Archive for the ‘Humility’ Category

Humility, Part 84

April 28, 2010

The humility of Christ is important to study or at least meditate on it is only in doing so will we see the glory of God and then what the life of God in the soul will be in believers. The view of His majesty is simply breathtaking when we behold it shining through the humble and suffering Messiah. Believers are commanded to put on Christ (Rom 13:14). As we behold His life of humility on earth, we see something of what that really is.

And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 38 At that time two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 “HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words. 45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” (Mat 27:37-46)

The sinless Lamb of God was hung on the cross between two wretched sinners. He had been beaten and mocked by the soldiers, and now He was nailed to the cross with a sign intended to mock Him. The sign, however, declared the absolute truth. So first the soldiers abused and then mocked Him, and then they nailed Him on the cross. He was put between two wicked men who also insulted Him (v. 44). The people going past were hurling abuse at Him as well. It seems as if the abuse was coming from all sides. Here the Son of God was hanging in extreme physical pain while enduring the wrath of God on His soul. The religious leaders of the day were mocking Him as well saying things like He cannot save Himself and let Him come down from the cross and we will believe in Him. One interesting point, however, is if Christ had of come down from the cross there would have been no way of salvation. It was only by humbling Himself to take the abuse that there would be souls converted to God. In this the glory of God shone through Christ because He humbled Himself and so the glory could shine.

It was the religious leaders of the land that also said that if God delighted in the Son then let God rescue Him. In the human way of looking at things this would have been a show of Divine glory. But in the Divine scheme those who truly believed saw the glory. Isaiah 53:10 tells us what the Lord was really pleased with: “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.” While the fallen and depraved minds of the religious leaders thought that if God was pleased with the Son He would get Him off of the cross, the pure and holy plan of God was different: “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur” (Acts 4:27-28). God had predestined for things to happen this way. He had predestined and ordained for the Son to go to the cross. It was His pleasure to crush the Son (Isa 53:10) because it was His pleasure to manifest His glory through the Son. The humility of the Son made this avalanche of glory possible.

There is no measure to the humility of Christ because no human mind can conceive of the wrath that He suffered on the cross and of the love that He loved the Father while on the cross. There was an infinite degree of holiness, wrath, and justice also displayed at the cross. The fiery wrath of the Father was overpowered (so to speak) by His love and His justice was satisfied by His love as well. By the violent and wrathful death of the Son peace was accomplished. All of this was only possible because of the humility of Jesus Christ. It is only when the life of the humble Savior is the life of the believer will the glory of God shine through the believer as well. Humility is necessary for love to flow through the believer and humility is necessary so that the glory of God will shine and be manifested in and through the believer. As the glory of God is beheld in the face of Christ and the believer realizes that this was possible because of His humility, the great example and need of humility is seen. If we love the glory of God we will seek humility so that His glory would be seen through us.

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Humility, Part 82

April 20, 2010

The humility of Christ is something of great beauty in Scripture and is only seen if one is looking for it. When Scripture tells us to be like Christ, it is not telling us to be like Him in our actions as much as it is telling us to be like Him in terms of our hearts. Our actions will never begin to be anything like His until our hearts are shaped and formed by His inner work in the soul. Until our hearts are like His heart our actions will not be like His actions and certainly will not be with the same intents and motives that He had.

Luke 22:42 is the text where the famous words of Jesus are found: “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” It was where Jesus knew that He had to go to the cross and bear the wrath of the Father for the sins of sinners. He did not want to have the stench of sin imputed to Him and He did not want to bear the wrath of the Father. Human flesh shrinks and shrieks at the thought of that. But Christ bowed in humility before the Father in a way that the world has never seen before and will never be seen again. It is true that we cannot imagine the humility of the Son of God who humbled Himself to be born as a tiny and helpless human infant. Not only did He take human flesh, He took on the flesh of a human infant. He subjected Himself to helplessness in the flesh of a human while He was infinite in power in terms of the Divine. We simply cannot imagine the depths of His humility. But being found in human flesh, He bowed in submission to the Father to endure the pain and sufferings of the wrath of the Father and then of death.

