One of the most important doctrines in Scripture is the doctrine of original sin. The Heidelberg Catechism summarizes this teaching of Scripture saying, “I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.” But because we have this tendency inherited from Adam we take precautions against having this doctrine have its free way in our hearts. The point is not to drive every member of human society into eternal depression and hopelessness. The point is to drive every member of human society to their knees and to the cross. The biblical teaching that we all naturally hate God and our neighbor is part of the good news, the gospel that sets people free. Just as the diagnosis of a disease is very important and helpful information if you want to have any hope of treating it and being healed. But in the Church it is not too hard to learn ways of sidestepping the full force of God’s Word. Frequently it is easier to apply man’s natural hatefulness to other people, but we give ourselves a pass. Other times, we hide behind other true doctrines: now we are forgiven in Christ, now we are delivered from sin and wickedness in the cross. But when we are translated to the Kingdom of Light, when Christ frees us from sin and the flesh and the devil, He does so by taking our guilt and self-reliance away. But as long as we are in the flesh, that natural tendency is never completely obliterated, and we must constantly turn to God honestly whenever that hatred appears. Sometimes we blunt the force of this grace merely by going through the actions of confessing sin and asking forgiveness. And we wonder why we’re making no real progress. Do you want to be free of that sin or do you just want to get out of that awkward situation? But there is grace for those who want to be free.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mt. 11:28-29).