Humanism can be defined as a system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans, their values, capacities, and worth. It is a belief system that places humans at the top. In a “politically correct” era when people demand a “separation of church and state,” humanism has become the backbone for most modern-day textbooks. History is not taught in terms of God being the founder of the world, but rather, our children learning about the Big Bang and Neanderthal man. The complexity and purposeful design of nature is ignored—as it would demand a designer. Instead our children are indoctrinated by evolutionary theory and naturalism.
But these theories in-and-of-themselves are not the whole problem. For you see, a steady diet of humanism causes individuals to think more highly of themselves—after all, humanism teaches we are at the top. This has resulted in a generation of “self” oriented young people who believe they and their opinions are extremely important (e.g., sharing their every move on Facebook, Twitter). It has also resulted in an overabundance of narcissists.
This humanistic attitude has even crept into the church. We throw labels around like “righteous” and “godly” on individuals without really considering what we are saying. We use the label “sinners” with such ease that we don’t really even feel any discomfort. After all, we’re not that bad, right?
Here’s what I intend to teach my children about the scariest verse in the Bible.
The Bible is filled with all kinds of fighting action and gruesome deaths. But I want to take a moment to share with you what I hope you will remember as the scariest verse in the Bible. In Mark 10:18 we read, “So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” Not exactly what you were expecting was it? But look at that passage again. God is good! And still you say, “Yeah, what’s the problem?”
The problem is you are not good. In Isaiah 64:6 we read, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Paul put it this way in his letter to the church at Rome: “As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; (Romans 3:10). In 1 John the Bible says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
Let me point it out again: God is good. But we are not. So the question you should be asking yourself is: What does a good God do with us? This is where the term “good news” comes into play. This is the essence of the Gospel message. Sadly, because of our affection for humanism and “self” the good news isn’t viewed as all that good anymore. After all, we really aren’t that bad…right?
In Exodus 34:6-7 God gives us a picture of Himself. (Anytime you want to know more about God it is always a good thing to go to Scripture rather than man!) The Bible says, “And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’” Those words are tremendous and comforting!
We learn God is merciful and gracious. But the passage does not stop there. It continues by saying: “by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7). How can that be? How can He be merciful and forgiving, but then not clear the guilty?
I want you to think about this dilemma for just a moment. We expect judges to be fair and to deliver penalties according to the crime. And yet, we don’t want God to hold us responsible for all of the sin we have committed. How can a good God overlook our sin? Paul explains this in Romans 3. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, (Romans 3:23-25).
Paul then goes on to use a very special phrase to describe God, continuing this passage by saying, “to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (v. 26). Look at that phrase just a moment: just and justifier. If God was only just, then every human would be punished in eternity for all the sins they have committed—as He is holy and cannot have anything to do with sin. But the text says He was also the justifier. That was Jesus Christ—and that is GREAT news!
The next time you think highly of yourself take a moment to ask yourself who are you comparing yourself too? Are you comparing yourself with an ungodly world, or with a holy God? Never ever forget that without the blood of Jesus Christ—the spotless sacrifice—you are nothing. Only God is good …
By Brad Harrub, Ph.D.