The Picture of the Gospel in the Picture of Dorian Gray

During my recent time off from work I finally finished reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.  This classic was a relatively short read, that kept me wanting more.  When I finished the read, I could not help but see clear gospel implications in the book. 

SPOILER ALERT!  The story goes that a young man, Dorian Gray, is a subject of a splendid painting, painted by a friend, Basil Hallward.  The picture is true to the real Dorian; charming, young, handsome, and innocent.  While admiring the painting, Dorian secretly wishes that he will never grow ugly, but that his ugliness and age will be transferred to the painting.  His wish comes true.  As Dorian grows older he does not age, yet the picture does.  However, the picture not only grows older, but it takes on the ugliness of Dorian’s soul.  The picture becomes hideous as Dorian becomes increasingly worldly, selfish, and vain.  Dorian is struck with conviction about the ugliness of his inner soul, yet he continues to become increasingly evil.  His transgressions include breaking a young girls heart, mistreatment of town’s people, murder, and conspiracy to cover a murder.  Dorian finally seeks to destroy the painting and start over, but upon destroying the painting, he destroys himself.  In the end, the painting is left unblemished, and he is found dead as a decrepit and revolting old man. 

The book points out clearly the sin that lurks in all of us.  However, unlike Dorian Gray, we are not born innocent and become progressively evil over time.  We are born in sin.  We are already ugly, revolting, and evil at heart.  We are completely hideous in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6). 

Like Dorian Gray’s picture, we desperately need something to take away the effects of our sin.  The Gospel is the solution to our sin problem, upon receiving Jesus as Lord, our sins are transferred to Him (1 Peter 3:18).  Jesus has already paid the penalty for sin.  He took on the ugliness and pain caused by sin, although He was in fact sinless.  Unlike Dorian Gray’s painting, the transfer of our sin to Jesus is irreversible and permanent.  The good news of the gospel is that God offers redemption from the horridness of our sin.

Thank God for the gospel.

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