My father attends Andy Stanley’s church, North Point. I am personally thankful for Andy’s church as it has been there that my dad has surrendered his life to the gospel. Whenever I visit with my dad, I often take the occasion to attend church at North Point.
Several years ago I remember Andy preaching on sin and he gave an illustration using some figures cut out from pieces of bright orange cardboard. He explained how we often look around and judge ourselves righteous because we live in a bright orange world and when we look at ourselves (bright orange people) we think we’re ok. However, take that bright orange cardboard person and stick them in front of a solid white background, and you suddenly realize how extremely different you are than that white color.
The point was one of God’s holiness, our sinfulness, and the tendency to look at our sin in comparison to the world around us as opposed to the holiness of God. It was a great illustration that has stuck with me to this day. I found it humorous the other day while reading Institutes when Calvin gave the exact word picture (though Calvin used black instead of orange). I couldn’t help but wonder if Andy pulled his example from Calvin.
And since nothing appears within us or around us that is not tainted with very great impurity, so long as we keep our mind within the confines of human pollution, anything which is in some small degree less defiled delights us as if it were most pure: just as an eye, to which nothing but black had been previously presented, deems an object of a whitish, or even of a brownish hue, to be perfectly white.
John Calvin and Henry Beveridge, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2010).