Journal Ps 53-55 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
They have all fallen away; together they have become corrupt; there is none wo does good, not even one.” Ps 53:2-3
Observation: It is difficult to think this means me…
When God says “none”, he means none.
Analysis: One of the hardest things to understand about the Gospel are the statements about the utter depravity of man.
Paul picks up this same reference in Romans 3:10-11, quoting: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; non one does good, not even one.”
How many times does the scripture say, “none” or “no one”, and doubles down at the end, “not even one?” The scripture here is emphatic: All have sinned; none have a “good” gene; all have and are practicing rejecting God; no worth, no good, nothing.
Harsh, I think, very harsh.
Why is that? Because I would like to think there is something of worth in a heart, especially mine. Let’s face it, I am selfish. More than anyone else I want to be something of value to God.
Let me say that a different way: I want to be found by God with a value that is intrinsically mine. That is the way that all Men look at themselves and unfortunately not the way God looks at Man. I can’t be a “little bit” good somewhere inside.
I have heard that spiel: “There is a little good in [fill in the blank here]; I just know it.” The problem with thinking like that is Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross is now based on a curve. He died 100% for so and so, but only died 80% for that fellow over there (because there was 20% good in him).
That is not the reason for Jesus being the necessary Atonement for the Sin of Man. He is my Redeemer because I needed a Whole Redeemer, not a partial one. Everyone is in the same boat.
It is difficult to embrace this biblical fact because I want to project “a positive attitude” and think the best of all I encounter. I realize that to be true to the Gospel I must have a split understanding: How does God see Man (totally depraved and needing redemption) and how I treat Man (with grace and mercy, knowing that I am a passenger in the same boat).
Working at this understanding without getting an attitude helps me understand the Mystery and the Wonder of the Gospel.
Prayer: Lord, it is your unfathomable Grace that is predominate here. I can see why the fathers of the faith from old wrote and wrote about the intricacies of the Gospel—so that boneheads like me would not wander astray from the fruitful tree. Help me to conform my mind to your Word, O Lord. I want to see and embrace this biblical fact without stupid and silly condemnation of others—knowing that I deserve your total wrath but am saved by faith in the Atonement. AMEN.