“He Is a Self-Made Man.” “Yes, And He Worships His Creator.”
Said historically of Horace Greeley, attributed to William Allen Butler and Benjamin Disraeli, this quote, no matter how it came about or whose voice from which it originated, it is surely a truth of men in our contemporary times. Conversing of our culture the main idea of self-worship as a Western invention birthed from liberty and myopic interest. The annals of history beg to differ. Even the narrative of the New Testament teaches that men have long loved the glory of their own interests and if we see the rulers and ‘success’ stories of yesterday, finding self-love is not far behind. As a matter of fact, it was self-worship, in a sense, that caused the fall of the first humans. Satan tempted them to “be like God” and this sounded grand in their ears and minds. To be powerful, to be successful, to be independent is the core of the heart of humanity and one could argue that it is the essence of sinfulness and depravity. The ancient connections of self-worship though are not the point of this writing.
The central essence of “self” is fired in the kiln of self-worth and self-glory. Man has always considered himself the central figure in his life and each person, at some time or another, has considered themselves the point of the world. At least the world in which they live. This is evident in calling, vocation, values, affections, material possessions, image, esteem, and a plethora of other areas and ideas. This type of attitude and delusion touches every wall, corner, floor and ceiling of life, even one’s own theology. Such is the case for self-willed, free-willed, soteriology.
FIGHTING AGAINST GRACE
“While I see the truth of what you’ve just preached, the Grace of God is the most offensive to my people and especially to my family, parents, and grandparents.” Said to me at First Newark after a sermon by a Messianic Jew speaking of his family. Logic shows man that grace is not earned, affected, or pursued by the recipient. By definition, grace is unmerited and unconditional. While others will argue these terms, let the fools be fools. Don’t put God’s grace on trial. The human mind hates the Lord of Heaven. And thus, he hates the work of God, the grace of God, and anything that God holds over his head without his permission, approval, or acceptance. This type of self-worship is damnable. Scripture teaches that a man who controls his life, goes his own way, rests in his own choices, sits in his own wisdom is a man who is utterly lost and condemned. One primary work of God’s grace is repentance of mind whereby the dead, blind man sees his inability, his need, his deadness and he hates it.
Fighting against grace, in essence, is fighting for one’s own rights. The right to be in control, the right to govern, the right to be right and in some small way, be like God. Arguments against such statements in reality actually prove them to be true, as only a self-righteous person would afford the time to measure the volition of man against the sovereignty of God. The freedom of the will is not on trial, for God has stated that all men are guilty before him and that no one is righteous, not even one. So, approaching the Lord’s mercy with autonomy is a stupid and damnable debate for which one will claim to see, claim to believe and claim to be right while they ease themselves into a satisfaction interrupted only by the bold and fierce fury of God’s holiness on the day of Judgment.
While much more could be said, this “self-made” theology of man must continually be uprooted and purged from our midst. It has no place on the table of the Christian landscape and especially has no place inside the assembly of God’s redeemed. We are to call out the attitude that seems to fight for one’s “right” to free grace or free will. Many seem to be fighting for God’s glory or proving His innocence when Scripture securely seals God’s holiness perfectly in all things. Isaiah 46 comes to mind. At the least some who argue this considers that “fairness” must be upheld, but we know according to Scripture that if God were fair, we wouldn’t be here to engage His mercy.
I leave this article unfinished… may the Lord have mercy.