Thursday October 29, 2009
I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing." Psalm 16:2
The idea that apart from God we “have no good thing,” is probably the greatest barrier to reconciliation with God for it completely deflates our pride and independence. Yet we don’t need to look far to see the naked evil that is unleashed around us daily, born in the minds and hearts of humans. And in those infrequent moments of honest personal appraisal, perhaps sparked by anger, misery or even Holy Spirit conviction, we realize that the propensity for evil is resident in us all. The idea of what Christians call depravity is illustrated in this following excerpt from our book Happy Together: Daily Insights for Families from Scripture.
When I first learned to ride a bicycle, I was let loose on the streets of my neighbourhood and almost immediately came into conflict with another user. My problem was a very simple one; I was riding on the wrong side of the road as the other user testily informed me. My father had not taught me the first rule of the road—to ride or drive on the left (that was in England of course). A moment’s thought reveals to us the chaos produced without this one simple and basic rule.
When it comes to human nature, most are poorly informed of the one simple rule that governs all human behaviour, and must be taken into account in any process of governing: that is our total depravity. This very definitely goes against the grain, especially as it suggests that we have nothing good in us. But it simply means that everything we do is somehow infected with sin; we act with mixed motives and engage in undesirable fantasies. Society assumes the ultimate good in all, a mistaken notion that contributes as much to society's ills as sin itself, by applying incorrect notions. Sin is regarded as a correctable defect rather than a terminal disease.
By contrast the Bible teaches that we are all infected by sin and need inward cleansing by our Creator. The first line of defence for our children is a commitment to Jesus Christ, responding to their recognised need of cleansing and forgiveness; first as an initial experience of salvation, and then as an ongoing need in daily life. Unfortunately, these are so basic that we take them for granted and forget to clearly instruct our children of them—as my father forgot to inform me of the first rule of the road.