In part 1 we learned the importance of teaching the doctrine of Radical Corruption is in bringing us to realize we cannot please God in our natural state. All attempts to do so should immediately be abandoned. it is utterly futile. Our offenses against God cannot be overcome by the counterweight of good deeds, no matter how impressive. Our sin is always before us. The wages thereof is death.
In light of this reality,
Radical Corruption teaches man to forsake his works and cling to the work of Christ.
Christ lived a perfectly sinless life. He was the spotless lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for all sins for all time. The shedding of his blood on the cross remits the sins of all who come to him. His bodily resurrection assures the bodily resurrection of all who are called by his name. The burden and curse of the law upon us is taken off our backs and laid upon Jesus Christ. In return it pleased the Father to impute (or transfer) the righteousness of Christ to us, so that at the judgment on the last day, all God will see is the work of Christ on our behalf and not the sins we have committed against him. The gavel of God’s decree will strike a thunderous blow, echoing across the cosmos, proclaiming the justification freely given us by God’s good grace.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (Rom 10:3-4)
God will not share His glory with another. Nothing we can do impresses God in the least. Jesus said, ‘Apart from me you can do nothing.’ The doctrine of Radical Corruption enforces these truths.
Close on the heels of depending only upon Christ to save us by God’s grace is this:
Coming to Christ can only happen by divine assistance.
Man to this point realizes he is a sinner indebted to the laws of God. He knows he cannot please God by his works for he has already offended Him with his transgressions. The gospel message points to Christ as the only means to forgiveness with his Creator. Turning from sin and trusting in the work of Christ by grace through faith is God’s requirement for reconciliation.
This is where mainstream evangelicalism truly departs from the biblical teaching of the inherent corruption of man’s nature and character. While they may teach man is a sinner by nature and sins according to that nature, they fail to see the doctrine through to its logical conclusion. Our heart is sinful, therefore it sins.
The wicked heart revels in its perceived independence from God’s holy and righteous decrees. It has absolutely no inclination toward pleasing God. It can’t.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom 8:5-9)
The carnal mind refers to our natural mind that loves the world and all that’s in the world. This love for things other than the Lord God has created an enmity between us (James 4:4). God’s righteous anger toward our rebellion burns hot and will not go unpunished. Man’s hatred toward God is somewhat more tepid, an indifference really. It is due to his desire to live unfettered and free of restrictions and rules which run contrary to his nature. This enmity manifests itself most often when unbelievers are confronted with the gospel message, a stumbling block to self-righteousness and an offense to the enlightened mind. In the flesh we will not and cannot submit to God.
The above text suggests you must be ‘in the spirit.’ No problem. We just need to focus our thoughts on spiritual matters. It’s only a discipline of mind that we need, right? Modern evangelicalism approaches ministry this way. Again, thinking like this shoves man’s depravity under the rug and ignores the huge lump in the middle of the room. This lump becomes an obstacle to true saving faith. Paul clearly teaches the carnal mind cannot submit to God’s ways. He reiterates this elsewhere. (Read the first two posts on Radical Corruption.) Paul is telling the church that they are not in the flesh but are in the Spirit. He gives one little condition for walking in the Spirit.
‘if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.’
One cannot mind the things of God unless he has the Spirit of God abiding in him. To mind the things of God means to repent from sin and exercise faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. From John the Baptist to Jesus and the Apostles, the foremost message of the kingdom of God is ‘repent and believe.’ This is not an offer, it is a command.
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, (Act 17:30)
But as Paul teaches in the scriptures cited earlier, the carnal mind is not subject to the laws of God nor can it be.
What a conundrum we have here.
On one hand God commands us to repent and on the other hand we are unable to comply. This should not perplex us, though. The old covenant worked in the same way. God gave the commandments pronouncing blessing for obedience and cursing for disobedience. All men of all ages have the same depraved nature, so even the Israelites, God’s covenant people, were unable to fulfill it. Paul says the law was given for these purposes:
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Rom 3:19-20)
The self-righteous decrees of every man will be clamped shut when he compares his works to God’s perfect standard. This reveals man’s desperate condition. He cannot be justified by adhering to the law. God’s intent in all of this is to reveal what sin is; that it is found in every living person and he cannot be justified by his works. God did this to humble his people to seek His mercy and compassion in place of establishing their own righteousness. God did this to prepare his people to look forward (through animal sacrifices and prophecy) of the coming Messiah who would cleanse them of all their iniquity.
Now that he has come to fulfill the righteousness of the law, God demands people to flee to Jesus in repentance and faith. Man’s carnal mind can’t submit to these seemingly simple commands for he is too in love with the world and his sin to sincerely renounce it. He can’t make Jesus Savior because he doesn’t want to be yoked under his Lordship, despite Jesus’ assurance that his yoke is easy and his burden light (Mt 11:30). Saving biblical faith cannot be generated in an unrenewed wicked heart. It is a gift from God.
I write all this to backup my point that man cannot come to Christ in his own strength. He must rely upon God to save him to the uttermost. Jesus stated in John 6:44
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (Joh 6:44)
The Father draws people to himself effectually through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said to Nicodemus,
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (Joh 3:6-8)
The flesh cannot give birth to anything but flesh. Only the spirit can give birth to that which is spiritual. Repentance and faith are acts born from a spiritually renewed mind and will. They cannot be generated from within our dark hearts. God must in fact give us a new heart, and this by his sovereign choice. Both repentance and faith are covenant blessings that flow from the cross of Christ to God’s beloved elect. They are not merits we nail to the cross, finishing a work Jesus began with the shedding of his blood.
The truth is, our salvation was sealed shortly after Christ uttered the words “It is finished.” (John 19:30) This truth gives deeper meaning to Heb 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:2)
The doctrine of Radical Corruption calls us to cry out to God for mercy. There is no other possible recourse. If you are reading this and have relied on the goodness of your heart or on the merit of your deeds to recommend yourself to God, toss them to the wind. They are nothing but chaff that quickly dissipates, having no substance. Simply pray for God to give you the Holy Spirit to break apart your stony heart along with the power of sin that has had dominion over you. He is faithful and true. God is quick to show mercy and slow to display wrath.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jer 29:11-13)
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isa 55:6-7)
God must bring you to the cross in humility, despairing of any hope within yourself of salvation. Call upon the tender mercy of God and behold the day of your salvation.
Radical corruption forces us into the only position acceptable unto Him; prostrate before the mercy seat, seeking pardon for a life full of offenses. God will abundantly pardon all who come before Him stripped naked in total humility, with nothing to offer.
To God alone goes the Glory.