The temptation is not sin, but if you yield to it you commit sin. This is man’s tragic story. That is why we suffer in this world. Man listened to the temptation of the devil, and he sinned and fell. The terrible consequence of that fall was that man lost the original position which he had. Paul stated this terrible result and summarises it in Rom.3:23 “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” We were never meant to “come short of the glory of God” but it did happen as a result of sin. Do you know what this “short of the glory” means? Someone has said: “Does it matter how close you come to the finishing line in a race if you do not actually make it across? No! If you do not make it across, then you are considered not to have even finished the race. You are thus technically disqualified for being short of the finishing line.” In other words no matter how good a person might be, he has still come short of God’s glory. What is the standard of God’s glory? Perfection! Matt. 5:48 says “be perfect even as our Father is perfect.” This is the truth concerning all of us born into this world. Man is not what he was meant to be. Man has lost the glory that he originally possessed, and now he tends to demonstrate his loss in every aspect of his behaviour. This indeed is the basic tragedy of man. We have lost our “marbles” so we go everywhere to find them. This is man’s tragedy.
I believe that one of the ways of understanding man’s behaviour is to trace back to the beginning and that is how we can understand our troubled world today. Man’s dignity was marred by sin, God’s image is still there, only marred by sin. That is why to some extent man still has the memory and recollection of what he once was. And because of that he tries to convince himself that he is succeeding. But when he fails, he gets frustrated and depressed. This is the way I understand the whole of humanity today and the whole of the human story. All the good works, education and technology, all the intense effort which man does to find that original glory which he feels belongs to him.
This is the reason of man’s restlessness and unhappiness. The main characteristic of a sinful man is restlessness. Isaiah puts it plainly “The wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest” (57:20). The world is full of ambition, rivalry, jealousy, pride and suffering. Why? Because we are trying to be, what we feel deep within us, we are meant to be, and ought to be. We are constantly seeking that pure glory. Man is always seeking glory, always trying his best to be superior to others.
All are seeking honour. The sinful world craves for position, for elevation, for lordship. The unbelievers are constantly seeking for glory, because he/she is totally spiritually bankrupt. Christ came to restore that “glory.” He humbled Himself, laid aside His glory, and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Phil.2: 5-8). This He did because of His infinite love and grace. All by grace and by grace alone.