Let us pray: Dear Savior, amid a world where innuendo, gossip, fear-mongering and lying is the norm, we need the truth. We need to hear the truth about who we are as people and the truth about the world in which we live. We need to confront the truth that we are sinners in need of eternal salvation. We need to embrace the truth that You have come to buy back our souls and make us right with God. Today let all of us embrace those truths. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE!
TEXT: Romans 5: 12-15
Fellow Redeemed Sinners:
Two famous statements come to mind: “The truth shall set you free” and: “You can’t handle the truth!” One comes from the Bible. The other from a famous Hollywood movie. All of us have a desire for the truth amid a world in which we hear almost everything but the truth. At the same time we also don’t want to hear genuine truth because usually it is hard to accept.
Currently our nation and the world have been debating the issue of “global warming.” Al Gore’s Oscar winning movie: “An Inconvenient Truth” has sparked debate and legislation on the issue. Generally, his statements have been accepted by most as fact. But, are they really true? Is global warming genuine and is it man-made? What’s the truth? Personally, I have read intensively on both sides of the debate. And I side with those who oppose Al Gore’s sweeping statements. I agree with Dr. Randall Lindzen of MIT, Dr. William Gray the President of the American Meteorological Association, and Dr. Bjorn Lonborg to name a few. They all say Mr. Gore is wrong. The bottom line is: the past 10 years have actually seen a cooling of the world instead of warming. (One famous Russian scientist tells us that we’re in for a long cooling period, a mini ice age!) I agree with those who say that the global climate is overwhelming influenced by sun-spot and solar flare activity—not by man-made emissions.
This past week I spied a book review in the “Wall Street Journal” which caught my eye. The title was: “Paradise Lost, Again and Again.” The subtitle was: “Original Sin: A Cultural History.” Needless to say, I read the article. It outlines how many liberal world thinkers have mocked the whole concept of original sin. Kant and Rousseau come to mind. After all, no one likes to be told that they have inherent evil within them. Instead, it’s all a matter of circumstances and maladjustment in life–which we can control. This, of course, has given rise to the nanny state in which government tells us how best to raise our kids, what to eat, what to say and not say, and even what to think. And yet, other famous thinkers such as G.K. Chesterton and even the philosopher Blaise Pascal point out the obvious: just look around and you’ll see original sin! Another Christian thinker once said: “to deny original sin is to deny God.”
Even those who mock the notion of original sin cannot escape its reality. They simply use politically correct terms to describe it. Kant didn’t care about Christianity at all, yet he spoke about the “crooked timbers of humanity.” Karl Marx, the father of communism, said that “human behavior was skewed by immemorial social arrangements.” Sigmund Freud talked about the “dark forces of the subconscious.” So, the bottom line is this: the reality of original sin is truly an “inconvenient truth!” isn’t it? And people don’t like to talk about it because in the word’s of Jack Nicholson: “They can’t handle the truth!”
And yet, we need to come to grips with original sin. And so today, as we look at Paul’s words in Romans 5 we need to ponder:
THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH OF ORIGINAL SIN
Babies cry. They do so for many reasons: they are hungry, they need changing, they are tired, and sometimes just because they want to impose their will on the tired parents. Where does that prideful will come from? Did they learn it by watching mom and dad the first few days after birth? Or, were they born that way? Every parent here knows the answer. Likewise, you can raise a child in the very best of environments and shield them from nasty influences. And yet, they still lie. They still will engage in back-talk. They still will seek to assert themselves against you. Why? Original sin. We are born with an innate sense of me, me, me. Where did it all come from? The nature/nuture folks tell us: it’s social and environmental factors. The Bible says it started with the first two humans on earth exercising their free will to disobey God.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.”
Without do’s and don’t, the Law, the 10 commandments, how could there be any sin? After all, sin is the willful breaking of God’s directives. And God didn’t hand out those directives until Moses brought them down from Mt. Sinai. But from Adam to Moses people still sinned, even though they didn’t have the commandments. So, where did such sin come from? Why was it so active? Think of the story of Noah and the evil of his time. Think of Cain killing his brother Abel. Think of the evil people Abraham confronted. Think of Israel enslaved in Egypt by a nation they had earlier saved from starvation? Evil, evil, evil reigned. Sin reigned even though pointed directives from God were not yet present. That’s Paul’s argument for the reality of original sin, inherited sin and the human death and suffering that it causes. As Chesterton said: “Look around, it’s obvious.”
When Adam and Eve directly disobeyed God they brought total corruption upon the human race. That corruption has been passed down from generation to generation. It corrupts our minds, our souls, our bodies. It brings evil into our lives and culminates in death. That’s because it divorces us from God Who is holy, perfect, good, and everlasting. Original sin took all of that away from us. We’re born with it. We cannot escape its destructive power. That’s the “inconvenient truth” no one likes to hear because human pride cannot talk its way out of that reality.
God knew all this. And because He’s also filled with perfect love—even for sinners—He did something to help us. “But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man (Adam), how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!”
Through the gift of pure love as found in God’s Son, He provided humans with an antidote to original sin. He gave us His grace. He gave us salvation. He gave us the death of His Son on a cross to pay for all of our waywardness against Him. He freely forgave us our sins, including original sin, in Jesus Christ! Believe it and that free gift becomes your own!
The Gospel, or this good news of our salvation in Christ, frees humans up to respond to God’s love with the love that He has placed within us. It frees us up to walk away from evil and seek goodness. It frees us to live to and for a higher calling: eternal life and oneness with God Almighty. To those who embrace such Truth, freedom is theirs. To those who willfully want to take credit for their own lives, or lack of them, this gospel is the ultimate in “inconvenient truths” it is a stumbling block to their pride.
So I guess it all boils down to this: is it better to die with your pride intact or is it better to die knowing that heaven awaits in Christ? Can you handle those truths? In Christ you can….Amen