Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Our Worth To God

There are a lot of people out there who think that since we are not worthy enough to attain salvation on our own, then we are worthless beings outside of salvation and that God loves us "just because" or that "it's in his fixed nature to love, so therefore He has to love us, right?" This couldn't be further from the truth. Here are just a few complied quotes from Dallas Willard's book "Renovation of the Heart" to help explain.

"It is precisely the intrinsic greatness of the person that makes it in its ruined condition a horror and a corruption. It we were insignificant, our ruin would not be horrifying. G.K. Chesterton once said that the hardest thing to accept in the Christian religion is the great value it placed upon the individual soul. This explains why even in its ruined condition a human being is regarded by God as something immensely worth saving. Sin does not make it worthless, but only lost. Things of great value can still be lost and often are; and to be of great value does not mean one is not lost, but is saved and safe.

Depravity does not refer to the inability to act, but to the unwillingness to act and clearly the inability to earn. Our heart is the dimension of our being by which we become an un-derivative presence and source in the world. It is the radical creativity which is what makes the individual person absolutely unique and irreplaceable, and therefore an end in itself, not just another one of a certain kind. It is what prevents a person from being a mere thing. That is why He doesn’t force us to do the things he knows to be right. If he did, he would lose precisely that which he has intended in our creation: freely chosen character. The centrality of will to personhood is what makes it immediately and strongly precious and gives the person dignity. And dignity is a worth so great that it disallows exchanging a person for anything else. The great worth of the person explains why Jesus Christ would die for the sake of individual human beings and be satisfied with the outcome (Isaiah 53:11; Hebrews 12:2)."
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2 comments:

John Lynch said...

This is so in line with the value of "Wholistic Spirituality" Quentin - I like it very much. A dualistic spirituality says God loves us because of His grace; a wholistic spirituality says God gives us grace because He loves us... because we are lovable. It is the heart of wholism - redemption for every part. It is one of the convicting aspects of the gospel, as Willard writes, that the sin we embraced is so contrary to the divine image we bear. The Gospel is the good news that Christ resurrects our glory as we reflect His glory. It is that He restores our destiny as we follow His leadership. It is that He rebirths our life as we dependently abide in Him. What an easy Gospel to preach!

Ariel said...

Sin does not make it worthless, but only lost. Things of great value can still be lost and often are; and to be of great value does not mean one is not lost, but is saved and safe.

I think this is an absolutely crucial distinction these days. As usual, G.K. nails it.