It has been shown that the primary limitation imposed upon you as man, in order that you may be in the likeness of your Maker and bear the image of the invisible, is that of total dependence upon God – in that your behavior, to be godly, must derive directly and exclusively from God’s activity in you and through you. Any activity, therefore, in which you may engage, no matter how nobly conceived, which does not stem from this humble attitude of dependence upon God, violates the basic principles of your true humanity and the role for which you were created. By independence (or the absence of faith), you eliminate God, the source of your own “godliness.” But only God has the right to be the source of His own godliness, so that however unwittingly, you are acting as your own god!
You will still believe or pretend that you are worshiping God; but as the object of your imitation, even Christ Himself may only be an excuse for worshiping your own ability to imitate – an ability vested in yourself. And this is the basis of all self-righteousness!
It is startling to discover that even God may be used as an excuse for worshiping yourself, demonstrating again the satanic genius for distorting truth and deceiving man – for it was to this temptation that Adam and Eve fell in the Garden!
– Ian Thomas –
The Mystery of Godliness, p187