The deepest form of humility is the emptiness of self and the presence of Divine life and love in the soul. Whatever one wants to say, there can be no deeper humility than to be emptied of self and to have the presence of the Divine life in the soul. To the degree that God by His grace empties the soul of self is the degree of the Divine life in the soul. The deeper the soul grows in humility the more the soul is capable of having the Divine presence and life in it. In Christ we see a perfectly sinless being with all rights to perfect happiness without any discomfort or pain submit to enduring more suffering than anyone in history will ever have to suffer. The human part of Him must have screamed at the thought of such suffering, but the perfect love in His heart led Him to bow in submission to the pleasure of the Father. When the pleasure of the Father is the loving desire of our heart, we must bow to whatever it His pleasure to ask or command of us.

The comparison of ourselves and Christ is not pleasant at this point. When we take an honest view of self in our past we see that self has asserted itself in so many places. We can see our selfishness and tempers putting themselves into the forefront rather than Christ. We can remember that little trials that God brought our way and how we were angry with how He would treat us. We can remember praying for His will to be done because we knew they were the right words and that we were supposed to pray like that. But our hearts did not really desire it. We can think of times when we have looked upon others and despised them rather than stoop to their level. This can be those who are lowly and so we refuse to be with the lowly, though we assure ourselves that we have good reasons for doing so. At other times we have refused to be with the non-lowly but that was our of fear of self being looked down on and so in a sense self refused to stoop to serve or do something in the name of Christ. The humility of Christ demands our all before the rich and the poor.

But again, do I really see the glory of God shining in and through me as if Christ Himself truly lived in me? Do I really behold the glory of God shining through me through Christ because I have been emptied of self? Whose glory is it that I seek during the day? Whose glory do I really desire in my religious actings? I can have the theology of the best and be as conservative as anyone, but if I am full of self I am nothing but a Pharisee. To put it even more plainly, until I have been humbled or emptied of self I am full of self just like the Pharisees were. To put it another way, if I am not truly living for the glory of God I am living for the glory of self. I cannot have two masters and I will love and live for the glory of God or I will love and live for the glory of self. When our greatest love is self, we will try to make God our servant. When our greatest love is God, we will bow ourselves to be the servant of God. It is His will that must be done on earth as it is in heaven, not mine. Soli Deo Gloria.

Humility, Part 81

April 17, 2010

Biblical humility is quite unlike anything that the world knows. But it is the life of Christ in the believer and it is the emptiness of self in the believer so that Christ may live through it. It becomes obvious; therefore, that apart from humility Christ is not the life of the person. As Jesus taught us we can only have one master. We will either serve self or we will serve Christ. If we serve self, our master is self. If we use religion and the name of God to serve self, self is still the master. But if we are emptied of self and the life of Christ dwells in us, then our very live and master is Christ Himself.

In the last BLOG we looked at Philippians 2:3-8 in an effort to see the humility of Christ and then to see if His humility indeed lived in our own hearts. Rather than humility being something that just happens one time, and rather than it just happening at certain times, for the believer the humility of Christ is to be the very life of Christ in the soul all the time. So if we have Christ dwelling in our souls that very life is the humility of Christ. If Christ lives in our souls, He will be seen and so His humility will be worked in the soul that He dwells in.

John 13:1 – “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. 2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, 4 got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. 5 Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.”

Dare we say that while this appears unspeakable in His humility that this was really nothing compared to the humbling that Jesus went through to take human flesh to Himself and then to humble Himself to go to the cross. However, His humility here is not like that of a religious ritual where one does the ritual in order to obtain something from God rather than manifest the glory of God. But Jesus washed the dirty feet of those sinful and proud disciples of His. Could it be that He washed the feet of Judas who was going to betray Him? Could it be that the very Lord of this universe and the One who upheld it by the word of His power bowed in human flesh and washed the feet of the one who had already decided to betray Him? Oh the depths of the humility of the heart of Christ! Not only did Jesus wash the feet of the disciples who were His friends, but He also washed the feet of the one who hated Him. This was at least one example of Jesus loving His enemies and it required a fathomless humility. We can only stand in awe at what He did as well as the pride in our own hearts.

