God created this world and all that is in it. He rules and reigns still. He declared his creation “good.”
Since Adam and Eve rebelled against God and came to know by experience the fruits of sin, life in this world has been fallen and cursed by God. From the moment we are born we are dying. Our physical death may lie in our future, but in respect to favor and life before God, we are already dead. This is true of each and every one of the 7-8 billion people on this planet bearing the image of God. Nothing works as it should. Plans fail, interpersonal conflicts arise, nations rage, and even the best inventions are often weaponized to cause pain and destruction.
Even our minds are enslaved to the corruption of a sin-filled world.
The world attempts to answer and counter our human fallen-ness. Our adversary, Satan, deludes us into believing the lie that we are not spiritually dead, merely sick, and there is some natural cure, or creative program, which can help free the inner-mind to act upon goodness. His message is simple: You don’t need God!
On top of this, the biggest problem lies within each one of us because of our own sinful hearts. We look to find hope in things we can see, ideas we can fixate upon, solutions we can ingest, pridefully and thanklessly insisting on finding meaning and hope on our own…
The Bible’s prognosis of our health long-term, especially that of our minds is not good. We call this Total Depravity.
It is therefore, no wonder that even in an advanced technological age, the frustration and anger over humanity’s failed attempt to overcome its sin and fallenness has left us depressed, bitter and hopeless.
Blaise Pascal insightfully wrote,
It is in vain, O men, that you seek within yourselves the cure of all your miseries. All your insight only leads you to the knowledge that it is not in yourselves that you will discover the true and the good. The philosophers promised them to you, and have not been able to keep their promise…Your principal maladies are pride, which cuts you off from God; sensuality, which binds you to the earth; and they have done nothing but foster at least one of these maladies. If they have given you God for your object, it has only been to pander to your pride; they mad you think that you were like Him and resembled Him by your nature. And those who have grasped the vanity of such a pretension have cast you down into the other abyss by making you believe that your nature was like that of the beasts of the field, and have led you to seek your good in lust, which is the lot of animals.
Pascal was simply expanding on Paul’s statement in Romans 3:10, “No one is righteous, no not one; no one understands, no one seeks for God.”
In describing the human condition, Paul was echoing the words of the great prophet Jeremiah, who wrote six centuries earlier, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
The Gospel is Good News from the Holy One that reaches our ears beginning with the words: But God…
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)
God, who is rich in mercy, withholding that which we deserve or even what we, in our corrupted desires seek, entered our World as a human being, one of us. Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, did not inherit the fallen-ness of this sin-cursed human condition. He faithfully obeyed God’s command not to eat from the forbidden tree.
It was God’s will to put Him to death at the hands of wicked people in order to save His enemies through this one and only perfect atoning sacrifice.
The Lord Jesus was raised to life, conquering death, the world and the devil. He gives new life through the Holy Spirit’s work in renewing hearts and minds, through whom we grow increasingly Christlike as we mature in the faith, being prepared for the weight of glory to be ours in the new heavens and new earth.
God’s revealed Word, the Bible, is the source of true wisdom and godliness (2 Tim. 3:16-17). It is where we find critical distinctions for navigating the many challenges and pitfalls we face as sinful creatures living amongst eight billion other sinners.
As we think particularly about the life of the mind and the challenges of mental health, we are thankful for both medical doctors and psychologists, because we share in their desire to alleviate human misery. Yet we also know that solutions rooted in this world offer help that is both temporary and limited. They can offer nothing to bring a person one step closer to the righteousness that can only come by faith, or true Christian maturity (Colossians 2:8). Only the Gospel can give life and only solutions rooted in Holy Scripture can offer genuine, eternal help in healing the human condition.
The purpose of our Fall 2018 Conference is to offer hope and healing for the human condition rooted in Scripture and its application exercised in Church History.
Please consider joining us.
The Common Slaves
Eric and Joe, (mostly) benevolent co-monarchs
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