What does man’s nature have to do with my view of the Bible, Part 3?
The Unchanging Character of God vs. the Nature of Man:
Part 3, The Nature of Man:
The answer to that question is quite a bit! We have spent significant time in past posts pondering the character of God which is consistent, all-knowing, holy, and truth. God cannot lie, because it goes against His nature, but what about man? Is man consistent, all-knowing, holy, or truth like God? It does not take much study to see that man’s nature is in stark contrast to God’s character. Jeremiah 17:9 says that man’s heart is “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” In just one verse, Jeremiah vividly paints a woeful picture of man’s depraved mind. He is limited, dishonest, and given to change. In Romans 1, Paul further describes man’s condition apart from God. He “suppresses the truth in unrighteousness, is vain in his imaginations, and his foolish heart is darkened. He professes himself to be wise, but instead has become a fool. He has changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man and has changed the truth of God into a lie. He has worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator. He did not like to retain God in his knowledge,” therefore “God gave him over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness.” In Romans 3, Paul writes that there is “none good, no not one.” No man naturally “understands or seeks after God.” And in I Corinthians 2:14 he writes that “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” These passage give a powerful description of the nature of man’s thinking. It is empty, blind, darkened, and subject to vanity. Man needs God’s revelation to bring repentance and faith, then God’s revelation to renovate his thinking and replace it with truth. Even those who are in Christ by the new birth need to “put on the mind of Christ” and be “transformed by the renewing of their minds.”
This stark contrast has tremendous implications on so many levels. It should impact a man’s view of preaching, teaching, and evangelism. Man must have a lofty view of scripture, because it is the perfect revelation of his perfect Creator. God’s word alone is sufficient for a man’s faith and practice not the wisdom and of his fallen mind and unique experiences. His thinking and experiences must be conformed to the Scriptures, not Scripture to his fallen, limited mind and his interpretation of experience. Every man must realize that when he approaches Scripture, he is limited by his own mind. He needs God, therefore he must come humbly in submissive dependence to God to aid him as he “rightly divides the word of truth.” While the word of God is unshakable truth, sadly we filter it through a grid of human emotions, experiences, and cultural prejudices. This is why Paul told Timothy in II Timothy 2 to “rightly divide the word of truth,” and then in II Timothy 3, that the inspired word and that alone is profitable for “doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect [spiritually mature] thoroughly equipped for every good work.” God’s word alone must be our final say and source of authority. Human opinions, feelings, or experiences all are tainted by the fall and limited simply because we are created beings. Let us cling to the word of truth, and say with the Psalmist in Psalm 119:18 “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” We need God’s rightly divided word of truth, or we are simply “blind leading the blind.”