Here… the solution to humanity's problems

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First, let it be clear

    “If you are going to help someone, you need to know what is wrong and how it can be fixed. You go to your auto mechanic because he can determine why your car is malfunctioning and get it running again. Any trustworthy perspective on personal change must do the same. It must correctly diagnose what is wrong with people and what is necessary for them to change.

     This is where our culture gets it completely wrong. In rejecting a biblical view of people, the world eliminates any hope of answering the ‘what is wrong?’ question accurately. And if it wrongly answers this question, how can it possibly provide a proper solution?”[1]

In the same way, John Stott said in reference to Ephesians 2:1-4 that “Paul was under no illusions about the degradation of mankind. He refused to whitewash the situation, for this might have led him to propose superficial solutions.”[2] If we whitewash the situation and say it is not that bad, we are not that bad, we will miss the answer. We know, we all know, there is a problem. Some of us even expect that the problem is us. In fact, “The London Times once asked its readers, ‘What is the greatest problem in the world?’ The novelist George MacDonald responded succinctly,

I am.

Sincerely yours,

George MacDonald”[3]

However, most people do not want to really admit that there is anything wrong. In essence, modern man wants to put various Band-Aids on people’s and societies’ problems. But people and thus the society in which they live are dead. Thus, the solutions that the secular world offer obviously comes far short. It’s like the head just plopped of and people are saying everything will be okay. We’ll just grab the gauze. People! It is not okay. This is a big deal!

Many people are sadly blind to the reality of our situation. They don’t know what “sickness” we have, what “healthy” looks like, or what the “cure” is. They can’t answer these questions because their worldview does not allow for it. Those who say that there is no God prove themselves to be fools (Ps. 14:1). It is the inevitable result of their worldview. It is odd or foolish, is it not, that their worldview system says there is no problem but yet they are trying to fix something (unhappiness, addiction, etc.) but they do not know for what they aim. They have no model for fixed. That is, they don’t know what truly healthy is. And without an ideal of what is broken and what fixed is it is hard to do much of anything.

Scripture tells us that we are broken, desperately broken, and it even very unpopularly calls us sinful (cf. Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Ps. 51:5; Jer. 13:23; Jn. 6:44; Rom. 3:10-11; 5:12ff; 8:7-9; 1 Cor. 2:14). Yet, it also tells us what fixed looks like; namely, Jesus (e.g. Col. 1:15). However, it doesn’t leave us there. It doesn’t just give us a picture of broken and a picture of fixed, it gives us bridge to cross the gulf that has been fixed. This bridge is the cross. The cross where the “fixed” One died for the broken ones so that they could be fixed (2 Cor. 5:21); fixed once-and-for-all in the site of God. And progressively fixed until they finally know what it means to be right and whole (Rom. 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18).[4]

The truth of Scripture is hard. But who expects the answer to a problem not to be hard; especially of this caliber? We are broken. We need fixed. That is plain enough.

[2] John R. W. Stott, The Message of Ephesians, 85.

[3] Edward T. Welch, “The Bondage of Sin,” 24 in The Journal of Biblical Counseling vol. 17.

[4] Eric Johnson has said, “As the Real Man… Christ is the human ideal, so he is the Form toward which human beings are supposed to be moving… The Bible is a postlapsarian book (written after the Fall into sin), given in part to help re-form the damaged human, not just into a more accurate image of God, but into resemblance with Christ, the perfect Form of humanity” (Foundations for Soul Care, 28-29). Thus, sanctification (which is true health) “entails an increasing conformity to the image of Christ—the ideal For of human life—it must also include an inward dimension, affecting the depth structures and activities of the heart…, and encompassing affective dispositions, attitudes, motives, loves and hates, and character traits (i.e., virtues), a much more profound change than mere cognition and behavior work alone could provide” (Ibid., 47).