What is a Christian’s Purpose | Part 2
A Right view of Self
I am a firm 5 point calvinist, I don’t hide it nor do I plan on backing down from my firm theological convictions. However, do not let the connotations of this often despised word cause you to click away. Every theological stance comes with its own set of traps, calvinism is no exception.
There are an infinite amount of traps for a calvinist to fall into, and one of the most common from what I have witnessed is, “having a low view of self.” Let me explain… If you are not familiar with calvinism and what it says, it VERY simple. The foundational beliefs of Calvinism are bound in what we call the “The Doctrine of Grace” and it is explained using the acronym TULIP.
This article is by no means a guidebook, or an introduction to calvinists beliefs, its just important that you know where I am coming from, and why its common that many calvinists fall into the trap of “having a low view of self.”
Total Depravity is one of the more accepted pieces of calvinistic thought, with even arminians agreeing on this extremely obvious doctrine that is littered all throughout scripture, found as early as Genesis 3. For more information regarding total depravity check out Desiring God’s article, here.
I personally have fallen into this trap, and I have noticed that many pastors, and congregants can often slip into this trap if we are not careful, and it is taking the doctrine of Total Depravity to diminish your self worth ultimately resulting in a low self esteem and a low view of self.
For a Christian to be an effective and faithful bearer of the Word, we need to not only have a right view of God, but also RIGHT view of self. In the previous post we took a look at how John the apostle sets up the foundation for the rest of his book in the first few verses, lets now take a look at the next three verses, in John 1.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
I have read through the book of John dozens of times yet I had never made this simple observation, there is a contrast between how the apostle John speaks about Jesus and how the apostle John speaks about John the baptist. Notice the key word differences:
John 1:1-5 (Speaking on God)
- the Word was God
- He was with God in the beginning
- Through him all things were made
- In him was life
- his light shines in the darkness
John 1:5-8 (Speaking on man)
- man sent from God
- he came as a witness
- to testify concerning that light
- He himself was not the light
There is a clear contrast on how John is speaking about God and man, this is key and helps us unlock the next point we have to understand before we can tackle the question of “What is a Christian’s purpose?” That point is We must have a right view of self in relation to who God is, to unlock our purpose in life, and the calling that God has put on each of our hearts.
Notice that John the apostle is not putting down John the Baptist, he is not condemning him to Hell, like I said earlier we can all to often have a low view of self when as Christians for us to be effective bearers of the gospel we have to have a RIGHT view of self. That is exactly what we see in this passage.
Christianity is a religion of freedom and rest, not a law book or a legalistic cult, we have been given grace to live in in fact we depend on Gods grace for everything even for things as simple as a breath or a blink of the eye. John has set the foundation for the entire book now, He has given us what it looks like to have a right view of God, but he has also shown us what it looks like to have a right view of self.
Now let me explain a little bit, these things do not exist independently, in fact they go hand in hand you see for us to have a right view of God we must have a right view of self, and for us to have a right view of self, we must in turn have a right view of God. I will reference Job from my previous post, Job was questioned by God for many reasons, one of which was so that Job would have a right view of God, but notice how God had to deal with Job’s view of himself so that Job could then in turn have a right view of God. God had to push down Job’s pride so that Job would see himself the right way, in view of Gods glory. They go hand and hand.
We are sinful beings, that are yes eternally separated from Christ, but because of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection we are invited to be CO-HEIRS with CHRIST, we are adopted into his family, no longer disgusting beings that have no purpose. We can now find our eternal purpose in Christ, no longer slaves to sin but adopted into the family of Christ, citizens of an eternal kingdom. This right view of self is dependent on what Christ has done for us, do not live in a guilt driven Christianity that is not what Christ came to do, he came to destroy guilt driven legalism and he did it out of shear love for you.
A right view of self is dependent on a right view of God, and once we have come to this realization we can now not only unlock what our purpose is, but we are equipped to carry it out.
Until next time… take care, and God bless.