2 August 2019
Genesis 6:5–8, Romans 7:15–20, Galatians 5:16-26
Human depravity is nothing new. The cleansing of the Earth by the flood made that abundantly clear. Yet, to this day, one of the common questions of humanity is why is there so much bad? We’re not talking about evil. We’re just talking about the basic undeniable reality that humanity needs some improvement.
Depravity really is a loaded concept in Christian theology. Depending on one’s theological framework, its meaning changes. A basic way to think of is that state of humanity both embodied and moral that is on a different path than God. There is an additional tone from the Scriptures that hint at decay. As decay is an ongoing process, it fits well into the appearance that humanity, on many levels, is getting worse. In certain theological traditions, depravity goes along with the concept that humanity is completely incapable of doing anything positive (i.e., God-oriented). Sounds pretty depressing, doesn’t it?
However, that is not our perspective. While we do agree that there is a strong human tendency (both morally and embodied) away from God, we believe that God went before and poured (and pours) grace into our lives. We call this Prevenient Grace (i.e., grace that goes before us). There is also another key piece to our understanding. God provides prevenient grace to everyone, not just a few.
When we read Paul’s passage in Romans we can sympathize with Paul. We get it. However, we could also despair. Paul understands that without God’s grace that when he fails there could be no hope. Especially now that the Law (that he once lived by) is no longer.
When Paul writes that he walks by the Spirit, he still falls by the flesh. None of will not fall. The grace of God continues to pick us up.
1) Do you beat yourself up when you fail/fall? How do Paul’s words speak to that?
2) Paul’s story in the poster for God’s grace that goes before. Where in your life have you seen God’s grace go before you?
3) The fruits of the Spirit are the opposite of the “depravity” of the flesh. Where do you see them “fighting” in your life?