The Glory of God 18

Acts 17:22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 “For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

Isaiah 66:1 Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? 2 “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.

It is vital to grasp something of the truth that God is self-existent. Can anyone do something for God that He cannot do for Himself or that He must work in the human being first? Is Christianity really about doing good works for God as if He could not do them Himself? Is Christianity really about doing religious activities in a way that seems as if they are for God as if they do something for Him? In reflecting on the self-existence of God the nature of biblical Christianity comes out. Humanity was created for the purposes of God, yet man can do nothing for God and man cannot in an ultimate way serve God. Indeed the Israelites build a tabernacle and temples for religious purposes at the command of God, but God did not need those edifices at all.

In light of who God really is (self-existence) and therefore who man is (totally dependent), an important yet hidden aspect of sin comes to light. When men act as if they were not totally dependent upon God, they are acting like the Devil and buying in to the essence of the fall which is that men will think they are and try to be like God. Men act as if they are not totally dependent upon God for wisdom when they depend upon themselves for wisdom. Men act as if they are not totally dependent upon God when they try to determine right and wrong for themselves. This is to say that the very nature of sin is for man to live in what he thinks is an independent way from God. It is for man to determine his own way and to live in dependence upon self.

Daniel 5:22 “Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this,
23 but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand. But the God in whose hand are your life-breath and your ways, you have not glorified.

In the passage above Daniel indicts Belshazzar for his sin of exalting himself against the Lord of heaven and while he was in the hand of God in terms of his life-breath and his ways, he did not glorify God. Belshazzar lived for his own glory and thought that the kingdom was in his hands and operated by his wisdom. The hand then appeared and wrote on the wall and indeed what it wrote came true. That very night Belshazzar was killed and his kingdom was given over to another. Living by our own wisdom means that a fall will come and it will come soon.

As can be clearly seen the absolute and objective truth is that God alone exists in and of Himself and that all other than God utterly and totally depends on Him. Sin is in this light man trying to be God and this independent spirit of man longs to be free of all restraints put upon him by God and to depend on self and the things of self. This great longing to be free of God and to depend on self is nothing but sheer arrogance and pride as it is a horrible pride to live and exalt self rather than God. It is a horrible sin for man who is upheld by God and given every breath by God to turn from God and live for self in what it thinks is an independent way.

It may be worse in some ways for people to use religion to deceive themselves and others as a way of independence from God rather than as the way of complete dependence upon God. Christ Himself told us that apart from Him we can do nothing (spiritual or truly good), yet man in his religion of self and independence from God (deceived about this) tries to live by his own good works and righteousness. What a horrible affront to the living God for man to live as if he depends on himself for good works and righteousness. What a despicable crime against God to live as if we do not utterly depend upon Him as self-existent for all things.

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