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Justifying Your "Self"

by

Dean Gotcher

"And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."   Luke 16:5

The Word of God instructs us to humble and deny our "self" and endure the rejection of men—because we follow after the Lord, Jesus Christ instead of them—the way of the world—knowing that salvation is found in Him alone, i.e., by grace, and not in ourselves, i.e., by our own works. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:" 1 Peter 5:6  "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:" Ephesians 2:8 "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:11

The same pattern or method is applied in a traditional culture—where the father's authority (the patriarchal paradigm) predominates. In it children are taught to control and discipline their "self" in order to "do right and not wrong" according to their parent's commands, rules, facts, and truth. When they do not, their parents reprove, correct, rebuke, punish, i.e., chasten them until they do, i.e., until they learn to control and discipline (reprove, correct, rebuke, punish, i.e., chasten) their "self" as well, i.e., grow up, i.e., become mature. In this way of thinking and acting—where children humble and deny their "self," submitting their "self" to their father's "top-down," "do right and not wrong" authority system—a traditional culture (local control) is able to perpetuate itself.

To get the point across (about "self") I often say to people that there are two of us—two of me and two of you. But I am not talking about identical twins. While there is I and me and there is you, i.e. that I can talk to you and you can talk to me, there is also my "self" and your "self."  While I can talk to my "self" and you can talk to your "self," I can not talk to your "self" and you can not talk to my "self."  Only I can talk to my "self" and only you can talk to your "self."  I can only know what you are talking to your "self" about when you  dialogue, i.e. share with me what you are talking to your "self" about, i.e. share with me how you are "feeling" and what you are "thinking" about in the 'moment,' sharing your opinion.

Saying the same thing in a different way: In the traditional family and biblical paradigm, i.e., a patriarchal paradigm (a paradigm is a way of feeling, thinking, and acting, and relating with others) the child (before his parents) and man (before God) is to humble, deny, control, and discipline his "self."  His parent and God can not do it for him.  The parent and God can only preach and teach commands and rules to be obeyed and facts and truth to be accepted as given (accepted by faith), and chasten the child or man, i.e. humble, deny, control, and discipline the child and man when they disobey.  It is up to the child and man to humble, deny, control, and discipline (chasten) his "self," discussing with his "self," as his parent's/God discusses with him what is right and what is wrong according to their/His established commands, rules, facts, and truth. Maturity depends upon him doing it himself (humbling, denying, controlling, and disciplining, i.e., chastening his "self"), without his parent's/God having to do it to him.  If the child is dialoguing with his "self" instead, i.e., talking to his "self" about his "feelings" and "thoughts" of the 'moment,' which are subject to his "feelings" of the 'moment,' he is 'justify' his "self's'" love of the world, i.e., his own carnal "self interest" of the 'moment.'  If he is preaching to his "self," he is teaching his "self" to obey an authority external to his carnal desires ("self interest") of the 'moment.'

Self loves pleasure, i.e. loves the things of the world.  The child and man will exalt/esteem his "self," i.e. 'justify' his carnal desires if he talks to his "self" about what he wants in the 'moment,' thinking to himself about how the world "ought" to be, i.e. according to his carnal desires, i.e. without parental and Godly, i.e. the Father's restraint.   "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."  1 John 2:16  You can not love without hating.  If you love the world (talk to your "self" about what you want in the world in the 'moment') you have to hate the Father who casts you out if you refuse to accept His chastening of you for your love of the world over and against your love for Him.  If you love the Father you have to hate the world (hate your "self" for loving the world) which draws you to it, away from Him. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24   In truth: if we love the Father, i.e. if we accept His authority, i.e. if we submit to His restraining of our flesh, His restraint (chastening) is a source of peace to our soul, but if we love our flesh (love the world), His authority, i.e. His restraint is the source of irritation to our flesh.  If we love ourselves, lusting after the things to the world, we have to hate the Father but if we love the Father, seeking to do His will, we have to hate the things of the world, which draw us away from Him. "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:14, 15

We are to love our neighbors as we love our "selves."  But if we love the world (instead of the Father), i.e. if we 'justify' our carnal desires, i.e. if we talk to our "selves" about what we want in the 'moment,' i.e. if we 'justify' our "selves," we will also 'justify' our neighbor's carnal desires as well.  If we love the world we will want the approval of our neighbors, their love for the world made manifest in their 'justifying' of our love for the world, with us having pleasure in their approving of our love of pleasure, not reproving, correcting, rebuking us for our sins against the Father, i.e. building relationship upon that which we have in common with each other, i.e. that which is of the world only.  Tolerance of ambiguity is tolerance of sin is tolerance of disobedience which requires rejecting (hating) the Father's authority—which is not tolerant of ambiguity, of sin, and of disobedience, i.e. the Father holding us accountable to His rules, commands, facts, and truth, i.e. living by faith in Him instead.

