When I was a student in Junior College I took a class in Political Science. Early on the professor said in class something like this: “In order to govern people properly we have to understand the nature of humans. How many of you think people are born basically good? How many of you think people are born neutral, neither good nor bad? How many of you think people are born evil?” The professor’s view was the neutral one, that we become good or bad by our actions.
Clearly my professor did not believe in original sin. It was an open secret that he was living in an immoral relationship with his boyfriend. He was also a very opinionated, outspoken political activist. He had ample evidence in his own life of the doctrine of original sin. It couldn’t have been any clearer had it jumped up and hit him in the face. As the old song goes, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” But one thing my professor did get right is that how we view human nature has enormous implications. In our last article we saw two implications of original sin. (see November 1, 2017 article at http://pastorsthoughts.bethelmarquette.com/) Here are three more implications:
- We should not be discouraged when even believers fail us, for we all have remaining corruption in us until death and can sin grievously. Professor D.A. Carson, in his daily devotional For the Love of God, wrote, “Most of the best in Scripture betray flaws of one sort or another—Abraham, Moses, Peter, Thomas, and (not least) David…Even the finest of our Christian leaders commonly display faults that their closest peers and friends can spot (whether or not the leaders themselves can see them!). This should not surprise us. In this fallen world, it is the way things are…We should therefore not be disillusioned when leaders prove flawed. We should support them wherever we can, seek to correct the faults where possible, & leave the rest to God—all the while recognizing the terrible potential for failures and faults in our own lives.”
2) We must be careful about elevating people to positions of leadership or ministry until we see evidence of the new birth and desire for ongoing spiritual maturity. The Bible contains this warning about leadership in the church: He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil (1 Timothy 3:6). This clearly is founded upon the doctrine of remaining corruption in every believer from original sin. Without proper growth and time to mature in the Lord, it is too easy to act in the flesh. Clearly pride and conceit are the devil’s trading tools, and he has done much damage to churches and lives thru the unconverted or the immature. We must apply the tests of the new birth, time for growth, and the desire for ongoing growth to those who would lead.
3) We must not set aside spiritual methods for secular methods thinking we can attract seekers to the Lord by appealing to their fleshly minds and desires. 2 Corinthians 10:2-6 warn us against waging war according to the flesh. 1 Corinthians 2:14-16 warn us that people without the mind of Christ will never understand or accept spiritual ministry. Bible teacher John Hoeldtke once advised me, “Whatever we attract people with is what we have to keep giving them to keep them.” And Charles Spurgeon warned us that we are called “to feed the sheep, not amuse the goats.” Spiritual work countering original sin can only be done by spiritual methods.
Your friend, learning about the danger within, Pastor Brian (:-}).