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  • Joe Norton

A Reasonable Estimate of Self (2/4/2024)

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).


To assure the Roman Christians will listen to him, Paul quietly mentions the grace God has granted him as an inspired apostle—thus, what he teaches here demands their attention. It is not just an option to be considered: it is a command to be heeded.


His teaching has to do with an appropriate estimate of one’s own importance among his fellow Christians: he enjoins that he be humble, realistic, and sober (meaning “fair minded” in his assessment of himself). Paul does not distinguish as to whether one has the gift of inspiration or if he is an ordinary member of the church: this teaching is to “everyone.”


Especially significant in one’s self-examination is the fact that God Himself has been “fair” in providing “a measure of faith,” that is, through God’s word. God has given every person an equal opportunity to develop faith in Him. So, no one should feel superior (even if he has a spiritual gift) and no one should feel inadequate (if he does not have a spiritual gift).


Since the age of miracles ended, every person has had the same equal opportunity to come to know God and to be obedient to the gospel, provided by Jesus’ death on the cross. Arrogance has no place among God’s people.


A realization of this fact should make us humble as we estimate our own self-worth and should stimulate us to have a deep appreciation for both God and Christ for the spiritual provisions they have made for us.


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