Mark 10:35 – “James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized. 40 “But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John. 42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 “But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; 44 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. 45 “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Jesus Christ, the very Lord of all, demonstrated in John 13:1-5 that He was a servant. True greatness is to be the servant of all and to be first in the eyes of God and in His kingdom is to be last. Jesus was the greatest of all because He humbled Himself and served. Not only did He come and live of life of service, but His greatest act of being a Servant was in giving His life a ransom for many. Would you be willing to wash the dusty and dirty feet of a proud group of people? Would you be willing to wash the feet of one who hated you enough to sell you out for some money? Would you for die proud men? The humble Savior did. Do we really have Him in us?

Humility, Part 80

April 9, 2010

In the last BLOG we looked at a way to examine our hearts to see if we are truly humble. Our feeling low does not determine humility. Our walking around with our eyes cast down does not determine if we have humility or not. Letting other people walk over us is also not a real determination of true humility. All of those things can be done by a cowardly person or of pride pretending to be humble. True humility can only be judged or determined by the glory of God shining in a heart by the life of Christ.

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2)

The text above tells us very clearly that we are to have the very attitude of Christ in us. The glory of God shines ever so brightly through Christ in this passage. Though Christ Himself was very God of very God, He did not hang on to that in a selfish way (grasped). Instead, He took the very form of a bond-servant by being made in the likeness of men. How could it be that He who was life itself take on flesh which could die? How could it be that He who was infinite could take on a very finite body? How could it be that He who was perfectly and infinitely joyful could take on human flesh and experience sorrow, mourning, and weeping? How could it be that He who was infinite in power could take on the weakness of human flesh? How could it be that He who was totally self-sufficient became totally dependent in human flesh? How could it be that He who was perfectly just would take human flesh and suffer injustice? There are many other things that could be said in this contrast, but what we must see is that the glory of God shines in this. When Christ took human flesh to Himself the very glory of God shone ever so brightly in all places and in all ways through Him.

When Christ humbled Himself to the point of death, even death on a cross, we have missed the main issue if we fail to behold the glory of God as the main point. God did not send the Son of His love with a higher motive or intent than to shine forth His own glory in and through the Son. While Christ came to save sinners, the reason God saves sinner is to the praise of the glory of His own grace (Eph 1:5-8). Oh how we need to look at the cross from a God-centered perspective rather than our own fallen one. Fallen humans want to think of the love of God being primarily for him or her. But this is simply not so and would make God out to be an idolater in loving sinners more than God (Himself). If Christ loved humans more than the Father He would have been an idolater and would have not been able to have died for the sins of others. If He would have been an idolater, He would have been less than a perfect Lamb and so could not have been the perfect sacrifice required.

Instead we have Christ as a perfect Lamb of God who died for sinners as a perfect sacrifice. But He humbled Himself in order to go to the cross. In humbling Himself He obeyed the Father out of perfect love and so the glory of God shone through Him. If we behold Christ on the cross carefully, what we see through the humble Lamb there was the perfect justice of God shining forth. We will see the perfect holiness of God shining out. We will see the grace of God on display. We will see the love of God shouting in a voice loud enough to fill the heavens. We will see the perfect self-sufficiency of God in being able to show wrath and yet love at the same time and so sinners can be saved to the glory of His name. In Christ we see the very pleasure of God in shining forth His glory. In Christ we see the goodness of God in procuring a salvation for sinners. In Christ we see the very patience of perfection of God in waiting since the Garden and enduring the sin of sinners to send His Son and then satisfy His own wrath and justice. The glory shone and just keeps shining.

As we look in our own hearts, are we willing to endure the ridicule and persecution of others so that the glory of God will shine in and through us? Are we willing to go forward in perfect love for the Father no matter the cross and trials He calls us to? Are we willing to nothing more than an instrument of His glory no matter what the world thinks of us? Are we willing to value the glory of God more than suffering and death itself? Suffering and ridicule brings out the selfishness and pride in us. We can’t stand it when another mortal (especially if we judge them as lower than us) does not speak highly of us. Our pride will declare them and their words wrong rather than thinking that God may be using them to show us the vile pride of our hearts. Our self wants honor from others rather than the ridicule that hurts our pride. But the humble Christ works Himself and His life in our hearts. That is humility.

