God Versus Men

This is a subsidiary post of God and Man.

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This post is not about God versus men per se, but rather about the way we regard God as compared to the way we regard human beings.  We err when we give our fellow human beings treatment reserved only for God.  I’ve shown the references to God in bold, and the references to men in underline.

For example:

  • We ought to entrust ourselves to God, not men (John 2:24-25)
  • We ought to please God, not men (Galatians 1:10)
  • We ought to seek the favor of God, not men (Galatians 1:10)
  • We ought to receive glory from God, not men (John 5:41-44)
  • We ought to receive praise from God, not men (Romans 2:29)

(An asterisk at the beginning of the citation indicates an alternative expression that portrays a similar contrast.  A double asterisk means that only one party is explicitly mentioned and the contrast is implied.)

Matthew 6:1  –  “”Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”  –  This sixth chapter of Matthew (in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount) goes on to give three examples of religious activity which, if undertaken to impress men instead of God, is useless:  giving alms, praying, and fasting.

Matthew 16:23  –  “you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

*Matthew 21:25  –  “The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?”

**Matthew 23:5-10  –  “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.  They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.  But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.  Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.  Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.”  –  To establish the implied contrast, relate this passage to what Jesus taught in Matthew 6:1, 5, 16.  Also, see note on Matthew 6:1 above.

**Matthew 23:28  –  “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

Mark 7:8  –  “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”
Mark 7:9  –  “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.”

Mark 8:33  –  Same as Matthew 16:23 above.

Mark 11:30  –  Same as Matthew 21:25 above.

Luke 16:15  –  “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”

Luke 20:4  –  Same as Matthew 21:25 above.

**John 2:24-25  –  “But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.”  –  Conversely, Jesus did entrust Himself to the One who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:23).

**John 3:19-21  –  “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

John 5:41-44  –  “I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.  I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him.  How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?”  –  Consider this passage in the light of Psalm 118:26 below.  By the way, the word for “glory” – which appears once in v. 41 and twice in v. 44 – is translated as “approval” in John 12:43 below.

John 12:43  – “they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God”  –  The NASB marginal note on this verse says that “approval” could have been translated “glory.”  See also the note on John 5:41, 44 above.

Acts 4:19, 20  –  “…’Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard’.”

Acts 5:4 –  “You have not lied to men but to God.”

Acts 5:29  –  “…’We must obey God rather than men‘.”

Acts 5:38, 39  –  “So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

Romans 2:29  –  “…and his praise is not from men, but from God.”

**Romans 14:22  –  “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God.”

*Romans 16:18  –  “For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites…”

1 Corinthians 1:25  –  “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

1 Corinthians 2:5  –  “so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

1 Corinthians 2:11  –  “For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:14-15  –  “…He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him…”  –  Compare to 1 Peter 4:2 below.

Galatians 1:10  –  “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?  Or am I striving to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”

Ephesians 6:5-8  –  “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.  With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.”

Colossians 2:8  –  “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Colossians 2:20-22  –  “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, ‘Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!’  (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)–in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?”

*Colossians 3:2  –  “Set your mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

Colossians 3:23-25  –  “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.  For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.”

1 Thessalonians 2:4  –  “we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.”

1 Thessalonians 2:13  –  “you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God

**Titus 1:14  –  “…commandments of men who turn away from the truth.”

1 Peter 2:4  –  “…a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,”

*1 Peter 3:3-4  –  “Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”

1 Peter 4:2  –  “so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.”  –  Compare to 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 above.

1 John 5:9  –  “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater…”

*****

1 Samuel 16:7  –  “…for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

**Psalm 118:26  –  “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord…”  –  That is, he does not come in his own name; rather, he comes in the name of the Lord.  Consider this in the light of John 5:41-44 above.  Consider also in the light of Colossians 3:17.

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