The Glory of God 39

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.

The Scriptures show very clearly that God is self-sufficient and has absolutely no need and also that man is utterly insufficient and is full of needs. Fallen man, however, is blind to this and so thinks that he is sufficient for himself and that he can do things for God. It is an appalling switch from the truth to error and from reality to utter pretense. The hearts of men are full of self and pride and in that they think of themselves as far greater in terms of worth, ability, and morality than the facts warrant. In fact, apart from Christ man is less than nothing to God, has no ability to please God at all, and is utterly unable to do one thing out of love for God. God alone is self-sufficient and man has no sufficiency at all but what God gives man in Christ and by grace alone. Even the fall sets forth the self-sufficiency of God if we have eyes to see.

2 Timothy 3:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.

The description of men (from the passage above) shows men as those who think that they are sufficient in themselves rather than those who rely upon the self-sufficiency of God. Man, in his pride and presumption of self-sufficiency, loves himself and thinks that he has the power of love within him to love as he pleases. What he does not see, however, is that true love is far different than the love he has in himself. True love only comes from God and only those who are born of God and know God truly love (I John 4:7-8). In fact, though it is not wrong to think of man as full of self-love, in another very real sense those who are full of self-love are actually those who hate others and themselves as they do all that they do with enmity towards the true God.

Those who love themselves long to be sufficient and as such they will love money which they think of as giving them power and will make them independent of all others. It is so amazing to see that those without grace still hold to a form of godliness despite the fact that they are so opposite of the children of God. Christians are known by their love one for another, yet these people are unloving. Christians are to be known as lovers of holiness, yet these people are unholy. Christians are to be known as those who forgive each other and protect the name of each other, yet these people cannot be reconciled to others and are malicious gossips. Indeed they may have a form of godliness, but it is far from the truth of what godliness is. However, it is a godliness that they have worked upon on their own and it depends on them in their natural strength. It is a form of godliness because it does not depend upon the sufficiency of God and instead depends on the sufficiency of man.

Christians are to love what is good and to be faithful to God and all others, but those who have a godliness based on their own sufficiency hate what is truly good because it comes from the one and only true God and they hate true faithfulness because true faithfulness receives all from the sufficiency of God. Those with a form of godliness that relies upon themselves and their own sufficiency love pleasure rather than God because they are sufficient to do what pleases them rather than relying totally upon God for love to love Him. True believers live by grace alone (at least that is the ideal) and as such they live upon the self-sufficiency of God rather than anything found in them of anything that they can do. True godliness is really a true God-centeredness where men receive all from Him. True ungodliness is when men have an outward form of godliness but what they have is from self rather than the grace of God. The godly person lives by grace alone which is to say s/he lives upon the self-sufficiency of God and does not look to self for any sufficiency at all. It is, to put it simply, to live by free-grace which is God’s self-sufficiency found in Christ and in Christ alone.

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