Pride Opiate to our Egos
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
Romans 327 Where is boasting then It is excluded. By what law Of
works Nay but by the law of faith.
If salvation depended on works, people would have room to boast, but since it is received by grace through faith, there is no room for bragging. Faith implies total trust and acceptance of what Someone else has done. Faith simply receives thus it involves humility and self-renunciation.
Boasting is ludicrous. A withered hand has nothing to brag about when it reaches out to receive plenty. Believing God speaks truth is no ground for special recognition. A helpless sinner leaning on omnipotence takes no time to glory in self.
A starving person is not congratulated for receiving food, nor is a beggar for receiving money. A person dying of thirst is not a hero because he reaches out and takes a glass of water. Likewise, dying condemned sinners have no reason to boast when they reach out in faith and receive eternal life.
Nevertheless, we are determined to crow our virtues, plume our feathers, and fan out our peacock tails. We prefer doctrine that teaches salvation by works because it appeals to our pride. People are determined to do something to save themselves.
Few things are more despised by many sinners than the doctrine of grace. We reject the idea we have not one inch of ground to stand on before the tribunal of God.
However sinful we are, we want to lift our filthy rags and claim merit based on them. But trying to mix grace and merit borders on blasphemy. It is preposterous to mix the precious blood of Jesus with the foul water of our human efforts.
We seem to need a vestige of self-sufficiency as an opiate to our egos. We want to be independent of God, even if it means condemnation. While falling headlong into everlasting damnation, we would rather grab at the twig of our own good deeds than lean wholly on Jesus.
No one can ever be right with God until they confess their own nothingness and lean totally on Jesus finished work. We must acknowledge we have not even an ounce of merit to plead before God. Boasting must be turned out of Gods courtroom once and for all. It can never be allowed again. There is no place for it, forever.
This must be constantly reiterated because we struggle against moral pride for a lifetime. We have to keep sweeping out pride because it keeps coming back. It is something we drive out the front door only to have it return again at the back door.
For years I have said pride is the number one Christian killer. It is our most dangerous foe because we can be overcome with it and not realize it. One can be filled with pride without feeling proud. In fact, one of Satans most effective ploys is to fill us with pride while at the same time making us feel humble.
Pride manifests itself through our deeds, not our feelings. However we feel, our pride is proven to be real by our lack of prayer and Bible study. Pride is gaining a foothold when church attendance begins to lag. There are other telltale signs.
After delivering a sermon or a lesson, we hear an inner voice saying, Well done After a fluent prayer, we hear in our mind, Impressive After a prayer request is granted, and we inwardly grin rather than fall down in awe and wonder.
After we do a kind deed for another, and our heart says, What a good person I am. When we are on the mountain top with God, and the devil whispers, You must be something special or else God would not have let you approach this close. When our mind is not consciously attributing every good thing we have to grace.
Pride can take up residence in our hearts and hide itself even from us. I beg you, search it out constantly. Remove it before God has to lance it out with an arrow to drain away its blood.
Pride is obnoxious to God. It flies in the face of every attribute of God His love bewails it as selfishness His holiness hates it as sin His sovereignty opposes it as treason His justice detests it as presumption His truthfulness attacks it as error.
God has uttered some of His most solemn warnings against pride Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (PR 1618). Him that hath a high look and a proud heart will I not suffer (PS 1015). Pride and arrogancy. . .do I hate (PR 813). The Lord will destroy the house of the proud (PR 1525).
God touches other sins with His fingers, but bares His arm and furbishes His sharpest sword against this one. The first sin had pride as its essence. Eve, in her ambitious heart, desired to be as God (GN 35). The result was a blasted Paradise, a ruined world, and a suffering humanity. At Babel (GN 11) people attempted to reach up to God, but He scattered them and confounded their language. Pharaoh lifted himself up against Heaven God broke his back and destroyed his nation (EX 7-14).
Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of the world, bragged of his honor, might, and majesty. Immediately, while the words were still in his mouth, he was driven out to eat grass like the oxen. His body was covered with dew his nails grew like birds claws his hair grew like eagles feathers (DN 430-33).
Herod made a powerful oration, after which the people shouted, It is the voice of a god. Herod reveled in it, refusing to give God the glory. Immediately the angel of God smote him, and he was eaten of worms (AC 1220-25).
Let there be no mistake in your mind about this matter. God hates pride. It is the mother of sins, the epitome of evil. It smacks of people pretending to be God, lieutenants vying to be commanders-in-chief. Understandably, all the legions of Heaven are marshaled against it.
There is no place for pride in our hearts, and God will not let it tarry there very long. Cast it out yourself before God pulls it out.
Romans 328 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without
the deeds of the law.
To put an everlasting stigma on pride, God ordained that the only way in which people can be saved is one that humbles them in the dust. Salvation by grace through faith once and for all throws mire and filth on all vain glorying.
This is actually good news for us all The fact boasting is excluded means even the best of us can bring nothing to help accomplish our salvation, but it also means the worst of us can be saved though we have nothing to bring.
A justification freely offered apart from works is obviously meant for all, for whosoever will come. God does not love people because of what they are. Therefore, He is not kept from loving them because of what they are.
God loves you. You do not have to pump up His affections. His love flows from Himself like an artesian well. He has made provision for your salvation, but you must respond by placing your trust in His finished work at Calvary. A drowning person has enough faith to believe a life-preserver can save his life, but unless he or she reaches out and takes the preserver, they will sink to a watery grave.
It takes more than intellectual belief to be saved. It requires confession of lostness, and confidence in the support of another. Your faith must be in a person, not in your deeds. Misplacing your trust is fatal. Over a century ago, a boat carrying two men was caught in the rapids above Niagara Falls. Rescuers on the shore succeeded in floating a rope to the men. One man was saved by reaching out and grasping the rope, but the other man, in a confused panic, his mind stricken with terror, reached out and grabbed a nearby floating log instead. It was a fatal mistake. By clinging to the loose log he was borne irresistibly along to his death. The first man was saved because he placed his trust in that which had a connection with those on shore. In the same way, faith in Christ is our connection to saving power.
It is true that works appeal to our pride and our nature. They look like logs with which we can safely float along. At the same time the rope of faith looks flimsy, connected to what happened on a cross some 1900 years ago. Nevertheless, you can trust it because God has chosen it as His way of saving sinners.
We must let go of our efforts to earn salvation, and flee to Jesus. Cling to the cross, my friend. It is our only hope.