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The Path to

Grace and Greatness

W.L. Boone


W E ARE GOING to have to come to the realization THAT GREATNESS WITH GOD IS NOT OUR UNDERSTANDING OF IT AT ALL. We will not only have to change our definition of greatness, BUT ACTUALLY DEVELOP AN ENTIRE NEW SET OF MEASUREMENTS. This is a powerful concept! The measurements of grace are as unique as they are wonderful! The greatness of humankind is in conflict with God's greatness. Take the reference of Jesus about humility for an example.

We are raised from childhood with the teaching that meekness is weakness and humility is wimpishness. Listed here are some startling realizations, God is intrinsically an humble Being. The universe is literally filled from end to end with humble beings. Arrogance and pride are peculiar to the earth and its inhabitants. Sin is the result of pride (See Ezekiel 28:17)...

You see, the reason why we initially reject the concept of God's humility is that WE EQUATE TRUE HUMILITY WITH EARTH'S (THUS SOCIETY'S) CONCEPT OF IT, WHICH IS NON-AGGRESSIVE, NON-CONFRONTATIONAL, FEARFUL, FLACCID, WEAK, DOCILE, AND WIMPY. NOTHING COULD BE MORE ERRONEOUS, and Jesus was directly trying to correct such an error. I urge us to take a long look at our Savior when we are inclined to equate true humility with fearfulness or weakness or non-confrontation.

Jesus seemed to be always "in the faces" of the hypocrites and religious liars. Jesus stood "toe to toe" with them and named their infamous pedigrees without a hint of fearfulness. HIS STINGING, INFLAMMATORY JUDGMENTS of their veiled, empty hypocrisies were anything but weak and wimpy! I have emotionally preached for a lifetime that Jesus Christ was a man among men, and have vigorously rejected an effeminate, sallow, acquiescent, stoop-shouldered, "tiptoe-through-the-tulips" wimpy kind of a Lord and Savior!

Jesus always stood up for what was right, and good, and holy, and proper, and virtuous, AND NO MAN OR WOMAN CAN DO THAT IN WEAKNESS, AND FEAR, AND TREPIDATION!! Our Lord's self-description ought to quell any contrary voice relating to His intrinsic humility; [this] is established in His statement in Matthew 11:29: “I am meek and lowly in heart...”

There is no conflict with humility and all other good in God or redeemed mankind. True humility is compatible with all other good. The intrinsic meekness of Jesus did not suffer at all as He excoriated the duplicity of the Pharisees. The lowliness of Jesus did not depreciate at all as He hammered the unbelievers of Capernaum. The humility of Jesus was not abandoned as He drove out the crooks from the temple.

WE HAVE TO CHANGE OUR MINDS ABOUT MEEKNESS BEING WEAKNESS, AND LOWLINESS BEING NON-ASSERTIVE, AND HUMILITY BEING NON-CONFRONTATIONAL [Emphasis the author’s]. Greatness with God is not merely the opposite from our ideas about it -- it is different...

That is a major reason for a Great White Throne judgment before God. (See The Revelation 20:11). God will call every human being into one, vast judgment arena TO MAKE RIGHT ALL WRONGS. God's judgment throne is not primarily "to give those beggars what is coming to them," or is it a Divine, gleeful pronouncement of damnation to the disbelieving and disobedient. IT IS PRIMARILY THE MAINTENANCE OF THE RIGHT. Everything within and about the character of God is right and true and genuine...

We have to see that everything about Who and what God is, IS A FACT, and the recognition of it does not validate it; it only proclaims it. Who He is, is intact whether we choose to believe it or not. The point of all this rationale is that GREATNESS WITH GOD AND BEFORE GOD DOES NOT PRIMARILY INVOLVE POSITION AND ACCLAIM FOR HIMSELF OR ANY OTHER BEING. That God, or any other being He has created, is acclaimed or honored to any degree HAS TO DO WITH THE ACTUAL CHARACTER AND NATURE OF BEING, or beings.

In heaven there will be nothing hidden or unknown. Heaven is a transparency. Did you catch that truth in The Revelation 21:27? that (in heaven) "...there shall in no wise enter into it anything that...maketh a lie..."? There will be no deceit, no ambiguity, no ulteriority, no innuendo, no subterfuge, no hidden meanings, NOTHING FAKE OR SHAM OR UNREAL! Such truth should make any thinking person homesick for heaven, when every inhabitant will be exactly who and what they really are and not what is thought or supposed to be. Praise the Lord!...

The only imaginable reason why God would give so much that cost Him so much is because of His grace. (He is a Person Who WANTS to give something—valuable and precious and wonderful to another person.) All we have to do is think of the person we love the most and how much we nearly burst with desire to give them gifts and do things for them. We can't even put into words the deep, moving feelings of desire and love and devotion we have for them.

You see, grace doesn't measure or weigh in cost. Results don't figure into the nature of grace. Grace has no motive. God didn't calculate the cost of mankind. He simply WANTED to share Himself. The final reason why GOD'S GRACE IS SO AMAZING IS THAT HE INTENDS FOR US TO MANIFEST IT IN OUR LIVES AND BY OUR CONDUCT. The plan is for us to be small replicas of His grace. He wants to change our naturally selfish attitudes, and absorb our thinking, and saturate our purposes so consistently that we will find ourselves functioning in gracious ways towards others.

A person can be good, but fail to be gracious. One can be loyal and genuine, but not gracious. We may live a lifetime of integrity and lack this grace. Some people can be consistently proper, and socially accurate, and miss entirely the beauty of graciousness...Is it possible to give and give and give as God does? Can we actually live in an atmosphere of caring and doing for others? Isn't that too high of a standard? Doesn't that ask too much? Isn't that unrealistic? Not at all if we are OF and IN His grace. The surprise would be if it did not work that way.

