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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Nature of Man

Yesterday I had a conversation with my atheist sister about the future of America, in light of the growing financial and economic woes. I mentioned that the banks and lending institutions have invested in the greedy nature of man.

On that note she was quick to rebut and correct me—that loans are made so good people can make a good future for themselves and their children. This she said with a voice of anger and even spitefulness.

I wasn’t trying to offend her and didn’t even think much of it when I mentioned greed. Nevertheless, it fired her up and brought out a new clue for why we are the way we are.

It really boils down to our perception of the nature of man. The issue of man’s nature caused the great divide between the Church of Rome and the Reformers.

Rome wanted to believe and teach that the nature of man was basically good. Despite his rough spots, man was a righteous creation of God and that all he needed was some drops of holy water and to go through some motions and litanies to take care of those insignificant sins.

The Protestants saw things much differently. They understood the Bible to say something completely the opposite of Romish doctrine. “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.” (Jer. 17:5). “If ye then, being evil, ….” (Matt. 7:11).

“Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that He may perform the word which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.” (Deut. 9:4-6). “Ye have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you.” (vs. 24).

“Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition.” (1Cor. 10:11). So the word from God doesn’t leave much hope in some innate goodness of man. “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Is. 2:22). “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.” (Ps. 146:3).

With the light of the Holy Scriptures the Reformers were able to see right through the façade of the dogma that man is basically good. If he is naturally good then he isn’t a very bad sinner, and has no need of a Savior. If he never knows how desperately evil he is, then he will never desperately need God. Luke-warmness, half-hearted religion is institutionalized in the falsehood of man’s inherent goodness.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” (Jer. 17:9).

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Rom. 3:10-12).

An inherently good nature of man is a pagan concept. It is built upon self-congratulation. It disdains correction and reproof, and murders the messengers of truth. Cain set the precedent for this at the very beginning.

The concept of man’s innate goodness is built upon the foundation of atheism. If I hate to be judged, then I will hate a judgment day when every secret thing will be brought to light. If I hate the judgment day of the great Judge, then I must do my best to forget about the Judge. So I accept every reason that says there is no God. Atheism is the perfect cure-all for the person who refuses to be corrected or condemned.

What they desire is a method of forgetting God which shall pass as a method of remembering Him. The papacy is well adapted to meet the wants of all these. It is prepared for two classes of mankind, embracing nearly the whole world--those who would be saved by their merits, and those who would be saved in their sins. Here is the secret of its power. Great Controversy, p. 572.

Every human being must trust in someone. Without trust we can’t function. We become paranoid and our brains short circuit. No one wants their brain to arc and spark, so we must trust. But if there is no God, as much of the world wants to believe, and we don’t have our Creator, Provider, Redeemer and Father-Friend to trust in, then we must be left to trust in all that we can see. Therefore we must trust in nature and in man.

The fallen nature of man says of itself that it is generous, loving, kind, honest dependable, responsible, wise, and on and on.

The word of God says man’s nature is self-indulgent, self-seeking, self-pitiful, self-congratulatory, self-serving, “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” (2Tim. 3:2-5).

The concept that man is good is a religion, and it is also atheism. Whether in its purely pagan form or in its baptized Christian form, it is all the same.

One voice stands opposed to the many forms of atheism—the true religion of the Bible. One voice speaks of the wholly degenerate heart of man; only one voice speaks with conviction and brings the hardened heart to see its need of someone bigger and better than man could ever supply.

That one voice is the gospel; it is righteousness by faith and will be heard again before Jesus returns. It will speak like John the Baptist in clear tones against an offended and angry moral world. Those who unite in the Latter Rain will endanger their lives to raise their voice against a world rallied around their religious leaders, all of whom answer to the pope and his unscriptural dogmas. But “though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.” (Prov. 11:21).

Only those who have seen the weakness inherent in their own nature will fear to ever trust in themselves or in any other man. They will finally trust in Jesus alone. Then He will work in them, “both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13).

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