The Bible talks about two types of wisdom in the world: (1) the wisdom of man, and (2) the wisdom of God. We're told that God's thoughts are far above ours (Isa 55:8-9), so because of this, most people tend to think in the ways of man's wisdom. After all, we're human and it's the way we think. It's a natural tendency.
MAN'S WISDOM SEES IN HUMAN WAYS
Paul says to walk by faith and not by sight (I Cor 5:7). But in our human ways and means we tend to walk by sight and not by faith. We see ourselves falling short of what we feel we should be, and we see others falling short of what we think they should be (and expect them to be, if they are close to us).
Thus, criticism and judgment are born, and we tend to reside in them rather than residing in acceptance, forgiveness, and love. This is where comparisons are born, and we tend to see both ourselves and others in contrast with each other, which Paul says is not wise to do (II Cor 10:12).
GOD'S WISDOM SEES IN DIVINE, IDEALIZED WAYS
The gospel gives us an idealized picture of who we are in God. In fact, it is so fantastic, that many Christians simply cannot bring themselves to believe it.
So many things in the world, and in man's wisdom, tend to tear us down and make us feel less than we are. Sometimes they even make us feel worthless. But God sees us in unity and oneness with him. He sees us as being like Jesus in this world (I John 4:17). He sees us as being the righteousness of Christ (II Cor 5:21).
We often live life in what is called a 'separation theology.' In this way of thinking in the form of man's wisdom, we don't see our unity and oneness with God. Instead, God is 'up there somewhere,' as we point toward the heavens. This is not the revelation of the gospel. Jesus says, "The Kingdom of God is within you."
WHAT DRAWS PEOPLE TO JESUS?
In John 17:21, Jesus says, "That they all may be one, as you Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us." Then he adds a very interesting statement: "That the world may believe that you sent me." He repeats this again, in a little different wording two verses later in verse 23, just so we don't miss it. He says, "That the world may know that you have sent me."
If we really think about these passages, what we come to realize is that people are drawn to Jesus through us when we believe that we are ONE with the Father, and his Son, as the wisdom of God discloses. Of course this requires repentance from man's wisdom. The two ways of thinking are diametrically opposite from each other. They cannot co-exist together.
This is a real stumbling block for folks who live in human wisdom and religion, and not gospel truth.
CORRECT BELIEF CAUSES LIFE TO CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
If you've read other things I've written, you know I patented the saying, "Good behavior will never produce correct belief, but correct belief will eventually produce good behavior."
When we start thinking the way God says to think about ourselves (as we have been seeing), then life changes for the better. It's even a maxim in secular circles that we most often act, on the outside, in accordance with how we think on the inside. Thus Proverbs 23:7 tells us: "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."
II Corinthians 3:18 says that when we look into a mirror, we shouldn't just see the reflection of our own face, but we should also see that we are being conformed into the glory of the Lord Jesus. This is impossible for us to see by sight. We must see it by faith. The passage says that we are gradually changed into this image.
As we begin to see ourselves as God does, we then behave accordingly.
But you cannot see yourself as the glory of the Lord if you buy into man's wisdom, or if you live in the guilt of any standards or laws. Law makes us all guilty before God (Rom 3:19). The Old Testament is the ministry of condemnation (II Cor 3:6).
THE ABUNDANT LIFE OF CHRIST
Jesus says he came to bring us abundant life (John 10:10). The way we live in this life is to see ourselves as God sees us, and not as man's wisdom, or laws and precepts and standards dictate to us. In the natural, we always fall short.
But in God divine gospel wisdom, we are far above anything we can even begin think.
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