I am currently teaching through Paul’s letter to the Romans in the adult Sunday school class in which my wife and I participate. On Sunday, we covered Rom. 1:18-3:20, in which Paul describes the fallen existence of the human race, which is the result of our profound, persistent penchant for idolatry. We have all participated in what John Piper has called, “the dark exchange,” whereby we have traded the glory and goodness of God and His will for the hollow, shallow pleasures promised by sin. I tried to communicate to the class the importance (far from avoiding the discomfort of the topic) of meditating on the nature of our sinfulness in this way:
I do not think it is cruel for God, in his Word, to tell us the awful truth of our predicament – I think it’s love. Once, when I was about 8 years old, I came hurtling down an incredibly steep hill in our neighborhood on my bike, and at the bottom of the hill I went down hard on a patch of sand on the road. Managing to use one leg to ride the rest of the way home, I hobbled, bawling, into the house where my mother saw my badly scraped knee, complete with sand, dirt, and gravel in the wound. Now, if my mother would have simply stuck a band-aid on my knee, it would have been painfully apparent that she did not love me enough to take good care of me. What I mean is that I do not think that churches that never tell their people the awful and unpleasant truth about sin love their people! Love does not try to cover up the truth with a “Don’t-worry-God-loves-you band-aid.” Love says, “I know this is really going to sting, but I have to get some soap in there and rub it with a washcloth to get the dirt out. Otherwise, it won’t heal right.” God gives us the dreadful truth about our condition in hopes that we will love the cure. May we ponder the depths of our sin, that we might develop a surpassingly deep love for our Savior.