Monday, August 10, 2009

Ecclesiastes 7:20, The Wisdom Literature on the Sinfulness of Mankind

A Russian Icon of Solomon
"Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins."

John Calvin phrases the same thought this way: "By nature we are alienated from God and can do nothing but the things he condemns. That, therefore, is the condition of man in himself - that is, a condition totally repugnant to the righteousness of God." From a sermon on Acts 2:38.

In contrast, mainstream religion in this country pooh-poohs the traditional concept of sin. Some turn it into a psychological shortcoming. Others ridicule it as a crusade against fun. Theologically, it is dismissed as the angst of a guilt-ridden Apostle Paul.

Paul certainly didn't invent the concept of sin. In fact, it doesn't even appear with the advent of the New Testament. It doesn't exist just in the Law of Moses. The fallenness and sinfulness of men appears throughout scripture, including in the Wisdom literature, where even evangelicals fail to consider it.

We see it in Ecclesiastes above. We can also find it several places in Proverbs.

16:2, "All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit."

16:25, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death."

17:15, "He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord."

20:9, "Who can say, 'I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin'?"

21:2, "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart."

30:12, "There are those who are clean in their own eyes but are not washed of their filth."

And the contrast of Psalm 119:9, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word."

Whose wisdom will you trust when examining your own spiritual condition? The wisdom of men? Or the wisdom of God?

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