Christianity Today 1  

November 8, 2018

Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

The modern version of Christianity is big business to those who publish books and to those who record music. Interesting, but the New Testament thinks of Christianity differently. “Mega churches” abound and the masses fill the expensive buildings to have their ears tickled. People walk the aisles or raise their hands to accept a Jesus while they have never heard of the biblical Jesus. People speak of God all the while ignorant of the true God. Preachers are paid large sums of money and they will not step on toes in order not to step on their own toes as well as those who pay them. As long as they have some sort of profession or said a prayer they are said to be “good to go” into eternity.

The modern version of Christianity is divided into various groups who focus on what they want to focus on. There are those who focus on morality, yet there are those who focus on doctrine. There are others who are quite legalistic and yet those who are not as legalistic as those are still legalistic. It is easy for legalism to hide in the hearts of those who are legalists as well. While doctrine is necessary, there is an academic approach to doctrine that makes it simply another philosophy. While morality in a sense is necessary, the morality that flows from the life of Christ in the soul is holiness and that is far different than a mere external morality.

A few preachers will use the word “Jesus” and the word “Gospel” and yet never preach Christ and Him crucified. It is one thing to speak the words, but it is quite another to preach Christ. It is one thing to mention the word “grace” here and there, but that is not the same thing as preaching grace. It is one thing to speak of God as being sovereign, but it is quite another to preach a sovereign God. It is far easier to agree that an orthodox creed is true than it is to believe the truths in the creed from the depths of the heart. It is far easier to talk about the love of God than it is to love the true God. It is far easier to profess faith than it is to have faith and then to live by that faith.

Evangelism (of some sort) is widely taught and less widely practiced, but could it be that the evangelism that is practiced is plainly and clearly based on a false gospel? Could it be that preachers who preach on the television and hold crusades here and there are preaching heresy rather than the Gospel? Could it be that the vast majority of professing churches are the product of a false gospel and a pseudo type of Christianity rather than the real thing? Could it be that the United States of America is inundated with a false Gospel and that this false Gospel is what is preached by the vast majority of preachers in our day? Could it be that when a person walks in the door of a professing church that it is highly likely that the person will be misled as to what Christianity really is?

The orthodox leaders of religion during the days of Jesus held strongly to their “Bible” and practiced what was in line with the recent historical teachings of that day. They assumed that they were orthodox and they assumed that they were righteous. Could it be that many of those assumptions are the same today? Could it be the case that Jesus would spit us and our orthodoxy out of His mouth? Could it be that that He would think that our morality was nothing more than external morality worthy of nothing but eternal flames? Could it be that He would not appreciate our fine buildings and our order or so-called worship? How would we know? Are we just following the thinking and practices of the religion of our day as the Pharisees followed along in their day? Do we think that Ephesians 2 just spoke to the people of that day?

Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

What if Ephesians 2:1-3 described our religious practices and not just the practices of unconverted people following the course of the world? Can unconverted people follow a course of the world in the things of religion? Yes, we see that in the New Testament. Can unconverted people follow the prince of the power of the air in the things of religion too? Yes, we can see that in the New Testament too. But how do we know that we are not trapped in the things of a worldly religion or a self-powered religion too?

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Understanding Grace 3

October 12, 2018

Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

It is so often thought that grace is primary in the initial salvation of the soul, but it is not that important for daily life. However, if we look at our text we can see that grace is something we grow in. We are told in other Scriptures that we are to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the text we can see (vv. 5-6) that the word of truth, the Gospel, is COSTANTLY bearing fruit and increasing. It does this when people understand the grace of God in truth. I take it that as we grow in understanding grace then we will grow in bearing fruit. We will only bear fruit to God to the degree that we grow in our understanding of grace. The understanding of grace comes to us over our entire lifetime as we are inwardly taught to die to self and yield more and more to the workings of grace in our souls. It is not just a study of books that can teach us about it, but it is the very working of the Spirit of Christ in our souls that teaches us these things.

Once again we need to focus on the fact that it is only by grace that we can understand grace. We cannot work our heads hard enough to understand grace. We cannot apply works to obtain grace because grace is always opposed to works for grace or any blessing. The glory of grace is that we can only learn grace when Christ teaches us grace and yet He will only instruct us in our inner soul by grace alone. It is impossible to obtain a true understanding of grace if we think we can obtain an understanding of it by reading books, following rules, or perhaps by becoming more holy. True holiness is only obtained by grace since Christ Himself is our sanctification and He only gives Himself by grace alone.

