As I was scrolling through a social media site a month or so ago, I saw a post from an atheist that said something to the effect of “I don’t need Christianity, it is a crutch for the weak, and I am not weak.” This person is completely wrong, in two ways, one that I will address in the first part, and the second one that will be discussed in the second part.
- You are weak
I think that is a pretty basic statement, today this might be a slap in the face to a lot folks. But the reality is we as humans are weak. The reason that humanity is like this is because we are all infected and corrupted by sin. This all began in Genesis 3, at the fall of man. Before the fall, God had told Adam and Eve that they could eat of anything that He created, the language here even implies an encouragement to do so, just not one tree. But Adam and Eve were convinced by that serpent, that they were not really satisfied, and they disobeyed the Lord. We are now a fallen humanity, born into Adam (Romans 5), and living with this corruption.
Romans 3 helps to show how weak we truly are. The whole chapter talks about how everyone is a sinner; and, apart from the Lord, we are totally sinful: our whole being is affected by sin. Not that we don’t do good things; however, we are ultimately sinful creatures and are enslaved to sin (Rom. 6). All throughout scripture we see this point described, if not explicitly stated. One of the best examples of this is in the book of judges. We see the Lord giving Israel chance after chance, and they still blow it. They might have a few years where they are obedient to the Lord, but after a while, they abandon the Lord to worship idols. This is supposed to reflect the sinfulness of mankind and the ultimate need for a savior. This is Paul’s entire point in Romans 3: mankind is sinful and unable to save themselves. This was also the point of the law: to show the holiness and righteousness of the Lord in contrast to our sinfulness (Rom 7:1-12) and our falling short of His perfection (Rom 3:23).
In this modern society we are told that people were made to do great things and that mankind is great, that we are naturally good. As a commercial I saw recently says “People have to learn to hate, but everyone wants to love”. This could not be farther from the truth, we just have to look at the news for about 5 minutes and we can tell that mankind is evil. If anyone has spent time in a nursery with little children, you also understand why this is wrong. We don’t have to teach children to sin, we have to raise them up in correction, we have to teach children not to do bad.
Now, we have a great hope, we have Jesus.
This is incredible because Jesus is strong, and He is strong for us. We see this strength in both His life and His Resurrection.
Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father, He was completely without blemish. This was necessary for Him to be our sacrifice for our sins, had He sinned in the slightest, smallest sense, we would have no hope for forgiveness of sins. But we do have a great savior that has lived a life of full obedience, a life that no one has, or ever will live.
We also see His strength in His Resurrection, when He a rose as a victor and conqueror over sin and death. When Christ is raised He is raised by the Father ( 1 Cor 15: 12-22), this is the Father vindicating, or giving approval to the work that Christ has done as our substitute on the cross. We see His victory spelled out in 1 Corinthians 15: 54-55 when we see that death no longer has any victory over the believer, because Christ has defeated death.
This is the great hope for the believer. While we are weak and sinful, being unable to make atonement for ourselves, Christ did it for us. Christ took our place in bearing the wrath of God that was upon us apart from him. We have this great hope that while we are weak and often disobey, if we are in the Lord, we have been given grace. Because Christ took that punishment in full for us. We have been freed from sin to follow the Lord, and while we often fall, we are His.
So yes, we are weak. In fact, we are powerless. This is the people the gospel is for, the dead sinner that has their eyes opened to the condition they are in. That they are unable to save themselves, and see the savior that was crushed for them and clings to Him. It is for those that see their weakness and cry with the tax collector “Be merciful to me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13). The gospel is for the weak, for sick sinners in need of a great physician capable of healing the worst sins.
See your weakness, and rejoice that the Lord is strong.