by 3R Write
An introspective look at the body of Christ and healthy spiritual perspectives.
|SELF ESTEEM AND THE DOCTRINE OF TOTAL DEPRAVITY|
A Guilty Conscience manifests itself in the church through the games people play when they refuse to admit that sin is rebellion against and estrangement from God. In American schools, every child has the same opportunity, first grade, first day, first minute, but not the same advantage. One might argue, that socioeconomic conditions will set the stage for the opportunities that lie ahead. Another may interject that educators and their motivation or lack of it are the true determining factors in developing a child to maturation. While still another may ascertain, through case study, that the child who lives in a so-called functional environment will lead the pack. However, the real impact seems to be a combination of differing conceptual thought. For instance, a teacher with a deflated, an inflated or even a par-normal assessment of self can either subconsciously transfer these feelings to his or her class or spend inordinate amounts of time trying not to. As a result, paradigms are created within paradigms to monitor the concepts being taught, as opposed to those being processed in the confusion of the presenter.
The responsibility of the local church then, is to provide a biblical view and precepts that promote honor and humility toward God. The Christian who sees himself/herself in the light of what Christ has done through them will experientially lead others to Christ. Unlike the worldview, which changes to meet the needs of a given society, God’s word identifies improper behavior and promotes esteeming others above self as the basis for establishing a Holy Spirit filled life (Phil. 2:3). Personal satisfaction is provided through a proper evaluation of self and guidelines are set to govern behavior in God’s kingdom, which is received through faith (Rom. 3:1ff).
The Charge of sin against God can never be understood until we remove the earthly things that blind us. A paradigm, as I am using it here is an established set of guidelines or standards that govern behavior in a given societal segment. Those who embrace the ideals purported by that society would adopt those guidelines and standards. Every paradigm, whether consciously or unconsciously has a system of indoctrination, education and motivation. Some degree of each of these must be present to create any degree of blind faith. So then ideally, participants act as validation to the overall value of what is being presented, and blind faith is perpetuated.
Full Spiritual Exoneration can never be given to those who live in denial of their actions and their guilt. In scripture king Uzziah's ability to indoctrinate, educate and motivate his subjects had so extensively blinded Isaiah that it would take his removal, (by death) for Isaiah to truly see God (Is. 6:1ff). We are not given a lineup of those who saw God at that time but intrinsically written into the story is the fact that, whether through Isaiah's or through their own eyes many did see. What Isaiah saw was God's way of indoctrinating him into a way not foreign, but somewhat different from the one taught to him by his uncle. It is interesting to note that Isaiah's earthly lost, (his uncle the king) is replaced by the revelation of a heavenly kingdom of far greater value. As in Isaiah's case, many of us have been indoctrinated, educated and motivated in kingdoms or paradigms, which have blinded us to the teachings of the True and Living God. As it was with Isaiah, we often find that our work for God is not very foreign to us when we choose to admit our wrong.
God uses earthly orders, kingdoms, schools and churches, which are microcosms of heavenly things, to educate us against His day of indoctrination. As with schools in America every born-again Christian begins with the same opportunity but not the same advantage. Paul makes this very clear in chapters two and three of Romans, explaining that countless washings and sacrifices had become more of a deterrent than a testimony that honored God. Your boasting of such has dishonored God and made it easy for the Gentile world to blaspheme His name, he reasons (Rom. 2:23,24 paraphrase).
MacArthur in his book, “Spiritual Counseling” states it best with the following statement:
“…people are not sinful and enemies of God because of their spiritual ignorance; rather they are spiritually ignorant because of their sinfulness and their adversarial disposition toward God (Page 107).
As Christians, we must not be blind to the sin in our own lives; we must also recognize that fear tactics do not work against those who do not know God (Rom. 3:18). Paul asks emphatically, “What advantage then hath the Jew?” (Rom. 3:1); “…are we better than they?” (Rom. 3:9), answering his own question he retorts, “No, in no wise:” (Rom. 3:10). As Christians, we must ask the same questions and come to the same conclusions. Our advantage is that we already know God, but we must never forget that even the vilest person alive has the same opportunity to receive Him, any place, any day, and any moment.