Biblical Truths Confirmed

One good way to establish the veracity of Christianity is to simply see how people respond to it. People are usually repulsed by it, and for very good reason: it cuts right across human pride and autonomy. And folks can’t stand it when you mess with those things.

You see, the Christian gospel is quite plain about the human condition. It tells us that we are all lost sinners who are at enmity with God and under his just wrath. Unless we repent and turn from self and sin, we are headed for a lost eternity.

Those are very unpalatable truths to fallen, natural man. People hate to hear that they are not good and acceptable, and they shake their fists in rebellion against a holy and pure God. And they are not crazy about the biblical doctrine of original sin either.

This says that because of the fall, we are all born with a sinful nature – an orientation away from God and toward sinful self. And this truth is demonstrated on a daily basis. The problem is, most folks think it applies to someone else, but not themselves.

They pat themselves on the back and think they are OK – after all, they have not murdered anyone, or raped anyone, or committed some horrific crime. But it is only fear of others, the veneer of civilisation, and God’s common grace, that keep us from manifesting to the world just how bad we really are.

Take away laws and their penalties, take away public scrutiny, and take away the restraining power of God, and we would all be a bunch of Hitlers or bin Ladens. The truth of original sin is everywhere to be found. As Chesterton once said in his classic volume Orthodoxy, “Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved.”

And proof there is in abundance. Consider a study discussed by Jerry Newcombe. It is yet more confirmation of biblical truth and doctrine. I will let Jerry pick up the story: “A new study verifies the truth revealed in Paul’s statement in the Bible that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

“Paul didn’t say that money is the root of evil – although I’ve heard people misrepresent the Bible as supposedly saying that. Nor did he say it’s the lack of money that is the root of evil, although I’ve heard some people say that’s what it should say.

“Yet I’ve known some poor people who were very greedy, and some rich who were not. Well, a new study validates what the Bible said 2,000 years ago – not that it needs validation – that the love of money is indeed a corrupting influence.

“Writing for CNBC, Mark Koba penned a report, ‘Just the Scent of Money is Corrupting: Study.’ Koba writes, ‘The report by University of Utah and Harvard researchers found that individuals who could gain monetarily through unethical behavior were more likely to demonstrate that behavior than those who weren’t offered a financial gain.’

“Kristin Smith-Crowe, professor of management at the University of Utah, co-authored the recently-released study. She said, ‘We certainly found that the love of money is corrupting and just the mere exposure to it makes people do bad things.’

“In our highly materialistic age, it’s easy to forget that ancient Christians classified greed as one of the ‘Seven Deadly Sins.’ The sin of greed is as old as time and as current as today’s news. Do you realize that a significant minority of Americans today would be willing to kill you if the price were right? These are among the many disturbing findings reported in a book about twenty years old, entitled, The Day America Told the Truth.

“This ground-breaking work revealed just how immoral we have become as a nation. Anecdotally, of course, we read about that every day in the news. But this book was based on extensive surveying where the respondents were guaranteed anonymity.

“One of the findings is related to greed. Pastor R. Kent Hughes writes about the disturbing results to an intriguing question the respondents were asked: ‘The survey…posed the question, ‘What are you willing to do for $10 million?’

“Hughes reports, ‘Twenty-five percent would abandon their families, 23 percent would become a prostitute for a week, and 7 percent would kill a stranger. Think of it. In a gathering of 100 Americans, there are seven who would consider killing you if the price was right. In 1,000 there are seventy.’ Gulp.”

Yep. Gulp alright. And until we get to the point where we can truly say that we too would do such things if the circumstances were right, we are not yet candidates for the gospel. Jesus came to save sinners, not the righteous. We are all sinners, although most of us won’t admit to this.

But until we do, we cannot become recipients of the marvellous grace of God as manifest at Calvary. Two truths must forever go together here, as John Newton once said: “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: I am a great sinner, and Christ is a great savior.”

Are you there yet my friend?

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11 Replies to “Biblical Truths Confirmed”

  1. Sorry to return to the dreaded “H” word but when people such as Peter Tatchell say that homosexuality is unnatural and that gays are not born gay, I think we have to say that though there is no gay gene, we are all born naturally queer, in the sense of being strange- estranged from God. Our natural state is enmity with God and what is unnatural is the regenerate Christian life.

    John 1:12,13 says: “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

    In Romans 1 it says that God gives us up to our own natures when we break the first three of the Ten Commandments.

    David Skinner, UK

  2. Humanity’s most ancient error involved the idea that somehow mere humans knew better than their Creator – that they could successfully grasp for equality with their Maker. …What a Faustian bargain it has proved to be – listening to an extremely intelligent Serpent – a creature with no moral boundaries…

    John Wigg

  3. Actually psychological research is confirming a lot of biblical wisdom these days. No longer is there a picture of the mind-body relationship as like a driver in a car but much more like a man on an elephant. Most often its the case that the driver is taken where the elephant wants it to go. So on this analogy the mind gives rationale for what the bodily passions and desires want and not the other way around.

    So Hume was right that the mind is the slave of the passions but this is a picture of original sin in my opinion.

