Category three of God’s power system is teachability. Teachability requires humility. Humility is freedom from arrogance. Virtue (strength of character) and integrity (loyalty to the truth) are constructed in the soul of the advancing believer on a foundation of humility. Humility is the basic human virtue of teachability. Jesus Christ set the example of humility by voluntarily subjecting Himself to God the Father’s plan. (Psalms 25:8-9)
Self-centeredness is arrogance and foolishness for a believer. Your life is not to be centered in yourself. As a believer, you are part of a much greater plan centered in God. God begins by blessing you with at least 40 spiritual blessings (assets). Since humility seeks reality, desires and accepts truth, these 40 assets should be part of every believer’s frame of reference. Knowledge of these assets helps a believer realize the depth of God’s love and motivates him/her to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
Humility is a way of thinking and a way of life. As a system of thinking, humility is freedom from arrogance and as a way of life, humility is submission to legitimate authority. For a believer, his or her humility responds to divine establishment principles by submitting to temporal authority and responds to Bible doctrine by living in God’s power system. (Proverbs 15:33; Proverbs 11:2, 29:23)
The opposite of humility is arrogance. Both humility and arrogance are ways of thinking and the Christian Way of Life is a way of thinking. You are what you think. You cannot think what you do not know; thus the importance of learning, believing and applying accurate Bible doctrine. The result of proper application is wisdom. (Proverbs 3:33-35; James 4:6; I Peter 5:5-6 Luke 14:11)
A humble believer acknowledges his/her weaknesses and depends on the greater strength found in God’s power system. An arrogant person overestimates his or her strengths and rejects God’s plan for his/her life. Without the thinking skills provided by God within His power system an arrogant believer succumbs to all kinds of distractions of Satan’s world system. These distractions prevent the believer from advancing to spiritual maturity and cancel the greater grace blessings from God that are available to all believers. (Romans 12:1-3)
Authority is the main issue that humility faces. Submission to legitimate authority is humility; rebellion to authority is arrogance. There is nothing demeaning or degrading about submitting to legitimate authority. Humility does not mean humiliation. Humility is not self-degradation. A person who acts like a martyr or desires your pity is not humble.
Authority and freedom are not antithetical concepts. Freedom without authority is anarchy, but authority without freedom is tyranny. Humility recognizes legitimate authority and the freedom that results. God created man with the freedom to choose. However, God gave man a system of authority to protect freedom. This system was designed for all mankind; we call it divine establishment.
In eternity past, God the Father designed a plan for mankind based on His grace, His righteousness, His justice and His perfect character. God is perfect and His plan is perfect, even with the introduction of man, who would become imperfect. God’s plan depends on God’s grace: in salvation Jesus Christ accomplishes the plan; in the Christian Way of Life the Holy Spirit accomplishes the plan; in eternity God the Father accomplishes the plan. It is always God who accomplishes the plan. Therefore, it is always grace. (John 3:16-18; Ephesians 1:1-14; I Corinthians 12:4-11; II Corinthians 5:8)
Under God’s grace policy certain principles or divine laws were established to ensure the function and the perpetuation of the human race. These principles or laws are called Divine Establishment and are given by God to believers and unbelievers alike. Within these laws there is no discrimination based on race, nationality, gender or any other factor. God’s laws of divine establishment apply equally to all members of the human race in all dispensations. This means that anyone, believer or unbeliever, can have a peaceful, happy life if they apply these principles. On the other hand, failure to abide by these principles or laws by individuals or nations brings only disaster.
A divine institution is a law or a principle established by God for the entire human race for all dispensations. There are four:
1) Freewill - Freewill sets up the potential for everything in life. It guarantees the right of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Violation of God’s establishment laws can negate this potential. Freewill also guarantees human freedom and privacy. It is this principle that gives every human being the right to accept or reject Jesus Christ as Savior. Attempting to force people to believe in Christ and forming a “Christian nation” is tyranny. Our forefathers did not come to this country to establish a Christian nation. They came so that they could practice religious freedom: all religions. (John 3:16,18,36)
2) Marriage - Biblical marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is a function for the protection of freedom, as the man fulfills his responsibility of protecting his wife and children. The stability of a nation depends upon the institution of marriage. Breakdown of marriages and the home inevitably leads to the destruction of a nation. Marriage guidelines are presented throughout Scripture for the believer and the unbeliever alike. For the believer, God has provided detailed guidelines for marriage, which include such instructions as to marry only another believer. God has a right man and a right woman for every Christian. We must remember that a person is no better in marriage than he or she is as an individual. Divine establishment principles of marriage apply equally to all persons. (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:21-33)
3) Family – The family is designed by God for the perpetuation of the human race. Procreation brings new human beings into the world with freewill that must be protected and trained. Children who are trained properly by their parents grow up to be good citizens of the nation, whether they are believers or not. One of the basic concepts which needs to be taught is respect for authority. This includes (but is not limited to) God, the Word of God, parents, teachers, government, police officers, etc. Proper training assures at least a good possibility that a person will utilize the laws of divine establishment, even if they don’t call them by that name. (Ephesians 6:1-4)
4) Nationalism – In order to provide protection for a nation and its citizens, God established the authority of human government. Nations, regardless of type, were established to provide the basic freedoms. These freedoms are privacy, the right to succeed or fail, protection from outside predators, freedom to accept or reject Jesus Christ, freedom of worship and free enterprise. By following this divine establishment law of nationalism, believers and unbelievers are free to pursue their dreams. (Genesis 10:5; Deuteronomy 32:8; Romans 13:1-7)
In order to prevent people from destroying themselves, God introduced human government as a ruling factor for the nation. Human government was given by God for all nations. It was the confusion of languages and the dispersion of mankind that God used to introduce human government into the human race. (Genesis 11:1-9)
As history has progressed, nations have risen and fallen, some good, some bad, but the concept of nations still exists. It is when individual nations exist under a “one-world government” (as in the Tribulation) that freewill will no longer exist, marriage and family will disintegrate and the practice of nationalism will not be allowed. Nations are designed by God for the perpetuation of the human race, for freedom to accept or reject Jesus Christ, freedom to worship, freedom to succeed or fail and protection from interior and exterior predators. It is mankind that corrupts this divine institution and introduces evil into a national entity.
A Biblical pattern for a nation is one where freedom exists for all people (believers and unbelievers) and is governed by “the common good for all” concept. This pattern rejects anything that would subvert or corrupt the nation. This subversion or corruption can be, but is not limited to, music, art, literature and drama (including movies and television in our culture). When these cultural activities become corrupt, the people of the influenced nation begin to act out the pattern of behavior that they are being taught by the various media. This bad behavior eventuates in several cycles of divine discipline, until the nation is destroyed from within or from without. Only a nation that remains true to the Biblical concept of a nation will prosper and survive.
Without authority, the human race would be in such a chaotic condition that it would rival the days of Noah and the Flood. The ultimate authority, of course, is God, but He has given mankind these divine establishment laws and a government entity to enforce them so that we can live happy, productive lives in an atmosphere of freedom. Believers and unbelievers alike can enjoy their lives on earth if they adhere, either consciously or unconsciously, to the principles of Divine Establishment. The difference is that the believer has the power of the Holy Spirit and his eternal destination is Heaven. Therefore, the believer has no excuse for living a life of inferiority. Often, an unbeliever who applies these principles is a much better person and exhibits more of the character of Jesus Christ than the believer who has rejected the authority of God in his/her life.