Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (ESV)
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Thank God for Original Sin!
Thursday of Pentecost 14
3 September 2015
Jesus warns us against the presumption that our acts (acts of any kind!) are sources of rightness in the sight of God. This includes food purity laws. Our problem is not what goes in, but what comes out! What comes out of the heart is important. Jesus says, "What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person" (Mk 7:20-23
). Who can claim to have avoided this list? What good is it, if you can avoid eating shellfish on the one hand, but your heart is still polluted with all manner of wickedness?
But you might say (and all of us try!), "But I don't have wicked thoughts!" Oh, really? "Well, not too wicked, anyway. And, not too often." So do you think that Jesus is here giving you the "close, but no cigar" standard for the holiness of your life? Definitely not. What Jesus says here is "out of the heart of man...." Not some hearts. No, every heart. Every human. He is making a generic statement about fallen human beings. No one born of a woman is exempt.
This is not a discovery of Jesus based on scientific testing. This is His divine omniscient verdict: Jesus "needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man" (Jn 2:25
). And it wasn't good. This is not a verdict against some other people. This isn't about who is in and who is out. No, we're all on the outs. This is not a partial indictment of human bad-ness. This is the divine Judge's clear verdict against depraved humanity. We humans are so sunk in sin that whatever comes out of us is a defilement of us. I am iniquitous and conceived a sinner as King David says in Psalm 51: "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps 51:5
). Everything that comes out of me testifies to my defilement.
Repent! We have refused to see sin, our own sin, focused as we are on our own illusions of self-generated piety and holiness. We will never have true faith or regard for God when we are unaware of the fullness of the depravity from which Christ our Lord has rescued us. Thank God that He has revealed the doctrine of original sin to us in His Word!
"The chief office or force of the law is that it reveals original sin with all its fruits, and show man how very low his nature has fallen, and has become fundamentally and utterly corrupted; as the law must tell man that he has no God nor regards God, and worships other gods, a matter which before and without the Law he would not have believed. In this way he becomes terrified, is humbled, desponds, despairs, and anxiously desires aid, but sees no escape. He begins to be an enemy of, and enraged at, God, and to murmur, etc. This is what Paul says: 'The Law brings wrath' (Rm 4:15
). Sin is increased by the Law: 'The law came in to increase the trespass' (Rm 5:20
Martin Luther, Smalcald Articles, 3.2.4-5
Dear Lord God, through the power of the law bring me to a clear confession of my depravity as a fallen person. Keep me from the self-delusion and false belief that denies original sin. Always grant me the fullness of your mercy, because you cover both actual and original sin through your meritorious death on the cross of Calvary; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
For those who will be traveling over the Labor Day weekend, that they might be kept safe as were Abraham and Sarah in the days of their sojourn
For Leslie Dorion Roch, that her Lord God would grant to her health and healing as she undergoes chemotherapy and the peace that surpasses human understanding
For all those who are standing against the abortion business carried on by Planned Parenthood, that they would be constant in prayer and confident of the rescue of Christ, the Friend of children
Art: Dürer, Albrecht The Adoration of the Trinity (1515)
© Scott R. Murray, 2015