Healing is God’s Justice
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Healing is God’s Justice
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OUR DESPERATE SITUATION

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"And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh." (Jude 22-23)  ***** [Author's Note: This essay is meant to be confrontational, to awaken some from their slumber. Unless one understands that he is truly defenseless, helpless, and hopeless, he will not have any understanding of the need for the dramatic rescue effort mounted by God Himself...and unless one understands that he is inherently depraved, he will not understand that it is God Himself that he needs to be rescued from. (1 Th. 1:10)] ***** The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most radical explanation of the plight of man ever postulated. It is nothing less than a slash-and-burn through man’s most cherished presuppositions about himself and God - a Sherman-like torch and scorch march to the sea leaving the best of human wisdom and wishful thinking as bits of twisted metal and burned-out hulks flung behind and strewn about. The true Gospel is the message preached by the flinty Jonathan Edwards, not the flitty Father Mulcahey (M*A*S*H). But the Gospel is rarely, if ever, portrayed this way. Instead, we’re fed a thin gruel of platitudes and positive thinking from a number of our evangelical super stars, and many of our pastors. Also on the menu we find the syrupy, saccharine soup of self-esteem served up by today’s human potential gurus. A thick slab of meaty Truth, regardless of how indigestible at first blush, is what our spiritual selves really crave. The failure of either meal to satisfy - to offer a diet of honesty and substance, to explain the human condition in any depth, is apparent to many of us as we struggle to make sense of the increasingly frequent and increasingly bizarre news reports of hooded video executioners, super-religious suicide bombers, ritualistic cannibals, serial pedophiles, and all the rest of their kindred spirits. We find it ludicrous to think that the hearts of these demoniacs could be regenerated merely by attendance at the happy-clap Sunday Service, or a weekend seminar at Big Sur. What has gotten into people? we ask ourselves. ***** Christ's Analysis of Man's Real Nature Jesus Christ had an answer… but it won Him no friends. In fact, His compatriots two thousand years ago killed him because of it. Being a Prince of The Most High God, He was fearless. He didn't mince words. He told the unvarnished truth about people, powerful people, in their very midst, to their face. On more than one occasion the religious types tried to throw him over a cliff to dash him to death on the rocks below. What made them so mad was what He had to say about them, and what He had to say about the most upstanding citizens of Israeli society, essentially, was this:  They were evil (Mt. 12:34), and instead of being the favored of God, they were His mortal enemies. In fact, all human beings, even the best of us, even His disciples (Mt. 7:11), were evil and His enemies, (Rom. 5:10) and in fact, the walking dead. (Luke 9:60) Not just confused, or subject to bad influences, or prone to mistakes, or experiencing the occasional bad hair day, but evil - at the very core of our being. (Jn. 8:23-24, 38-44) We were born in that state, we inherited that nature, and there is nothing that we ourselves can do to change it. If you doubt Christ's analysis, just place two toddlers in a pen with a single toy and then sit down and watch. After that, if you need further proof concerning the heart of man, just start reading this morning's newspaper...or, better yet, examine your own thought life. ***** Can We Handle The Truth? I readily admit that being evil at one's core is an utterly repugnant thought, but I suspect that your thought life, which is the best evidence of what you’re really like inside, is no better than mine.   "OK", you say, "maybe I'll concede your point to a degree, but come on! Some crazies have certainly gone over to the dark side, and no doubt engaged in the the grossest tabloid-style sins, but as for the rest of us "normal" people, sure, we all make mistakes, some worse than others, but evil?" And, anyway, you remind me, “Jesus died for my sins.”   That’s true. He also died for the sins of Jeffrey Dahmer and Adolph Hitler. Ever think of yourself as being like Dahmer or like Hitler? Are they now in heaven? If not, what separates me and you from them so that our destiny will be different?   I would only note at this point that our respective spiritual conditions, yours and mine and Jeffrey's and Adolph's, were so similar, our situations so desperate, at least in our Maker’s eyes, that according to the Scripture they required the same radical remedy - His Son nailed to a wooden cross and the wrath of God poured out on Him in ways we cannot even begin to imagine.   