That is a line from Bod Dylan’s song “Saved”. The line affirms and makes the traditional proclamation of original sin – that we are born hard wired for sin. Not a popular concept these days. Actually, I don’t think that has ever been a popular concept. People prefer Sarah McLachlan’s line ” ’cause we are all born innocent”. Now I will admit her voice is much more beautiful then Bob Dylan’s and when she sings “’cause we are all born innocent” it sounds angelic, whereas when Bob Dylan croaks out “stone cold dead as I stepped out of the womb”, there are no warm fuzzy feelings being created. The line of thought from the Sarah McLachlan song is that it was not originally in our nature to sin, but that we have fallen from primal innocence. Which reason would then say we can crawl back from our sin to the place of innocence again? We might need a good example or a good teacher but with a little work and effort we will be OK. On the other hand Bob Dylan’s song says we are finished from the moment we are born. We are born dead and a good teacher or the right example will not help us. We cannot crawl back to life when what we have inherited is death. We need to be rescued, we need a saviour.
Recently I had a follow-up appointment with a genetic councillor at the cancer clinic. My cancer might be environmentally triggered but it is not environmentally caused. My cancer is genetic. There is a mutant gene built into my DNA which causes the cancer. Every cell in my body has the mutant gene, and it has been that way since conception. I remember a conversation a few years back with a friend about cremation. As a believer in “the resurrection of the body” she was concerned that cremation left no body to be resurrected. I assured her that God only needed her DNA. Turns out my DNA actually needs healing if I am to have a resurrected body suitable for long term occupancy. My body is hard wired for sickness and disease and my soul is hard wired for sin. The reality of my inheritance. The ultimate question then is the question Paul asks in his letter to the Romans. “Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” (Romans 7:24) It is actually easy and very tempting to embrace the illusion “we are all born innocent”. We know we are not perfect that we have made mistakes, that we have sinned. We hear the proclamation of the story of Jesus, his love, his gentleness, his kindness, his resurrection from the dead and we can easily get caught in the thought, “Jesus can lift me from my struggles, with his help I will be OK – a little bit of me and a little bit of Jesus. But that is not reality and that is not the gospel proclamation. I am death, he is life. It is not the good parts of me helped along by Jesus. At my core I am death. Every cell in my body is a problem. “Stone cold dead as I stepped out of the womb” – is an accurate description of reality. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25) This statement and proclamation of Paul does not come after a consideration of physical sickness and disease. It comes after wrestling with the reality of his predisposition to sin. Strangely enough there is something deeply comforting knowing the depth of my physical problem. It affirms that the only one in all of history that offers me any hope is Jesus.
“I was blinded by the devil,
Born already ruined,
As I stepped out of the womb.
By His grace I have been touched,
By His word I have been healed,
By His hand I’ve been delivered,
By His spirit I’ve been sealed.
I’ve been saved
By the blood of the lamb.
Thank You, Lord!!!!