Humility, Part 79

April 7, 2010

Each believer must not think of humility as something that is anything less than essential. Perhaps the only way to examine one’s own humility is to think of Christ as a mirror and hold up His perfect humility and compare what ours looks like compared to His own. Christ was the perfect image of God on earth and is still the perfect image of God. In taking human flesh to come and walk on this planet His humility was beyond what the human mind can conceive of. While on earth in His human body His humility was clear for all to see, but when He humbled Himself to go to the cross His humility was blindingly glorious. But in human flesh the only way for God’s glory to shine brightly is for the human flesh to be empty of self.

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

2 Corinthians 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

The Divine nature of Christ was united to the human nature of Christ. The Divine nature shone through the human flesh because there was no pride and self to battle with the shining forth of the Divine nature. But in fallen human beings there is always the battle with the flesh. Humility is the emptying of the soul of self and pride so that the Divine glory of Christ who lives in true believers can then begin to shine in and through them. As long as there is pride and self, they act like veils which cover or at least darken the glory that shines out and through the human believer. But the more the believer is truly humbled and broken, the brighter the Divine glory shines.

The glory of God shines in hearts and it shines in the face of Christ. The glory must shine in Christ and it must shine in the hearts of believers if they are going to live to the glory of God. After all, what can a person do to make God look good? What can a person do to shine forth the glory of God in his own power and strength? No, it is Christ that the glory of God shines out in. It is Christ that the glory of God shines into believers by. It is in the incarnation, the life, the death and resurrection of Christ that the glory of God is manifested. But Christ dwells in believers as His temple and He is their life. To the degree that a person has self and pride, to that degree the person suppresses (so to speak) the glory of God in them. There is a continuing battle between the flesh and the Spirit. There is a battle (so to speak) between the glory of God shining and the person’s pride which wants self. The glory of God shone through Christ when He prayed this; ‘Not my will, but yours be done.” When Christ did that, the glory of God shone ever so brightly through Him. When Christ went to the cross and offered Himself up in perfect love to the beatings, the nails, and then the wrath of the Father in the place of sinners, the glory of God shone in and through Christ ever so brightly.

The believer’s humility must be seen in light of the humility of Christ. First, it is the perfect standard. Second, Christ is the life of the believer and so the only true humility the believer has is the humility that s/he partakes of when Christ works it in the heart of the believer. In one sense there is the humility of the believer but in another sense the only life of humility is the life of Christ in the person. There is no other standard for humility other than Christ. One way of gauging this is to simply ask if the glory of God is shining through me or not. As I look in my life, do I see the glory of God or the glory of self? As I look in my heart, do I see love for the glory of God or the glory of self?

The degree of grace in the soul is really the degree of Christ and His life in the soul. If we have true humility (self and pride have been emptied out of our soul (o some degree), then Christ will be evident in our soul. After all, He is the very life of the believer. It is difficult to focus on having humility in the soul if we don’t look at the other issues. The real issue is that there is a life of humility and that life of humility is Christ Himself. We can only judge the degree of our humility if we are able to see something of Christ in the soul.

Humility, Part 78

April 5, 2010

The last BLOG ended with the thought that Jesus loved and sought the honor and glory of God in all that He did. He did this because of the life that is within the Trinity. Jesus is the very shining forth of the glory of God and He lives in the communion of the Spirit which has to do with how the Father and the Son commune in love. The life of Christ must be in the soul if the love of God and the fellowship of the Spirit are to be in the soul. If the life of Christ is in the human soul, then that soul will have the communion of the Spirit in it and it will have love for God as its chief and controlling desire. Humility, the emptiness of self in the soul, is utterly vital to communion with God. Apart from a soul having humility the soul will be full of self rather than the life of Christ in it. While self flourishes in religion and even extreme religious practices, Christ flourishes in humble souls.

Within the nation of Israel in the Old Testament times pride in religion and self reigned. While many kept the outward parts of the religion to some degree, many became extreme in one direction or the other. Some went to the extreme of being Pharisees and others to an extreme more like modern liberalism. The same thing happens in Christianity as well. Apart from God working humility in the soul most people will fall to some form of liberalism/humanism or to something like the Pharisees were. This is something that should be and must be stressed. There is no Christianity apart from the life of Christ in the soul and there is no life of Christ in the soul apart from the soul’s being emptied of self. So if humility is not sought and obtained, true Christianity is not possible. Humility is that vital. Thomas Goodwin wrote on how humiliation of the soul is necessary for there to be true faith. In one sense, then, without humility there is no true faith. This is not something that is optional or that is for super Christians, this is at the heart of the life of Christ in the soul and of true faith.