Certainly, that tells us something.   As I said, it wasn’t then, and it isn’t now, a popular message. By the time Christ breathed His last, His followers numbered only a handful.   There’s more.   According to Jesus Christ, every one of the sons of Adam, you and me and everyone else, are evil because we are murderous rebels at heart, guilty of high treason against a good King (His Father) and, consequently, at the end of this age will all be subject to the traditional fate of traitors. (Mt. 21:33-41)   We’ve all read our history of human kings and successions. We all know what that "fate" is.   But have you ever heard that in church?    In fact, contrary to what you probably have heard in church, Christ didn’t come to earth to tell you or me that He had a wonderful plan to prosper us in the flesh. What He came to say, urgently, was this:   He was the final emissary to earth of the rightful King. The previous ones had been murdered (i.e., the Old Testament prophets) (Mt. 23:29-35). The King is returning shortly to smash the rebellion by earth's inhabitants. He and His army are on the move; in fact, just over the next hill, and His first official act upon arrival will be to expeditiously, and mercilessly, settle all accounts with His enemies - which includes everyone who has refused and trampled upon His most generous offer of amnesty. (Luke 19:11-27)   "But", you protest, "this is bunk. We are not all His enemies. I am certainly not one. Besides, how is it possible to believe that people are evil and the enemies of God in light of all the good that they do."   As far as the good we do, nothing we do on the outside, according to Christ, can change our nature on the inside, our very constitution as traitors, and our classification and resulting treatment as one of those enemies. A bad tree yields bad fruit, regardless of how the fruit looks. (Mt. 7:17-20)   You can send a child to boarding school, or a teenager into the military, or a neurotic to a psychiatrist, and you can dress them up and make them look good to everyone who can’t see beyond the physical, but you can do nothing to change their inner nature, the motivations of their heart. (Jer. 13:23)   But it gets even worse. Christ said that the motivation for the good we actually do, that which we might cite to the King in our defense ...(are you ready for this?)... is done for the precise purpose of covering up the fact of what we are! (Mt. 23:26-28; Luke 18:9-14)   We even go through elaborate charades in further vain and dishonest attempts to hide from men and God the truth of what we really are.   Those charades we call “Religion.” Hang with me here. This is important. Maybe you've just been going through the motions in church. Maybe you ditched religion a long time ago precisely because of the hypocrisy. If you could see through it, don't you think God could?   “Religion” is best understood as any effort by man to make himself presentable or acceptable to his god - whether it be faithful Sunday Service attendance, moral uprightness, self- flagellation with leather cords, walking a mile on one’s knees, or flying passenger planes into high-rises.   They are very different on the outside, but all the same in one fundamental sense - they are designed for the same purpose - to impress man and the relevant individual’s god with his so-called piety. (Mt. 6:1-2)   According to Romans 3:20 and myriad other verses, the God of Scripture is not impressed.   *****   Our Desperate Situation   Let's, then, sum up Christ's honest assessment of the essence of each of us: Evil, compounded by abject dishonesty.   Our destiny, then, unless changed, is to reap a double portion of His justice, as His enemies, meted out at the Final Judgment. And in fact, He makes it quite clear that He does not intend to shirk His responsibilities as Judge when we are set before Him:   ",,,for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment." (Is. 63:3)   He thus takes pains to give us a visual! This is the Truth. Can we handle it?    We can possibly admit that we, or some of us, occasionally do evil, but we naturally recoil, without hesitation, at the slightest intimation that deep down, at our core, we actually are  evil, or that we ever would actually deserve the fate described in the Book Of Isaiah above.   Yet that is the charge laid at our feet by Christ Himself.   And if He is right about the King’s return, and His disposition towards His enemies, our plight is beyond desperate.   We are at DefCon 1 - the missiles have been launched.   ...   But, fortunately for us, He had more to say...(Please see the articles: “Christ, God’s Covenant Response” and “A Gospel Q&A”.)   (C) Copyright. All Rights Reserved. All or parts hereof may be disseminated or copied without cost provided that this website is identified as the source.
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