In our understanding of Scripture, as in much else, we tend to gravitate to one extreme or the other. (Or, if we do hold a ‘centre ground’, it tends to be a ‘muddled-middle’, achieved simply by diluting the more sharp-edged truths at each end of the spectrum.)
And in doing so we often end up missing the point.
Hence we make much of Gen 1, but downplay Gen 3. Or vice-versa. And the result is that we do violence to the narrative of Scripture in general, and these comments of Jesus in particular: “From within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride and foolishness.”
So we rightly declare: “I’m made in the image of God, and therefore infinitely precious.” (Gen 1)
And then slide all-too-easily to:
“So I’m basically good; ‘That’s the way God planned (me), that’s the way God wants (me) to be.'”
We truthfully confess: “I’m deeply fallen, fundamentally spoiled and infected by sin.” (Gen 3)
And then sink hopelessly to:
“So I’m basically worthless; unlovable by God or anyone else. Or myself.”
But Jesus is uncompromising, and insists that we fully embrace both truths. Yes, we are deeply precious to God. And yes we are deeply spoiled.
Yet we remain deeply loved, by a Love will not allow us to go untransformed.
Our Father declares that we are ‘worth it’, but not because of anything we’ve done; in fact despite the things we’ve done. If we look within ourselves, hoping to find something that merits his love, we will look in vain.
Yet he loves us.
And if we presume that at least the underlying motives and deepest feelings of our hearts must somehow be pure then we have not understood Gen 3, or Mark 7.
Yet he loves us.
His love will progressively heal us, but it requires that we accept the diagnosis.
See also; Adam’s sermon ‘The Problem with Religion’, click HERE to listen to the mp3