David Westerfield

Gospel. Culture. Technology.

Tag: humility

Practicing the Fear of the Lord

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” | Psalm 111:10

What does it mean to “practice” the “fear of the Lord”? We know what practice means, there’s obviously something you’re intentionally giving yourself to here. There’s activity involved. And it’s repetitious. And what is the ultimate end of this repetitious activity? And what does it mean to fear the Lord in the first place?

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Character

Something that has been a challenge for me in the past year is coming to the realization that though I’ve studied some theology (though by no means anywhere close to what I should or what others have studied) my character is lacking and not matching up with what I’m taking in. I briefly went through Scripture recently and thought of the places it talks about character or the characteristics of a believer and considered how lacking I am in these areas. I know there are others, but this is the list I came up with to pray over and meditate on.

Beatitudes Matt 5:2-12:
– Poor in Spirit
– Mourning
– Meek
– Hunger/Thirst for Righteousness
– Merciful
– Pure in Heart
– Peacemaker
– Persecuted for Righteousness’ sake
– Reviled/persecuted for the name of Christ

Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23:
– Love
– Joy
– Peace
– Patience
– Kindness
– Goodness
– Faithfulness
– Gentleness
– Self-control

Love is… – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
– Patient
– Kind
– not boastful
– not envious
– not arrogant
– not rude
– not insisting on its own way
– not irritable
– not resentful
– not rejoicing in wrongdoing
– rejoicing with the truth
– bearing all things
– believing all things (obviously not to be understood in the relativistic sense)
– hoping all things
– enduring all things
– never ending

Interestingly enough, Tim Challies posted this blog today that coincides with all of this: http://www.challies.com/articles/im-better-than-you

A Honest Criticism of My Own Life

(Original): http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/art … l?id=69230
(Archived): http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/theo … 0Humility/

After reading this article by Keller, and reading more in The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges, I feel like too many times, what I write on here fits the mold of what Keller and Bridges describe, and this is deeply convicting to me. After reading Keller’s article, I feel like for a second I had an outside perspective of the way others may be perceiving how I come across as well as the way I truly am sometimes.

As I posted recently on here, my blog compromises only a small fraction of my life. But regardless, how I come across may be exactly how some people view me all the time: arrogant, frustrated, self-righteous, etc. I don’t feel like this most of the time, but in all honesty before people reading this, I am that sometimes. This is sin and I deeply need the grace and mercy of Christ provided in His cross and resurrection to cleanse me.

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The Fear of the LORD is Hatred of Evil

“The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” – Proverbs 8:13

Within the church many times, we consider “gross” sins to be homosexuality, excessive drinking, fornication, adultery, thievery, murder, cursing, etc. And while those are in no way minimized in the Scriptures as sins that are destructive both personally and relationally (and above all in relation to God Himself), the passage above speaks just as strongly against those who are prideful and arrogant within themselves. In fact, as the passage says, wisdom hates pride, arrogance, the way of evil, and perverted speech, all of those together. Seeing as how the Scriptures are the Word of God breathed out, these are His thoughts. The LORD hates pride and arrogance with a just and righteous passion.

While even unbelievers should be humbled by the fact that God doesn’t bring His hand down to crush them at this instant, how much more humbled should we be who claim to have been shown mercy at the hand of God through Christ? And yet so often, this is not the case. We so quickly turn our judgment to the outside world and what they’re doing wrong, when we need to be turning the cutting standard of the Word inwardly and analyze ourselves, measuring ourselves against it, and not our own ideals of what is morally better and worse. What about our pride and arrogance against those very people who need Jesus and are running from Him in defiance? Is this pride we possess not just as wicked in the eyes of the Lord as the evil committed outside the church? What about our hatred of those who run wholeheartedly away from the Lord? Shouldn’t you have been the one that ran away from God? What made you humble and willing to believe in Christ, yourself or the grace of God alone?

I’m in no way saying I am exempt from having committed these sins myself and speak to myself just as much as anyone reading this. I’m a sinner and have fallen in so many ways. But regardless, it seems to be a spirit within many churches where others, those outside the church, are looked down upon as greater sinners who do not hold to our own personal moral standards, when in reality, we are murderers in our hearts just like those in prison who have committed the outward act. When we hate or look down upon people for their sins, the Lord sees our hearts much like He sees Jeffrey Dahmer’s. Meditate on that for a minute in light of Romans 3:9-18. We are commanded to be pursuing holiness through faith in Christ, and yet it seems we have forgotten the fundamentals of how we were saved.

So how do we come to hate what is evil, namely pride and arrogance within our own hearts? The answer is in the verse above. “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.” What does it mean to fear the Lord? “I thought we weren’t supposed to fear Him at all because of Christ?” There is one sense in which that is true. Those in Christ have been ultimately accepted for eternity. There is no fear of condemnation for those who believe. And yet at the same time, even as believers, we are called by Scripture to fear the Lord. This fear is humility. Andrew Murray talks about three separate ways in which we should be humbled as believers: 1) as a creature, 2) as a sinner, and 3) as a saint.

As a creature: There is great amount of humility we should have in being a creature subject to the King of glory. He created us without our permission, for His own glory and purposes, and He has freedom over us that we do not have over Him. This is abundantly clear in Scripture. He is the Creator, we are the creatures.

As a sinner: We should also be greatly humbled that as sinners, we have slapped God in the face and told Him, “No, you do not have control over me, in any sense. I control myself and my own destiny,” and yet He is extremely patient toward our evil toward Him. It is God’s sheer grace toward both believers and unbelievers that He doesn’t stomp us out right now for the vile that comes out of our hearts through our mouths, hands, and feet. We have offended an infinitely holy God and therefore the wrath justly due to us is infinite and eternal. This is greatly humbling and strikes right at the heart of human pride, and is one of the biggest reasons people cannot accept it. They are hardened to this message because they do not want to hear it.

