The Gospel of Thomas: Introspection or Heaven-Spection?
Part 3

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Copyright 1994 - 2020 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
July 17, 1997

Last Updated :
September 24, 2019

Bring People To Jesus And Not To Us Or to Our Church, Jesus Is The One True Rock, Our Secular Humanist World, The Pride Of Life, A Sacrificial Life Of Humble Servitude To The Lord, We Must Die Daily To Bear Fruit For God's Kingdom, Old Man Versus New Man, Be Honest With Yourself And God Regarding Your Sinful Condition, King David's Example Of Humility And Obedience, To Whom Much Has Been Forgiven The Same Loves Much, Full Of Ourselves Or Full Of Christ, First Recognize The Problem, Our Wicked Human Heart, A New Heart In Christ, Apostle Paul's Struggles, Our Battle With Sin And Our Flesh, Submit Ourselves Daily To God's Will, The Battle Of The Mind

As I concluded in part two, through seeing the Love, Light and Truth which we reflect, people will hopefully be brought to Jesus, and thus be saved, and not merely be brought to us, or to our particular church or organization. We are not the source of that Love, Light and Truth. We are only the tools through which the Lord shines. If we are only bringing people to us, or to our particular faith or doctrine, then we have failed them. Unless they are firmly established in the Lord and in His Word, then they will also fall and fail in times of hardship and temptation. So it's very important that they stand on the one true Rock -- Christ -- and not just on any man-made foundation of organized religion. Consider the following group of verses:

"The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes."
Psalm 118:22-23, KJV

"Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?"
Matthew 21:42, KJV

"And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?"
Mark 12:10-11, KJV

"This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner."
Acts 4:11, KJV

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."
1 Corinthians 3:11, KJV

"To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed [that is disapproved, rejected, repudiated] indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed."
1 Peter 2:4-8, KJV

In the school of the world, we are taught to be proud of our accomplishments. From the time we are young we are taught to have personal pride, national pride, pride at work, pride in sports, pride in education, etc. It is really the epitome of exaltation of self and the worship of human achievements. It is secular humanism. It is looking inward instead of upward. It is all glory to self and very little or no glory given to God. The Apostle John very pointedly exposed this misguided worldly manner of thinking in the following verses:

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 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 2:15-16, KJV

Do you see that? The pride of life. And what does John say about this? He writes "is not of the father." That is the Devil's game in a nutshell. As we learned in part one, it was pride which brought about his downfall and it will most assuredly bring about our downfall as well, if we foolishly choose to yield to it.

However, contrary to the false ideas and values which the world tries to brainwash us with, the Bible clearly reveals that we are not to seek our own glory, our own credit, or to exalt ourselves in the eyes of men. We are not to lift up our church, our particular denomination, our doctrines, or anything else. We are only to preach Jesus. As the followers of Christ, God's Word instructs us to humble ourselves, to take the lower seat, to live sacrificial lives in service to the Lord and to others, and to seek no reputation of our own. Furthermore, we must all realize that without Christ in our lives, we can really do nothing of eternal value. All of these points become evident in the following set of verses:

"(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)"
Numbers 12:3, KJV

"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18, KJV

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
Matthew 11:29, KJV

"Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 18:4, KJV

"Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."
Matthew 20:28, KJV

"But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
Matthew 23:11-12, KJV

"And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all."
Mark 9:35, KJV

"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. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
Luke 9:23-24, KJV

"He [Jesus] must increase, but I [John the Baptist] must decrease."
John 3:30, KJV

"I am the vine, ye ‭are‭ the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: FOR WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING . . . Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.‭"
John 15:5, 13-14, KJV

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:1-2, KJV

"I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."
1 Corinthians 15:31, KJV

"For WE PREACH NOT OURSELVES, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake."
2 Corinthians 4:5, KJV

"But made himself OF NO REPUTATION, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:"
Philippians 2:7, KJV

"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble . . . Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
James 4:6, 10, KJV

"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:"
1 Peter 5:5-6, KJV

"Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
1 John 3:16, KJV

So as you can plainly see, unless we are willing to die to ourselves, to die to our own wants and worldly interests in life, unless we are willing to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God, we may never know what God's will is for our lives, and we may never accomplish the purposes He has designed for us. Jesus compared this dying daily to a seed planted in the ground, which then later bears much fruit, as we see by the following two verses:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal."
John 12:24-25, KJV

