Friday, September 01, 2006

Bloated opinions of ourselves

Gal 1:4: "who gave himself for our sins…"

"Weigh diligently every word of Paul, and mark well the pronoun ' our ' ; for the effect consisteth in the well applying of the pronouns, which we find very often in the Scriptures, wherein there is ever some vehemency and power. Thou wilt easilt say and believe that Christ the Son of God was given for the sins of Peter and Paul and of other saints whom we account worthy of this grace ; but it is a very hard thing, that thou, which judgeth thyself unworthy of this grace shouldst from thine heart say and believe that Christ was given for thine invincible, infinite and horrible sins. Therefore, without the pronoun it is an easy matter to amplify and magnify the benefits of Christ, that He was given for sins, but other men's sins which were worthy. But when it cometh to the putting of the pronoun ' our ', then our weak nature, and reason, starteth back, and dare not come nigh unto God, nor promise to herself that so great a treasure shall be freely given to her." [1]

I started working through Luther's commentary on Galatians, and when I came to these words I immediately noticed how different this verse would be seen today.

Whereas the people of Luther's day saw themselves as not worthy of Christ dying for them, it is the complete opposite in our modern day. While people in his day acknowledged the fact that they were depraved and of not being worthy of salvation, modern people have such a high esteem of themselves, they almost see it as their right that Christ would die for them.

Among those who believe in some measure that Christ died for someone, very few actually see themselves as unworthy. Preachers today highlight man's worth so much that they preach a gospel based solely on the worth of man. To them, the very reason we are saved is because we are worth it. How do they get to this? Well, we must be worth a whole lot since the price paid was so much! If it took the death of Christ, then our worth must be infinite. So goes the story of today's preaching.

When man's depravity has gone so far as it has today, then it can be expected to come up with such a cockeyed gospel.

The point of Christ's death hardly has anything to do with our worth! Sure, since we do bear the image of God within us we do have some worth. Yet, the death of Christ has to do infinitely more with the depravity of man and the wonderful grace of God.

God is not a grandfather figure somewhere in the sky who loves everybody without exacting the price from those who hate Him! (Dt 7:9-10) "But," you say, "God still loves the world and doesn't hate it!" That is pure modern teaching devoid of the truth of the Scriptures. "The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence." (Ps 11:5) It is always said by many modern preachers that God hates the sin but loves the sinner. This philosophy comes from the ideas of man and not from the Bible! The Bible is clear. God hates the wicked! Before any person is drawn to Christ by the grace and mercy of God, he is under the wrath of God. That person is even called a "child of wrath!" (Eph 2:3)

When the wisdom preacher writes in Pr 6:16-19 that the Lord hates "haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers," would it be correct to think that the writer means there that God hates the physical body parts mentioned? No! God hates the people who those body parts belong to!

Even though God, in His lovingkindness, shows mercy even to the wicked, in no way means that God does not hate the wicked. God's wrath burns against them! Yet, the preachers of today tell the world that they are fine and that God loves them to bits!

"Yes, many there are who turn away from a vision of God's wrath as though they were called to look upon some blotch in the Divine character, or some blot upon the Divine government. But what saith the Scriptures? As we turn to them we find that God has made no attempt to conceal the fact of His wrath. He is not ashamed to make it known that vengeance and fury belong unto Him. His own challenge is, 'See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal; neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand. For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, I live forever, If I whet My glittering sword, and Mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to Mine enemies, and will reward them that hate Me' (Deut. 32:39-41). A study of the concordance will show that there are more references in Scripture to the anger, fury, and wrath of God, than there are to His love and tenderness. Because God is holy, He hates all sin; And because He hates all sin, His anger burns against the sinner: Psalm 7:11." [2]

How does God see us? As deserving of everlasting life? No! Rather, God sees us as deserving of everlasting death and punishment. Instead of preaching the whole counsel of God (including man's awful condition, God's wrath and hell), preachers today would rather be God's PROs trying to do damage control against those who preach about Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God! With these preachers it has become a popularity contest in which they try to get the world to like them enough to join them. This is absolutely absurd, since not even Jesus did that! Jesus certainly spoke more about hell and damnation in his three years on earth than most of these PRO preachers do in a lifetime!

The gospel is not easy! Don't be fooled into thinking that the gospel gives us greater lives with more money and more things to hold onto here on earth. That simply shows a materialistic attitude with the gospel yet another means to gain material things. (Lk 12:15; Jn 6:27) The gospel is not cheap, although it is free. Although it is free, the gospel demands our lives! (Mt 19:29; Mk 8:35-38; Mk 10:29-30; Lk 14:26)

The problem of sin is no small thing! While we do not understand how deep and pervasive sin is, we will never understand the salvation of God. Once we understand the horror of our sin and the vile condition mankind is in, we will come to an understanding that when Jesus died for our sin, it was not so much because we were worth it, but because there was nothing else that could have redeemed these vile depraved creatures!

We are not worth it! However, the blood of Christ was worth it!

Just thinking...

1. Luther, Martin, Commentary on Galatians, Translated By Erasmus Middleton, Kregel Classics, Grand Rapids, MI, Published 1979, Reprint of the 1850 edition published by the Harrison Trust, London, under the title A Commentary on St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians.
2. Pink, A.W., The Attributes of God (, Chapter 16, The Wrath of God ( ).

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