Scandals among followers of Christ almost always raise questions about the validity of our faith. As regrettable, unnecessary, and damaging as such moral failures are, I’m convinced that they confirm– rather than deny– the wisdom of our constant need for Christ.
Here’s another discovery that has changed the way I look at the Bible. See if it resonates with you. What I find in the Scriptures takes on a sense of urgency when I see that:
Everything the Bible encourages us to be and do is the opposite of our unchanged fallen inclinations.
(1) Being “born from above” does not change the instincts of our flesh. (2) Even though “the new birth” gives us the indwelling Spirit of Christ, it leaves our fallen tendencies unchanged. (3) While entrusting ourselves to Christ makes us right with God, it does not automatically make us good. (4) Our spiritual life needs ongoing vigilance, nourishing, and cultivation.
When the Bible says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2Cor 5:17), this is a picture of new spiritual standing with God. It is not saying that our fallen inclinations, or inherited self-destructive tendencies are gone. That’s why the Scriptures encourage us to make every effort to be in step with Christ, so that his Spirit can do his work of overcoming the ever present, unaltered, old inclinations of our flesh (Phillip 2:12-13; 2Peter 1:1-10).
Seems to me that this must be one reason for the scandals, disappointment, and confusion that so often dog us. If any of us think we are above any spiritual failure, we are set up for failure. Self-confidence comes before a fall.
So, let me ask you, is that the way you also read what the Bible has to say about our life in Christ? Am I missing something?