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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's Not Even Close!

Throughout recorded history, and yes I am talking about Biblical recorded history, man has repeatedly tried to do two things.  The first of these, and understand that the order in which we'll look at these two things in no way reflects and precedence of one over the other, is that man has over and over again tried to reduce God to man's level.  Secondly, man has never stopped trying, to this very day, to elevate himself to God's level.  Hey, don't take my word for this, let's just take a look at a couple of instances. 

Let's put everybody from Joseph Smith to Muhammad to Allah to just about every person that man has chosen to worship instead of God into one big pot, and have no doubt that it would have to be a BIG pot.  They all have several things in common that are relevant to my ramblings today.  Each of these mentioned, and be sure that this short list is by no means complete, all felt themselves worthy to be worshipped [by man].  They also felt themselves to be an equal with God.  Finally, they were all sinners.  This in itself should have been the dead giveaway that something was wrong in the kitchen, so to speak.  The point I'm after here is that not only did these men, who sinned every day of their lives, feel they were worthy of the worship of their fellow [sinning] man, but also that their fellow man felt they deserved to be worshipped.  So here we have in one big mess those who put themselves on God's level and others who chose to worship mere man instead of God. 

We do have another factor we should look at today, and by identifying this action we may be able to connect the dots as to what both of these groups do, why they do it, and what the end results are.

'4 For since the beginning of the world Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, Nor has the eye seen any God besides You, Who acts for the one who waits for Him.    5 You meet him who rejoices and does righteousness, Who remembers You in Your ways.  You are indeed angry, for we have sinned—In these ways we continue;  And we need to be saved.  6 But we are all like an unclean thing,
And all our righteousness are like filthy rags;  We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.'  (Isaiah 64:4-6    NKJV) 

The Old Testament prophet has a clear understanding of not only who God is, but also why God is who He is.  It all comes down to one thing, the same thing that made it possible for God the Son to stand as man's perfect Atonement, or payment, for sin.  This is the same thing that some men at different times down through [Biblical] history claim to have, or to have in a much greater degree that everyone else.  Okay then, let's get to it.  God the Father is who He is because He is righteous.  God the Son was able to shed His blood for man because He was, and is, righteous.  Man can present himself as righteous before his fellow man and God all the day long, and like as Isaiah says here, "all our righteousness are like filthy rags;" 

The apostle Paul, in his letter to Titus at the [Early] church on Crete, was very clear in his understanding of what we can think of as a 'before and after' status of man in regards to our own righteousness and the righteousness of God.

'3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,'  (Titus 3:3-5    NKJV) 

If man's worthiness to expect or to receive anything from God were to be based on how 'good' we are, then every single one of us is destined straight to hell, no passing Go or collecting $200.  God's gift of grace, which brings with it eternal life by the shed blood of Christ, is based on His mercy, and His righteousness, and last but by no means least, His love for us.

'2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.  4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.'  (Ephesians 2:1-9    NKJV) 

So there we have it.  Without God's great love, which everything else revolves around, the best that man can do in the righteousness department is not even close to what real righteousness, like that of God the Father and God the Son, is like.  That is what makes everyone who either tries to bring God down to their level or to raise themselves to His level fail.  It's the righteousness factor that man simply cannot duplicate.  Do you want to know the best thing man can do?  Quit trying.  Hey, know when enough is enough, quit beating your head against the wall.  Yeah, I'm talking to every single person who hasn't accepted God's merciful gift of grace.  I'm talking to every person who denies God's existence.  I'm talking to anyone who would question God's sovereignty and power.  Am I talking to you?  If I am, send me a comment, Email me, call me (1-406-290-4227), at the very least, pray.  Be blessed brothers and sisters before the Lord and any who haven't made it to the Throne of Grace just yet, be blessed!

Rev. Terry Keiner
Absarokee MT

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