Jesus was fiercely determined that we might see the truth about our condition, not so we would despair, but so we would flee to him for refuge and cleansing. This is what the gospel is all about. The truth will set you free.
It simply breaks my spirit when I hear people who should know better insist that this teaching of original sin and the universally diseased human heart is an insult to human dignity, when in fact it is curiously liberating because it throws us entirely on the dependence of God’s grace. And God’s grace gives new life!
There’s an old legend that pre-dates the story of the princes and the frog. It has a simple but sound theological allegory: The ballad tells of how a handsome night found coiling around a tree in a dismal forest, a loathsome serpent-like-dragon breathing out poison; and how, undeterred by its hideousness and foulness, the knight cast his arms around it and kissed it on the mouth. The thing resisted him fiercely, but the knight persisted, and finally the beast changed into a fair lady, and he won his bride. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Being loved when you don’t deserve it is the most transforming thing in the world.
Who are the most humble people in the world? Are they not those who have looked within and recognized their own foulness, yet who have felt the love of God when they didn’t deserve it? Is it any wonder that the atoning sacrifice of Jesus’ blood is most cherished by those who have searched their hearts and found them in desperate need of cleansing?
Who are the most humble before other sinners? Who are the most patient and kind before other peoples’ flaws and weaknesses? Who are the most compassionate and ready to forgive other people? Are they not the ones who see the truth about their own condition and have come to know the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as long as our hearts have a beat, and as long as vermin breathe, we will struggle. But beloved simply keep to the old gospel. There are no new theories for us, no newly found places of refuge. Keep to the old gospel of Jesus and his love. It is the one thing needful, exactly suited to our necessities. May God draw reluctant hearts, and now give doubting souls courage to believe for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
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