It is the Gospel itself that constantly bears fruit and increases as people grow in their understanding of grace. The Gospel bears fruit when God uses it to draw sinners to Himself and they are regenerated and delivered from the kingdom of darkness. But it is also the case that the Gospel is about the kingdom of God and the kingdom of the beloved Son. The Gospel is not just good news in order to be saved, but it is good news for those who are being made holy. Holiness is not some grim work the one with Christ has to do with drudgery, but the eternal God who lives within Himself as triune and in perfect joy and love shares Himself and His love and joy with His people. Grace is how God relates to His people and it is how He makes them partakers of His life.

As 2 Peter 3:18 tells us, we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Surely this is more than just an intellectual grasp of the facts, but instead we are to learn about grace and we are to live in that grace as we grow in that grace. If we grow and bear fruit as we understand grace more, then we should give ourselves with diligence to pursue this grace. As noted in the Bible, however, grace is only given to the humble. We should seek the Lord for humility in order for Him to bestow us with grace. All spiritual blessings are given in Christ and as such we are to seek Christ for humility and grace as both are blessings. We will never have grace until He has humbled us, yet we will never grow in grace apart from a correlating work of His working humility in us.

This should instruct us greatly. We will never grow in grace as we are commanded to do unless we grow in humility. A proud person will never obtain any grace unless God humbles the soul first, so people should seek humility from the hand of God. A person should never expect any spiritual blessings since they all come by grace unless that person is seeking to be low and humble before God. We cannot possibly keep our pride and obtain true grace at the same time. The Lord is constantly working in His people to humble them in order that He may give them grace and then all other blessings by grace. The understanding of grace can only come to those who desire to die to self and pride and so seek those things.

Understanding Grace 2

October 6, 2018

Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

The text is quite clear that it is not a matter of just hearing the word of truth, the Gospel, which is all about the grace of God in truth. The text tells us that we must not only hear about grace but that we also must understand grace. There is a difference between a spiritual understanding and the understanding that the natural man has. The natural man, regardless of intellectual abilities, simply cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God. Spiritual things require the Holy Spirit to reveal them. To understand spiritual things one must be regenerate which is to say that one must have a spiritual nature as opposed to being born dead regarding spiritual things.

The Holy Spirit will work in the hearts of His people to give them a taste of Christ in His Divine nature and how He is the perfect image of God. Another way to put this is to say that the Spirit works to show forth the glories of God and how He shines forth in the face or Person of Christ. In the context of our present subject, this works out in the Spirit enabling His people to behold the glories of God in the face of Christ and not just seeing this but enabling them to love and to take joy in Him. Yet another angle on this is to say that when this happens the people of God are being made partakers of the Divine nature (II Peter 1:3-5). God is sharing His love for Himself and His joy in Himself as triune with His people. Still another way of looking at this is to say that God brings His people to Himself and gives Himself to them and in partaking of Him because of who He is they are receiving and tasting of grace.

Christ Himself is grace to the people of God. It is Christ joining Himself to His people (and then living in His people) that is what we know of as true grace. It is when the people of God have Christ who is eternal life that people have the life of Christ in them and that is eternal life. This eternal life is given to them by grace alone. This eternal life is the very life of Christ in them because it is Christ who is the life of the believer. God brings His people to partake of Him because of who He is and not because of whom they are or what they have done. This is getting at the true nature of grace.

Understanding grace is to know this grace from the depths of the soul which is part of what it means to love God with all of the heart, mind, soul, and strength. We do not understand grace until we have had it in the whole of our being and we love God as a result of it and know that the love we have for God is from His grace. We do not do any favors for God when we love Him, but instead it is His grace to us in working His love for Himself in us. The love that true believers have for God is in fact a sharing in God’s love for Himself as triune and as such it is only by grace that we love God. If we do not understand that we cannot love God in our own strength, we have no hope of understanding true grace. All that we do should come from love for God, which tells us that all true works are His works in us and so we never work for grace, but instead we work by the strength of grace.

Coming to the understanding of grace requires us to taste of this grace in the soul by experience. Borrowing from Jonathan Edwards, no matter how much we hear honey described and perhaps scientifically explained, a simple taste of honey helps us understand it in a way that all the descriptions of it cannot do. It is by eating solid food that the body is nourished rather than just reading or hearing about food. Mechanics become much better mechanics after they have fixed cars for a few years rather than just having read books about it. A surgeon is a far better surgeon after practicing as a surgeon for years rather than just reading a book about it. In the same way we can only understand grace when after it is revealed to the heart and mind it is lived in us and through us. In this way we practice living by grace when we actually live by grace rather than just hearing about it. A proud person cannot live by grace and as such we must seek and actually obtain true humility by Christ in order to live by true grace. True grace is only understood by those who are truly humble rather than those who just understand the words.

