The Glory of God 45

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 chief end or primary purpose of each human being is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Since the fall into sin man was at enmity with God and had no desire to glorify Him and enjoy Him apart from the new birth granted some by sovereign and free-grace. Yet with the religious (used generically here of professing Christians) there is a huge difference in how this chief end is to be sought. Some think that converted people have a power in them and that they are to seek and do things which make God look good or do things which honors God. Essentially, that turns out to be a work and it depends on the sufficiency of man to do so. A person that truly does something for the glory of God has to be relying on the sufficiency of God and it has to be the work of God in and through the person. This is why humility is so necessary in the presence of the self-sufficient God.

The true God is absolutely sovereign and self-sufficient. The proud deny both of those things either in theory or in practice. The proud depend upon themselves to a greater or lesser degree, and the proud are puffed up with themselves and their own sufficiency. As Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1:8: “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.” The puffing up of knowledge blinds a person to his or her own utter inability and helplessness in spiritual things. This puffing up is the blindness of pride in spiritual things. Humility, then, is the bowing of all of our supposed rights and the giving up hope in the strength of self and our ability to obtain righteousness before God. Pride thinks it can do something before God, humility says all sufficiency is in Christ.

The proud heart depends on something from itself, but the humble heart sees its utter helplessness and nothingness. Clearly, the humble heart is consistent with the self-sufficiency of God and His doing all for His own glory. Pride, on the other hand, is as opposite with the self-sufficiency of God as two things can be. The humble heart is taught by Christ that God is self-sufficient and so the humbled heart knows that it has no sufficiency at all. This means that the humble heart gives up all hope in self to ever gain a right standing before God by anything it can do. The humble heart knows that it can obtain no merit before God on its own and so it looks to God for all sufficiency. The humble heart looks to God for free-grace, then, as there is nothing we can be or do to obtain grace other than God Himself being completely and utterly self-sufficient to do so based on Himself. The humble heart is free of seeking to do or be anything other than what God will give it based on grace.

I Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

By basic definition the one and true God exists of Himself, is self-sufficient, and is absolutely sovereign. That God created all things out of Himself and by Himself and did so for Himself. It is only fitting that God would be opposed to the proud and yet give grace to the humble, but it is also fitting that those who are humble do not attain humility as a work. True humility comes to the soul of a creature that God has prepared and that God has broken from its pride. There is an important distinction that needs to be made at this point or we will end up thinking that if we can work up humility ourselves and if we do that grace comes on the basis of our working up humility. There is the humbling of the soul and the humiliation of the soul that Christ works in the soul in delivering it from the bondage of pride. But the life of humility can only come from the living and humble Christ sharing His life with us as He dwells in the soul. We can only be clothed with humility if we have Christ and we must seek Him for that, but we can never work for it or earn it in any way. Grace is no longer grace if we can do anything to get it, which would then be a denial of the glorious self-sufficiency of God.

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