"Worm" Theology

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by The Biblicist, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    "There is nothing so dangerous or necessary in the world as singing Isaac Watts’ coarse and abhorrent words would (Christ) devote his sacred head for such a worm as I?" - Cassy Hobbs

    "The important thing about the way John’s life witnessed the truth of the Gospel, however, is not in his strange ascetic practices but in his message of repentance. John called the people of Israel to repent. His preaching drew large crowds. And John’s message received special attention from certain religious leaders who might have found what he had to say akin to their own. These were those religious folk who taught that God was a harsh judge, that human beings should be treated with contempt, and that life should be lived out in obedience to a strict list of rules and regulations.

    But John saw through the teachings of these religious leaders. He knew that they had not come to repent or to call others into repentance. Repentance means that God’s grace is at work, bringing about transformation, restoring lives so they can shine in their created beauty. And John knew these religious leaders were not preaching transformation. They were preaching judgment. They were not about restoration. They were about control. Their agenda was to make others believe they were worthless so that they could continue to justify their authority. They did not want people to turn to God. They wanted to be gods.

    We might say these religious leaders represented a form of religious life that can be characterized as worm theology. That is, because humans are sinful creatures, the faithful life is a life of guilt and sorrow. This kind of belief teaches that humans are cursed, and there is nothing good about them.
    " - Michael Anthony Howard (emphasis mine).

    Paul had a "can do" attitude but it was "I can do all things THROUGH CHRIST" attitude.

    However, Paul using the present tense considered himself "the cheif of sinners" and "the least" of all the apostles.

    Apart from the empowering of the Holy Spirit his attitude toward self was "oh wretch man that I am" again present tense.

    In keeping with this self-conception, Jesus told disciples that "without me ye can do nothing."

    The proper self-perspective seems to fit within the following guidelines:

    1. Every potential ability or gift comes from God - 1 Cor. 4:7 - therefore all credit should be given to God.

    2. Such potential abilities and gifts must be exercised and as you exercise such you develop experience that promotes a God centered confidence.

    3. You should not think above the "measure" of grace consisting of potential abilities, gifts and experience gained through the exercise of such - Rom. 12:3,5

    4. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you to perform within the guidelines of His will.

    5. Any view of self outside of these guidelines is a self that is inherently evil - Rom. 7:18.

    Therefore, in regard to "self" apart from the grace of God, the analogy of a "worm" is most fitting.
     
    #1 The Biblicist, Jan 4, 2015
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  2. Deacon

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    I'm starting an 8 week lesson on our identity in Christ in the Sunday morning bible study,

    I think I'll fit your outline into a lesson.

    Rob
     
  3. The Biblicist

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    What about confidence gained from experience. Practicing carpentry produces experiential knowledge/familiarity with this vocation that provides confidence equal to your experience (Rom. 12:4). Whereas "self-esteem" and "believing in self" refers more to taking credit and glory for that level of experience (1 Cor. 4:7).

    It is not wrong to be confident in regard to your ability due to experience but it is wrong to credit yourself for obtaining the circumcstances, gifts or potential in achieving that level of experience because everything required to acheive that level of experience or exercise that gift does not originate with you.
     
    #3 The Biblicist, Jan 4, 2015
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  4. The Biblicist

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    I had a discussion with my youngest son last night (really I just listened) when he told me that it is better to be "over self-confident than under self-confident in all that you do." I replied in a text to him this morning (after giving it some thoughtful consideration) that "God confidence is always better than self-confidence" and in regard to under or over self-confidence it would seen the ultimate consequence would be humility versus pride.

    Ultimately the most appropriate definition for "sin" is "self-confidence" as no man can serve two masters and if confidence is placed in self it is at the expense of God as both cannot co-equally share the same position of confidence.
     
  5. JonC

    JonC
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    :thumbs:
    Who is Cassy Hobbs?
     
  6. The Biblicist

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  7. Getting it Right

    Getting it Right
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    The sinful nature is always with us. It reminds us of the worm we were without Jesus. The Spiritual Nature is ours since the born-again experience. We yield to the former at the expense of peace in our walk. (Bible 101).

    :praying:
     
    #7 Getting it Right, Jan 4, 2015
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  8. OldRegular

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    I believe "grasshopper" is more Biblical than "worm"!

    Isaiah 40:18-26
    18. To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?
    19. The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.
    20. He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
    21. Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?
    22. It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
    23. That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity.
    24. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
    25. To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One.
    26. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.
     
  9. JonC

    JonC
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    Dominion and awe belong to Him Who establishes peace in His heights. Is there any number to His troops? And upon whom does His light not rise? How then can a man be just with God? Or how can he be clean who is born of woman? If even the moon has no brightness And the stars are not pure in His sight, How much less man, that maggot, And the son of man, that worm. Job 25:2-6
     
  10. OldRegular

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    Thanks Jon! I love certain parts of Job but other parts leave me somewhat confused. I could have done a word search but I like that passage from Isaiah too much and I can remember it. I must say that, on second reading, I got a good chuckle out of the passage from Job, especially the last verse. I will have to keep it in mind.

    It really is sad that man, even some believers, cannot understand the vast difference between God and sinful man. And Jesus Christ bridged that vast gulf for the believer!

    1 John 3:1. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
     
  11. Iconoclast

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    22 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

    2 O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

    3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

    4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.

    5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

    6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

    7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

    8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

    9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.

    10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.

    11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

    12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

    13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

    14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

    15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

    16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

    17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

    18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

    19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

    20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

    21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

    22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

    23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.

    24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

    25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.

    26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.

    27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

    28 For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations.

    29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.

    30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

    31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
     
  12. Deacon

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    Some Christians have been so damaged in their life that their sin and wretchedness controls them.

    It's not hard to witness to these type of individuals. Sometimes they are reaching out for help... it's just hard to break the habits, the dependency they have upon broken ways.

    My purpose in beginning a Sunday class on "Our Identity in Christ" is to encourage Christians to know that they are no longer "a worm" but a child of God, his workmanship, created with a purpose, ... the list goes on.

    Quite a few of the member in the class come from a background of drug and alcohol dependency, at this point in their lives they know they are worms, or as one of them frequently says, "a knucklehead".

    When we realize that God has lifted us up from that state, we can begin to stand straight in the church and fill the role God has designed us for.

    Rob
     
  13. quantumfaith

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    Bravo, I thank God there are folks like you willing and able to share the realities and treasures of a relationship with Christ to the most defeated. Blessings to you and this ministry you have.
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    I understand and that is a great ministry toward those who have lived in that reality, as opposed to others who live in denial of that reality. However, it is important they know the difference between experience, condition and position. When they choose to operate under the flesh which always remains in the condition of a "worm" (Rom. 7:18) they will bring themselves into a position that they will reexperience that "worm" condition.

    However, when they choose to live after the Spirit they will experience the condition of the new man in their new position in Christ. It is true their new condition in the Spirit and their new position in Christ never changes, but their experience changes depending upon if they choose to walk after the flesh or after the Spirit.
     
  15. kyredneck

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  16. Yeshua1

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    We were all though "worms' before the grace of God came to us and saved us, as none of us were worth jesus death on the Cross!
     

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