    Read Jonathan Haidt’s The Happiness Hypothesis or David Brooks’ The Social Animal.

    Damien Spillane

  4. Bill, the ‘Good News’ of the Christian gospel only becomes good news when a person understands and acknowledges that he/she needs a Saviour.
    Modern persons seem very reluctant to acknowledge this as being true, and the idea that one should be OK because of having lived ‘a fairly good life’ seems deeply entrenched.

    John Gillespie

  5. I’m amazed that a bald question could be answered thus. I would say that a straight out question: would you go kill “x” for 10 million would shock me, and my reaction would be “no way! – what a stupid question – how dare you?”

    Most of the time, we fall into gross sinful behaviours via a progressive creeping acceptance of smaller sins: “white lies” “little things”, small indulgences.

    John Angelico

  6. I think we may be dealing with an attitude of prideful feel good feelings amongst a lot of folk in society today. In others words, the more money you have the prouder you become therefore the need for a savior gets clouded over with their dollar bills.

    Michael Mercier

  7. Right you are John. The devil is a very old hand at seducing people one step at a time until they become the very thing that they would have despised in others. We are of original sin and that is why we sin. Only salvation though Christ and the ongoing working of the Holy Spirit can create any good in us of value.

    Unfortunately I have been involved with enough Christian boards / leadership teams to know that pride and self-serving behaviour is rampant – dealing with one such situation now – and before anything useful (I Christian terms) can be achieved it is this message from Bill that needs to be dealbt with.

    Until we have reached a place of humility before each other as John Newton had, we are not much spiritual use to each other.

    Garth Penglase

  8. What I cannot understand about monetary temptations is the fact that those who have Billions still want more. One would imagine that after say the first billion they should be beyond temptation. But there is always the race and in certain minds when someone else has more than you many make every effort to change that situation. Witness the CEO’s of most corporations. Those that perceive a higher false worth pick a selection of better paid others and demand their equivalent until the leap frog continues into an unsupported fantasy. Bankers do it all the time yet when they fail; they keep their awards, produce a litany of lies then demand that Tax payers pick up their unsupported largesse. In Cyprus the initiation of extreme austerity measures and the robbery from medium range savers for their retirement is an example. Yet in that quest for the getting of a 12/13 billion euro loan, it was found that two accounts held over five billion. These were frozen for a time but when that sort money is at stake killings can be bought and those that attempt to attack the rich are often slain. Let’s face it there are many individuals out there that could have bailed out Cyprus and not missed the money. Sometimes it goes beyond a lust for money just for monies sake and enters the realm of coveting what your neighbour has.
    Money is a good servant but a poor master. If it is locked away it serves no purpose except the continual robbing of people who have to pay the Usury on its lending.
    If I give philanthropily part of my abundance yet redeem more than my giving from Usury then it is neither I that giveth nor deserving of acclaim.
    Jesus said it quite plainly that the women who gave two small coins from her meagre station gave far greater than those that give more yet little from their abundance.
    The wideness of the hem of their garments in the days of Jesus was often the most obvious showing of wealth and displayed eagerly to the populace to indicate a perceived status.
    Abraham had wealth but loved God. What Abraham had was carried with him.
    There were no banks, no hangers on and no profiteers that claimed a dividend for a shareholding in a business whose status rested solely on the usury paid by others and where CEO’s are often corrupted to extract as much as possible
    The people who minded Abraham’s animals which formed part of his wealth were more than the so-called slaves. Each had to be fed and looked after in the manner of the patriarch that he was. Many of his men were trained soldiers necessary for protection; each would have had to have weapons etc. Abraham did not lend his wealth at obscene rates of usury to his people or share its profits with the leeches of the day.
    Money was made and used primarily to give the hireling a transitional substance that could be exchanged for other work or sustenance as payment for his labour. Unless it is used it bears no value other than as a weapon to gather more. Like dust gathered in a corner it will be swept away.
    Dennis Newland

  9. “Man is so crooked in his crookedness, he doesn’t even realize just how crooked he is.” (Karl Barth)
    I really appreciate you emphasizing “and until we get to the point that we too would do such things if the circumstances are right…” It took me many years to get to truly recognizing this truth, Bill; that outside of the grace of God I am capable – EVEN AS A BELIEVER IN JESUS (if I take my gaze off the Saviour for sufficient time) of many vile things. This certain knowledge of my own fragility (outside of the powerful grace of Jesus) keeps me humble AND gracious towards sinners around me.

    A point in case of your frightening truth is that many years after he wrote “Tortured for Christ” Richard Wurmbrand wrote another book, in which he reluctantly revealed that during his 14 years of torture in a Romanian prison, many of his torturers were pastors… pastors who very sadly had been broken and recruited by President Ceaucescu’s expert torturers. How we need to pace ourselves in the fear of the Lord, living in such a decadent society.

    Peter Magee

  10. This is a revealing question:

    “Would you share the gospel more often and frequently if God promised you $1,000 for every time you did it?”

    Where is your love and what is your motivation?

    Jeremy Hopwood, A.C.T

  11. Share the Gospel for $1000 each time? I`m ashamed I had to think about it.

    Johannes Archer

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