Total Depravity and Unstoppable Grace
You turn on the TV and the opening news is about a woman gang raped all night, dead body left on the front porch, husband, who also happens to be her pimp, cuts her body in 12 pieces, and then sends them throughout the city of Detroit. Wouldn’t your eyes be glued onto the TV, curious to see how everything unravels? To the disbelief of many, this is precisely what we read in the closing message of our sermon series on the book of Judges, Darkness vs. Light. Judges 19 to 21 are some of the most horrific chapters in all of the Bible, and what we really see is total depravity, everything about us, our thinking, our feeling and doing are infected and influenced by sin.
The horrifying account in chapter 19 mirrors the narrative of Sodom and Gomorrah from the book of Genesis. We see depravity cloaked in “religious rayon”, hiding the truth that we are in fact infected by sin. In the case of the Levite, racial fear is coupled with unhealthy ethnic pride. You can have much exposure to the truth and be just as wicked as those without the truth. Do you ever fear people because the way they look and the where live? When you see brokenness around you, do you see the brokenness within you? Chapter 20 depicts when my tribe trumps truth – misplayed loyalty. We saw how the Levite carefully edited the account of what happened, and the Benjaminites, who clearly knew what had happened and what the charges were, did not hand over the perpetrators. When we put loyalty to any group above God, whether that may be our family, ethnicity, political party, or country, we are in idolatry. In the end of chapter 20 to chapter 21 we see when justice becomes genocide. An unrighteousness response to injustice is only more injustice. A cry for justice went array and added more injustice to this injustice. And then a summary indictment that closes book of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” This is total depravity.
Where is the unstoppable grace? After wave, after wave of rebellion, Israel still exists. With all of our rebellion, we still exist. The book of Judges leaves us longing for Christmas.
The Israelites in the book of Judges are so deep in their sin that they don’t even ask for a judge but God in his mercy still sends one, time after time. And then after many years of silence, God sends a True Judge, the Savior. Even in this dark book, we can see the light of Jesus shine through in different places.
An unrighteousness husband who sacrifices his concubine to save himself. But there is a righteous husband who sacrifices himself to make us his bride. This concubine was torn into pieces and then sent out to the twelve tribes, but Jesus was torn not just for the twelve tribes of Israel, but for all who would put their faith in him. As perpetrators of sin, we can ask for forgiveness, and as victims of sin, rather than seeking revenge, we can work for true justice. This is the light that shines through the book of Judges. Where are you cloaking your depravity in religious rayon? Where are you lending a blind eye to injustice? Where is your loyalty to your tribe (family, political party, ethnicity, etc) trumping your loyalty to God? Where is your reaction to injustice reflecting another kind of injustice, instead of true justice? You can hear the closing message in our sermon series on the book of Judges by Pastor Mike HERE!
Starting next week we start our Christmas sermon series, Christmas Victory Songs! Come join us in worship 11am at the PO as we celebrate the coming of the True and Living Savior!
Lastly, it’s that time of the month! As it is the first week of the month we as a body will fast and pray throughout the day this Friday(12/5), then gather at the PO 6 – 7pm for a power hour of prayer! Let us continue to press into how God is leading us to become a body that truly believes in the power of prayer!