A Low View of Man

Good Afternoon Church,

What a difference a week a can make as last Friday we enjoyed the beauty of fresh snow, yet today we will be blessed with another day of summer-like weather. How quickly our world can change, and we must be prepared not only to face the diversity of our climate, but most importantly, the distracting and deadly nature of our culture. I have been seeking to equip you with a biblical/theological road map that will enable you to see clearly, live rightly, and walk circumspectly as you traverse the perilous terrain of our world daily. You are living in a world that seeks to distract you (1 Jn 2:15-17); you have a heart that will deceive you (Ecc 9:3; Jerm 17:9; Mt 7:21-22; Eph 4:22; Js 1:14-16, 22-26), and an enemy that seeks to devour you (1 Pet 5:8)! Therefore, it is imperative that all Christians consider carefully how they think, live, and interact, both in and with this world, because the days are evil and time is short (Eph 5:15-16). Thus, we have already contemplated how having a high view God (Isa 43:10-13) and a sufficient view of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16-17) will both guard your heart and guide your steps (Prov 3:1-8; Ps 18:27-33; 119:105). These two biblical axioms establish formidable defenses in the battle for truth, and out of these realities flow other foundational pieces of armament that must be added to your worldview.

A Low View of Man

 humilityThe next biblical perspective that is paramount if you are ever going to think rightly in a world gone wrong is having a low view of man. The Bible declares emphatically that mankind is totally depraved (Rom 3:10-18; Eph 2:1-3) and that the inclinations of his heart are evil (Gen 6:5) from birth (Gen 8:5; Ps 51:5)! This means that mankind, when left to himself, has a heart that is deceitfully wicked (Jer 17:9-10), a mind that is utterly darkened (Eph 4:17-18; 1 Jn 1:11), and a desire that is completely enslaved to sin (Jn 8:34-35; Rom 7:5; 6:16), Satan (Col 1:13; 2 Tim 2:25-26; 1 Jn 3:10), and the ways of the world (Eph 2:1-3; Js 4:4; 1 Jn 2:15-17; 5:19). Therefore, on his own, man cannot please God (Rom 8:8), he cannot understand God (Rom 8:7) or His Word as he should (1 Cor 1:18; 2:14). Thus, man is spiritually blind and unable see his desperate need for Christ (2 Cor 4:4) and is spiritually dead (Eph 2:3; Col 1:21), unable to come to Christ apart from the sovereign grace and mercy of God (Eph 2:4; Col 1:22)! However, let me clarify what I am not saying. Having a low view of man does not mean that the value, worth, or preciousness of life is minimized, desensitized, or cheapened in any way. The Scriptures will not allow that, as all mankind has been personally fashioned by God (Ps 139:13-16), being created in His image (Gen 1:26-27), and thus carries intrinsic worth, undeniable significance, and incalculable importance (Gen 9:5-6; Ps 8:5-8; Js 3:9)!

Yet, the Bible constantly paints a picture of man as being in a desperate, hopeless, and helpless state because of his own personal sin and rejection of God (Rom 1:18-23; 3:10-18; 3:23; Eph 2:12; Col 1:21). This means that while man has been created for the ultimate praise and glory of God (Isa 43:7; Rom 3:23; 1 Cor 10:31), he lives for the personal praise and glory of self (Rom 2:8; Gal 5:18-21; 1 Jn 2:15-16). This reality is vividly substantiated throughout the Scriptures, including with what happened in the Garden (Gen 3:6); with many evil kings and Satan (Isa 14:3-23; Ezek 28:1-19); with Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:28-30); the Pharisees (Lk 18:11-12), and the unrepentant, rebellious people of the tribulation (Rev 9:20-21; 16:9-11, 21). Simply put, having a low view of man begins to attack the ultimate problem of all people in all places: sin, which manifests itself in selfishness! Pride (self-exaltation, self-elevation, self-centeredness is the fuel that feeds the sinful fire smoldering in the heart of every human being. This is why honestly embracing the gospel always begins with an honest assessment of self (Lk 15:17-19). The Bible calls this humility (Js 5:6-10) and gives a dramatic salvific illustration of it in the repentance of the Tax Collector who would not even look at God but pleaded for God’s mercy because he rightfully had a low view of man (Lk 18:13)!

What will a church look like that fails to embrace a low view of man? It will be a place where emotional, felt needs are addressed, but real, spiritual needs are diminished or even denied. It will be a place where pleasing man, and seeking to fulfill his personal desires, becomes the driving force and philosophy for ministry. It will be a place where man is exalted and Christ is dethroned. Failure to embrace a low view of man personally will lead you to a place where all of life, including the church, becomes about what you ultimately get rather than about what you sacrificially give (Phil 2:1-11)! Is that not a lucid picture of our lost world?

Well, I pray you will contemplate these truths this weekend as you prepare your heart for the corporate gathering of our church where we will seek to both praise God and hear from His Word together. We will be looking at a glorious passage that will direct our hearts to the mercy of God seen in the underserved gift of reconciliation. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday with eager anticipation!

All Glory to Risen King,

Pastor Matt

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