Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Reading Snippets -- A wicked character vs. A corrupt nature

Here is a quote from Charles Porterfield Krauth, regarding a person's character vs. his sinful nature.  A man's character is what we usually judge (e.g., Is he jovial or is he a grouch?  Is he generous or is he stingy?  Is he helpful or is he self-absorbed?).  All people vary in their character, as some are more friendly, more patient, or more charitable than others.  But all men have the same sinful nature, and it is fully corrupt.  That is what God sees and judges, no matter how highly or lowly we think of a person's behavior or character. 

Here is Krauth: 
          The relative innocence of any human being cannot in itself save him.  The innocence of any human being can only be relative.  There is a great difference in the character of unregenerate persons relatively to each other, but there is no difference whatever in their nature.  A thousand things mould and modify character, but the corrupt heart is untouched by them all.  The phenomena of a corrupt heart are infinitely diversified, not only in their number, but in their intensity.....
          Every man is more guilty absolutely than he is innocent relatively....
          God can no more save sin in nature than he can save it in character, and hence a new nature is as absolutely needed by an infant as by an adult." (pp 415-416, emphases are Krauth's, The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology)

The world may still regard an unbeliever as a wonderful person and a believer as nothing special because of their deeds, but God judges the nature.  One's character will, by and large, remain what it is after conversion (a grouchy person may not magically become jovial), his nature and status do change.  God no longer regards the man a sinner, but a saint.  And that's the only judgment that matters.

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