After I wrote yesterday's post . . . and was kind of thinking on it . . . as I drove down the frigid mountain beginning my (argh) long commute (it's been single digits Fahrenheit the past few days) . . . I considered some more how the media, the "world' etc., was so lavishly lauding Mandela . . . calling him a "great man" . . . a "good man" . . . a "man for the ages" . . . with some of the headlines being: "A Nations' 'Healer' Is Dead' . . . "The Champion of Liberty" . . . "Hero To The World" . . . "A Political Saint". . . .
Is it not so glaringly, blatantly, gaudily, garishly on display how: "the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God"? --1 Cor. 3:19
Pres. "Obama": “We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous, and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth.”
Some quotes from Mandela: "If I had my time to do over, I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man." . . . "There is nothing sacred or inherently superior about non-violent methods of struggle."
. . . . . and I started thinking . . . there really are no "great men"--not in the way the world attempts to portray. "There are NONE righteous . . . NO NOT ONE . . . there are NONE who do good . . . there is no fear of God before their eyes." --Rom. 3:10-18
Did Mandela speak of the Gospel? Did He preach Christ crucified amidst all his moralizing and "good works"? No. He is well known to be have been an atheist, unregenerate, thus . . . one who hated God and had no fear of God. Perhaps he secretly believed, I don't know and that is not really the point, for if he did, he certainly never talked about it . . . but instead promoted MAN'S answers to problems . . . and sought to "make a better world" . . . rather than to save souls for the world to come.
No, he was not a "great man". He was not a "saint." He was not a "profoundly good human."
It occurred to me . . . as I was pondering this . . . and what GOD says (that there are NONE righteous, NONE that do good!) . . . that the closest thing I believe we see in this world to what a "good" or "great man" is . . . is that "man" . . . WHO REALIZES THAT HE IS ACTUALLY A WRETCH!
The closest thing we get to a saint . . . here . . . is that person who KNOWS they are not "good" or "great" . . . and that they do NOTHING "good" or "great" . . . UNLESS it is God Who does it in them!
I consider most of you . . . who know your fallen condition and TOTAL need for a Savior . . . to be much "greater" men and women . . . than Nelson Mandela. The first shall be last. And if it is true that he remained a committed atheist, unregenerate, unrepentant . . . to the end . . . then he will be far to the back . . . of the line . . . among the wailing and gnashing . . . as the meek, the forgotten, the simple, the poor, the abused, the persecuted, the gentle, the longsuffering, the humble WILL BLAZE WITH THE GLORY OF GOD . . . at the front, FIRST . . . TRUE SAINTS . . . who shall live forever! . . . with GOD ALMIGHTY . . . a royal people . . . exalted . . . perfected . . . holy . . . GOOD . . . PURE . . . THE ELECT, CHOSEN . . . BECAUSE and ONLY because of the perfect work of Jesus Christ . . . Who saved His people and gave them HIS righteousness!
If it is true, as it appears . . . (because I have seen no confession of faith, which is something believers are all called to proclaim) . . . that Mandela died an unrepentant murderer and elevator of man over God, then he was no "great man" . . . but instead a typical fool . . . vain . . . self righteous . . . blind . . . dead already . . . and hardly deserving of the adulation and idolatry so feverishly being bestowed upon him. If anything, he gets our pity and lamentation . . . and shaking of the head, that such a charismatic man . . . so wasted his life . . . with such vain, temporary ambitions. What does it profit a man . . . to "save a country" . . . while losing his soul?
So, who ARE the "great" ones? Who are the ones that deserve common respect and honor?
THE LEAST . . . THE POOR IN SPIRIT . . . THE WEAK . . . THE MEEK . . . THE LOWLY . . . those who are not puffed up in their vanity . . . who realize they are destitute wretches and beggars and servants before the Lord! Those who work for the kingdom to come, who love and obey the Master.
Now, THAT is "great". THAT is what "good" looks like in this world--what I would call a "good" or "great" man or woman. And only so, because such have emptied themselves . . . have "died" to self . . . have surrendered . . . submitted . . . have "lost their lives" and gained eternal life . . . those who have bowed to and worship . . . the ONLY source and cause of actual GOODNESS AND GREATNESS: THE ONE TRUE AND LIVING GOD . . . the Father, Son, Holy Spirit!