the woundedness of sin

Woe to the sinful nation,
a people whose guilt is great,
a brood of evildoers,
children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord;
they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
and turned their backs on him.

Why should you be beaten anymore?
Why do you persist in rebellion?
Your whole head is injured,
your whole heart afflicted.
From the sole of your foot to the top of your head
there is no soundness—
only wounds and welts
and open sores,
not cleansed or bandaged
or soothed with olive oil.

Isaiah 1

Yesterday’s post was an apt enough application of our woundedness in terms of the effects of sin, specifically how we as sinners in our sin hurt each other verbally and in other ways. But the heart of our woundedness according to scripture is sin itself and the reality that we are sinners. In scripture that is seen as a sickeness, not in the equivalent of how that is used today in psychology, as in saying, for example, that so and so has a sickeness of some sort in their lying (“pathological liar”) or whatever is accepted as such. This sickness in scripture is moral, sin itself considered a sickness inflicted upon the sinner. So that we fail to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, and we fail to love our neighbor as ourselves. Instead we are turned in on ourselves as the center, everything else, even including God himself revolving around us, so to speak, to meet our needs. In a sense we become god, or enter into an idolatry that is both enslaving as well as self-serving.

We are sick in a moral, spiritual sense, because we are sinners. We not only fail to wish, or even desire the best for everyone (of course we wish the best for those we love, for our friends, insofar as we understand what that best might be), but we even are not unhappy when evil comes to some, and too often hardly care at all when someone we know is in some kind of trouble, except perhaps to be concerned in how that might affect us.

We not only sin, but we are sinners through and through, from the top of our heads, to the tip of our toes. Not meaning that we can’t do any good at all. But only that sin somehow pervades everything. So we are talking about what we both do and fail to do because of who we are. As Jesus said, every good person bears good fruit, but every evil person bears bad fruit.

Our sin is in terms of brokenness in not fufilling or living out our humanity as God intends it to be. Hence the need to be “made whole.” And our relationships are broken: our relationship with God, and with other humans. With creation in terms of our stewardship so that we use it for ourselves, and end up abusing it, rather than taking care of it, even ruling over it under God, for the good of all (Genesis 1). And we are broken even in terms of our relationship with ourselves, so that we are all but lost in making ourselves the focus, so that we fail to flourish in the true meaning of our existence.

And so enters Jesus to not only restore us to the ideal we find in the story of the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2 and 3, but to help us begin to realize all the goodness God intended. In and through Jesus himself, the perfect human, his person and work, the sacrifice of himself for our sins.

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

1 Peter 2:24

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