heaven to thank for our existence.

To me this is a very powerful proof of the truth in the verse above, that we are as a race dead in transgressions and sins. Something within us that was originally created to know God, to commune with God, to hear His voice and to recognize His speech, that thing has died and all we have left is a spiritual corpse in each person born on this planet. The guilt has spread through the race, seeped down into the life of each of us, and God holds us all accountable. Our biological solidarity cannot be broken. We are not independent agents, rather we are members of the race, products of parents, and we carry with us the common shame adn the common blame. We are by our nature objects of wrath, and we have no hope in ourselves of changing our circumstance.

This is simple biblical theology on the fallen-ness of humanity, on the doctrine of sin and its result. But there is another part of the story as well, that despite our sin God who is rich in mercy has acted to redeem us and to save us. He, the One we have ignored and tried to blame, has willingly taken on Himself the sin of us all, died in our place, and now offers forgiveness and new life. Is this salvation an admission by God that it really is all His fault, after all? No, this is not admission of guilt on His part, but rather an expression of love.

God who has every reason to condemn our entire race to an eternity without Him, has chosen us in Christ and promises us life and eternity. “By grace are you saved through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8). And there is the good news. The matter now is whether or not we will believe in our fault, in our need, and in His answer to our need, Jesus Christ our Lord.


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