As I drove across town, I saw a church sign that announced, “The Blessing of the Pets.” I thought, Where does the Bible teach us to pray for animals? I suppose it is not wrong to pray for an ailing pet, but we don’t see an example in the Bible that I know of. And where are we taught to have a service where people bring their pets to receive a special blessing by the pastor? Pets are great, and I love mine, but I would never dream to think that my church would have a service for pets.
Why would a church do something like this that as far as I know is unique in the history of Christianity? It is because our beliefs and values have become so confused that many no longer know what the church is supposed to be. And having lost sight of the mission of the church, some now will do anything to attract a crowd by appealing to their human interests. When our doctrine has gone to the dogs, we shouldn’t be surprised that our church does too.
What does this have to do with our belief in original sin that we discussed in last month’s article?
Just this. It is one of the implications of our belief in original sin. In this article I want to begin to sketch out a few of the immensely important implications of original sin.
Our view of original sin should make us meek and humble in how we treat others. Many years ago, I heard renowned preacher, Dr. Lehman Strauss, say we all have too much pride. No one could argue with him. Pride was the chief sin of Satan, and it is the chief sin of ours. That is directly related to our view of original sin. Read what Jonathan Edwards so astutely wrote:
If it be truly so, that we all come sinful into the world, then our heartily acknowledging it, tends to promote humility: but our disowning that sin and guilt which truly belongs to us, and endeavoring to persuade ourselves that we are vastly better than in truth we are, tends to a foolish self-exaltation and pride. The works of Jonathan Edwards (Vol.1, p.230).
One sign we have truly been humbled by this doctrine is that we are as conscious and vigilant about our own sins as we are the sins of others. One of the great reasons we need to preach the gospel of grace to ourselves every day is that the closer we get to God, the more we become aware of our sins and failings. The guilt can crush us if we are not secure in the grace of our salvation. Conversely, where there is backbiting, fault-finding and finger-pointing, we can be sure that we have not only stopped growing close to God, but have also lost sight of our original condition as helpless in original sin. The truly growing Christian sees his own sins most clearly. Read Edwards again:
This doctrine teaches us to think no worse of others, than of ourselves: it teaches us, that we are all, as we are by nature, companions in a miserable helpless condition; which under a revelation of the divine mercy, tends to promote mutual compassion. The works of Jonathan Edwards (Vol.1, p.230).
There are several more implications which we will pick up in article three next month. But for now, what we believe has a huge impact on how we behave. Doctrine is immensely practical.
Your friend, refreshing our beliefs, Pastor Brian (:-}).