In our last article, How Much Does the Gospel Weigh?, we examined the idea of placing a value on the Gospel. We saw how the prophet Zechariah had predicted centuries before that the price man would place on Jesus would be “weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver” (Zechariah 11:13). All of this was predicted and then happened about five hundred years later as if God was making a profound statement on how Jesus, who was despised and betrayed by man for so very little, from God’s perspective had immeasurable value. What Jesus did for us at Calvary cannot be measured by monetary value; in fact, as we have seen, the Gospel becomes the standard by which everything else is valued and measured.
Now, for the moment, let’s turn our thoughts to ourselves, and again using the idea of placing a value on something, examine our value, both from man’s perspective and God’s perspective.
Looking through the pages of the Bible, we quickly find a paradoxical nature about mankind. Due to our own pride, we tend to think of ourselves more highly than we should. We place a certain value on ourselves that we shouldn’t. Jesus said: And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. ( Matthew 23:12)
In Proverbs we read:
Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
It seems that pride is an unbridled way of looking at ourselves, where God’s standard is ignored. It is rather interesting to note that the verse just quoted is preceded by the one that says, “A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight” (Proverbs 11:1). We know that God is opposed to the proud, but to the lowly (i.e., those who have their lives in perspective) he gives unusual wisdom. Pride ignores God’s balancing scale and His standard. We do not see ourselves as we should. God is looking for openness and honesty before Him as we measure our lives by God’s Word and the Gospel and recognize our need for Him.
We can see this principle working early on in the Bible. In Genesis, for example, we read of how the serpent beguiled Eve by suggesting that she might be like God. God had already given Adam and Eve everything they needed. He had given them a paradise in a day when death and decay were unheard of. Imagine being banished from all of that for lack of being content with living within the constraints God has placed on us.
Although Adam is recognized as the father of the human race, he is generally not remembered with any great appreciation. He has been remembered primarily for the fall and all that mankind has been suffering with ever since. Little did he realize at that time the suffering that his disobedience would incur on the human race. Moses on the other hand is often recognized as the most profound figure of the Old Testament. Although a highly-educated man, his greatness stems not from what he did or who he was but from the work God did in and through his life. God was able to use this man mightily for one reason in that he was “very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3). By being meek before God, Moses availed himself of God’s favor and made it possible for God to use him.
How can we, as believers, acquire the kind of humility Moses had? We need to remember that God is a discerner of the heart. Returning to Matthew 23 where Jesus spoke about humility, we find that nearly the entire chapter is dedicated to Jesus’ assessment of the scribes and Pharisees who would make great shows of piety and humility. Jesus pointed out that the scribes and Pharisees “sit in Moses’ seat” (Matthew 23:2), but inwardly they were full of hypocrisy. Often times, we can think that outward behavior or self-debasement will impress God, but it does not. Humility is a matter of the heart, and it begins with our thoughts. Things need to be kept in perspective. God is not looking for self-denigration, but a recognition of who we are and who God is.
And this takes us back to the statement about man being a paradox because while the tendency for pride is readily there, man is quick to debase himself and discard his worth. A profound example of this is in the biblical account of Jacob and Esau where Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of pottage (Genesis 25:34). This event forever changed the lives of Jacob and Esau and altered human history. So as we humble ourselves before God, recognizing our lost condition without Him, let us not forget the birthright that we have in Christ.
Our worth is tied up entirely in God’s love for us and what we do with it. It’s like a man walking through an antique shop. As long as that artifact remains in the antique shop, it remains only as a piece of junk, but when purchased and put on display in the home it serves as a thing of beauty. So, too, Jesus Christ purchased us at a great sacrifice – with the price of His own blood. When a person accepts Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior, he or she then takes on the immeasurable value of that redeeming love upon himself. We have been purchased at a great price that makes the value of our souls immeasurable – just as we have previously shown how the price of Jesus Christ, weighed out, was immeasurable.
It is a sobering thought to think of the immense sacrifice God made to redeem us. Because He purchased us, we belong to Him. We are no longer our own, and thus if we, as born-again Christians, think we can sell ourselves to another god, so to speak (contemplative, emerging, etc), we should realize that we are already purchased and cannot be bought by another. We are His, bought with His blood, anc created for His pleasure.
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.( Revelation 4:11)
God has given us worth beyond measure for the price He paid to redeem us. We were purchased at a tremendous sacrifice, but too many Christians today are being bought out, like Esau, whose birthright is being compromised. In a forthcoming article, we will examine this subject.