The Glory of God 38

An attribute of God must be determined from what He is within Himself rather than judged by our own standards. God is the standard of Himself and of all things.

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. 24 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.

As we view the world and even the professing Church, why do people love money and trust in it? What is it about money that is so trustworthy that men and professing churches trust it and covet it more than God Himself? The love of money comes from a love of self and self loves what money can do for it. Self thinks it can look out after self better than God can look after self and self does not trust God to do what the wisdom of self thinks God should do. The professing Church is much the same as those who make no profession at all. It trusts in money and it is constantly asking for money from the people. The love of money stems from self not wanting to be dependent upon God and His sufficiency and instead wants self to be self-sufficient rather than God.

Why do people want to be dependent on themselves? People don’t trust God and don’t really believe that He is sufficient for all that they really need. People don’t believe that God is wiser than them and so they strive to be sufficient for themselves. Unbelievers love themselves and hate God, so they trust themselves rather than God. This dependence on self and the wicked sufficiency of self both flow from a heart of self-love and as such a heart that does not love or trust God for anything. This is at heart the very nature of sin. The nature of sin flows from the selfish and proud heart while holiness flows from a humble heart that loves God and others.

Why are people so full of pride? It is because people are full of self and the love of self which desires to depend on self rather than love God and depend on Him fully. Proud man loves honor from others, but he cannot see that this great desire for others to honor him makes him dependent on others. This love of honor makes man think that he is self-sufficient, but it is nothing but an illusion. As man seeks honor from others, the heart of what he is doing is to place himself on the throne and seek what God alone should have. While we should seek the honor and glory of God, the heart that loves self seeks the honor and glory of self. The proud heart thinks that it is sufficient to gain these things from others, thus we see that man’s desire to depend on self and the sufficiency of self has many wicked tentacles.

We also see that people want to save themselves and trust in their own righteousness or at least some or just a little bit of their own righteousness. Man may rationally accept the fact that he has no righteousness of his own, but his heart which is so deceptive can trust in itself for many things as it convinces itself that it is trusting in Christ alone. Even the whole idea of faith can lead men to trust in themselves for faith rather than looking to the free-grace of God to give them faith. Man will leave places here and there for them to have just a slight part (they tell themselves) in some little aspect of salvation and yet trusting in self in one part is a mixing of works with grace which makes grace no longer to be grace. Man will fight and fight to retain some little part because to give up all hope in self and to look to Christ alone is to count all the righteousness of man as dung and that is beyond the power of self-sufficient and proud man to do.

Oh how the wickedness of men who fight for some little ability or the smallest amount of righteousness before God is seen in the things of religion. Man, in wanting to be like God, tries to bring honor to self in things like prayer and giving. Man longs to do good works that others see and while his mouth gives the praise to God, that can be just another way of getting people to praise him. It is in looking at the truth of the self-sufficiency of God that we see man in his desire to be like God and so understand sin as man trying to be like the self-sufficient God. Man wants to be sufficient for his own righteousness (or at least part) and he wants to be sufficient in and of himself to do some little something to please God. That little something is actually a huge sin against God and is at enmity with free-grace.

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