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Truth Should Humble

May 21, 2008

This is not a post about how Truth fails to humble (which it doesn’t) nor how man has power over the effects and purpose of truth (which he doesn’t). The reason I titled this post “Truth Should Humble” is not because Truth by nature doesn’t humble, but because too often Christians are not humbled by truth.

In this world, typically the more insight a person gains into any topic the more they feel they have grasped that topic. The more they have grasped it, the more confident they feel they understand it. The more confident they feel in their understanding, the more likely they are to become prideful about it. Pride about understanding it. Pride about their seeming ability to figure it out on their own intellect and will power. Pride about simply knowing this one thing. Pride about having something they have conquered mentally. So as knowledge increases, typically pride increases with it.

In reality, that is the reality that reckons that God is Supreme and He alone is Truth, any truth that a person “gets” (both receives and grasps) is meant to humble them. I would even go as far as arguing that one of the main functions of the revelation of truth is to humble a person. Not just to reveal truth, but to warrant a greater outcome: namely that they are nothing and that God is everything.

However, you and I both know that even Christians, who have been graciously given and shown the truth about reality from God, are tempted to become prideful too. Which begs the question: How could the Christian, the one who has been shown not complete but nevertheless accurate knowledge of himself and God, find any justifiable reason to be prideful in this knowledge? Was it the efforts and toil of the Christian that led him to this truth? Was it the work and study of the Christian that revealed to him this treasure? Was it the skill and craft and great genius of the Christian that enabled him to find this truth that was formerly kept secret from ages past (Romans 16:25)?

No! Any truth that has been “found” has been revealed. The nature of revelation assumes the existence of a revealer. The Christian before his current state was in a state of death: spiritually blind, deaf, and hardened to the truth about himself, God, and redemption. The only reason he has been brought to life is because God brought him to life. God is the one who “gave” him the truth. God is the one who revealed to him truth. After all not only did God create truth but He is truth in Jesus Christ the person. Like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 –

6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. [3]

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

So as Paul says, we in our natural state have not understood God; indeed we cannot. We are incapable of knowing God. Certainly then as we become born again by the Spirit of God, how much do we now depend on God for our understanding of spiritual things? Less or the same? The same! Who gets the credit for any truth now known? God or us? God gives us His Spirit to continue to reveal to us truth. We don’t start out in the spirit and then become perfect by the flesh (like Paul says in Galatians 3).

But too often Christians act as if they have received a spirit of knowledge or they have a ministry of understanding. Yes it is true, that Christians contain the truth about God that mankind needs. But that is all the more reason for us to be humble not to boast about.

So because we have been graciously given truth that is from outside of ourselves, that we were incapable of knowing before, that only came to us by God and through God, and that in its nature seeks to lessen self and increase God, we should therefore be greatly debased and humbled. God is infinitely wise and good, not us. Just because we have now received the knowledge of the understanding and existence of this truth gives us no right to boast about it.

Yet Christians still act as if we have attained to the realization of this truth. We are the ones who figure it out. We were given options: know God and love Him or know God and hate Him and we chose right because we are smart and good. This gives glory and boasting rights to man, not God. God alone is the one who gets all the glory and credit for everything good. It is our flesh that makes us lust for pride. Our spirit receives more truth about God and says now be humbled by this. Our flesh says “No! Boast about this oh man, boast in this knowledge you have. Get recognition for yourself in this. Receive glory and honor for this”. So the flesh gets knowledge and wants pride, the spirit gets knowledge and wants humility. The flesh says me me me. The spirit says God God God!

Truth for the Christian should work this way: as knowledge increases, humility should with it. Knowledge goes up, humility goes up. Knowledge increases, self decreases. God’s wisdom is intended to reveal truth about Himself in order to cause boasting about Himself. Truth is biased towards God. Truth is from God, by God, through God, and for God! After all its His Truth He can do what He wants with it.

This struggle is yet another example of the desperate need for every Christian to “preach the Gospel to yourself everyday” (Jerry Bridges). If the Christian preaches the Gospel of truth to himself daily, then daily his lust for pride and vain glory is defeated. The Gospel defeats pride and boasting in self. The Gospel creates humbling because its about God and His greatness and man and his depravity.

Christian: Be humbled by the knowledge you have been given! Fight pride. As you embark on this journey to know God more truly, seek also to be humbled by Him. Your journey for truth should be in harmony with your journey for humility. Seek both.

Quote: “Knowledge is power!”

Correction: Knowledge of God reveals His power and our lack of it. Be humbled.

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