Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Futility of Social Reformers:
...the moral elevation of the masses

'True knowledge of ourselves destroys self confidence." -author unknown

It is my deep conviction that the vital question most requiring to be raised today is this: Is man a totally and thoroughly depraved being by nature? Does he enter the world completely ruined and helpless, spiritually blind and dead in trespasses and sins? Or as contemporary pundits might suggest, is there just a God-size-hole in his heart that needs filling?

How we answer that question is vitally and will determine our views on many others. It is on the basis of this dark background [in light of the holiness, righteousness and perfection of God] that the whole Bible proceeds. Any attempt to modify or abate, repudiate or tone down the teaching of Scripture on the matter is fatal.

Put the question in another way: Is there any hope for man apart from his personal election by the Father, his particular redemption by the Son, and the supernatural operations of the Spirit within him? (cp, Eph. 1:4-14) Or, putting it in still another way: If man is a totally depraved being, can he possibly take the first step in the matter of his return to God?

"Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God's majesty" -John Calvin

"A mouse was caught by its tail in a trap the other day, and the poor creature went on eating the cheese. Many men are doing the same. They know that they are guilty, and they dread their punishment, but they go on nibbling at their beloved sins." -C.H. Spurgeon

“The scriptural makes evident the utter futility of the schemes of social reformers for "the moral elevation of the masses," the plans of politicians for the peace of the nations, and the ideologies of dreamers to usher in a golden age for this world. It is both pathetic and tragic to see many of our greatest men putting their faith in such chimeras. Divisions and discords, hatred and bloodshed, cannot be banished while human nature is what it is. But during the past century the steady trend of a deteriorating Christendom has been to underrate the evil of sin and overrate the moral capabilities of men. Instead of proclaiming the heinousness of sin, there has been a dwelling more upon its inconveniences, and the abasing portrayal of the lost condition of man as set forth in Holy Writ has been obscured if not obliterated by flattering disquisitions on human advancement. If the popular religion of the churches—including nine-tenths of what is termed "evangelical Christianity—be tested at this point, it will be found that it clashes directly with man's fallen, ruined and spiritually dead condition.

There is therefore a crying need today for sin to be viewed in the light of God's law and gospel, so that its exceeding sinfulness may be demonstrated, and the dark depths of human depravity exposed by the teaching of Holy Writ, that we may learn what is connoted by those fearful words "dead in trespasses and sins." The grand object of the Bible is to make God known to us, to portray man as he appears in the eyes of his Maker, and to show the relation of one to the other. It is therefore the business of His servants not only to declare the divine character and perfections, but also to delineate the original condition and apostasy of man, as well as the divine remedy for his ruin. Until we really behold the horror of the pit in which by nature we lie, we can never properly appreciate Christ's so-great salvation. In man's fallen condition we have the awful disease for which divine redemption is the only cure, and our estimation and valuation of the provisions of divine grace will necessarily be modified in proportion as we modify the need it was meant to meet.

... The end of the ministry of the Gospel is to bring sinners unto Christ. Their way to this end lies through the sense of their misery without Christ. The ingredients of this misery are our sinfulness, original and actual; the wrath of God, whereto sin has exposed us; and our impotency to free ourselves either from sin or wrath. That we may therefore promote this great end, we shall endeavour, as the Lord will assist, to lead you in this way, by the sense of misery, to Him who alone can deliver from it. Now the original of our misery being the corruption of our nature, or original sin, we thought fit to begin here, and therefore have pitched upon these words as very proper for our purpose: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." –A.W. Pink

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