In the Matrix movies the inscription over the Oracle’s door is, “Temet Nosce”, which is Latin for “KNOW YOURSELF”.  This is a fundamental truth just as important as knowing God.  Have you thought about this basic question: What is a human being? Who are you?

The Atheist would say you are a complexity of molecules put together by time and chance, no more significant that a worm.

The Marxist Communist would say you are part of the inevitable march of history towards a classless society, where our innate goodness will overcome evil

The New Age Buddhist would say you are part of God, one with God and you just need to get in touch with your inner happy spirit.

The Secular Humanist would say you are a highly intelligent animal with the potential in yourselves to overcome all our problems through science, education and technology.

The post-modern Generation X would say, “who knows; no-one knows; let’s party till we forget the question.”

What does the Bible say? 

The Bible says that human beings are privileged creatures, created in the image of God, but are now fallen and corrupted in every area of their lives.

For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under (the power of) sin.  (Romans 3:9)

The Apostle Paul does not say in this verse that our big problem is that we commit sins and so bad things; he does not even say that the problem is that we are sinners; he says we are as human beings under the power of sin.

Know yourself

We are in bondage to sin; we are under the dominion of sin; sin is the evil dictator we cannot escape from; sin rules over us and condemns us.  If we are under sin’s bondage, what do we need in order to be freed?

We don’t primarily need a teacher – although Jesus taught and education is a good thing.

We don’t primarily need a healer – although Jesus healed many people.

We don’t primarily need more money – although Jesus was concerned for the poor.

We don’t primarily need a Christian government – although Jesus was concerned for good leadership.

We don’t primarily need a set of guidelines – although Jesus was concerned for holy living.

We don’t primarily need a social worker, although Jesus was concerned about social justice.

What we primarily need is a Saviour, a Rescuer.  And that’s what Jesus is and why Jesus came into our world.  Jesus died to bear the wrath of God on sin so that those who trust in him don’t have to.  Jesus died to free us from the consequences and power of sin.  That is the gospel.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Jesus in Luke 19:10)

What really matters

We as human beings can excel in halls of academia, thrill thousands with our beautiful songs, accumulate accolades, win gold medals, paint beautiful artworks or be the best performing CEO in the country, but if we remain in bondage to sin, we are destined for wrath (Romans 2:5) and eternal separation from God.

Of course, as followers of Jesus we must be very concerned about education, public health, improved living conditions, equal opportunities and social justice (like, famously, William Wilberforce) – especially in a country like ours with such a big divide between the have’s and have-not’s; because we are to love our neighbour as our self and are called to be salt and light in the world.  May God give us all a greater love for our fellow citizens created in the image of God.  But we realize that this must flow as a necessary result of believing the gospel and is not the gospel itself.  Jesus died to save us from God’s wrath, not to  give us a better life in this world.  Most of the disciples, like Jesus, were poor martyrs.

Know yourself.

Written by Andre Visagie. Originally posted here.