Oh the Humanity -5- Only Human

Scripture:  1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Alucard:  “Anderson…  I would have been satisfied even if you did defeat me.  Because of that day… because of that twilight wasteland… because of that day…  that day 523 years ago…  IF MY ENTRAILS BECAME YOURS, IT WOULD BE SPLENDID!  But now… it’s far too late for that.  YOU CANNOT DEFEAT ME.  The ones to destroy monsters… have always been humans.    TO DIE ANY OTHER WAY… WOULD BE UNTHINKABLE!!”

What are some things that only humans can do?

After Anderson turns himself into a monster, he and Alucard fight an epic battle.  As the conflict closes in on a final conclusion, Alucard explains to Anderson why, now, there can be only one possible outcome.

Over the past four weeks we’ve been talking about our humanity and specifically how it relates to being a Christian.  We’ve discussed how being human is in fact part of what makes a Christian a Christian, not a hindrance to being a Christian.  It is the weaknesses and limitations that come with being a human that allow us to be our strongest by relying on God.  As humans, we have a greater hope in God that encourages us to persevere in the face of struggles.  Finally, last week, our faith is a distinctly human quality that exists as a combination of works and belief.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses the place of humanity in the grand scheme of things and offers us some final words of encouragement.  It is worth noting that in the preceding section, Paul states that “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.”  With that context, we see that when Paul says “foolish” he is talking about those things that are considered to be foolish by the world’s standards.  The same concept applies when Paul speaks of the things that are weak, despised, etc.

Paul says that God uses the things that are looked down on by the world to bring glory to Himself.  This raises the question of why?  If God wanted to bring glory to Himself wouldn’t He use the things that the world honors?  If He did that, people would be lining up to follow Him.  We can find traces of the answer in 2 Corinthians  12:9, where God tells Paul that, “My grace is sufficient for you,  My strength is made perfect in weakness.”  We get another glimpse in Ephesians 2:8-9, which tells us that we are saved by grace and not by our own effort.  Paul answers the question in verse 29 by saying “that no flesh should glory in His presence.”  God chooses the weak and despised things of the world in order to make it abundantly clear who is doing the moving and shaking.  As a matter of fact, the more we set aside our pride, the more we learn to lean on God.  The book of Proverbs tells us to “trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.”  It’s worth noting that trusting in God doesn’t mean that we should all go out and live as desert hermits.  It is a question of priorities.  Do you receive the things you have as blessings from God, or do you worship them or yourself?

Our focus in life should be on God.  In verse 31, Paul quotes the prophet Jeremiah and writes, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”  In this series we have discussed how it is God who supports us in our trials and gives us a hope that enables us to face adversity.  In addition to this, God is the One who completes us:  He fills in the gaps in our hearts that we are unable to, He accounts us as righteous, He grants us forgiveness, He gives us His Holy Spirit as a guide and a counselor.  The list goes on.  Given these are the things that God does to make us complete human beings, it follows that no other person will ever be able complete you.  (This is why it is so important that God is the center of any relationship.)

The last thing to bear in mind is that God didn’t do these things for us because we happened to be at the right place at the right time.  He didn’t spin some divine wheel and it happened to land on humans as opposed to elephants or jaguars.  Hebrews 2:14-18, says of Christ, “For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham.”  Christ didn’t die to save angels, He died to save humans, to save us.  That was His intention from the start.

Only God can complete a human and only a human can receive God’s grace and act upon it in faith.

Returning to Anderson and Alucard, Alucard states that “The ones who destroy monsters have always been humans,” and in order to defeat a monster, “you have to be human!”  Taking monsters in a metaphorical/symbolic sense, we can see that Alucard raises an interesting point.  Throughout the course of our lives, we face many “monsters”.  However, it is only by being human that we are able to respond to them with faith.  Only a human, by faith, is able to rely on God to guide him/her through any situation.

Later, as Anderson is dying, he says to Alucard:  “Monsters don’t cry.  You became a monster so you wouldn’t have to, right?  When a human’s tears finally dry up forever, they transform into a monster.  They dry up themselves.”  Here, Anderson seems to suggest that when a human no longer feels, when they block out the ups and downs inherent in life, they separate themselves from their humanity and become unfeeling monsters.  Likewise, if we look at Christianity as a way to escape the struggles of being human, we risk devaluing our humanity.  Rather, we should treasure our humanity and the human faith that allows us to live out a life with God.  We cannot finish the Christian race by becoming anything other than human.

Practical Questions:

  1. Sometimes we say that God saved us even though we were “worthless sinners.”  is there anything wrong with the concept of “worthless sinners?
  2. How might Christians face pressure to be something other than a human, even a monster?

Concluding Challenge:

Take a look in the mirror and see the person looking back at you as a human, with all of the shortcomings that go along with it, but who is nonetheless valued by God for who they are.   As someone who is able to lean and rely on God to get through any trial that may come their way.

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