Unworthy

A social media photo of an individual who has been in the news many times in recent months prompted a reaction, as it usually does when I see the person in media.  This individual was the head of the state health department in a large state throughout the virus situation and has been appointed to a high position in the Biden administration.  The individual has shoulder-length curly hair, an obviously male face, dresses in female clothes, and has championed the idea of allowing, even encouraging, children to question and choose their gender and to receive harmful hormone and medical treatments to change their gender.  I am probably not alone among people with traditional values in having a reaction something short of the gag reflex when this person is the subject of a news clip or depiction on a screen. 

The presence of this person in responsible government positions is a symptom of something deeply wrong in post-modern, post-Christian western society.  He is not alone.  A similarly afflicted individual is a state legislator in the state where I reside, and this is by no means rare.  It is an indication of social collapse.  In the not-too-distant past, such individuals might have been considered mentally ill.

I have never and will never meet this person; he has committed no personal offense against me, and yet from a distance I am somewhat repulsed by him, by what he says and believes, and by what he represents.  But as I reacted internally to the photo I saw, I quickly was reminded of something else, something perhaps more relevant to me and to all of us. 

God created human beings and blessed humanity with a marvelous world and environment.  Yet the unthinkable occurred – man rebelled against God, the creature against the Creator.  That rebellion brought disaster to all of creation, to all of humanity.  My reaction to the depravity of another human surely pales beyond measure against the divine reaction to the fact that I am a sinner against God, a sinner both by virtue of the fact that I am part of the rebellious human race, and a sinner by willful choice.  “For all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God.”  “All.”  Even traditional values, conservative, Republican, church-going Americans.  “The wages of sin is death” – separation from God – for all of us.  We are all repulsive unworthy rebels against God, subject to His righteous anger.  The ancient prophet Isaiah wrote that all our righteous works are but “filthy rags.”  We are all born part of humanity in rebellion against God, an offense of unimaginable magnitude.

But the most astounding thing has occurred.  Despite the repulsiveness of human rebellion, God Himself in Christ has atoned for our sins!  “The Just for the unjust.” 

None of us can redeem ourselves in the economy of God.  We cannot save ourselves from His righteous judgement.  In a real sense all of us should be irredeemable, yet no one is irredeemable.  Can a person become depraved to the point that they will not or cannot be saved?  A case can be made for that from Scripture.  But regardless of our sin and depravity, God is sovereign, God is gracious, and if an individual will but repent of sin, turn to Christ, acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior, that individual will be met with the love and acceptance of God.  Not because of works, not by intrinsic worthiness, despite human depravity, because of divine grace. 

“Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9).”  Salvation is a work of God, offered not because any of us are worthy – because we are not, but purely of His grace, purely in His sovereignty.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).”  In Christ, we are no longer depraved, no longer repulsive, but accepted.  And that is indeed good news.

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