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What is man?

Grace tidings with Dr Doug Mamvura

I believe most of the struggles that we as believers have in life, stem out of the wrong beliefs that we have about the true nature and character of God and also about the true value and worth of man.

In Psalm 8: 5 – 6, we are told that God “has crowned us with glory and honour and have made us have dominion over the works of His hands. He has also put all things under our feet”.

God “chose us before the foundation of this world that we should be holy and blameless, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will” (Ephesians 1: 4 -5). This means that God had a plan and purpose for us before anything was created. All that was created was meant for us as human beings. This is how valuable man is to God.

It is very sad to note that some of us are ignorant of this truth and we see ourselves as “worms and useless things”. We even sing songs confirming how worthless we are. Even when we come before God, we start by saying “God you know I am a worm, and am not worthy to come before you, my righteousness is like filthy rags”. We think that this is a sign of humility and yet this is the highest level of ignorance and lack of understanding of scripture. How can you call yourself a worm? Are you saying that God sent His only Son to come and die for a worm? Why do you call your righteousness “filthy rags” when the Bible says He who knew no sin became sin so we could become the righteousness of God”? Are you saying God’s righteousness is like filthy rags?

All this false understanding of scripture is mainly caused by religion. This is why I hate religion with a passion. Religious thinking and believing has no value for man. That is why people who are deeply involved in religion, and legalism invariably end up with no sense of self-worth, value and dignity.

If we are not taught and instructed in a proper sense of self worth that is based on biblical truth, we will never be able to get any truth in the Bible to consistently work in our lives.

For so many people, being a believer and being spiritual is to be something other than being human. Because religiously we have viewed being human as being evil, weak and deeply unspiritual. We have people who apologise for being human and yet the whole reason God created human beings was for the purpose of being human. Man has value because we are God’s ultimate and crowing creation. Some of our pastors devalue human beings by the way they condemn and focus on their weaknesses instead of focusing on God’s love for His people. The bible doesn’t say God was in Christ reconciling man to Himself and condemning him. Instead it says “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their sins to them” (2 Corinthians: 5:19). So, who are you to impute sins on God’s people?

When you look at Jesus and the New Testament, the whole point of Christianity is not for the purpose of denying and escaping our humanity, but it is about us partaking of the very (Zoe) life of God and then living and expressing that (Zoe) life of God in and through our humanity.

In the book of Psalms 8: 3-5, we find David writing about this same issue because of religion and legalism, most people have lost track of their true value, worth and identity as human beings:

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy hands, the moon, and the stars, which thou hast ordained, what is man that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man that thou visit him? For you have made him a little lower than angels and you have crowned him with glory and honour”

The questions that David pause in this Psalm are very important to meditate upon:

What is man that you are mindful of him? The second one is or the son of man that you visit him?

These seem to be questions that the believers have never really answered. Just as David asked this question here in the Psalms, I believe there are many people today asking the same questions — Who am I? What am I doing here? What is this life all about? Where is all going to end?

The way we live our Christian lives and the way we will minister and deal with people is dependent on how we answer these very important questions.

It is very unfortunate that the way these questions have been answered in the past has not been consistent with the biblical truth revealed in the New Testament. The answer to the first question has always been “You are of no value unless you get saved”. Yet, the Bible says while we still sinners, Christ died for our sins”. How could He die for something that was valueless?

When they get saved, we tell them that they are of no value unless they do right and live right.

A relationship in which performance determines acceptance, the premise is not love but rejection. The premise is that you are rejected unless you can live according to the standard. No human being can ever have a flourishing relationship with God where it is based on performance.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ starts with the premise of love, acceptance and union. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that who so ever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). This is the reality of God’s love. That He has so much value and worth for unregenerate and sinful man that He sent Jesus to die for him.

One of the most important truths that we should always keep in mind when studying the word of God is that Jesus when He walked the earth, was the full expression of the very nature and character of God the Father.

The value that God has for people, (including sinners) is very clearly seen in the way that Jesus handled and treated people. He made it clear that He didn’t come for the righteous but for the sinners (Mark 2: 13–17).

In 1 John 2:2 the Bible states that Jesus is “the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world”. This is what is so awesome about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The salvation that we have, is that God loved (had value for) the world (mankind) so much that no matter if they accepted it or not, Jesus would die for their sin and pay the full price for their salvation.

It is very important that we accept that God sees us as valuable and precious. The power of acceptance is something that many people do not consider when studying the word of God. As Christians, our lives can and will never really change and we will not be able to live consistently victorious lives if we will not believe and accept that God sees us as valuable and precious. This truth is wonderfully illustrated with the story of Zacchaeus in (Luke 19:1 -10).

The outcome and success of our lives are determined by what we deeply believe in our hearts. What we believe about God, will determine what we believe about ourselves and that in turn will determine our value for other people. The truth of the matter is that insecurities come from our trying to get our value from something or someone other than God. The Message Bible states in Ephesians 1:4 that “long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love”. God loved us before we were even born. This is our true identity. We are the children of God and we are not here by accident. God had a plan and purpose for us. We can only ever be and achieve what is consistent with our belief system and who we believe we truly are.

The truth of the matter is that the failure or success of our life and relationships depends on our deep-down identity or belief of who we really are. We are what God says we are. When He says that we are a chosen people, a royal priesthood born to show His excellence, that is who we are.

Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: drdoug@corporatemomentum.biz or Twitter @dougmamvura

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