Don’t Crash and Burn

I don’t watch a lot of television. One program I like to watch is “Air Crash Investigations” and the meticulous work by investigators to get to the bottom of an accident. It’s never pleasant re-creating a plane crash and re-living the terrifying moments for the passengers. But the desire to uncover the underlying reasons for an incident, usually a complex set of events, is a fascinating exercise in detective work.

Clearly our world has suffered the metaphorical plane crash. People’s lives have “crashed and burned” yet physically they are still alive and going about their business. But the human heart has been ripped out of the sky and the news each night provides a regular commentary of life after the “crash”. I’m tired of hearing about shootings, serious car accidents, sexual assault, corrupt businesses, home invasions, drink driving, drugs, depression and suicide …… the news is the same old story and only the names and places change.

Incredibly, some people deny that humanity has a problem. They say that people are basically good. Some even say, “This is life and that’s all there is too it”. They believe that broken lives are normal lives and it will always be this way. Others argue that the “plane wreck” of humanity can be repaired and we simply need enough time to fix the problems and get flying again. Others, sadly, just want to bomb out of life and they do.

The Bible gives us an objective assessment of the human condition. Once humanity was “flying high” and life was good under the rule of a loving God. But, in an act of terrorism, humanity grabbed the controls for themselves and we crashed and now life is one of damage control. The Bible sifts through the evidence and reconstructs the factors leading to the fall. It speaks of the “godlessness and wickedness of people who suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Rom 1.18). It speaks of people not thinking it is “worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God” (Rom 1.28).

It is not possible to fix a problem we don’t understand. A good investigator considers all the evidence no matter its source. And in the pages of Scripture we get a thorough appraisal of humanity’s fall and the remedy needed to undo the brokenness of our world. The remedy is the gospel. Paul goes to great lengths to explain that the fix must come from God (Rom 1:16ff). Sinful humanity is incapable of repairing itself because putting the pieces back together requires a power unknown to us. The power of the gospel is its power to repair and rebuild the damage to ourselves and the world.

This is the message we profess as Christians. The good news is that God forgives, repairs and renews people on the basis of the death, resurrection and ascension of his Son. It’s a remedy that literally undoes the carnage of the Fall and restores humanity to its created glory. In the language of Romans 5, whilst in Adam we all die, by faith in Christ we receive “God’s abundant provision of grace” (Rom 5:17). So we praise God for pouring out his love in that “while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:6–8).

This is the message God has entrusted to us and this is the reason why we exist as a church.