This is the worst part of the picture!
(James Smith, "A Serious Inquiry" 1865)
"Lord, what is man — that You should notice us, mere mortals that You should care for us?" Psalm 144:3
1. What is man MORALLY? This is the worst part of the picture! It is bad enough to see man diseased, suffering, dying, moldering to dust; but when we come to inquire into the cause of all this — it is fearful indeed!
Man is dreadfully depraved. He has fallen from the state in which his good and glorious Creator placed him.
He is now totally depraved.
He is God's enemy.
His heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.
His carnal mind is enmity against God.
He is full of evil principles and evil passions.
He has become, not only unprofitable — but abominable!
No part of God's creation presents such a hideous sight to His pure and holy eyes — as man does; for in man, heart and mind are alike depraved, and set in opposition to Himself.
Man is wicked; but he is not only wicked — he is weak. Sin has become a fearful disease within him. He has no will to do good. He has no power to do good — even if he had the will.
Man is perverse — he closes his eyes, his ears, and his heart against God! It is only for God to require something — and man determines not to do it; or for God to prohibit something — and man immediately desires it! His will is as much opposed to God as it can be. He slights His mercy, dares His justice, and defies His power. He perseveres in sin — unless the Lord by His invincible grace prevents him. He has sunk lower than the beasts which perish!
There is everything in man to offend the eyes of God's holiness, and to grieve His loving heart. Looking at man as fallen, polluted, and under the power of sin — we may well ask, "What is man — that You are mindful of him?" Psalm 8:4
And will God, the great, the glorious, the holy God — take poor, sinful, vile, wretched man for His choice, His child, His companion? He will. He has done it. He is daily doing it. What astonishing grace!
2. What will renewed man BE? This is a question which no man can answer, for even the inspired Apostle John confesses his ignorance, "Beloved," says he, "now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be — but when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is!" "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined — what God has prepared for those who love Him!"
Renewed man will be like Jesus. Man will be with God. Man will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of his heavenly Father. Man will see and hear and know, and possess, and enjoy — all that he can possibly desire, all that his glorified nature is capable of. He will be more than unfallen Adam was, more than angels are, for he will be as nearly like God as perfected human nature can be made like the Divine!