If we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength we will reprove, correct, and rebuke our "self" when it desires to go the way of the world.  In this way of thinking, loving the Father instead of loving the world, desiring to do His will instead of our will, we will reprove, correct, and rebuke our neighbor when they go the way of the world as well.  "For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  Romans 13:9   "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  Galatians 5:14   "Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."  Matthew 19:19  "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.  And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question." Mark 12:29-34

To love your neighbor as your "self" is not to 'justify' your neighbors sins against God ('justifying' your sins before God), i.e. being silent in the midst of unrighteousness, but to instruct them in the ways of righteousness, preaching the truth, in season and out of season, teaching those who are desires of doing what is right, the ways of righteousness.  It is the same thing you do to your "self" when it want's to go the way of the world over and against the father's/Father's will.  If you love your "self" you will not tolerate or participate in any evil with it, 'justifying' your "lust" for the things of the world.  If you love your neighbor you will not tolerate or participate in any evil with them, 'justifying' their "lust" for the things of the world.  "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled."  2 Corinthians 10:3-6   We are not become "at-one-with" (come to a consensus with) those (we are to cut off relationship with those) who refuse to hear the truth, i.e. who holding to the world in their thoughts and actions, seek to turn us away from the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, asking us to set aside the truth, even for the 'moment,' so as to initiate and sustain relationship with them.   While we are in the world (discussing with those who are willing to listen, the truth, persuding them to come to the truth) we are not to think and act according to the world (dialoguing with it to 'discover' the "truth" of the 'moment').  "And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."  2 Corinthians 6:15-18

When you love your neighbor, as you love yourself, you will warn them of the cost of loving the world over and against loving the Father.  "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"  Matthew 16:24-26  "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  Matthew 18:3, 4  Our 'justification' is not in our "self" or in our neighbor's "self," i.e. in men's opinions, but in the Lord himself, for truly he is our justification.  "For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)  Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.  Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 5:17-21  If you love your neighbor you will not condemn him, i.e. 'judge' him to hell, for he is condemned already.  You will warn him of the consequences of sin (that "goodness," i.e. "righteousness" in man's eyes, i.e. 'justifying' his "self," is not "good" or "righteous" before God, but that the power of his flesh, i.e. the law of sin, i.e. his love of this world will lead him into eternal death instead), that he might turn to Christ Jesus and inherit eternal life, having "fellowship" with, i.e. talking to the Father, and his son, Jesus Christ" instead: "and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ."  1 John 3:1

When you are "talking" to your "self" today, are you reproving, correcting, rebuking your "self," i.e. humbling, denying, controlling, and disciplining your "self," i.e. talking to the Son and the Father about what they want you to do today, worshiping, loving, and serving the Son and the Father, or are you 'justifying' yourself, i.e. 'justifying' your (and your neighbor's) carnal worldly desires over and against the Father's will.  If you love your neighbor, as you love your "self," you will tell him the truth, doing it in love.  Chastening, which is painful for a reason, produces a peaceful fruit of righteousness (in those who are exercised thereby).  Chastening does not destroy.  Wrath destroys.  If you refuse the chastening which comes from the Father, you will come to know His wrath, and be destroyed.  So will your neighbor.  Do you love your neighbor as you love your self or are you talking to your "self," i.e. 'justifying' your "self" and your neighbors carnal thoughts and actions (being silent in the midst of unrighteousness) to initiate and sustain relationship with your "self" and with your neighbor, feeling, thinking, and acting, and relating with others according to the ways of the world?  Jesus, who, being equal with God the Father, took on the form of a man, humbled his "self" before His Heavenly Father, who sent Him to 'redeem' us from His wrath upon us for our sins (for our disobedience), raising Him from the grade to 'reconcile' us to Himself, that we might know His love and inherit eternal life.  By his Grace are we saved, not of our "selves," for that would be of the world.

© Institution for Authority Research, Dean Gotcher 2015