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A Christian Perspective

Human Nature

When we look at what is going on in our country and across the world due to COVID-19, it is interesting to reflect on what this tells us about human nature.

We see acts of kindness and compassion – from front-line staff in hospitals working so hard, to neighbours supporting one another; we see community spirit alive and well – especially the use of technology to continue to meet and socialise virtually; we see the government and employers being as helpful as possible in the circumstances – supporting home-working and changes to circumstances; we also see the British ability to queue at supermarkets is still intact!

But we also see the panic buying; we also see the hiking of prices in some places; we see some employers’ treatment of staff being laid off as less-than-compassionate; we see cyber-criminals exploiting peoples’ fears of the coronavirus for fraud; we see racism linked to the virus and where it has been spreading from. We also see the blasé attitude of some who are ignoring the advice to keep distance, perhaps because they feel fit and healthy and able to get the virus and get over it, perhaps because of bravado, perhaps because of ignorance or simply being wholly inconsiderate.

We see simple worry, concern over personal health, over health of family members, concern over decreasing social contact, isolation, and the ever-present fear of the unknown; and we see the death and mourning that COVID-19 has already begun to bring.

So we see in our society a very human response, the whole range of what we know of human nature, good and bad.

In one sense everything has changed, and in another nothing has.

Christian Nature

So what about us? We Christians haven’t changed either, have we? Are we any different than before? No. Like the rest of humanity, we are the same people we were before the coronavirus struck.

What makes us any different to anyone else? In the normal, human sense, absolutely nothing. We struggle with everything that this pandemic is throwing at us – the insecurities of a completely new set of circumstances, the worries for family and friends, the lack of toilet roll, the isolation, the possibility of death. But we can also rejoice with everyone else for the good – the community spirit and acts of kindness we see or are involved in.

So does being a Christian make any difference?

I’m hoping so.

Consider this: We have a completely different perspective, on life, on death, on suffering, on true community.

We have a completely different perspective, and it is a perspective that is absolutely and categorically built on Christ Jesus alone.

  • It’s not based on Him because He gave us a set of aphorisms (pithy, wise sayings).
  • It’s not based on Him because He gave a set of life-rules.
  • It’s not based on Him because He set us an example of how to live, especially in adversity.

It’s based on Christ Jesus Himself. Like a house built on a firm foundation, our lives are built on the foundation of Jesus1.

We have a completely different perspective as Christians because of who Christ Jesus is and what He has done for us. I am not a Christian because of the sayings of Jesus, the life-teachings of Jesus, or the example of Jesus. I am who I am because of the completed work of Jesus on my behalf.

I cannot live a perfect life due to my sinful, broken human nature. I cannot erase the sin, the rebellion, the wrong-headedness, the wrong deeds, the bad deeds I have done before God. I cannot liberate myself from the curse of human nature that bars me from God and leads to death.

All these things I can’t do, Jesus did: I cannot live a perfect life due to my sinful, broken human nature, so Jesus came in human form and lived a perfect life instead of me, and for me, in my place.

I cannot erase the sin, the rebellion, the wrong-headedness, the wrong deeds, the bad deeds I have done, so Jesus came in human form and paid the penalty that those bad deeds deserve in His death on the cross – therefore my sin, my bad deeds are not only erased but removed, remembered no more. I deserved to be punished by a good and holy God for my badness and unholiness, but Jesus paid the punishment.

I cannot liberate myself from the curse of human nature that bars me from God and leads to death, so Jesus came as the mediator – the bridge from me to God, from death to life.

Christ Jesus literally gave His life for me – His crucifixion, and gives His life (or should it be LIFE2) to me – His resurrection.

A Christian nature is a nature that is based on Christ, “rooted in Christ”3, stakes its claim on Him and His work alone, trusts in Him alone, and not any human effort. To express this truth we sometimes sing: “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”4. This is the basis of being a Christian, of becoming a Christian, and hence having not simply a human nature, but a “Christian nature.”

Christian Perspective

Now, based on this, someone with a Christian nature then also has a Christian perspective.

Our perspective in living through such a time as this is no longer from a simply human standpoint – instead it is to have more of God’s perspective. Because we are in a right standing with God5, because we are “accepted in the Beloved [i.e. Jesus]”6, because we have received God’s great and precious promises7, because of the Holy Spirit indwelling Christians8, who enables us to understand things from God’s perspective9, our outlook is different, decidedly different from what it used to be. Our perspective is, for want of a better term, “with God.” We are “with God” through this time, and we try as far as He gives us insight, to see things from His perspective, and with Him in mind.

And so let us just dip our toe in the water of what it means to have a Christian perspective in the light of this coronavirus, and how that therefore affects our attitude, our actions, and our conversations.

To be continued....

11 Corinthians 3:11.

2His LIFE is bigger, stronger than sin and death – see Acts 2:24; 2 Timothy 1:10. He has “the power of an indestructible life" - Hebrews 7:16; see also Romans 14:9; Revelation 1:18. “Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him” (Romans 6:9).

3Colossians 2:7; Ephesians 3:17.

4Here are a couple of different versions for you to listen to: by Roulf Commandeur; a choral version; a version by by Buller, Balzer and Aichele.

5>Romans 3:22-26, 5:1; also Romans 5:9, Romans 5:16-19; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

6Ephesians 1:6.

72 Peter 1:3-4.

8Ephesians 1:13-14; Galatians 3:2; see also 2 Corinthians 1:22; 2 Timothy 1:14; 1 Corinthians 3:16; John 14:17.

91 Corinthians 2:12-13.

 

You may download this article as a PDF:

Not what these hands have done
Can save this guilty soul;
Not what this toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole.

Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs, and tears
Can bear my heavy load.

Thy work alone, O Christ,
Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,
Can give me peace within.

Thy love to me, O God,
Not mine, O Lord, to Thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest,
And set my spirit free.

Thy grace alone, O God,
To me can pardon speak;
Thy power alone, O Son of God,
Can this sore bondage break.

I bless the Christ of God,
I rest on life divine,
And with unfaltering lip and heart,
I call this Saviour mine.

Horatius Bonar (1808-1889)
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story | by Dr. Radut