Friday, May 29, 2009

Noah and the Problem of Sin

I've recently concluded a brief sermon series on the story of Noah and the Flood. The story seems to me to say something profound about the condition of human sinfulness. If you could find the most innocent, most dedicated, most pious, most conscientious person on earth (probably not the category any of us are in); kill everyone else (THERE we are!); and start all over with just that rarified collection of super-saints, how much better would the world be?

Really not much at all, apparently. God did just that very thing, and Noah managed to be mired in sin in a mere three verses (if we can still agree that it is sinful to be wandering around naked in a drunken stupor).

The problem is not “out there,” but is inside each of us—including even the best of us. Divorcing your spouse will not solve your problems, even if you are the better half of the marriage. Throwing up a wall around the church and building some sort of commune or compound will not solve our problems. Leaving church A and driving down the street to church B will not solve your problems. Wherever we go, our often sinful and rebellious hearts go there with us. How will we escape our own selves?

And so, the ultimate solution was not just to get rid of some of the sinful people or most of the sinful people, but to get rid of them all and start all over—the entire destruction of fallen creation. But this time, we who are lost in the flood (“buried with Christ through baptism into death”) are, by the miraculous power of Christ, somehow the transformed survivors who are “united with Him…in the likeness of His resurrection” “not [through] the removal of dirt from the flesh, but [through] an appeal to God for a good conscience.”

All of which you already knew. But it stirs up good things in my heart to speak of it, and I trust that it does you no harm to hear it again, either.


volfan007 said...

I, for one, am very thankful for the grace of God.


Steve Young said...

One of the reasons I follow this Blog is that you so regularly touch on the most important.

Gary L said...

Good biblical insight. I was reminded of this over the last couple of days watching a History Channel thing on Hitler. They interviewed people who used terms like "messiah" "god" and "worship" to describe their former attitudes toward the man. The tenor of the thing, though, implied that Hitler was exceptional and remarkable in his evil. Maybe in degree. I don't think the right question is ever "how could he/they do that?" because we know first hand the wickedness of the human heart.

selahV said...

So much mercy He continues to give us. So much long-suffering and love. Can we ever praise Him enough?

John Fariss said...

Ver good insight. Interesting too. Does it apply to the SBC as well as to individuals, what with all the walls and divisions that have been created over the past 30 +/- years? How about at NAMB recently? How about the IMB with its policies? And seminaries--they are still lightning rods for discontent, aren't they? Haven't the problems remained--changed names maybe, but problems still? And if there is any truth at all to this--you are right as to the cause: SIN, which throwing people out will not eleminate.


Anonymous said...

Good word, Bart. I've found much in the Epistle to the Romans to support your theme.

The notion of the "headship" (in the theological sense of that term) of Christ is foreign to many of us. We read that God the Father viewed the Son's death as our death. The Son represented us on the cross, so we can therefore view ourselves as free from sin's power because its power was disarmed in his death.

I recommend John Stott's "Commentary on Romans." Please read his discussion on Romans Chapter 7, a passage that is often misunderstood as applying to the Christian life. He suggests Romans 7 is describing the pre-Christian life, and that Romans 8 is describing the normative Christian life. Excellent book.