One of the key scriptures that keeps me grounded in the truth is this, "None is righteous, no not one; no one understands: no one seeks God." Rom. 3:10 and 11. A few verses later Paul says "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23
These scriptures give a bleak assessment of human nature. Paul is not saying that unsaved, unregenerate people cannot do good things. Because of the image of God placed into every human, they can. What Paul is saying is this; in our innermost being- at the center of our innate nature- we are, without the effect of the Holy Spirit on our souls, corrupt. We are not righteous as God is righteous. And God is the standard!
Our sinful nature is displayed in two ways; we either ignore God or are in active rebellion against him. The evidence of this is everywhere.
America is rapidly being overtaken by an epidemic of spiritual amnesia. We have forgotten God. We ignore him as if he does not exist. As Dr. Alison Litteaur says so often when she describes the spirit of this age, "Me big, God little." The human is the center of everything. "Good" people are defined as having the right positions on politically correct positions- with revisionist sexual politics being elevated to the level of Holy Writ, and subscribing to them being seen as a new kind of works righteousness bringing a faux kind of cultural "salvation." Anyone who believes that there is a God of the universe who not only creates everything but communicates his will is seen as a superstitious, knuckle dragging caveman.
The other marker of our sin nature- active rebellion- is everywhere in this media saturated age. Just look at any "reality TV" show, and you can see outrageous, destructive, immature, debased, dysfunctional, addictive, and abusive behavior on open display. This passes for entertainment. The more sinful the person, the more their entertainment value, the bigger the ratings. And this stuff gets into the heads of too many of our our young ones, many of whom cannot wait to turn 21 and emulate their pathetic on-the-way-to-rehab-and-bankrupcy behavior.
The human toll is enormous. Kids raised in this toxic culture are now adults raising families. Many do not know who God is, what God wants, and what is the best way to live. They only know that the MTV life of unending partying never delivered on the promises of fun fun fun. It turned ugly on them. Addiction, broken relationships, despair, loneliness and failed dreams are the bitter harvest of a godless life, but many in this generation recoil at the thought of God, and scoff at the idea that God can give us a better way.
But the fact is, God CAN give us a better way. When we surrender, repent and let God in, he makes us entirely new. We begin a character transformation. The Holy Spirit grows in us the fruit of the Spirit- we become more loving, more joyful, more peaceful, more patient, more kind, more prone to do good, more faithful, gentler, and more self controlled (see Galatians 5:22-23). And broken people who are stumbling in the darkness will be drawn to folks who are transformed- who are the lights of the world. Matt 5:14-16
This suggests a way forward for evangelism in this overtly godless culture. Skepticism of Christianity, Church, and biblical morality is everywhere. Cultural acceptance in relativism means that we cannot agree on first principles to the extent that we might be able to "argue people into the kingdom." Folks simply are less and less convinced with our words. But what they cannot deny is the power of a transformed life. When a person is truly filled with the fruit of the Spirit, the witness is undeniable, because it is true. A Christlike person simply has a deeper authenticity than someone living out the sad lifestyle of the famous, addicted and pathetic. We have to be willing to reach out, let them into our lives, live with the messy process of conversion, love them unconditionally and watch God work. This is a higher cost, relationship intensive way forward. It will happen person by person, not in mass revival meetings. It will take investment in people who are hurting and spiritually clueless. It will take Christians taking up their crosses and making the lost a priority.
And we will see God do what he does best...take spiritually dead, highly broken people and love them back to life. Those of us who embrace the lost as Jesus embraced the lost will be blessed- massively gratified to see the rescue, healing and redemption that God does. There is nothing more thrilling than to see a life rescued from the darkness. Transformation is what God does. Bringing people to experience it is why we- the community of the redeemed in Jesus- are here.
Thanks for reading this. I welcome your comments.
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