The heart of man is naturally self-exalting, and spawned by this is a natural irreverence with regards to God. The heart (not necessarily the lips) of all men shouts ‘we will not have this man to reign over us’, when confronted with the Lord Jesus Christ. Lest those of you who are children of God think this only to be a condition of the lost, I must ask whence cometh your sin? Why do you still sin? I do. I hate it, but I still do, and there is no getting over that fact. So where does it come from?
The commandments are written in a particular order such that all the commandments spring forth from the first which states ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’ NO other gods, means that all glory, honour and respect is to be given to God, and not just any god that we have made up in our minds, but rather God as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. He and He alone being God simply must have the pre-eminence. Ever since just before the fall was accomplished in deed, man has the spiritual conflict with this. Our evil hearts are so prone to believe that which came forth of the mouth of the serpent, ‘Yea hath God said?’, ‘Ye shall not surely die’, ‘Ye shall be as gods’, that we do so at the expense of the honour which is due to God.
At the very root of who we are we treat God irreverently by doubting Him, by trusting to ourselves, by exalting our thoughts and imaginations against Him, in essence, by ignoring His power and authority, and doing that which is right in our own eyes. Like the citizens in Luke 19, We will not have ‘this man to reign over us’ not just any man, but ‘this man’ God incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the root of all sin. In this both the believer and unbeliever are identical, we both have an ever-present irreverence towards God waiting to spring forth in the next available opportunity. What the believer has, that the unbeliever does not have, is the power of the Son of God continually working through the Spirit of God to subdue this irreverence in their hearts. Though I often see in my own heart that the things of God are taken much lighter than they ought to be (and mourn that this be the case), I am thankful that the natural irreverence of my heart has a power working against it from outside of me to bring forth that which brings honour and glory to God, while at the same time continually subduing my natural irreverence. Seeing this battle gives me a real sense of who I really am and my ever present need of a Saviour, so that for the glory of God I can say with John the Baptist, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’.
Man without a present knowledge of God naturally lifts himself at the expense of God, whereas upon a meeting with God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (regular meetings of this type are the essence and lifeblood of a Christian), man is humbled to see himself as he actually is. ‘Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?’ Prov 20:6 Man in his natural condition wants to take the place of importance through his own professed and proclaimed goodness, however through many means God continually reminds us that the place of importance belongs to Him alone. There can only ever be room for one God!
Keep an eye out for the irreverence in your heart, because whether you see it or not it is there. There are two sights we really need on a regular basis, 1) a sight of who we are 2) a sight of Christ on our behalf. Though the first is an unpleasant sight, seeing it is a good sign, it causes us to look for the second sight without which we will be left to the demise brought about by our own condition. Have you ever looked for a medicine for a sickness you didn’t believe you had?
Mal 1:6 ‘where is mine honour? …saith the Lord of hosts unto you’