We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God. (1 Timothy 1:8-11 – NLT)
When I was a young child I have distinct memories of being taught about the depravity of man and of our sinfulness. Now, we seem to have flipped to the other extreme. In many churches it’s seldom that you hear a great deal about sin and its effects. And in the general public through our educational institutions, the populace of our nation hears from the humanistic psychological perspective that we all are really good people. We just need some education and that ember of wonderfulness within us will just spring to life!
Well, that just doesn’t play out in real life. Human beings are capable of horribly wicked deeds. We are a depraved race. Adam’s sinned knocked the goodness right out of us. Just listen to Paul: …being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them (Romans 1:29-32).
Outside of the new birth and grace of God changing our natures, we’re heathen! Barbaric! Treacherous! Listen to the prophet Jeremiah: The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9 – NLT). Even Jesus said: For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander (Matthew 15:19 – NLT).
Our culture is out of control because of the depraved human heart. The atrocious things we hear about every single day: the killings, the thefts, the abuses, and every single evil , are a result of the wicked human heart. We need the new birth. Being born again as Jesus mentioned in John 3 changes the human heart from sin to pureness.
We need to spread the good new of the gospel that God so loved us that He made redemption from sin available to us. And that mercy, grace and forgiveness are available through Christ. And that God has made a way available so that our sins are already forgiven if we’ll only accept His plan of salvation through Jesus.
But before that will make a difference in a human life, a person must realize that he is a sinner in need of a savior. And that he or she is not just a nice sinner, but that he or she is morally and spiritually bankrupt and depraved.
Jonathan Edward preached his famous sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, and people shook with deep conviction of sin. Revival fire spread through America as revivalists preached of a holy God who is a consuming fire. We need this in our age too.
Don’t get me wrong, we need to know that Jesus became our righteousness, and that God thinks we’re special. We need to know that God loves us and that He has blessed us and destined us for blessing and favor. But these truths are for the saints who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. Sinners need to know that the Father loves them. But we need the Billy Grahams of our day telling people that the wages of sin is death.
When a person has a good understanding of their utter sinfulness, they will reach for the life raft of salvation with zeal. It takes prayer and Spirit unctioned preaching for people to come out of the darkness of sin and receive Jesus as their Savior from sin. It’s time for us believers to awake to righteousness, and take the two edged sword of truth in our mouths motivated by the burning love of God in our hearts.
Before God’s best can be granted, a sinner must squirm with Holy Spirit conviction under the weight of his sin and understand sin’s wages. Only then can he really appreciate hearing that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!