WHI-1216 | Extravagant Grace

Sunday, 27 Jul 2014

We’re wrapping up our discussion of “Faith & Mental Illness.” On this program we’re going to talk about sin as a condition that affects all of our actions, desires, habits, and yes… even our good intentions. Because sin is a condition that won’t be fully remedied until we breathe our last, it often results in addictions of various types as well as spiritual depression, especially for those who are young in the faith, who have a new found desire to walk with God but find themselves struggling with sin. Now, joining me to discuss this important topic is Barbara Duguid, who is a counselor and ministry assistant at Christ Presbyterian Church in Grove City, PA. She holds an advanced certificate in biblical counseling from the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation in Glenside, PA. She’s the author of the recently published book, Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in Our Weakness.

On the last few programs, we’ve been focusing quite a bit on the whole connection between faith and mental illness. Mental illness, of course, is part of our broader sinful condition, like heart disease and other things, where our physical chemistry is also involved. In this program, we want to focus a little bit more on the spiritual side of depression.

“There are some markers that tip you off, that this is not the average believer struggling to obey and failing. Some of those markers would be significant struggle with weak faith that involves the memory, when you are trying to encourage someone to remember the gospel and you find yourself saying things over and over and over.
“Reason doesn’t seem to impact the realm of thinking and feeling for this person, and they seem unable to latch on to that truth. They seem to want to hear it over and over again, which matters, and they want to be in the covenant community of God’s people. Yet, they are unable to connect to that faith in a very meaningful way that would impact their struggle, and reason doesn’t seem to have big effect on them. A lack of ability to remember things is one condition that makes it hard for those that want to remember the gospel and yet cannot do it for themselves at all.”
– Barbara Duguid
Sin as Condition
“Sin is first of all a condition that is simultaneously judicial and moral, legal and relational. Accordingly, we sin because we are sinners rather than vice versa. Standing before God as transgressors in Adam, we exhibit our guilt and corruption in actual thoughts and actions.
“Furthermore, we are both victims and perpetrators. There is no human being since the fall who is only victim; yet it is also true that every sinner is also sinned against. A particular act of sin may be (or include) the fault of someone else, but the sinful condition and the web of sinful actions and relationships that flow from it implicate us as well. It is true that we do not simply choose our vices, but are conditioned by the sinful structures to which our particular socio-cultural or familial contexts tend. Yet it is also true that we yield ourselves to these vices and are responsible for our own actions.”
(Adapted from Michael Horton’s The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way, pp 427-28)

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