How Could It Be?

Isaiah 64:6-7

Whoever is soft on depravity should see Schindler’s List. It’s not for the fainthearted, I warn you. It is a raw, harsh, shocking exposé of unbridled prejudice, the kind of anti-Semitic prejudice spawned in hellish hate among the Nazis prior to and during World War II.

Many of the scenes are absolutely chilling. Trainloads and truckloads of horrified men, women, and precious children being hauled like helpless cattle to their deaths. The inhuman condition of the work camps, the “showers,” the ovens, the smokestacks belching human ashes. Worst of all, the ability of human beings to carry all that out with hardly a shrug.

As everyone filed out, including my oldest son and one of my sons-in-law, we noticed that nobody said a word. You could have heard the proverbial pin fall to the carpet. We drove home, all caught in the grip of the same question: How?

How could such hatred, such extreme, vicious hatred, fill the minds of those wearing swastikas? How could they walk back into their barracks or offices or homes and smile or carry on their duties or forget what they had just done?

I believe I know. Really, the answer is simple. One word will do. Depravity. It’s not a sickness. It’s death. Living death. It’s the filthy cesspool of the unregenerate heart.

And let’s not feel so smug about it. Born spiritually dead and diseased by sin from our mother’s womb, we have the roots of wickedness deep within us. You do. I do. Every human does, including children. The psalmist admits: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (51:5).

Read these words from the pen of the apostle Paul: “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside . . . there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Rom. 3:10–12).

Which brings us back to the same question we asked in the car that night: How? How could God possibly give His Son for such hopelessly lost sinners? How could He look past the hate and horror of our depravity? How could you and I have found our name on the Savior’s List? Again, the answer is simple. One word will do. Grace.

“There is no man so good that if he placed all his actions and thoughts under the scrutiny of the laws, he would not deserve hanging ten times in his life” (Montaigne).

How could God look past the hate and horror of our depravity? The answer is simple. One word will do: grace.

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Taken from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll by Charles R. Swindoll. Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.