A wise man, in his melancholic contemplation of the world, once wrote, “What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15)
We live in a broken world, filled with broken people: people who actively work to do those things which increase the breakage. The scriptures say in another place, “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they have not known, and there is no justice in their ways; they have made themselves crooked paths; whoever takes that way shall not know peace.” (Isaiah 59:7-8)
If you take a glass and smash it into pieces, it is impossible to fix that glass so that it is whole again. Even if you were to glue every piece back just the way it was, you would still have a glass full of cracks. The only way to fix the glass is to remake it anew with fire or else simply replace it. This is true of most things. It is also true of lives and it is certainly true of our world.
The world is broken because of the sins of men. Besides the spiritual ramifications (ie. death; cf. Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23), there are consequences to every sin and we each bear the brunt of those consequences everyday, whether we know it or not, and even regardless of whether the sin is ours or not; for we each suffer for other people’s sins. Consider: “through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned,” (Romans 5:12) and, “we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.” (Romans 8:22)
A life marred by sin cannot be fixed. The sin might be covered over, but it cannot be undone. We cannot undo the damage caused by sin, and the more we have sinned, the more damage there is to undo. And so we live in a crooked world, suffering under an innumerable weight of sin, a world that lies under the sway of the wicked one, and we can do nothing to fix it. That which is broken must be either remade or replaced.
Thankfully, God, who fashioned us, has the ability to remake us as well and He promises, through Christ to do just that. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)
God doesn’t promise to glue the pieces of our shattered lives together. He speaks of completely rebuilding us, stronger and better than before. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …” (Romans 12:2) “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Likewise, God is not planning on making straight that which is crooked in this world. He will not fix that which has been broken by sin and even now groans under the weight thereof. God’s plan is to replace it.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:10-13)
Things broken need either remade or they must be replaced. Which will you allow God to do with you?
If you would like God to transform and remake you into the image of His Son, the church of Christ invites you to study and worship with us at 234 Chapel Drive, Gallipolis, Ohio.
Jonathan McAnulty is minister of Chapel Hill Church of Christ.