As a saint: Having been rightly humbled by our willful disobedience against the King of Glory, how humbled should we be to see that this holy God who owes us nothing but wrath made a way for us to be accepted through taking that wrath Himself on our behalf at the cross? We should be greatly humbled and possess an honest fear at the greatness of the frightening power and unfathomable depths of the love of God. As a saint we are humbled to not be objects of wrath, but now, because of Christ’s perfect work, we are objects of mercy. Did He have to save you? No. Why did you believe while another person in a similar position that heard the same Gospel message did not heed the call? Why did you willingly say yes to Christ? Was it not the grace of God who Himself made you willing? Ultimately, this is humbling and should move us to love the things Christ loves and hate the things He hates more and more. “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil.” All kinds of evil, including our own self-righteous pride and arrogance.

We must constantly reorient ourselves with our humble position as creatures, sinners, and as God’s adopted people through the work of Christ. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Proverbs 1:7) And at the same time, There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” These are both different forms of humility, one in which we despise ourselves for our rebellion and yet know that we are accepted. Reorienting ourselves with the Gospel daily should bring about a correct response of both acceptance and fear of God’s might and power. God had mercy on you through the work of Christ while you were still unwilling to submit to Him by yourself. And He did this by turning your heart and giving you a willing spirit that was sensitive to heed the call of the Gospel. Praise God for His grace in moving us to faith when we wanted nothing of it until He opened our eyes to His beauty! May that squash our pride and arrogance against an increasingly pagan society. Just remember, that should have been you and would have had God not intervened and gone underneath your entire being to move you to love Him.

The Practical Implications of Calvinism – Albert N. Martin

http://www.westerfunk.net/archives/theo … Calvinism/

For those of you who claim to be Calvinists (or even if you don’t really), this is a must read article. So you’re a Calvinist. Alright then: have you seen God, been shocked by His glory and your utter unworthiness before Him, as to why He would have mercy on you through the work of Christ and not another?

Here are some quotes:

“I say by way of application, do not talk about being a Calvinist simply because your itch for logical consistency has been relieved by Calvinism’s theological system. Have you seen God? Have you been brought near to Him? That is the issue. I remind you of the words of B. B. Warfield: ‘A Calvinist is a man who has seen God’.”

“The expression, a proud Calvinist, is a misnomer. If a Calvinist is a man who has seen God as He is high and lifted up, enthroned, then he is a man who has been brought to brokenness before that throne as was Isaiah. A carnal Calvinist? Another misnomer! The enthroned One is the holy One, and He dwells in conscious communion with those who are rightly related to Him as the enthroned One and as the holy One. These two things are brought together beautifully in Isaiah 57:15 where the prophet says: ‘Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and a humble spirit’. What is contrition? It is the reaction of a sinner in the presence of a holy God; and, what is humility? It is the reaction of a subject in the presence of a sovereign. Isaiah never forgot this vision, and he says, ‘This great God dwells in that high and holy place, with him also that is of a humble and a contrite spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’”

“If your understanding of Calvinistic thinking has led you to the place where you can, as it were, boast in your liberty and use it as an occasion for licence, then you have never become a biblical Calvinist. God makes Calvinists today the same way he made them in Isaiah’s day.”

“I submit that a man has no right to speak of being a Calvinist because he can repeat like a parrot phrases brought to him in the great heritage of Reformed literature. He must ask himself, Has the Holy Spirit brought me to this profound sense of God that has worked in me at least in some measure the grace of humility. Has God endowed me with gifts and abilities? if so, what have I that I did not receive? Who makes me to differ? if God has endowed me with gifts and abilities whether intellectual or otherwise, I acknowledge that I have those because a Sovereign upon a throne was pleased to dispense them to me, and the only difference between me and that poor retarded child that moves the pity of my heart, is that He was pleased to make me different. ‘Who maketh thee to differ?’ The man who stands in the presence of a God upon the throne, and who has had this sight and sense of the majesty of God, recognizes that all that he has, has been given. Humility is not diffidence. Humility is that disposition of honest recognition: He is God, I am but a creature. All that I have comes from him and must be rendered to him in praise, and in honour. It will bring with it the submission that we see in Isaiah. He sits upon a throne; I have no rights to assert, but I have the unspeakable privilege of knowing and doing his will. Was not that the reflex action of Isaiah? The Lord is upon the throne; I am the creature. What else can I do but say, ‘Here am I?’”

Here is another excellent quote about the point of Calvinistic doctrine by James White:

“[The Doctrines of Grace] tell us that God is the one who saves, for His own glory, and freely. And they tell us that He does so only through Christ, only on the basis of His grace, only with the perfection that marks everything the Father, Son, and Spirit do. The doctrines of grace separate the Christian faith from the works-based religions of men. They direct us away from ourselves and solely to God’s grace and mercy. They destroy pride, instill humility, and exalt God. And that’s why so many invest so much time in the vain attempt to undermine their truth. The religions of men maintain authority over their followers by 1) limiting God’s power, 2) exalting man’s abilities, and 3) ‘channeling’ God’s power through their own structures. A perfect salvation that is freely bestowed by God for His own glory is not a ‘system’ that can be controlled by a religious body or group. And even more importantly, such a system is destructive of any sense of pride in the creature man, and if there is anything man’s religions must safeguard, it is man’s ‘self esteem.'”

Best explanation of Calvinism I have read (Another must read!): http://www.davidwesterfield.net/static. … =calvinism

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