The Glory of God 20

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.

Sin is the desire to be like God and in this context it is a desire to be like Him in His self-existence and perfect independence. On the other hand, the humble desire to be low before God and receive all things from His hands as nothing but gifts and desire nothing but what God desires for them. Pride is a puffing up of self, yet humility is being empty of self. Becoming more proud is to have more of self, while becoming more humble is to have less of self. Pride blinds souls to God and themselves, but the humble have God showing them the truth about themselves and Him. The proud heart thinks it can do something to please God and even do things for God, but the humble know that they can only do something to please God if He works it in and through them. The difference between pride and humility is virtually infinite because pride is the work of the finite devil and humility is the work of the infinite God. The devil can work in a false humility, but true humility is beyond his power. He who is full of self and self-love cannot by that same power cast out self, but out of his great self-love he can work a false humility in his ministers and his people. Only the living God can cast out the power of self-love by giving a soul a new heart and the life of Christ in it.

In light of the nature of what pride is and what true humility is, it should be clear which one the self-existent God works in His people and which one He will use to glorify Himself. He does not need proud men who preach well and He does not need people with big names to do anything for Him, but instead He alone can glorify His name and He uses the humble and the broken to glorify Himself through. The proud may indeed preach orthodoxy and they may have large ministries, but God will only truly use the humble to glorify Himself through. The proud will preach orthodoxy and even things about Christ as a means of exalting self rather than Christ. The proud may indeed put on a show of humility for the sake of self, but indeed it is nothing but a show of humility rather than the real thing. The proud love to be exalted even if it means some suffering for what it thinks is the name of Christ, but again that is only suffering for the sake of self since the real desire is to have self exalted.

The hideous reality behind each sin is that in trying to be like God we are a “god” to ourselves (the self-god). This brings fresh meaning to Psalm 51:4 where David confesses his adultery and murder as sin against God. Yes, it is true that David violated the sixth and the seventh commandment and violating the commandments is against God. But it is also true that David chose to follow his own selfish heart and his sinful passions and that was an effort to be like God as well. The self-existence of God demands that His creatures live in complete dependence upon Him in their hearts which reflects reality, but the sinful heart of man wants to choose his own way and depend upon himself for wisdom and for moral decisions.

True humility is the nothingness a creature has before God its Creator because that is the proper position of a creature before its Creator who upholds each creature and its life-breath as He pleases. Living in the presence of God who is truly God demands us to be nothing in His presence and to bow before Him in utter nothingness and complete helplessness because that is our reality. Yes, proud sinners should seek humility, but in light of who God is we must ask for humility to come by grace (1 Peter 5:5-6). A humility that comes from anything or anyone but the true God and by grace alone is a false humility. A true humility can only exist and be sustained by the one and only self-existent God who supports His people at all times and in all ways. While man longs to help God even a little in man’s own salvation and sanctification, the great need is for man to be broken from his prideful desire to provide part of salvation and sanctification for himself. Only God can do that. The vast majority in our day seems to want to help God just a little in their own salvation, but that is not a desire to be saved in accordance with the truth of God. Instead, it is a desire to be saved in accordance with the fallen heart of man. The Gospel of the self-existent God is a Gospel of grace alone.

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