On Wednesday night, President Joe Biden for the first time addressed a joint session of Congress, speaking before a relatively small in-person gathering intent on showing their collective sense of civic responsibility by wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
(One commentator on CBS, moved by the moment as most of Biden’s Cabinet entered the chamber, nonetheless remarked on the “pageantry” of a handful of men in suits walking into a room.)
Biden’s speech, and Sen. Tim Scott’s response, were met with multiple fact checks from a variety of media sources.
PolitiFact, for example, verified Biden’s claims versus calling them “exaggerated” or lacking “context” by a margin of more than 2-1, but that’s probably better than we would have seen under former President Barack Obama, when legacy media outlets were terrified — or simply too worshipful — to contradict the president’s sometimes completely fabricated claims. The same organization issued three fact checks on claims made by Scott, labeling them “exaggerated,” “needs context” and “downplays the figure,” respectively.
So much for an independent, objective media.
But no fact-checking organization seems to have spent any time checking what was by far the most significant claim the South Carolina Republican’s 15-minute rebuttal.
“Original sin is never the end of the story,” Scott said as he began to wrap up his speech. “Not in our souls, and not for our nation.
“The real story is always redemption.”
This truth claim is the heart of Christianity. In fact, it is one of the most important beliefs that separates Christianity from other world faiths — and provides a hope that originates outside of the fallen humanity that is so desperate for that hope.
Original sin isn’t the beginning of the story, either. Sure, it didn’t take long for the Bible to cover the topic — Adam falls from grace in the third chapter of the first book of Scripture — but the first two chapters describe creation as it was meant to be: flawless, sinless, whole.
God did not create a universe of poverty, racism, climate change, armed conflict, hunger, addiction, human trafficking, gender confusion, pandemics, crony capitalism, pornography … well, you get the idea. For a brief moment (we don’t know how long, but the fact that it’s covered in only two chapters in Genesis implies a fairly short period), everything was perfect.
It didn’t take long for Adam to foul that up, to turn beauty to ashes, perfection to pollution. That’s Genesis chapter three, but it wasn’t God’s original design for the universe, the earth or humanity.
Of course, Adam is not alone; we all rebel against God in our own ways. That rebellion does not do damage to God; we are the ones broken when our ways come into conflict with His.
And the whole world is broken.
The Good News is that Adam’s sin didn’t take a loving Father by surprise. In the same chapter, He promises redemption, saying to the serpent:
“I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.”
The coming Redeemer would have his heel bruised, the Father warns us … but wait until you see what He does to the other guy.
The truth is that we can never hope to escape that brokenness on our own. We’re the ones doing the breaking; we cannot heal ourselves.
Only Jesus takes our brokenness and replaces it with wholeness. He was God, He lived the perfect life we never could, and died in our place on the cross. The enemy had indeed bruised His heel.
But Tim Scott was right — that’s not where the story ends.
Because Jesus is God, He rose from the dead on the third day, just as it had been foretold. He conquered death, and because of that victory to all who will believe: “[I]f you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Some call this being saved, others being born again, still others, conversion.
You could also call it redemption.
The left demands reparations, penance, punishment — but offers no healing, no wholeness, no restoration. Only guilt and shame, and the more public the shame, the better. That’s the essence of cancel culture.
For the left, the story does end with original sin.
But for Tim Scott and any who turn from their sin and acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord, original sin is really only the beginning of the story, a beginning common to all humanity.
“The real story,” Scott said, “is always redemption.”
We rate this claim: True, with a capital T.
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