Friday, February 20, 2009

The Nature of My Evil - And of HIs Love

Saw this piece by John Piper at "Desiring God" on the subject of Knowing the Nature of Your Evil and just had to share it. This is good!

Do you think the essence of your evil is disobeying commandments? That’s a good start. But it’s not the essence of our evil. Commands simply name the evil and its fruits, and tell us not to do them.

The essence of our evil is that we prefer anything to God (Romans 1:23; 2:23). Commands do not create the possibility of evil. Commands name it......

...But lawbreaking is not the essence of my evil. Desiring anything above God is the essence of my evil, before any commands name it.

One reason this is important to know is that it will affect the way you pursue change. If you think the essence of your evil is commandment-breaking, your focus for change will be commandment-keeping.

That is doomed to fail for two reasons. If we get good at it, we think we have changed, but the essence of our evil remains. If we can’t get good at it, we despair and quit trying.

But if we know that the essence of our evil is not commandment-breaking, but preferring anything to God, then our focus for change will be a change of heart. That is hopeful, because God promised, “I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 11:19).

This is the new covenant that Jesus purchased with his blood (Luke 22:20). We receive it by faith.

This is why we need Jesus. This is why I need a Savior! This is why you need a Savior! We need a Savior because we are evil by nature, through and through, bottom to top, inside and out. Yet Jesus loves me and died for me and takes my evil into himself to be replaced by His goodness.