Many people have an interest in “where are they now?” stories. That pop singer who once dominated the music business now sells hot peppers by the sea. The linebacker who ruled the middle of the field now carries mail in the suburbs. The classmate who barely said a word in class now has an online business selling handbags, and is a millionaire. We are fascinated by those who have everything, and lose it; and those who have nothing, but gain a great deal.
As Christians,we fall in the second category, praise God. We came into the world without any spiritual goodness to commend us to the Lord. Whatever our material circumstances, Jonathan Edwards reminds us that every last one of us truly gets only spiritual “sin and misery” from our ancestors. There is no way that parents can fail to pass on a “depraved and corrupted” nature to their children. Our families might know prosperity, or we might know poverty, but every child inherits only sin from Mom and Dad. It cannot be otherwise, much as our parents might want to break the curse for their kids.
How good it is to know that God overcomes our “first state.” He gives us a second birth through the Holy Spirit. The way to hell is old and common; the way to God is “new and extraordinary.” We have nothing from birth, but God gives us everything in Christ. It doesn’t matter much which career we enter, or what level of success we achieve in our vocation. The key matter for believers is not where we have been. It is who we are in Christ, and what he enables us to be, today and every day.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)
-Owen Strachan, Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards, 305.