About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
Contrary to our thinking
and in no uncertain words Jeremiah 17:9 portrays how God views the human
condition, and it does not look pretty.
The verse reads:
"The heart is
deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?"
By virtue of the fact
that God created humankind, He knows the human condition better than we
do, and He says that at the core of who we are is deceitfulness.
We are so deceitful, so depraved, that there is no human cure.
Besides that, we are clueless to know how depraved we really are.
The Hebrew word "aqob"
that is translated as "deceitful" in Jeremiah 17:9 is rooted
in a Hebrew word that is in reference to a hill, a knoll, or some kind
of rising up. In theological
terms, you might say that deceit is the rising up of our sinful nature
that creates our ever-present cultural conflicts.
God's view of the human
condition has not changed in these New Testament times.
The apostle Paul confirmed Jeremiah's words.
Paul, more than anyone reading this article, was a man of God.
Look at how he described himself in Romans 7:24.
"What a wretched
man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to
Paul viewed his very
essence to be wretched, depraved beyond any human cure.
It's also how Jesus viewed the believers in
This does not paint a
pretty picture of humanity, and we certainly don't need a few Bible
verses to paint that pathetic picture.
History, including present events, proves this portrayal to be
our reality. The good news
in the midst of this mess is what Paul wrote in Romans 8:1, which reads:
is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,"
Those of us who are
valid born-again-of-the-Spirit Christians will not suffer any form of
condemnation by the Supreme Universal Judge.
For that, we are thankful.
To the degree, then, we
understand our individual depravity will be the degree to which we will
appreciate God's grace, mature as Christians, and relinquish the
destructive prideful arrogance from our lives that is presently causing
much of our cultural conflicts.