Corruption Topical Study

<p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Corruption in Scripture</span></strong></p><ul><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Genesis%206%3A5-6">Genesis 6:5-6</a>, great wickedness of humankind</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Exodus%2020%3A4-5">Exodus 20:4-5</a>, do not make idols</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Exodus%2020%3A14">Exodus 20:14</a>, do not commit adultery</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Exodus%2022%3A22">Exodus 22:22</a>, do not abuse widows or orphans</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Psalm%2014%3A1-3">Psalm 14:1-3</a>, fools are corrupt and have gone astry</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Proverbs%2010%3A31">Proverbs 10:31</a>, the tongue of the perverse will be cut off</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Ecclesiastes%207%3A7">Ecclesiastes 7:7</a>, a bribe &quot;corrupts the heart&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Isaiah%201%3A23">Isaiah 1:23</a>, the princes do not defend those in need</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Jeremiah%2017%3A9">Jeremiah 17:9</a>, the heart &quot;is devious&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Amos%205%3A12">Amos 5:12</a>, great are your sins</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Matthew%207%3A22-23">Matthew 7:22-23</a>, &quot;go away from me, you evildoers&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Luke%203%3A14">Luke 3:14</a>, do not take money from&nbsp;anyone</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Romans%206%3A23">Romans 6:23</a>, the wages of sin is death</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/1%20Corinthians%2013%3A1">1 Corinthians 13:1</a>, if you don&#39;t have love, you are a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Galatians%206%3A8">Galatians 6:8</a>, &quot;If you sow to your flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh&quot;</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/Colossians%203%3A5">Colossians 3:5</a>, kill any evil desires</span></li><li><span class="body-copy"><a href="https://preachingandworship.org/search/James%204%3A8">James 4:8</a>, &quot;purify your hearts, you double-minded&quot;</span></li></ul><p><strong><span class="heading-lg">Reflections about Corruption</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Corruption is a dynamic motif in the Christian understanding of sin. It is not so much a particular sin as it is the multiplying power of all sin to spoil what&#39;s good. Corruption is spiritual AIDS &mdash; a mysterious, systemic, infectious, and progressive attack on our spiritual immune system that eventually breaks it down and opens the way for hordes of opportunistic sins. These make life progressively more miserable. Conceit, for instance, typically generates envy of rivals, a nasty form of resentment that eats away at the envier. &quot;Sin,&quot; as Augustine says, &quot;becomes the punishment of sin.&quot;</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Reformation documents offer a number of images for corruption: it is a despoiled nature, a diseased root, a contaminated spring, a foul heart. A bad strain has gotten into human stock so that we now sin with the ease and readiness of people born to the task. We are &quot;born sinners&quot; as some people are &quot;born athletes.&quot; This fact, empirical as well as biblical, lies behind a broad consensus &mdash; Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant &mdash; on original sin, namely, that sin in humanity is old, universal, progressive, often addictive, and stubbornly resistant to eradication. This is why the regeneration of a human heart is a God-Almighty, Holy Ghost miracle.</span> </span></p><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">What Does Corruption Include?</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Corruption includes perversion which amounts to twisting something good (say, the office of county prosecutor) so that it serves an unworthy goal (merely gaining convictions) instead of a worthy one (seeking criminal justice) or so that it serves an entirely wrong goal (such as humiliating one&#39;s political enemies). Rape victims sometimes discover to their consternation that a prosecutor will proceed with their case only when confident of a slam dunk conviction, particularly near election time. Other examples abound: a journalist distorts an event in order to render it more controversial and thus more newsworthy; a minister uses his office and authority to bend children to his lust; a teenager uses a friendship to move up in the social pack; a head of state launches a short but lethal war against a tiny nation in order to boost the economy, raise his standing in the polls, and bury criticism of his domestic performance.</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Corruption includes polltion which amounts to weakening something good by introducing into it a foreign element. Classic biblical examples are idolatry and adultery, emblems of each other. In each case some new commitment gets insinuated into an existing and exclusive relationship and compromises it.</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Corruption includes dividedness and then disintegration. Adultery both pollutes and splits a marriage, often leading to its death. Idolatry both contaminates human loyalty to God and splits it, often leading to its death. Third parties in these cases are wedge-shaped.</span> </span></p><p><strong><span class="heading-sm">Disintegration</span></strong></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Accordingly, Christians have traditionally feared double-mindedness not merely because it shows ingratitude to God but also because it disintegrates mind and heart. To split our really important loves and longings is to crack our life&#39;s foundation and risk the crumbling of life itself. A divided house cannot stand.</span> </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 13.008px;"><span class="body-copy">Disintegration is the main event in corruption &mdash; the breakdown of personal, social, or systemic integrity; the loss of shape, strength, and purpose that makes some entity an &quot;entirety,&quot; and makes it this entirety. Sin tends to disintegrate both its perpetrators and its victims. In fact, it is the prelude to death. When the Teacher says in Ecclesiastes 7:7 that &quot;a bribe corrupts the heart,&quot; the Hebrew `abad (for Eng. &quot;corrupts&quot;) also means &quot;to cause to die.&quot;</span></span></p>