Rendering the Disease Incurable

Discussing Pelagius’ denial of original sin, John Calvin says, “Through this subtlety Satan attempted to cover up the disease and thus to render it incurable.”

How true! It often feels more compassionate to downplay the seriousness of sin, to call it something other than what it is, a disease or a weakness or a disability. But Calvin here nails it. All such attempts are not compassionate, but the opposite. Sin is a wicked rebellion against our creator. Calling it anything else is not a kindness, but rather a cruelty, as it “renders it incurable”. Calvin calls it a disease here, but only as an analogy, and not to say that sin is a medical condition which requires scientific treatments, as is so often proposed today. Calvin knew full well that there was only one cure for sin and for all that truly debilitates man, and he knew that the radical nature of the problem required an equally radical solution. Nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ will suffice.

Satan does not want you to be freed from sin. Satan wants you dead. One way he commonly achieves that result is to lull you to sleep, to calm your fears, to convince you that nothing is wrong with you, like a poisoner who tells you your stomach pain must just be indigestion which soon will pass. Therefore everyone ought to be thankful that God loves His creation enough to speak the harsh truth of our real condition, and to provide a remedy for it, in the blood of Christ and the power of the Spirit. Instead people say that orthodox Christianity is harsh and cruel, because that faith speaks the truth of man’s real state without concern for our feelings. But is it love to refrain from telling a man that he is dying, in order to spare his feelings?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *