Here’s something you never want to see… There, in the middle of a what you thought was a delicious, shiny apple is a worm, creeping out as if to defy you to take another bite. Um, no thank you, I’ll pass!
But how does it get inside the apple to start with? We may think it burrows its way from the outside, but the opposite is actually true. A fruit fly inserts a small, hollow tube from her body into a young apple. Then she releases her egg through the tube. Soon afterwards, the egg hatches into a tiny white worm in the heart of the apple. *
You may think I’m exaggerating with what I’m about to say, but I believe that bad apples and mankind have one thing in common – we’re both rotten to the core.
This is explained when you study the doctrine of Total Depravity as it refers to the inward condition of man. The Bible says that the heart of man is “deceitful and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), born dead in transgression and sin (Psalm 51:5, Psalm 58:3, Ephesians 2:1-5). This is not to say that an individual is as bad as he could possibly be, but that every part of him is tainted by his sin, that there is nothing within him that naturally wants to seek God. (Romans 3:10-11). To think that we are anything more is a delusion of pride.
In fact, the thought that we are all inherently evil may be downright offensive in this day and age, when “feeling good about yourself” is the chief goal of self-help books and even some Christian books. I’m not promoting an unbalanced, guilt-ridden view of man. What I am trying to do is shine a light on the fact that the Bible never says anything about having a “high SELF-esteem. When it states anything about the value of man, it’s always in light of what Christ has done for us. The thinking that we are polished and pleasing in ourselves alone is as deceptive as a beautiful apple that is really rotten inside.
Which is easier? To be selfish and greedy or to give to others? To lie or to suffer under the truth? The answer is easy. With no constraints, it’s much easier to seek ourselves and our own gain above anything else. To borrow a popular phrase, (and quite accurately in this case), we’re born that way. Think about it. Have you ever met a baby that doesn’t demand its own way? They have no concept of how their actions effect others. They make their needs known no matter what time of the day or night it might be. We don’t have to teach them how to be self-centered. However, they do have to be taught morals, selflessness, kindness or any other trait we hold valuable.
King David referred to this sin nature. He said, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). Elsewhere, He states, “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward, spreading lies” (Psalm 58:3).
Like the worm in the apple, sin didn’t originate outside of ourselves, we inherited it within ourselves from our first earthly father, Adam. Genesis 3:1-7 describes the first sin of man, which was Adam and Eve’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden. From that point on, human nature was tainted and passed down from generation to generation. Think of it this way: Nothing holy can come from what is unholy, like a bad seed cannot produce good fruit.
Romans 5:1 say it in a nutshell:
Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”
We were condemned through one man, Adam, but we are justified (made right), through Christ (the second man mentioned, uppercase).
You see, Jesus Christ was never stained by original sin. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (born of a virgin) and not of man. (Matthew 1:18, Isaiah 7:14). This means that He bypassed the sin nature of Adam. Equally important, He alone lived a perfect and holy life; He was the only One suitable to take on the condemnation we deserve, making the way possible for us to stand blameless before a holy God.
So if it is clear that no man naturally seeks God, how can anyone be saved? The answer is that God must overcome man’s depravity and open his eyes to his spiritual state, the condition of his core being. To understand that man cannot save himself may shatter the false hope of striving to be “good enough” for God. Yet it rightfully puts the high and exalted view of God as Sovereign, glorious, and our only hope.
To God be the Glory.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6, ESV).