So how much of true humility do we see in Christendom today? That may be hard to answer, but what we see is a lot of the spirit of the Pharisees and a lot of humanism in different garbs. We see a lot of pride in theology and a lot of pride over many things. But we don’t see the glory of Christ shining through His Bride today. That leads one to think that true Christianity has been set aside and some form of the religion of self has taken over. But another question has to do with each of our own hearts. How much of true humility do we see in our own hearts and coming out of our own mouths and lives? If the professing Church does not have true humility, it does not have the life of Christ in it. But if we don’t have true humility, we don’t have the life of Christ in us either. Humility is not just something that we add as a virtue or as something that makes us better Christians, but it is that which is utterly vital. Believers are to live by and be strengthened by grace, but God only gives grace to the humble.

Sin is defined in Romans 3:23 (at least in one aspect of it) as falling short of the glory of God. If sin is falling short of His glory and we do that be seeking self in our pride, then salvation is at least partly found in being saved from self and pride. If we can be very religious in our self and pride, then we are not saved from religion or from outward sin until we have been delivered from that which is sin itself in our hearts. We say that Christ came to save us from our sin, as indeed Scripture teaches. But what we often mean by that is that we are saved from the punishment in hell for our sin. What human beings want and desire is to be saved from the punishment for sin without being saved from sin at all. Even more, proud and self-centered human beings do not want to be saved from their own pride and self. But can we say that we are saved if we are not saved from sin itself? If Christ does not save us from self and pride, then why do we think we are new creatures in Christ? If we are not new creatures in Christ, then why do we think we are saved from the guilt of sin and hell?

Matthew 1:21 tells us that "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Have you been saved from your sins? Christ saves people from their sins by dying on the cross for them and their sins. In doing that He breaks the power of sin and so the sinner may be humbled and broken for sin so that the life of the humble Messiah may live in them. If we think that Christ delivers us from the punishment of sin and not from sin itself, we have the wrong idea of sin. Romans 1:18-32 shows very clearly that God punishes sin by more sin and that sin hardens the heart. If Christ does not save us from sin then we are going to be in bondage to sin while we have Christ as Lord and Savior. That is simply not possible. Instead of that, Christ saves His people from sin and works true humility in their soul which is the life of Christ in the soul. It is the humble soul that He saves and He saves them to humility. The proud soul is opposed by turning it over to pride and the fall that comes with pride. The humble soul receives grace and the life of humility.

Humility, Part 77

April 3, 2010

As we think of the beauty and loveliness of Christ, it raises the question as to what we love about Christ. If we only love what He has done for us, then we must ask ourselves if we only love Him for what we perceive as love for us. Jesus told us that even sinners love those that love them back (Luke 6:32). But as we go on, do we love the humility of Christ? We may wonder at it some, but do we love Him as the display of perfect humility? We may love what His humility did or at least enabled Him to do, that is, in humility He went to the cross, but do we love humility itself? Do we long for the emptiness of self-love and self-centeredness enough that we long for the humility of Christ to live and dwell in us? Do we really desire the life of Christ in our soul if it means that we are to be humble as He was humble? There is no such thing, after all, as being like Christ apart from having the humility He had in us. The Christ who lived humility on earth will live humility in the souls of His people.

The heart of Christianity is the life of Christ in the soul of human beings, and yet that life cannot be in our soul apart from humility. Again, Colossians 1:27 should rivet us to the pages of Scripture in awe and make us wonder at the great blindness of those who cannot see this vital point of it all. “To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This great mystery was hidden from the prophets of old, but it has now been revealed. This great mystery is all about Christ in the soul. He who is the very shining forth of the glory of God is the very hope of glory. Yet this glorious Lord Jesus Christ in the soul was also perfectly humble and will work the glory of His humility in all those that He dwells in. In fact, there is also no holiness in the soul apart from the life of Christ so apart from the emptiness of the soul to self the soul will not have any true holiness.

