“There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20); this fact is self-evident. But is this outcome inevitable? No. A transformative end is available to all. We are all “shaped in iniquity, and in sin did our mothers conceive us” (Psalm 51:5).
Now, it seems that we were born to sin. So are we to accept sin as a natural condition of our nature? Are we to see sin as not second nature but first nature? Are we to do and speak evil and plead that we’re only human, our tongues only flesh? Are we to kill, steal, and then appeal? Are we, with our tongues, to curse then use sin as our purse?
The world would have us plead iniquity instead of Jesus’s blood. The world says, “No one will be good. Given the chance, all people will choose an evil course of action.” It also says that “If people had a magic ring that made them invisible, these Invisibles would love to sin and do many perverted things.”
How the world loves to present impossibilities as realities! For there is no such thing as a magic ring that makes people invisible. Notwithstanding, there are magic, rings, and Invisibles. At any rate, even if I agreed with the world on what they say (which I do not), their statement of perpetual perversity does not hold for the past or the future. We were born “in sin” not “to sin.”
The world’s statement, though false, is conditional on the present. The world says “Our present condition and bodies are perverse” but goes further, as the world usually does, to say, “Perversity was our past and will be our future.” Oh, how the world does not go far enough in the past or future to make its assertions! It overlooks that God made us in his image (Genesis 1:27) and will conform us to God’s image: the very person of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).
The world says that because we have all been sinful, an evil condition is our perpetual condition and end. “Our tongues will always be evil,” the world says. What a desperate conclusion! But thank God for knowledge! For the Christian knows that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15:50). The Christian says, “we’ll change to perfect immortals in a blink of an eye. For our present condition that appears to lead to death will instead be life” (1 Corinthians 15:51-57). The Christian rightly adds, “Jesus Christ is the holy one that has made this transformative end possible” (1 Corinthians 15:56-57). What knowledge!
It is far better to understand our present tongues and our present conditions as “at hand and in progress.” Our present conditions are not the end of us. As the Christian knows, what the world calls a person’s “last words” is not their last words. Either in heaven or hell, a person will continue their speech after death on earth.
That is to say, our present and future do not have to be the same. Our end can be the beginning. Of course, the world says, “Whatever you do or say, it will all end the same: you were never perfect and never can be. There’s no such thing as a transformative end. The culmination of your living words on earth is always nothing more than perverted speech.”
But Christians know that their effort to speak and be godly will come to fruition here and there, now and after. So we read that we are to “be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch we know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). Our evil tongues and bodies are not excuses to stop working towards righteous speech and purity. If we know that our end does not have to reflect our sinful nature, then we don’t have to live in despair or in some sort of Vanity Fair.
To the world, life is a big show. This view is different from the Christian’s. The Christian knows that life on earth is not the main attraction. The world’s stage is only the here and now, but is it not better to also see the “there and after” as a real stage?
To be sure, it is better to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). When this labor and press is made, we move towards our intended purpose. And we read “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11).
How beautiful is the gift of peace at the end of life? Therefore, although we have an evil tongue and nature, a transformative end of peace and righteousness awaits us. As we read, “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:17).