Jesus bore the just and holy wrath of God that we deserve, there is no condemnation (Rom. 8:1). And, not only that, because Jesus kept all the moral law that you and I couldn’t keep, again he gives us what don’t have (Rom. 5:19, Matt. 3:15). That is his righteousness. In the end, a sinner is reconciled to a holy God because of faith in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. When God looks at a believer, he doesn’t look at what he has done. He looks at him with as much fondness and affection he does with his beloved Son Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
Do you often feel like you’re lonely even though you’re surrounded by many people? Do you find yourself being drowned in a sea of sadness? Is melancholy your only friend? Do you often get irritated? Do you struggle to concentrate? Do you find reading the Bible an uphill task? Do you often find yourself having your affections unmoved even after doing your devotions? Do you feel like life is a drudgery? Do you suffer from amnesia? Do you feel like you’ve caught up yourself in the endless cycles of thoughts that scare you or make you anxious? If you do, I suspect you may be suffering from depression.
I am not a physician nor am an expert in this area to make a full claim. But, as far as I understand, there are two primary reasons why people get depressed. 1. Spiritual Reasons. 2. Physiological (Neurological) reasons. Not all types of depression must be tied down to spiritual reasons and similarly, not all of them should be to physiological reasons either.
Many a time, spiritual reasons such as unconfessed sin or living a hypocritical life may eventually turn into depression as our body and soul are not two separate entities but actually one. Someone has rightly put it, “We are not bodies who have souls but we are embodied souls”. In other words, what we do and think has an indelible impact on our psyche.
On the other hand, just like any physical disease, such as diabetes and hypertension, would have physiological effects on our bodies, so does depression. In the same way that we are not spiritually culpable for being diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension, we also are not necessarily responsible for the involuntary chemical imbalances in our brain. Pastor and Author David Murray writes “We need to recognise the exceeding complexity of depression and resist the temptation to propose and accept simple analyses and solutions. Just as no two hearts are identically diseased, and just as no two cancers are the same, no two depressions are the same in cause, symptoms, depth, duration, and cure. Therefore, we must avoid making our own experience the norm for others.”1
Friend, whether you’re suffering from depression because of spiritual reasons or from physiological reasons, please do not hesitate to reach out to the elders in your church and share your struggles with them. It is my hope and prayer that they would help you out through the Word of God and be with you in your journey as you seek to overcome depression.
No matter what your situation may be, I am primarily writing this article to encourage you and to point you to our Lord Jesus. I hope the following truths would really help you to meditate and to rejoice in God’s unchangeable promises.
1. Justification: The Bible is emphatic that God is absolutely, inherently and transcendentally holy. John says “God is light. In him, there is no darkness at all (1 Jn. 1:5). There isn’t a tiny speck of unholiness in him. And, he not only hates unholiness (sin) but he cannot let sin go unpunished (Ps. 5:4-6).
On the other hand, we are sinners through and through. We are not only sinners by deed, we are sinners by birth and by nature (Ps. 51:5). So, one of the divine dilemmas, as it were, in the Bible is, how can a good, just and holy God reconcile sinners to himself? (Rom. 3:26 (God is just and the justifier)) Now, the beauty of the gospel is that God sent his Son to be punished on our behalf on the cross so that whoever believes in him is saved from the wrath to come.