One of the very unique aspects of Christianity is the dignity ascribed to human beings. Man and woman were created in the image of God and were created to be actors on the great stage of the world, to impact history, to be changers and inventors. People were created with wills, desires, and the power to make choices and judgments. This truly is glorious, but with it comes responsibility. In other words, the dignity of having the freedom and power to make a choice brings with it the responsibility for that choice. You can’t one minute celebrate your ability to invent something and then turn around and claim ignorance for what you’ve invented. You can’t soar to heights of freedom and marry that guy your friends and family warned you about, and then turn around and blame your friends and family for what transpires.
One of the most powerful sinful instincts is to shirk this responsibility. Going back to the garden, Adam blamed the woman, and the woman blamed the serpent. But they had made their own choices. This blame-shifting continues down to today. Marxism and socialism blame economic forces and the power of property for the outcomes of history. Evolution takes it even further and claims that you are the result of atoms and molecules rushing through time and space. You aren’t responsible for your actions, — how could you be? You just do what the chemicals and forces of nature make you do. But while these are attempts to take our guilt and shame away, they simultaneously rob human beings of their dignity. You’re just doing what anyone would do under these conditions.
This is where Christianity is unique. The Bible affirms the dignity of being human, the glory of making true choices, and at the same time recognizes that something has gone horribly wrong in this world. We have chosen evil things, and we can’t seem to stop making wrong choices. And yet far from stealing the dignity of our humanity from us, the gospel affirms our dignity by affirming our guilt. The cross of Jesus dignifies even those evil choices with the punishment they deserve. Jesus receives the punishment due our sin and sets us free from evil so that we may freely choose what is good. The way out of sin is owning your sin so that Jesus can take it away. And as you do this, God is restoring the glory and dignity of being made in His image.