Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Sinfulness of Man (Jeremiah 2:13-25)

“For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before Me,” says the Lord GOD (Jer. 2:22).

“To err is human; to forgive divine.” While this frequently heard saying might appear harmless, it is loaded with notions contrary to Christianity. This piece of worldly wisdom hardens our consciences against the holiness of God by removing any accountability we have before Him for our actions. It reduces our sins to mere mistakes and attributes those mistakes to our nature as human beings rather than to our own sinful decisions.

Sin is not an essential element of our nature. We were not created to “make mistakes,” or to put it more accurately, to sin. God created us pure, innocent, holy, and righteous. That is the true state of human nature, not the sinful condition that now pervades our race. If all we could ever look forward to as humans was to continue making mistakes because that is an essential part of our nature, we would not have much hope for the future. Yet, philosophers of all ages have asserted that man must make mistakes because he is a finite creature.

Leibnitz, the rational philosopher, said that there are three types of evil: moral evil, which is commonly called sin. Physical evil, those “acts of nature” such as disease, storms, earthquakes, etc. And metaphysical evil, the condition of being finite. This last evil is the underlying philosophy of statements such as “to err is human.” According to this view, whatever is wrong with the world, in the final analysis, is simply that the world is finite. Leibnitz claimed that the only world God, who is infinite, can create is finite; therefore, He has done the best that He could do. Hence, a world of evil is the best of all possible worlds.

The biggest flaw of the finitude theory is that it places the blame for sin on God. It is also a moral cop-out. The problem of evil, the root cause of our sin, is not our finitude, but that as God’s image bearers, we have transgressed His law. Angels and glorified men are, after all, finite and without evil. When we stand before Him on that great day, we will not be judged for being finite, but for being disobedient to His will. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).

Make a list of all the various excuses you use for your sin, all your rationales and reasons. If you have children, what excuses do you make on their behalf? Why is it so difficult for us to call sin what it actually is, rebellion against God? Confess any tendency you have to excuse your sin or the sin of others.