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Tiger Woods is Recovering from Surgery: The Uniqueness of Christian Hope and Three Responses When Christians Fail.

Dr. Jim Denison


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Tiger Woods is awake and recovering from surgery, according to a statement posted this morning on his official Twitter account. The golf legend was involved in a serious car accident this week near Los Angeles, where he suffered multiple leg injuries. He was trapped but conscious when emergency responders reached the scene.

According to Golf Digest, Woods suffered fractures in his right leg as well as damage to his ankle. His right leg was stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia. Surgeons used screws and pins to stabilize the bones in his foot and ankle. 

Jack Nicklaus spoke for golf fans everywhere when he responded, “We want to offer him our heartfelt support and prayers at this difficult time.” 

Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munitions

Woods’ accident was one of the six million car accidents that occur in the US each year. While Tiger Woods is one of the most famous athletes in history, he is as susceptible to the laws of physics as anyone else. 

Technology changes our circumstances but not our character. Soldiers in the biblical era fought with slingshots, swords, and arrows ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ); we fight today with camouflaged tanks and magneto hydrodynamic explosive munitions. But no matter how it is fought, as Gen. Sherman said in the Civil War, “War is hell.” 

Christianity offers the hope of moral transformation for those who follow Jesus and submit to the Spirit. To this I would add that Christianity offers a uniquehope of such transformation. 

The natural cannot change the natural. Humans cannot change human nature. The prophet was right: “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ). 

Look across our history: Are we not still dealing with the same mistakes, failures, and problems as our ancestors? 

Why I Cannot Pay Your Debt 

This is why natural transformation requires supernatural agency. In theological terms, someone must pay the penalty for our sins before a holy God can forgive them. Since Jesus is the only sinless person who ever lived, he is the only person who does not owe the debt of sin and thus the only person who can pay the debt we owe ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ). 

If I have $100 in my pocket, I cannot pay your $100 debt and mine at the same time. Only if I owe no debt can I pay your debt. 

This is what Jesus uniquely did for us ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ). With all due respect, no other religious leader ever claimed to be sinless or to atone for the sins of others. Jesus did what Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius, and every other religious leader could not. This makes the salvation he offers unique ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ). 

In addition, his Spirit inhabits those who trust him as Lord. The Holy Spirit lives in us as his temple ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ). He makes us a “new creation” ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ) and begins the process of internal sanctification that makes us more like Jesus ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ). This, again, is a promise no other religion or worldview makes or can make. 

Three Biblical Responses 

However, when we claim that Christianity changes Christians, we must answer this question: Why do so many Christians act in such sinful ways? Reports of horrific sexual abuse surfaced after Ravi Zacharias’ death last May. World-renowned pastor Bill Hybels took early retirement after allegations of sexual abuse were made against him. Doesn’t this contradict the truth they proclaimed? 

Let’s close with three biblical responses: 

One: Separate the Message from the Messenger. 

When doctors fail us, we don’t reject medicine. When lawyers act corruptly, we don’t reject the law. Christianity never promised that Christians would be perfect. Our hope is not in the preacher but in the One being preached. We are saved not by Bill Hybels or Ravi Zacharias but by Jesus ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ). 

Two: Hold Each Other to the Standards of Christ. 

Our message changes the messenger if the messenger is willing to be changed. God respects the freedom he gives us so much that he will not force us into repentance and godliness. But if we cooperate with him, his Spirit will make us the kind of people our Father intends us to be ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ). 

Three: Balance Grace and Consequences. 

We do not want to be the army that buries its wounded, but we also do not want to offer what Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace” that ignores accountability and the consequences of sin. If I drive a nail into a piece of wood, you could remove the nail but the hole remains. Sinners can be forgiven, but they must seek restitution ( OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) OPEN VERSE IN BIBLE (nlt) ). (I plan to say more about confession and the consequences of sin in tomorrow’s Daily Article.) 

What Satan Put into Our Heads 

How does today’s conversation relate to you? Do you need to seek forgiveness from God and/or from someone your sin has harmed? Do you need to offer forgiveness to someone who has harmed you? Do you need to renew your commitment to seek the holiness our Father requires and empowers? Do you need to share the unique hope of the gospel with someone today? 

C. S. Lewis observed in Mere Christianity: “What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’—could set up on their own as if they had created themselves—be their own masters—invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” 

Who or what is the source of your happiness today?

Dr. Jim Denison is the founder of the Denison Forum. His Daily Article reaches 1.5 million people monthly with subscribers in 226 countries, and exists to engage contemporary culture with biblical truth. To subscribe to his Daily Article, go to

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About The Author


Dr. Jim Denison is a co-founder and the CVO of Denison Forum. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He is a widely sought speaker, podcaster and subject-matter expert on radio about cultural issues from a biblical perspective. He has been a frequent guest on Equipped with Chris Brooks (Moody Radio) and the nationally syndicated Point of View with Kerby Anderson (360+ radio stations). Through The Daily Article, his email newsletter and podcast globally that reach 215,000+ subscribers, Dr. Denison’s social media following has a reach of 1.3 million