<430104> John 1:4, 9 ? ?In him was life, and the life was the light of men? There was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man.? See a further statement in A. H. Strong, Cleveland Sermon May, 1904, with regard to the old and the new view as to sin. ?Our fathers believed in total depravity. We agree with them that man naturally is devoid of love to God and that every faculty is weakened, disordered, and corrupted by the selfish bent of his will. They held to original sin. The selfish bent of the will of man can be traced back to the apostasy of our first parents and, on account of that, departure of the race from God all men are by nature children of wrath. And all this is true, if it is regarded as a statement of the facts, apart from their relation to Christ. But our fathers did not see as we do, that man?s relation to Christ antedated the Fall and constituted an under and modifying condition of man?s life. Humanity was naturally in Christ; in which things were created and in whom they all consist. Even man?s sin did not prevent Christ from still working in him to counteract the evil and to suggest the good. There was an internal, as well as an external, preparation for man?s redemption. In this of a divine principle in man striving against the selfish and godless will, there total redemption, over against man?s total depravity and an original grace that was even more powerful than original sin.
We have become conscious that total depravity alone is not a sufficient or proper expression of the truth and the phrase has been outgrown. It has been felt that the old view of sin did not take account of the generous and noble aspirations, the unselfish efforts, and the strivings after God of even unregenerate men. For this reason has been less preaching about sin and less conviction as to its guilt and condemnation. The good impulses of men outside the Christian pale have been often credited to human nature, when they should have been credited to the indwelling Spirit of Christ. I make no doubt that one of our radical weaknesses at this present time is our more superficial view of sin. Without some sense of sin?s guilt and condemnation we cannot feel our need of redemption. John the Baptist must go before Christ; the law must prepare the way for the gospel.
?My belief is that the new apprehension of Christ?s relation to the race will enable us to declare, as never before, the lost condition of the sinner while at the same time we show him that Christ is with him and in him to save. This presence in every man of a power not his own that works for righteousness is a very different doctrine that ?divinity of man? which is so often preached. The divinity is not the divine man but the divinity of Christ. And the power that works for righteousness is not the power of man but the power of Christ. It is a power whose warning, inviting, persuading influence renders only more marked and dreadful the evil-will
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