Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Life, Glory, Death

Men are in rebellion against God. Our rebellion began in Adam, progresses through Adam’s offspring, appears in our hearts, and comes out our fingertips. All a person needs to illustrate his sinfulness is time and opportunity. As soon as a person is old enough and powerful (strength and ability) enough, he will naturally sin.

This rebellion is not necessarily an anarchistic streak in man, it is an attempt to control the universe and everything and everyone else in the universe—including God. It isn’t that men have anything against God, per se, it is that they have a profound love for themselves. If anything seeks to take the place of their beloved, the response is jealousy, wrath, tantrums, and various kinds of “defensive” mechanisms.
These statements are incontrovertible. They are universal for all mankind. “All have sinned…” the Bible says (Rom. 3:23). And while the verse goes on to say that in their sinning we have fallen short of the glory of God, it is also safe to say that we have sinned against God in the hope of making ourselves more glorious.
But God is still God and he made the world in a certain way. He made it for his glory, not our glory. He is the central figure in his story. We are simply rebels and upstarts. God is God and we are not.
Since this is true, we should expect that the way God would want things would turn out for his good. It is like a little boy is out in the yard playing with his toy soldiers. If he wants to burn them with the sun shining through a magnifying glass, he does it, and the soldiers burn up. The boy is happy, the soldiers are turned to blobs of plastic or are non-existent. In our world God does what he wants and we burn up or whatever he wants. That’s the way it is. God is God and we are not.
What we see is our world not cooperating with our plans, our agenda for how our lives ought to be working out. Because we are striving to swim against the tide of God’s creation, meant to glorify him, nothing goes right for us. Our families fall apart, our jobs are a waste of our time, our children rebel and get involved with illicit sex, drugs, and alcohol. We strive after a life of happiness and wholeness and all we get for our grand labors is trouble and strife, pain and suffering.
The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. We think of death as what happens to us when the plug is pulled at the end of our lives. But the Bible defines death as the state of existence we are in when we do not know God personally. When we see a body that has been dead for several days we see decay, smell nasty things, and see even worse things. What we see when we look at the life of someone who is in rebellion against God is the same kind of death. When you look at the life of someone who is living for their own glory in the world God created, you are looking at real death. This is precisely how the Bible speaks of man’s situation apart from submission to God’s decrees, they are “dead in their trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1).

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