This drives us to ask us that if it is true that the very heart of Christianity is the life of Christ in the souls of human beings, then the absence of humility is the very absence of the heart of Christianity. There is no divine life in the soul apart from a humble soul. We should wonder at the depths of false teaching and practice that Christianity has sunk into precisely because it has not sunk into the depths of true humility. Humility is not just something that anyone can put on, but it is the emptiness of self and the life of Christ in the soul and that cannot happen apart from the grace of God. It is because humility is beyond the power of man that so many hate it and try to change what it is into something they can keep or do.

It is no wonder that if the American version of Christianity is missing the very heart of true Christianity that true religion is missing in this nation today. Instead of the humility of Christ being the life of the soul, we have the religion of self being the engine that drives religion today. True Christianity with the Divine life of Christ is nothing remotely like any version of Christianity without the Divine life of Christ even though it may use His name a lot. There is no true Christianity apart from the life of Christ in the soul and there is no true Christianity apart from the Spirit dwelling in human beings. These are essential to the New Covenant and to the Gospel. Yet apart from humility those things are doctrines that reside in the brains of men rather than a Christ who abides in the hearts of them. A version of Christianity, regardless of how orthodox it is in creed, that does not stress the Divine life in the souls of men is a perversion of true Christianity rather than a version of it. It is no wonder that what is called Christianity in our day is so weak as to be sneered at rather than admired.

The humble Jesus loved and sought the glory and honor of God in all that He did because He had the Divine life in Him. But can you honestly say that the life you live is Christ that is flourishing in you? Could it be true that the life that is lived in you is really the life of self and that being true even in the things of religion? Apart from true humility the things of self can flourish in true religion and that even in conservative and orthodox religions too. Apart from humility all things are done for self and intended for self though the name of Christ is on the lips. This is so much like the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 7: "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 "And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” These were people who spoke much of Christ, were orthodox, and some were involved in preaching while others even performed miracles. They were full of self rather than Christ. They did not have the Divine life and humility but instead were full of self and the religion of self.

Humility, Part 76

March 27, 2010

If we reflect on sin very deeply at all, it becomes clear that the heart or root of sin is pride and self. There is not one sin that does not flow from a heart that is full of pride and self. The Greatest Command is to love God with all of the heart, but pride does the exact opposite of that command which is to love self which is in reality to be at enmity with God. All sin has its root in the pride of the heart. Sin is when human beings exalt themselves or depend on their own wisdom to determine what is right and wrong. This is the lie of the devil or the Serpent of old. He promised Eve that she could be like God knowing good and evil (Gen 3:5). This was the stench of pride and the poison of the old Serpent. When the Serpent got Eve to think that she could determine what was good and evil, she was his. When it is pride that determines for itself what is good and evil, then the human being that is proud has become like God in his or her own mind and is deep in sin.

Now the depth of pride is seen as I John 2:15-16: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” Pride is seen in loving the world rather than loving God. When the heart loves the world it shows that the love of God is not in that heart. When the love of the world is expressed in the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, that shows that the fleshly soul has a spring of desires for the things forbidden by God. When the heart has such pride that it is described as a boastful pride of life, that is clearly not from the Father. But this type of heart is simply the repeating of the sin of Adam and Eve. It shows that the heart still has the first Adam as its father and not Christ in the heart.

The heart that is full of pride is a heart that lives in love for itself rather than love for God. It sees the commandments of God as being interpreted by self for the good of self. When self interprets the commandments for self, then all things are relative to self and the good of self. It is simply the proud heart acting like the devil’s promise and deciding what is good or evil according to its own wisdom. When this proud heart sees the Greatest Commandment to love God with all of its being, it may bow toward that but unless it is born again it will only twist that command to do what self wants to do. Self and pride always lives in opposition to God and the Greatest Commandment because self and pride follow love for self as its own greatest command. This is why one must deny self and take up the cross in order to follow Christ. Not only must one do it once, but it must be done daily (Luke 9:23). The one who does not deny self cannot follow Christ because that person is following self. Following self out of love is to be at enmity with God and His Greatest Commandment. It is also to be at enmity with the Second Greatest Commandment to love one’s neighbor.

