Saturday, October 08, 2016

Dial Daily Bread: Learning the Way of the Cross

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread."

How were you born? A sinner, a selfish person by nature? Or were you born neutral? Or perhaps, were you born righteous and unselfish? (I have known some people who seem so beautifully unselfish that I have been tempted to think they were born that way!)

We know of one man who was born selfish, and that fact is rather disturbing, because no one is going to get into heaven at last except as one of his "children." According to Genesis 25:22, while he was in the womb of his mother Rebecca, Jacob was already busy at strife: "the children struggled together within her" (KJV), "pressed hard on each other" (NEB), "jostled each other" (NIV), "struggled against each other" (GNB). And when in verse 26 Esau was born a few minutes earlier than Jacob, Jacob grabbed Esau's heel as if to pull him back, "wait, I want to be first!" Isaiah reports God saying, "O house of Jacob, … [you] were called a transgressor from the womb" (48:1, 8). Hosea says, "The Lord ... will punish Jacob, ... he took his brother by the heel in the womb" (12:2, 3).

Bad beginning!

But before we say, "Too bad, Jacob! You were worse than the rest of us!," let's remember Romans 3:10, "There is none righteous, no, not one." Even my wonderfully unselfish friends weren't born that way; they had to learn it. And the Good News is that we can learn it from the Savior of the world!

Recognizing that Jacob was born selfish and a sinner in fact does not support the traditional doctrine of "original sin," which says that the guilt of sin is transmitted genetically by the genes. It simply means that Jacob like all of us was born self-centered; and if you don't know about the principle of the cross, inevitably you do the only thing you know to do--be selfish. But we can learn the way of the cross. And that's the wonderful Good News!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: June 27, 1998.
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