Today my daily reading was in Judges 17-21 and Luke 15. As one who holds to the doctrines of the Reformation (and the Bible I might argue), it is not surprising that I consider man by his very nature evil. Total depravity is perfect to describe man. If we are honest, I think we see that we ourselves are the doctrines greatest apologetic. But how often does this doctrine just seem like an idea? It takes the fresh pruning scissors of the Word to remind us that we too are by very nature evil.
It is also not hard to see that i believe in God’s unmerited, sovereign grace to sinners. If we are as evil as the Bible says, then this conclusion is the only logical one. Only the interference from outside ourselves would bring us out of ourselves and into marvelous light. But again how often is this grace just theoretical, seemingly divorced from our personal experience. Today my reading brought me back to these precious realities.
All Like Sheep Have Gone Astray
It is hard to accept the reality of our disposition. I think this may be one reason why Jesus hammers it home in Luke 15. Christ first compares his people to sheep. Sheep may be the worst animal of all time. They are dumb. They are helpless. Not quite as warm a picture, huh? Skip forward to the Prodigal Son in verses 11 through 32. The Prodigal Son is accepted back in his father’s arms, but why is that? It surely is not because he deserved it. He took his money and ran. What his father had given him was taken for granted and he decided that true joy was found away from his father. When he came back his father was elated. Why? Because the son was awesome? No way! It was because he loved him so much. Just like the sheep, the son’s reconciliation was not due to his worthiness but because of the grace in the eyes of the father. We have to understand the plight of the sheep to understand the grace of the shepherd. We all have gone astray just as the sheep and the prodigal. Judges 19 shows us the depth of our depravity.
The Reality About Man Apart from God
Judges is a book that really shows us the true nature of man. “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” is a refrain that is repeated often. In Gilbeah, men surround a house where a Levite and his concubine are staying on their sojourn. The house belongs to an old man who welcomed them into his home. The men outside wish to defile the man (the Hebrew word often translated “know” is used, often to men sexual relations). The old man offers his daughter and the concubine to the men to defile instead. The men will not listen. And so the Levite forces his lover outside, where she is abused all night even until her death. Then the Levite, showing his hard heart, takes her and mutilates her body. He sends parts of her to the tribes of Israel. This is a sad picture of the sinfulness of man. God is not mentioned in this passage of Scripture. Man, without the Spirit of God, is desperately wicked. The question is, who’s sin in this story was worse? Maybe a better question is this: are any of the people in Judges 19: 22-30 more sinful than the others? The reality is that we all are as evil as those men. By nature, they were just sheep who had gone astray.
The Glorious Gospel of God
Glory be to God who forgives our sins. Even more so, bore our sins that we committed against His holiness so that we may be sons. We are great sinners but Christ is an even greater Savior. No one is outside the saving power of God. If God’s outstretched arm of salvation could save the men in Judges, the sheep and prodigal son in Luke 15, and us then God can save anybody. All like sheep have gone astray; all, everybody. But God being rich in mercy (Eph 2:4) decided to call people to himself for the praise of his glory. The Word reminds us who we are so that we may rejoice in all that God is!
soli deo gloria