As we think upon pride the necessity of humility shines forth. If pride keeps us from loving God, then we should know that our pride must be repented of in order that love would flow through a humble heart. If pride drives us to self-exaltation rather than to exalt God, then we know we must repent of pride so that God would be exalted through a humble heart. If pride keeps us leaning on self-sufficiency, then we know that we must repent of that in order to have a humble heart that would lean on God’s sufficiency in Christ. If pride drives us to self-determination, then we know that we must repent of that and be humbled to the sovereign will of God. But the heart is so deceitful that it will hide its pride behind words, doctrines, and religious activities. The Pharisees did that. They hid their proud hearts behind religion and blinded themselves and others to their pride. A heart that is being humbled realizes that it must look to the work of God to humble it as pride will never cast out pride and self will never cast out self though a proud self will try to hide behind other things.

If all sin is truly linked to pride and self in that all sin flows from pride and self, then the utter necessity of true humility shines forth. A soul must be humbled in order for Christ to reign in that soul rather than pride. The soul must be humbled so that the soul can turn from the reign of self in it to the reign of the love of Christ. The love of God dwells in the soul by grace and His love in the soul will not live with pride. After all, over and over again we see that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (I Peter 5:5). We see that God dwells with the humble and teaches them His way (Psa 25:9). He dwells with the lowly and the contrite in spirit (Isa 57:15). He looks with pleasure upon the humble, the contrite, and those who tremble at His word (Isa 66:2). Humility is not just something that is added to a person, it is that complete opposite of the sinful person who lives in pride and self. Humility must be there or a person is in the bondage of pride and self no matter how religious s/he is.

Humility, Part 75

March 22, 2010

Man’s need of redemption is quite clear in light of sin. But if we only think of redemption in terms of a judicial sacrifice alone, we have missed some of the glory of redemption. Redemption must answer the fall at all points and not just some. It is true that humanity has fallen into sin and has broken the laws of God. But humanity has also had a poison injected into its system by the Serpent. That poison has to have an antidote as well. That poison of Satan is pride and self-centeredness. Satan himself fell from pride and then tempted Adam and Eve who fell because of pride. Pride and self are twin powers in the soul and they really are the same thing under two names. It is only pride that can cause a person to think so highly of self that s/he would serve self and not God. It is only pride that would move a person to serve self rather than God.

Paul wrote that he had no pastor or man to send to Philippi: “For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:21). Within that statement is a shocking idolatry that displays the pride and self of the human heart. It is wicked for human beings to seek themselves and not God. The Greatest Commandment is to love God with all of our being and yet Paul did not have a minister who had the interests of Christ at heart rather than self. It is clear, then, that for Paul it was better for the Philippians not to have a pastor than to have one that was there out of self-interests. The implication of this passage is one that we don’t like. The implication is that it would be better in the United States to have empty pulpits than to have them filled with men who were more concerned with the interests of self rather than the interests of God. It would be better to have denominations fall away than it would be to have the positions filled with men who were more concerned with self than with God.

When a preacher preaches and has self-interests in mind rather than the interests of Christ, that sermon will not be a true message of Christ crucified because it will not be from a heart that has been crucified to Christ. When a sermon has the motive and intent of self-interests in some way, it will not be out of love for God and it will not be out of love for the true spiritual welfare of the souls of the people. Pride seems to be at home at least as much in the pew and the pulpit as it does in the wicked places of the cities. If one took the words of Jesus as being the hardest and perhaps the harshest for the Pharisees, then perhaps He hates the pride of religious folks more than any other kind. Apart from true humility it is not a good thing to try to preach. Humility is utterly necessary for the work of the pulpit and of any religious activity that is done in truth and love.

A sinner must be redeemed from the pride of the heart or that person has not been redeemed. A pastor must be redeemed from the pride of the heart or that pastor has not been truly redeemed. Regardless of the pastor’s orthodoxy and of his position in a denomination, if that person is proud that person has not been redeemed from sin. Jesus does not redeem a person from sin and leave that person still in its continual power. When Christ takes away a person’s sin, He also takes away the full power of that sin. He may leave some there to keep the person looking to His self-sufficiency rather than that of self, but there is no longer the full power of sin there to keep that person in bondage to that sin.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” 20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

A preacher who is still in the power of pride will see the true message of the cross as foolishness. The preacher who is still in the power of pride has nothing but his own wisdom and power despite his words to the contrary. God has said in His Word that He will destroy the wisdom of the wise. That includes religious wisdom that does not come from Him as well. He has said that He will set the cleverness of the clever aside. That includes the cleverness of the religious folks as well. God is only pleased to save sinners through the true message of the cross. It is only when a preacher has been crucified to self and self no longer rules that the love of God dwells in that soul. It is only when a preacher is crucified to self and has the love of God dwelling in his soul that the glory of the cross will shine through that man. God opposes the proud even if they are orthodox preachers. Let us all search our hearts.

