Armed Rebels in Need of Redemption

The disparity of God and man is not gradual, it is not a matter of degree. And what God has to deal with is not our relative imperfection. He does not simply stoop to us as we keep doing our poor best to reach Him. He does not simply wait for us, and cheer us on with a tender remembrance of the rime when He was at our stage and felt the need of a sympathetic father or even brother. The gulf between us is much more, even than the gulf between the creature and the Creator.  Great as that distance might be it does not exclude communion. What ails us is not limitation but transgression, not poverty but alienation. It is the breach of communion that is the trouble--the separation, the hostility. We are not His counterparts but His antagonists. There is not only the distance between Creator and creature, father and child in the natural sense; but there is a vast and serious disturbance of even that relation. There is a huge dislocation. There is that in us and in our sin which is in its very essence intractable to all the processes of a reconciling idea; something which, to the end, by its very nature, refuses to be taken up as a factor into the largest and most comprehensive procession of divine action; something which can never be utilized, but can only be destroyed in a mortal moral war; something which, if God cannot kill it, must be the death of God. And as a race we are not even stray sheep, or wandering prodigals merely; we are rebels taken with weapons in our hands. Our supreme need from God, therefore, is not the education of our conscience, nor the absorption of our sin, nor even our reconcilement alone, but our redemption. It is not cheer that we need but salvation; not help but rescue; not a stimulus but a change; not tonics but life.

Positive Preaching and the Modern Mind (London, Independent Press, 1907), 37-38.

HT: Carl Trueman