Have you ever thought about why you don’t have to teach your children how to be bad? Why is it that obedience has to be learned, but disobedience comes naturally? If you put a vase on the table and say, “Don’t touch.” What’s the one thing your child wants to do? That’s because we are born with a nature that wants to make its own decisions about what is right and wrong. We chafe under the notion that some outside force – even our Creator, even God – could tell us what is right and wrong.
It is ironic to me, that even though we continue to progress as a people; even as we continue under the notion that somehow the essential nature of humankind is improving; the reality of sinfulness is unchanged………………….
Friends, it is hard to deny the reality of sin. Augustine, in the fourth century, identified pride as being at the core of sin. A ninth grader, in a confirmation class I taught named Diana Richards, gave the best working definition I have ever heard. Sin is an overwhelming slavery to self-centeredness.
That self-centeredness, that conviction that WE should determine ultimate right from ultimate wrong is at the core of brokenness that has infused our world. We don’t have to teach brokenness and rebellion – we simply are.
But God – the same God who created us out of love, who created us out of a desire for relationship – that God is not content to leave us in the midst of that brokenness, that sin that we have chosen for ourselves. God sends to us the Holy Spirit – to remind us, to encourage us, to convict us. God raises up men and women, children and youth of faith who serves as exemplars for us. We are so much stronger together than when we are left to our own.
Friends, God has come to be amongst us in Jesus Christ. To demonstrate for us in person what right living looks like. To demonstrate the power of acknowledging that there is a God in heaven, and we are not that God. To demonstrate to us the viability, the meaningfulness, the joy that comes from living within God’s design for life.
But most importantly, Jesus has come – as a gift of grace – to make possible our return to the relationship with God for which we were created in the first place. In that relationship is freedom – tremendous freedom – to be all that we can be in Christ.