Humility, Part 74

March 20, 2010

The last BLOG was about wanting the appearance of humility or having true humility. The problem is that the proud soul wants to do things itself and it wants others to see it as humble whether it is or not. But when a proud soul is only concerned with having the appearance of humility, it is primarily concerned with how it appears to other human beings. True humility, on the other hand, is concerned with having God Himself. It loses its desire to just appear holy and humble before others and wants the essence of those things as it seeks God. When the soul wants God as its greatest desire, it loses its desire for appearances before others and will not care how it appears to others as long as it may have God. When a soul sets out to have God, its pride must be crushed. So the soul is left with asking itself whether it wants its pride and the appearance of humility or does it want God? We cannot have both at the same time and we will only pursue one at a time. The soul will either have its pride or it will have God. It will pursue self in the world or in religion or it will seek God. But it will not and cannot seek or have both.

Humility is utterly vital in the church and there is no true religion without it. The degree that a soul has of true Christianity directly corresponds to the degree of true humility that it has. If we only have the appearance of humility we only have the appearance of true Christianity. The Pharisees had the appearance of prayer and of fasting. Oh how humble they appeared to others because of their long prayer and the discipline of fasting. How humble we might appear in speaking against the Pharisees while we have the pride of the Pharisees in our heart and try to hide it by speaking against the spirit of the Pharisee. It may also be true that we don’t know our own hearts and simply don’t see the spirit of the Pharisee that is living in us. We may think of the pride of the Pharisees as being extravagant, but God hates the spirit of the Pharisees whether it is hidden or in the open. There is another tendency of the pride and spirit of the Pharisees and that was to justify themselves and be heavily critical of others based on the standard of themselves rather than the Word of God. How we must guard our hearts and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees as Jesus said (Mat 16:6).

But if humility is so vital in the church, that is, to the Gospel and to holiness and all that is received by grace (which is all things spiritual), then why is it so seldom heard of or seen? The very loud silence and conspicuous absence of it should loudly declare that something is greatly amiss in the professing Church of the day. The professing Church has been given over to seeking influence, morality, greater numbers and larger amounts of dollars. It has been given over to thinking of blessings are largely having to do with health and wealth. Its humility, therefore, is largely external and is something that the self can put on quite easily and think that because it has put humility on it can obtain grace from God. When this happens, the judgment of God has dropped on the professing Church quite severely. It is true that God does not judge His covenant people with wrath, but He does send very hard disciplines on them to teach them to seek Him and bring them back from harmful error.

While it may sound something less than sensible to some, if we have replaced the biblical idea of humility with a human-centered or psychological version, then we have gutted much of the heart of the life of Christianity. But the worldly idea of humility has basically displaced the biblical idea of humility and so people do not understand that they are proud and self-centered because they are under the darkness of the deception of thinking that they have biblical humility. We are taught that all we do is to be centered upon self and so humility is basically from self and about self. But the Bible teaches us that we are to deny self so that we can follow Christ. If indeed the biblical teaching of humility has been replaced with another idea, then the root of all grace has been severed. Without humility there is no true grace because Scripture is clear that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Scripture is clear that all that the believer receives from God is by grace. The fruit of the Spirit is by grace and the life of Christ is by grace. Without a biblical humility, there is no grace and no Christianity. It is that serious.

Regardless of what we think of true love, without true love there is nothing of true Christianity in us in accordance with the Great Commandments and other passages (I Cor 13:1-8; I Cor 16:22). Without humility there is no true love in the soul as all that the soul does would be out of self-love. There must be humility because humility is the emptiness of self and the presence of the life and Spirit of Christ. When the biblical concept of humility as the emptiness of self is replaced with some teaching where the reality of it is that the self is at the center, then the whole of Christianity has changed. It yanks God (in the mind and heart) from the throne and puts self there. Self is then the motivation and the goal for all that is done. Everything at that point is different.