Saturday, March 21, 2009

Short and Salty

Job chapter 25 isn't long, but it has all the potential to start an incredibly long discussion. That's because B. S. (Bildad the Shuhite) offers up a tiny nugget of false humility that I've heard echoing off the vaulted ceilings of churches and chapels all my life (particularly in prayers, for some reason). It's also a very popular theme in Oswald Chambers's writing.

I'm not saying I don't believe in the depravity of man; I do. And I'm not saying I disapprove of Ozzie Chambers; I don't. But I do think people take depravity too far in a couple of directions.

The first mistake we make is ignoring the past—God created us in His image. Obviously that's been corrupted, but it hasn't been lost. So when people say mankind is nothing but a bunch of worthless, dried up, pieces of decaying flesh, I think they're missing the fact that God loves us.

The other mistake is to abandon the future. Bildad asked the rhetorical question, "How can a man be righteous before God?" It's a good question, yet it has had an answer to some extent ever since God accepted Abel's sacrifice (Jesus called Abel righteous) or at the very latest when He credited Abraham's belief as righteousness. Why? Because Abel sacrificed by faith. Abraham followed by faith. By faith, a man could be righteous before God. Praise Him for that.

But there's a third mistake as well, and that's the depravity shield. Sometimes, people like Bildad proclaim the utter worthlessness of all mankind in an attempt to establish their own righteousness, thereby shielding themselves from the "depraved" label. Doesn't work like that. The so-called humble are quite often guilty of the most dangerous kind of judgmental arrogance.

And I think I may have just committed a bit of that brand myself. 

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