What is a "tiehacker"?

"Tiehacker" is a term originating in the Ozark hills of southern Missouri. It referred to a class of people from WAY back in the hills that made a living cutting trees into ties for the railroad. I first heard the term from my wife shortly after we married. I had been working outside all day and was dirty and stinky. She had learned it from her father, and thought it just meant "a bum". Never having heard it before, I looked it up. Although I am not really a bum, I thought it was interesting, and I do have a life-long love affair going with the Ozark hills, so ... there you have it!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Totally depraved, and mighty glad of it!

I am totally depraved, and that is a good thing! Perhaps I should explain what I mean, though.

This is gonna start off sounding bad, but here goes:
I am not a sinner because I do bad things; on the contrary, the bad things are a RESULT, not a CAUSE, of my sinful nature. I inherited that nature from my father, and his father before him, all the way back to Adam. I have no more control over that than I do over the color of my eyes or length of my toes.

I was born in sin. Every cell of my body is inclined towards sin, enjoys sin, revels in sin. If my human nature were to have full, unchecked sway, I could be capable of just about any heinous thing imaginable. And this includes being an enemy of God. In fact, that is the primary, central, foundational basis of my depravity. On my way to hell, riding on greased skids. 

So, why is that a good thing? If that was all there was to the story, it wouldn't be, of course. But there is more to the story. Much more, in fact.

My sinful nature prevented me from drawing close to God. To use a rather disgusting analogy, it's kind of like a cockroach that instinctively runs and hides when the lights are turned on. The more the light of God shines, the more my sin nature runs away.

So, how does this get fixed? How can I ever hope to avoid ending up in hell? How can that sin nature be overcome so that I can run TOWARDS God, not away from Him?

Simply put, if left up to me, it could never happen.

But it was not left up to me, and that is what makes this a good thing. If there did happen to be any good thing in me, then I would be responsible for exercising it and taking care of myself. But thank God, that burden has been taken away from me.

God, in His infinite mercy and love and goodness, saw fit to have His very own Son take the punishment that was due to me, and to provide to me, all on His own, the righteousness that is required to enter into His presence.

If I wasn't totally depraved, then I would be at least partially responsible for my own salvation, and my own security. That is truly a frightening thought! How could I ever be sure? I couldn't. I would always be worried whether I was doing good enough. 

But, since He has done it all, every last bit of it, I don't have to worry. It is all HIS responsibility. He alone can save me, and He alone can keep me saved. My only responsibility is to take the love that He gives to me and to return it to Him, giving Him the glory and honor and praise that is due. And He even gives THAT to me, as part of the free gift of salvation by faith! Isn't that awesome?

So that, in a nutshell, is why I am happy to admit that I am totally depraved. It frees me from worrying about my eternal destiny, and frees me to be able to worship Him who gave me the gift of salvation and security through Jesus Christ. I don't have to count on me! Jesus lived for me, He died for me, and He rose for me. I couldn't do it for myself, and I don't have to. In fact, to even try would be to insult Jesus.

And that, my friends, is why I can say that being totally depraved is a GOOD thing! The question is, can YOU? Because you have the same problem. Quit trying to be good enough. It ain't gonna happen, period, end of discussion. You are just as depraved as I. Throw yourself on His mercy, accept the free gift that He offers, and spend the rest of your life enjoying His presence rather than running from it.

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