THE FACT IS THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE OF HIM AND NOT BE LIKE HIM. We become like what or whom we hang around. How quickly we acquire the idioms and voice inflections and gesticulations of those we admire and spend large amounts of time with. Chips off of the old block, so to speak. We pattern our heroes and we imitate their ways. We acclimate to our environment. Even so, any person who hangs around God's wonderful grace takes on the same.


The Path to

Grace and Greatness

Part 2, “What it means to be Humble”

W.L. Boone


T HE POINT IS that it can't be even remotely proven that Jesus was temperamentally quiet, soft-spoken, introverted or retiring. He may have been, or He may have been exactly the opposite, or He may have been somewhere in between: IT IS NOT IMPORTANT.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS FOR US TO SEE THAT TRUE HUMILITY IS A BEAUTIFUL AND HEAVENLY SPIRIT THAT FUNCTIONS WITHIN ANY TEMPERAMENTAL VARIATION. I ask each of us the obvious question in connection with Jesus and His temperament.: “Was He ‘meek and lowly’ as He excoriated the honor-seeking Pharisees, and castigated the hypocritical scribes, and passionately ‘read the pedigree’ of the chief priests?” Certainly!

“Was He less humble when He was responding in the emotional heat of righteous anger?” Certainly not. While we are at this juncture, something sensible needs to be said about voice raising. I have a perfectly reasonable question to raise (pun intended): If God never intended for us to raise our voices, why are we able to do so? Will there be somebody arise to tell us that our ability to yell or shout or holler is the result of the fall, and that we were originally created to speak in a monotone?

...Listen to what God told His prophet, Isaiah, in 58:1: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.”

When John, the Baptist, was revealed to Israel six months before Jesus started His ministry, his message of repentance was as: "the voice of one crying in the wilderness...”

Our Lord was moved to raise His voice more than once when the occasion demanded it, as we can observe in John 7:37. "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and CRIED, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink." The Amplified says: "Jesus stood forth and He cried in a loud voice..." The NIV says: "Jesus stood and said in a loud voice..." The LB says that: "Jesus shouted to the crowds..."

The Greek word here actually has the prefix "EK" with it, meaning "out", and should be translated "cried out" to be accurate, The same word is used two other times in reference to Jesus' proclamations. Verse 28 of this same chapter states that: “Jesus cried out in the temple as He taught, saying, Ye both know Me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me is true, Whom ye know not. But I know Him: for I am come from Him, and He hath sent Me."

The same word and expression is used about Jesus' passionate statements in John 12:44, and says: "Jesus cried out and said, He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him That sent Me. And he that seeth Me, seeth Him that sent Me."

It is both biblically inaccurate and unfair to think, believe, and/or teach that if a person is humble and Christlike, that he will never raise his voice or become emotional in how he expresses himself. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE BIBLE THAT TEACHES A STATE OF GRACE THAT OBVIATES A CHRISTIAN'S FEELINGS OR EMOTIONS.

Two of the godliest and wisest men I have ever known, Reverends Robert H. Heckart and Thomas Lee, were both outspoken, extremely frank and strongly opinionated temperamentally. Both men were greatly misunderstood because of the frank way they would "call the shots as they saw them," so to speak.

Both men could "snap off" quick and fearless judgments when they saw what they understood to be improper behavior or unfounded and unwise choices in the work of the church. What impressed me at the time, and now in review, is that they were usually correct in their judgments. I was privileged to work closely with both men over long periods of time and in varied circumstances, and never once observed either carnal pride or carnal anger in either of them. Both of them had pure motives and didn't [financially] profit from lifetimes of faithful service to God and the church. I think that most people in the church who opposed and criticized them were simply unaccustomed to the stern commitment to honesty they subscribed to and lived by.

You could trust them to be the same anywhere and everywhere....We have been privileged to have Brother Lee in our home often, and he was always courteous, gracious and gentlemanly. I would guess that most people who knew him would not think of him as an humble man, but I do, and this is why I use him for an example of humility. This is one of the main purposes of this message: to define and teach what true humility is.

* It is not necessarily quietness, but it is a softness of spirit. * It is not necessarily acquiescence, but it is selflessness that places the well-being of others over its own.

Having said that, I can think of a good number of life situations that need firmness and sterness and bold confrontation and stout refusal—in and out of the church. Jesus seemed to be nearly always in a confrontation of some sort. We need to think about that quite a bit.

The uncovering of deceit and hypocrisy is not a job to be accomplished by timid souls, with kid gloves and smiles: think with me a bit. The usual response to the confrontations of Jesus from His listeners was ANGER. I don't mean displeasure, or being upset, or grumbling, or mere hurt feelings. THEY WANTED TO KILL HIM!!

I need to ask us: Was Jesus "meek and lowly" as He forthrightly confronted and condemned the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the religionists? Of course. Not only was He still meek and lowly and humble at heart, BUT THAT VERY NATURE OF HUMILITY MADE DEMANDS OF HIS SENSE OF RIGHT AND WRONG. Whatever it was in Him that He identified as "meek and lowly in heart" ROSE UP AGAINST ALL THAT WAS EVIL AND UNHOLY.

THERE IS NO CONTRADICTION BETWEEN RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION AGAINST WRONGDOING AND HUMILITY. We must recognize this, and believe it, and practice it. Humility doesn't make weak-kneed wimps out of the saints, There are times that HUMILITY INSISTS THAT WE STAND UP and be counted without the slightest suggestion of the surrender of its nature and virtue.


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