Lowering Your View of Humanity
There is a relationship between a man’s view of himself and his view of God. If a person deceives himself into thinking more highly of himself than he ought to, then his view of God declines. If a person correctly assesses his moral turpitude, then his view of God appreciates. In fact, this inverse relationship of one’s view is enhanced along with his accuracy in judgment. God will be exalted, and man will be abased.
For the preacher, to miss the stunningly low view of man in the Bible, will result in the preacher misleading his hearers. In other words, it is safer for the preacher to lower his view of humanity than to ever enhance it. Most people have the high view of Adam’s race, and this leads to distortions in the rest of their theology.
The Bible informs us that Adam poisoned his progeny by his sin in the garden (Gen 3; Rom 5:19). In truth, “sinner” is the correct term to describe each person who ever lived, except Jesus Christ, who was like us yet without sin (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15). As universal as man’s lawlessness against God’s righteous standard is in reality, it is not a common topic among men (1 Jn 3:4).
The perversity of a high view of man is found in psychology, philosophy, and many religions. There are even sects of Christians who labor to elevate man (e.g. Pelagianism, Arminianism, etc.). They dispute the Bible’s argument for the total depravity of man (Gen 6:5; Is 64:6 Jer 17:9; Rom 1:18–32; 3:10–12, 23; 1 Cor 2:14; Eph 2:1–3, 12).
If one lowers his view of the human race, what benefits are gained? The lower one’s view of himself, the more inclined he is to treasure Christ. The devil’s first lie to Adam and Eve was to elevate their future (Gen 3:5). The father of lies was the first self-help guru. He has enslaved humanity with notions of leadership ever since (Rom 6:6, 16–17). Being like gods has ever been his snare for the sons of Adam, the sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2; 5:6).
With his futile mind (Eph 4:17), man puffs himself up with knowledge of the world around him. Like his father, the devil, man denies God the glory due His Name (Jn 8:44; 1 Jn 3:10). Man suppresses the truth about God and about himself (Rom 1:18). He exchanges truth for a lie. Instead of loving and worshiping his Creator, man worships his own image because he still aspires to be deity (Gen 3:5).
With his corrupt heart (Jer 17:9), man’s affections are given over to abominable deeds (Ps 14:1; 53:1). The lust in man’s eyes leads him to covet with greed (Col 3:5). The lust in man’s flesh guides him to gluttony, drunkenness, sexual immorality, laziness, and fellowship with bad company. The insipience of the wicked results in evil boasting. The proud man exalts himself and his accomplishments. The foolishness in his heart cannot help but be heard from his lips (Mt 12:34; 15:18).
The enslaved will of man leaves him ungodly. His choices are depraved and debauched. As a slave of sin, man serves master sin with his whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. Man’s corruption is total. The Bible is filled with vice lists to help us see that every category of life is negatively impacted. No one is exempt, nor exonerated, apart from the mercy of God (Rom 9:15).
The particularly bad characters of the Bible only serve to show the extent of man’s capacity for evil. History proves that humanity has not improved since Cain slew his brother, Abel (Gen 4), or since Lamech boasted of his prowess at murdering many (Gen 4:24).
God’s Law does not change, nor do the sins that breach His precepts. Sinners are the same, yesterday, today, and forever. As Solomon observed nearly one thousand years before Christ, “There is nothing new under the sun (Eccl 1:9).” Surely the tempter and his legions of demons have mastered their craft, too.
With no mercy afforded to them (Rom 9:22). With no plan for their salvation, the reprobate live out their rebellion on the course laid out for them (Prv 16:4). They love sin and hate God (Ex 20:5; Ps 68:1; Rom 1:30). Their lives are lived in open defiance to God’s revealed Word (Rom 1:18–32). Their punishment is just (Rom 9:22).
Evil people are without God in the world (Eph 2:12), despite knowing He exists and has made demands of them (1 Tim 1:8–10). There is no fear of God before their eyes (Ps 36:1; Rom 3:18). There is also no fear of the judgment of God, demonstrated in His flood upon the ungodly in the Great Deluge (2 Pet 2:5–7). As it was then, so it will be in the coming Day of Judgment upon the ungodly (2 Pet 3:7; Jude 1:14–18).
Friend, is it time for you to change your mind and agree with God’s assessment of you and everyone else? Is it time for you to examine your heart and confess that it is filled with sin? Is it time for you to audit your choices in life and test them against what God requires of you?
In this, failure is a good friend. If God illumines your understanding, you will turn from self-esteem and pride to self-loathing. You will be appalled by what He reveals your life to look like from His view. If you begin to see His low estimation, and you finally agree that it is true, then you are in a good place, for you will also see there is only one Savior of sinners, and His name is Jesus Christ (Titus 1:3; 2:13; 3:6). Trust Him.
Spokane Valley, Washington
April 30, 2022