The Glory of God 19

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.

When we view sin in light of God and the fact that the temptation that Satan put before the first couple was that they could be like God, sin is then seen as something other than behavior. Perhaps it would be better to say that behavior is seen as symptoms of the real issue which is pride and self in the heart. Sin is man wanting to follow his own reason and wisdom. Sin is man following the desires of his own fallen heart and justifying himself in doing so. Sin is man trying to be a god to himself and as such man wants to be independent and exist by himself and by his own power. Sin is man living in open rebellion against God in open sin, but perhaps even worse is man being very religious and thinking that he can please God by his religion.

This is so pointed in the modern day. Yes, we have a flood of liberalism that seems to cover the earth as the flood in the time of Noah. At the very heart of liberalism is the desire to come up with standards that man’s fallen reason can come up with and the desire to pull God down to the level of man. In conservative circles, however, we have the same motives in many ways. When men have a conservative religion that they use to please God they have done the same thing as the liberals in coming up with standards that fallen reason can be happy with. They also, though conservatives have better creeds and better theology, have a desire to pull God down to the level of man. One can use liberal thinking or conservative thinking to pull God down from His throne (in the minds of men) and for men to assert their own desire to be self-existent.

Fallen man is independent in spirit and desires to be free of all restraints so he can depend on self. Pride wants this freedom, though this freedom is indeed nothing but an appearance of it. Man will hold to liberalism in order to operate according to his own perceived freedom, but man will also hold to severe conservatism in order to convince himself that he is saved or to earn some form of righteousness. In this way the pride of man is able to be free of the sovereign God, though indeed he may even give that lip service, and man can blind himself with the truth so he can hold to his own power and freedom. Oh how pride blinds men to the truth and to the truth of their own hearts. Man wants to stand by his own power and his own freedom and he will deceive himself with either liberalism or conservatism to do so.

There are aspects of the power and insidious nature of pride in the heart of man can only be brought to light in the light of the glory of God. The self-existence of God is an attribute of God that we must hold to and is at the very heart of who God is, the fall of man, and indeed the Gospel. In trying to be like God, man wants the illusion of something like the self-existence of God and yet that can only come from the horrid pride of the heart of man and man cannot see depths of this wickedness of pride apart from viewing the self-existence of God. Men do not know themselves and their own hearts because they make gods for themselves from their pride rather than looking at the true God to see how far they have fallen. This is why it is utterly vital to study and meditate on the true God.

The liberalism and it appears much of the conservatism of today have fallen into forms of humanism and so they judge man by man and God by man rather than looking at God and viewing all things in accordance of Him and His glory. Arminian theology and Pelagian theology are really just ways of man trying to determine his own existence as he pleases rather than bow to the sovereign God. Even in modern “Calvinism” there is the stress on human responsibility to the degree that God’s sovereignty and self-existence disappear into the background. It should be asserted from every Christian pulpit that God exists in and of Himself and has no need of anyone or anything. All things exist as He pleases and all things happen as He has decreed from all eternity. While man has obligations to God, he must seek the Lord for grace to carry those things out, even the tiniest of them.

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