Up until the twentieth century, the traditional cultures have always believed too high a view of yourself is the real root cause for most of the evil in the world. This is still true in most cultures of the world. Why do people abuse others? Why are people cruel? Why do people do the bad things they do? Traditionally, pride–too high a view of ourselves–is the reason why we misbehave.

In the modern Western culture, particularly in the United States, we have an utterly opposite cultural consensus. The basis of our education, the way in which we treat incarcerated prisoners, our legislation, and certainly the basis of our counseling is exactly the opposite of the consensus of all the other societies that have ever lived. Our belief today is people misbehave for lack of self-esteem, because they have too low a view of themselves.

What’s intriguing about this passage is it gives us an approach to self-regard, a way of seeing yourself, that is utterly different than traditional cultures or modern, postmodern contemporary culture. The three things we’ll learn here and that Paul shows us is the natural condition of the human ego, the supernatural condition–the transformed sense of self and identity Paul discovered–and lastly, how to get it.

This sermon was preached by Rev. Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian Church on February 24, 2002. Series "Practical Grace; How the Gospel Transforms Character". Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:21-4:7.

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