It besets us our entire life. It's there when we are born. It continues into our adult life and marriage. It's still there when we age. SELF. The source of all sin. But it is not supposed to follow us into our older years. We are not to continue worshipping this shrine of self. Yet many times the shrine is even larger in our older years. Since the fall in the Garden, the human nature is completely opposite from the nature of Christ. When Adam was created, before he fell, he was willing to die for Eve.
He understood that since Eve had partaken of the forbidden fruit, she was going to die. He partook of the fruit also, with the full knowledge that he, too, would die. But he was willing to die with her, rather than lose her. The apostle Paul said, "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." I Tim. 2:14. Adam, here, is a beautiful type of Christ. Just as Adam was willing to die for Eve, Christ was willing to die for His Bride, the 144,000 that John saw in Revelation 14:1. (For further enlightenment, listen to Bro. Goodwin’s message "The Great Mystery – Christ and the Church" given March 6, 1996.) When Adam partook of the fruit, he fell; and the fall was total – a complete reversal of character. Now, instead of the human nature being "others-centered" it is self-centered. When God confronted Adam after the fall, he now blamed Eve for his sin. Pride has entered in.
Pride seems to affect all of us in some form, no matter what our station in life. It was responsible for the first murder, Gen. 4:2-8, and is the first on the list of abominations hated by God in Proverbs 6:16-19. It was the underlying sin, and prefaced the other sins, of Sodom and Gomorrah. Ezekiel 16:49-50.
Every good manager in any corporation has been taught to be very careful if they in any way have to diminish or remove the invisible sign that everyone wears, which says, "I am important." In contradistinction to this "I" nature, in reading over the four gospels again, more carefully this time, I find Christ does not give the "I" kingdom any space to operate. In the Sermon on the Mount, which is the very essence of Christianity, He made statements like this: "Love your enemies." "Do good to those that despitefully use you and persecute you." "Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." "Resist not evil." These statements cut right into this "I" nature we are born with. Then He said, "Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." The Lord let me see that the statement "Love your enemies" deals with the feelings of our heart, not only our actions. It is one thing to bake a pie, or do something good for your perceived enemy; it is quite another to do it in the spirit of, "I really care for you and desire to have you as my friend."
One reason the apostle Paul could be saved – to whom we Gentiles owe so very much – is because Stephen, while being stoned to death, but full of the Holy Ghost, said, "Lord, lay not this sin to their charge." Acts 7:60. Completely opposite from what the human nature would do. In contradistinction to the pride that pervades the human family, Christ lived a life of humility. When choosing His disciples, He did not go to the elite of His day, the scribes, Pharisees, or Saducees. Instead He chose fishermen, a tax collector, even a zealot. In fact, He denounced the scribes, Pharisees, and Saducees again and again for their hypocrisy. If we are trying to measure up our life to Christ’s, we might ask ourselves if we are willing to choose such individuals as our friends.
Or, do we want the "in" crowd close to us? He healed "all" the afflicted that came to Him. Although He could have just spoken a word to heal the leper, He touched him. Mark 1:40-41. When I read this I asked myself just how willing I was to go way out of my way and help someone I knew had leprosy in their heart and spirit.
Or, was way down on the totem pole when it came to social acceptability. Was I willing to get involved enough in their life to help them? Have I grown to the place I could help them without getting involved in their sin? Christ spent at least two days with Samaritans, who were termed "outcasts" by the Jews. John 4:40. He defended the woman taken in adultery, and said, "Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?....Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." John 8:10-11.
He allowed the prostitute to wash His feet with her tears and to wipe them dry with her hair. He said, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven." Luke 7:47. He associated with the publicans and sinners. Luke 7:34. He was ready to go into the home of a Roman centurion. Luke 7:2-6. He continually broke the code of ethics that the scribes, Pharisees and Saducees considered the law. He spent at least half of His time, if not more, fulfilling the natural needs of the people – healing, casting out devils, feeding the multitudes, etc. (For more on this, listen to message given by Brother Goodwin on Feb. 4, 1984.) Again, thought-provoking questions entered my mind, when I analyzed just where I was on my Christian journey. He washed the feet of His disciples. John 13:4-5.
When I read this, it sounded repulsive to me, especially since they wore sandals and walked the dusty roads of Judea, and who knows what their feet were caked with. Again I knew just how short I came up to emulating Christ’s walk upon this earth, because Christ did say, "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord." Matt. 10:24. In contrast to pride, is humbleness of mind. There are two examples in the Scriptures that are very precious.
In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus is talking about the end of the world as we know it. He said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Notice the spirit of these individuals. They said, "Lord, we’ve cast out devils in your name. We really did work for you. We built hospitals. Truly, Lord, see what we’ve done. We’ve done great things for you." Jesus said, "Depart from me." In the next example, Matthew 25:34-40, Jesus is speaking: "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." The attitude of those in Matthew 7 and those in Matthew 25 is much different.
Both had works, but pride was the motivating factor of the one; humility the other. Although I love to hear messages on what we consider "doctrine," and, I might add, debate my position (which is a work of the flesh – Rom. 1:29) as I read through the gospels, I found only one time where Jesus taught what we consider doctrine. Had He taught doctrine, there would not be so many divisions in Christendom, because we would all know how many were in the Godhead, the definition of hell, etc. In a beautiful message Brother Goodwin gave on April 9, 1994, titled "The Spirit of the Body of Christ" he talked about the Scripture in Ephesians 3:17-19: "That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." He explained that it is this love that is the "base" – the foundation – upon which everything else is built. It "passes knowledge."
It is far more important than doctrine. I Corinthians 13:2. The Lord has recently let me understand that the only way we can be "filled with all the fullness of God" is to emulate Christ. To "learn of Christ" is to conduct ourselves on the same plane that Christ conducted Himself on this earth. To be filled with humility. Is it impossible? The next verse says, "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us." Eph. 3:20. I’ve used that Scripture repeatedly when praying with those who needed healing for the body, but Paul uses it when he talks about being filled with all the fulness of God. The only way is through the power that worketh in us – the power of the Holy Ghost.
I do not want to take my eternal destiny for granted. Yes, I believe in election and the sovereignty of God in all things; however human responsibility is carefully defined in the Word of God. Even the great apostle Paul, the champion of grace, said, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended...." Phil. 3:12-14. The Pharisees and scribes considered themselves to be a "guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes...." Rom. 2:19-20.
Yet Jesus denounced them very severely. They thought they had it made, but Jesus told them, "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. " Matt. 12:41-42.
This is the final resurrection. Jesus said, "...many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness (the second death, Rev. 20:6): there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt. 8:11-12. Many other Scriptures show that the final resurrection is a time of judgment. I could say much more about what has been going on in my heart, but suffice to say that I would like my Lord to say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things...." Matt. 25:21. When the Lord comes back, He is going to bring all our motives, our deep-seated desires, out into the open, and this is what will determine our place in the Kingdom. Everyone that is in the Bride, of course, will have come to full maturity.
But those who have been serving God, and have not attained to that high goal, will be judged as to their placement in the Kingdom: "...be careful not to jump to conclusions before the Lord returns as to whether someone is a good servant or not. When the Lord comes, he will turn on the light so that everyone can see exactly what each one of us is really like, deep down in our hearts. Then everyone will know why we have been doing the Lord's work. At that time God will give to each one whatever praise is coming to him." I Cor. 4:5 TLB. This is the second phase of the first resurrection. This is fully explained in Prophecy Concerning the Second Advent; also for a chronology of end-time events, read Prophecy Concerning End-Time Events by Bro. Glenn Goodwin.