Each of us must make this important decision for ourselves. Either we selfishly live for ourselves and exalt ourselves, or else we become nothing and live for the Lord in daily sacrifice. There is no room for both. To reiterate, we are to lift up Jesus and not look to ourselves. We are to look up to Heaven and not in to ourselves. As I explain in the article entitled "What Really Happens to Us When We Die?", our old man of the flesh, and our old way of thinking and doing things is our enemy. It fights against God and His Will for our lives. As I amply explain in articles such as "Are You Crucified With Christ?" and "So You Really Think You Are So Humble?", it is for this reason that we must deny our old sinful man of the flesh and crucify it, as we see by the following set of verses:

"Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Romans 6:6, KJV

"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;"
Ephesians 4:22, KJV

"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;"
Colossians 3:9, KJV

In contrast to the previous three verses, in this next set of verses, the Apostle Paul informs us that we must become new creatures, and we must put on the new man who we become through faith in Jesus Christ:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV

"And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Ephesians 4:24, KJV

"And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:"
Colossians 3:10, KJV

As I point out in the aforementioned articles, there is a constant war going on between our new man of the Spirit, and our old man of the flesh. So in regards to what the Gospel of Thomas says about knowing ourselves, while we must know ourselves -- that is, be aware of our own human weaknesses and shortcomings -- we are not to dwell upon them. In short, as we discussed in part two of this series, the only thing we really need to know is that we are all hopeless sinners without Christ in our lives, and that we really have no righteousness of our own to boast about. Furthermore, it is only in knowing Jesus' Spirit which dwells within us that we acquire Eternal Life, as we see by the following two verses:

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
John 17:3, KJV

"And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life."
1 John 5:20, KJV

There is one final reason why we are told not to look inward to ourselves. As should already be clear to you, the simple fact of the matter is that there is nothing good there. If you think that there is, then you are being deceived by your own pride and vanity, and you will be utterly useless to God in any real way. Let's be honest here. It is easy for us all to say, "Oh sure, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I need Jesus in my life. I realize that I am doomed without Him." However, how much of it is just lip service? How much do we really believe it in our hearts? Do we secretly say within ourselves "I'm not really that bad"? In his Epistle, the Apostle James writes the following:

"If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."
James 1:26, KJV

The truth is that we can very easily quote Scriptures such as Romans 3:23 and Romans 6:23. But are we just applying them to others, or to ourselves as well? As we learned in part one, the Jewish religious elders were quite notorious for doing this. Their self-righteous, condescending attitude stunk to high Heaven, and Jesus thoroughly exposed them as a result of it. Remember again the story Jesus told regarding the Pharisee and the publican, which I shared with you in part two. Which one of those two are we?

From one end of the Bible to the other, we find Prophets and men of God, not boasting of how great they are, not boasting of what wonderful things they have done for the Lord, but beseeching the Lord for His love, mercy and forgiveness as a result of recognizing their own sinful state. King David is particularly known for his many supplications to the Lord in his Psalms. One Psalm which has been widely used as a good example of prayer by many Christians is Psalm 51. This is a Psalm which King David prayed after committing adultery and impregnating Bathsheba -- the wife of Uriah, who was a loyal general in his army -- and then intentionally murdering Uriah in order to cover up his sin. It states in part the following:

". . . Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
Psalm 51:1b-10, KJV

I don't know about you, but I can really sense the anguish in King David's words. This was a genuine prayer from his heart. It was because of David's honesty with the Lord, and the fact that he acknowledged his sinful condition, that he was so special in the Lord's sight. It was likewise due to David's obedience, even before he became the next king. You may recall that when the Prophet Samuel was sent to King Saul to inform him that his kingdom would be given to David, Samuel said the following to stubborn Saul:

"But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee."
1 Samuel 13:14, KJV

In the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Acts, we discover that the Apostle Paul confirms this same thought regarding David when he preached in the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia. Consider this verse:

"And when he had removed him [Saul], he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will."
Acts 13:22, KJV

One reason why King David obviously loved the Lord so much, particularly after he had committed such grievous sins, is precisely because he found forgiveness in the Lord's sight, after the Prophet Nathan had revealed all to the king. In other words, as Jesus explains in the following Parable, to whom much has been forgiven, the same loves much:

"There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven."
Luke 7:41-48, KJV

As I mentioned earlier, it is when we are full of ourselves, full of our own pride, and full of our own self-righteousness that the Lord's Spirit does not have an opportunity to work in us or through us, as He would like to. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the brethren at Philippi:

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Philippians 2:13, KJV

But how can God really work when we are so full of ourselves? As long as we think we are good; as long as we think we can save ourselves or merit our own Salvation -- as the Scribes and the Pharisees obviously thought -- we will never be truly saved, and we will never be the humble vessels that God wants us to be. That was also Saul's mistake before he became the Apostle Paul. As you may recall, Saul self-righteously went around persecuting the early Christians until God smacked him down into the ground and woke him up. If you are not familiar with the story, please read Acts chapter nine.

