“By Nature,” God Restores
“…we…were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved-“ (Ephesians 2:3b-5).
“By nature,” means by the ways of a fallen in sin world where there is entropy. Entropy is the Third Law of Thermodynamics. Entropy refers to the natural forces of disorder due to the energy in the world. To counter disorder in a small way, you might put energy into building a birdhouse: nails driven to hold the structure together, paint to give it aesthetic value and try to protect from weathering. The birdhouse is hung outside. A bird uses the house, and you are pleased to be able to help. However, forces are at work against your construction. The wind beats the house against a tree. The rain soaks through the paint, the wood swells. Heat beats onto the birdhouse, and the wood shrinks. Freezing temperatures, some with moisture some without, cause further challenges to the structure. And then the very critter you intended the house for brings in dirt, rubs, and scrapes against the birdhouse. Now, if you were to leave this birdhouse with no periodic energy of your own to fight the ever oppressive entropy, you would witness the birdhouse becoming broken and unable to serve its designed purpose. We witness this truth with our homes and our church building; hence the office of Trustee.
The forces of entropy are at work on mankind also, even as part of our human nature. The following Luther quote is a bit unique, since I desire to have a beard. Yet even so, I do shave to keep my beard within boundaries, and I do trim it periodically. Luther is explaining mankind’s way-- “by nature children of wrath,” that is, sinful.
The original sin in man is like his beard, which, though shaved off today
so that a man is very smooth around his mouth, yet grows again by tomorrow
morning… Just so original sin remains in us and bestirs itself as long as
we live, but we must resist it and always cut off its hair. (WLS – 4176)
Hair grows silently, just as sin silently closes our relationship with God. Adam had walked and talked with God in the Garden. Sin occurred, and then Adam tried to hide from God. Sin has a painful history of mankind closing himself to God. This closure leads to closing relationships with other humans also. Mankind has and does a masterful job of closing others out of his life. Racism is a prime example. Lesser examples can be seen in the setting up of boundaries, closing others out based on fan of what sports team or what foods we eat. These unique differences do not have to cause disorder among mankind; nevertheless, we have witnessed these, and many other differences that have no moral or theological merit, create disorder in this world.
“God is not a God of disorder, but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). God has instituted His means of grace to provide Divine energy to counter the destructive forces. God’s Divine energy is provided periodically to restore the soul that is ravaged by the devil, the world, and our own sinfulness (three vices causing disorder). He desires to hold us in His hand, in the refuge of His everlasting arms. Rest peacefully and receive His care. The Lord be with you,
Pastor Sam Wiseman