“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7).
Nothing on this earth can defeat virtue, integrity, courage, and selflessness.
The humility of fallen imperfect natures combined with the love of God living inside the believer is the essence of redemptive salvation that conquers the world.
Peter and John testifying before the Sanhedrin Council (Acts 4:8-12) exhibits this…virtue, integrity, courage, and selflessness while still inhabiting imperfect fallen natures.
Exploring the knowledge of good and evil through the God-sanctioned vehicle of our fallen nature, makes redemptive salvation and a journey of faith following Christ within reach of everyone.
To enter into redemptive, salvation God does not ask us to run an obstacle course, to “jump through hoops,” to go on a spiritual pilgrimage to some holy place, or to embark on a program of self-reformation.
When we become Spirit-born Christians, God instantly flips our fallen, imperfect moral nature into this 4-wheel drive vehicle to investigate the knowledge of good and evil in this equally fallen and broken world, when we allow God to displace our ways with His higher ways…when we pick up our cross to follow Jesus.
God then inserts a God-composed journey of faith life-script into our lives as the precise individualized route for our good and for the benefit of others…after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories of faith.
When I became a Christian at age 18, I was not instantly transformed into a perfect moral being, capable of living my life flawlessly from that point forward.
The people of faith in the Bible universally carry-out their unique callings and mission-plans while still inhabiting their imperfect fallen natures.
There is no disagreement in our culture that Christians and nonbelievers are all human…are non-divine, flawed beings.
But few people (none that I have ever heard) ask the basic question why do not Christians become divinely perfect after conversion, having the Holy Spirit now also living inside them.
The Bible says that on Judgment Day the lost will weep and lament, partly because there is no going back for a second chance, but also I believe because on that day everyone will realize clearly what little actual difference there was between the destructive sin that separated people from God for the coming eternity…and this same sin, our imperfect fallen nature…that the God of the Bible through the redemptive salvation by grace through faith is and was able to flip into the perfectly designed vehicle wherein believers can enter into divinely sanctioned research programs to discover and understand the subtle nuances of the knowledge of good and evil.
This occurs through the narrow gate (Mt. 7:13-14) of faith and trust in redemptive salvation…again by grace through faith in Christ…that makes this possible not through self-salvation by our performance of good works (Tit. 3:5; Eph. 2:8-9) but by the entirely counterintuitive method of pursuing this research program while occupying the humility of an “earthen vessel.”
The microscopic and telescopic lens needed to comprehend the broad array of moral concepts in the knowledge of good and evil, and the rare capacity to be able to evaluate the qualifications of Jesus Christ to be the blemish-free, Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for sin…this is the very thing in the great debate in human history that is so closely separated between the thin line of belief and unbelief…that divides forever eternal salvation from eternal damnation, the difference between one small step putting one leg forward in faith across this line…giving God the benefit-of-the-doubt that through redemptive salvation He can flip our imperfect nature into the positive of the one and only way we could discover and comprehend the knowledge of good and evil through first-hand empirical experience.
Paul’s dual-purpose calling of spreading the gospel message and researching the truth that would compose his letters to the New Testament churches…occurred while he occupied his fallen nature (Rom. 7:15-8:4).
The realization of the reality of how close salvation was in reach all the time on this earth…to the lost on Judgment Day…will be a large part of the unimaginable regret for those people pushing the God of the Bible out of their lives today.
But the one tentative and courageous small step over the line that separates skeptical and indifferent unbelief…into redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ, inaugurates the God-intended potential for this adventure of faith to separate into the condition of being lost in our sins (Jn. 8:24) through unbelief, or into a redeemed fallen nature now capable of comprehending the knowledge of good and evil…into a gulf as wide apart as the Grand Canyon.
This reality could only be creatively invented through the brilliance of the mind of God, and could never be the product of human literary imaginative mythology.
To take the very thing that separates us from fellowship with a perfect God…and craft it into a positive that is the one and only way in which we could understand the issues at stake…through a redemptive salvation that only He could provide by bearing the penalty for sin Himself through the cross and resurrection…is a spiritual engineering feat that could only come from the same God who created this universe.