Walter J. Chantry
One skill of the poet is the gift of expressing immense and profound truths in very few words. Philip Bliss did so in his magni?cent hymn, 'Man of Sorrows'. With a single phrase spoken in prayer to our God, he captured the extremity of the human condition, 'Guilty, vile, and helpless we'. Only Scripture has done justice to describing the immense catastrophe of mankind's Fall, the shocking debasement of our present human moral predicament, the stain of treachery covering the entirety of human history, and the ingrained constitutional degeneracy of us, one and all.
Despite the brilliant indictment of our rebellious created race by the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 1, there remains in most human hearts a refusal to recognize the ongoing hideous felonies perpetrated by man against God and against fellow men. Misplaced optimism infused by demonic blindness creates the foolish majority opinion that man by his own nature is thirsty for truth and right, and is thus stumbling upward toward a more noble existence. For this majority opinion there is no evidence.
All children are conceived on to the broad road which leads to complete and everlasting destruction. There is a way of escape! But it does not lie within human capacities. Redemption for individual men arises from a source wholly outside himself. To receive deliverance from the curse under which all first enter upon their earthly existence and under which all mortals otherwise continue, there must arise an awareness of personal and universal depravity. Only God's Spirit can bring such insight to the self-deceived. This first step toward deliverance is a most unpleasant look into the moral mirror. It is taken only with extreme pain of conscience and terror of retribution. Yet only this prepares any man to look away from himself for divine grace and mercy.
In this issue we dwell on the abhorrent news so as to prepare a reception
for the Beautiful Saviour. Our churches must find energetic means of
bringing our age under the 'conviction of sin' or we shall be failures in
leading our generation to the grace of God which brings salvation. For this
reason our January issue dwells on the Total Depravity of Sinners. After
considering it again, let us become active in the Spirit to convince
perishing sinners that man is lost. We dare not avoid the first step in
order to hurry on to the good news.
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