As any doctor will tell you, the first part of finding a cure is to recognize and admit that there is something wrong with us. For some people, this can be the hardest step to take; either with an earthly doctor, or with our Heavenly Spiritual Doctor. You see, the Lord is an Expert Cardiologist. He knows exactly where the problem lies, as well as how serious it is. He also knows how to remove the diseased tissue. So exactly how bad is it? Well, I think the Bible can speak for itself regarding this matter. Consider the following set of verses:

"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
Genesis 6:5, KJV

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Jeremiah 17:9, KJV

"But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man."
Matthew 15:18-20, KJV

"And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
Mark 7:20-23, KJV

As you can see, our heart is so evil that we can't even begin to realize how wicked it is. Working in conjunction with our brain, it protects itself by feeding us all kinds of rot to keep us living in a state of delusion. It tells us how good we are, how great we are, that there is nothing wrong with us, etc. This is in direct contrast to what is made so clear in the previous set of verses, as well as in the verses I shared with you in part two regarding our sinful condition.

This is why our Heart Specialist -- Jesus -- needs to perform an operation of the Spirit. Modern medicine prides itself in being able to perform heart transplants. However, do you know what? While modern medicine may be able to temporarily repair what is wrong with our physical hearts, it can never get to the root of the real problem which plagues all of humanity, because it is spiritual in nature. The real cure -- that is, the Eternal Cure -- isn't in replacing our heart with another healthy human heart, or even with an artificial heart, but rather in replacing our wicked, unregenerate heart with one of the Lord's own making through spiritual rebirth, as we see by the following verses:

"And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."
Ezekiel 11:19-20, KJV

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do ‭them‭."
Ezekiel 36:26-27, KJV

While the previous four verses were specifically written in regards to the backslidden Jews who had been taken captive to Babylon for a period of seventy years, in a more general sense, we can apply them to our own lives as Christians as well. This is in perfect agreement with what we discussed earlier regarding being reborn in the Spirit, the old man versus the new man, and becoming new creatures in Christ.

The Apostle Paul was no stranger to these matters of sin and the battles of the flesh. If you read my article entitled "A Biblical Cafeteria, or the Whole Course?", you will discover that Paul knew exactly what the score was between himself and the Lord. Even after the Lord had smacked him down hard and turned him into a new creature, Paul still wrestled for the rest of his days against his old flesh and his besetting sins, as we can determine by the following verses:

"For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
Romans 7:18-19, 24, KJV

Just like the Apostle Paul, we too must make a conscious effort on a daily basis to keep ourselves in submission to the Lord and His Divine Will for our lives. We must bring all of our thoughts into subjection, and run the race that is set before us. Paul expressed these thoughts quite well with the following set of verses:

"I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway."
1 Corinthians 9:26-27, KJV

"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
Romans 8:7, KJV

"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;"
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, KJV

Why does the Apostle Paul place so much emphasis on the mind? Because as I explain in a number of other articles, that is where the real battle is fought. That is where Satan tempts us to sin. He attempts to weaken us in our minds first, and tries to cause us to faint in our minds, so that what start out as just thoughts, soon turn into actual sins which we carry out. He also attacks us in our minds with doubts, with thoughts of futility, and with discouragement, so that we'll take our eyes off of the Lord, and perhaps even stop serving the Lord altogether. That is why Paul admonishes Believers to "gird up the loins of your mind." This profound truth is made evident by verses such as the following:

"For to be carnally minded ‭is‭ death; but to be spiritually minded ‭is‭ life and peace.‭"
Romans 8:6, KJV

"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Corinthians 2:16, KJV

"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
2 Corinthians 11:3, KJV

"And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;"
Ephesians 4:23, KJV

"And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled"
Colossians 1:21, KJV

"For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."
Hebrews 12:3, KJV

"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;"
1 Peter 1:13, KJV

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:"
1 Peter 5:8, KJV

So you see, that is why Paul wrote that we must be renewed in our minds in Romans chapter twelve. We can say then that we need both new hearts and new minds if we expect to win the battle and run with patience the race that is set before us.

Please go to part four for the conclusion of this series.

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