Understanding Grace 1

October 4, 2018

Colossians 1:3 We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

How is one to understand the truth of the living God? How is one to know the truth of God and grow in the knowledge of God and in knowing God? How is one to come to grips with the nature of the holiness of God and how one is to grow in holiness? How is one to bear spiritual fruit in order to glorify God? Are these things important or simply issues that are on the peripheral of the faith? Are these things obvious to people or is this something God has to open our eyes to see?

There are many answers set out for us to consider in the modern day in the amazing number of books that pour out from printers, but the text above is not one that we hear of much. If you want to bear fruit to God, if we listen to the text, then we must understand the grace of God in truth. In other words, the grace of God is not just some words that we can attach meanings to as we like or want; we must understand the grace of God in truth.

It is not just any grace that will do, but it must be the true grace of the true God and it must be in truth. It is not just any grace that will do; it must be the grace of God. It is not a man-centered grace and it is not just something that is of some benefit to man, but it is the grace of God alone that will do. It is not the grace of a false God, but it must be a grace that comes from the true God. The false grace from a false god is nothing but what comes from an idolatrous heart. The true grace of the true God can only come with the message of the truth and that is only through and by the Lord Jesus Christ. All spiritual blessings come to us in Christ (Eph 1:3-14) and grace is assuredly a blessing.

Let us go back to the text of Scripture from above. Paul prayed for and gave thanks for the Colossians since he heard of their faith in Christ and of their love for all the saints. Without going into that point deeply, we should dwell on why Paul gave thanks to God for those in the Colossian church. It was because their faith in Christ and their love for the saints were both gifts and blessings of God and they came to those people by grace alone. They came to faith and had love when they heard about them in the word of truth. What is this word of truth? It is the Gospel. When the Gospel came to the people Paul was writing to what was it that caused the Gospel to bear fruit? What was it that caused the Gospel to bear fruit in the known world at that time? It was when they understood the grace of God in truth.

It is worth repeating the answer from the text of Scripture. What is it that causes the Gospel to bear fruit and for people to bear fruit? It is when they understand the grace of God in truth. We know that we are to bear fruit to God, but it is only true fruit when it comes from an understanding of the grace of God in truth. True fruit does not come from stringent rules regarding behavior and it is not from behavior modification. A behavior that is truly spiritual fruit comes as a result in growing in grace or growing in the understanding of grace. How are we to see the Gospel grow and bear true fruit in our day? It is not if we can get more people to agree with our creed or join the local churches in the modern way, it is only if people truly grow in their understanding of grace.

Will people bear fruit if they can have more holy huddles and grow more exclusive in their doctrine or practice? No, it will only be when they grow in understanding of the grace of God in truth. But, one may say, I attend all the conferences and I read all the books and I have a great study Bible. But again, the question is whether one is coming to and understanding of the grace of God in truth. Another may assert that s/he believes the perfect creed down to the letter. But the text of Scripture tells us that the Gospel bears fruit when we understand the grace of God in truth. Understanding is not just an intellectual issue, it is a matter of the heart and life as well. Knowledge puffs up (I Cor 8:1) and God opposes the proud/puffed up ones. But God gives grace to the humble. If we are going to understand the grace of God in truth, then we must seek the Lord for broken and humbled hearts. Do we really want to bear fruit to God?

Faith and Pride 6

January 5, 2018

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

Isaiah 2:11 The proud look of man will be abased And the loftiness of man will be humbled, And the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. 12 For the LORD of hosts will have a day of reckoning Against everyone who is proud and lofty And against everyone who is lifted up, That he may be abased.

Isaiah 5:15 So the common man will be humbled and the man of importance abased, The eyes of the proud also will be abased.

Isaiah 13:11 Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.

Jer 48:29 “We have heard of the pride of Moab– he is very proud– Of his haughtiness, his pride, his arrogance and his self-exaltation.

Hosea 13:6 As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, And being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me.

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

In looking at what Scripture teaches us about pride, we can see that it is something that God opposes and has opposed for at least the history of humanity. It should send shivers down our spines to know that pride is the opposite of faith, and even more that without faith no one can please God. It should make us think and think deeply to realize that the proud person has a soul that is not right with God. It does not matter if people are religious and perhaps deeply religious, without true faith they cannot please God and He opposes them. It does not matter if these people are deeply moral, without true faith they cannot please God and He opposes them. It does not matter if a person gives large amounts of money to the professing church or to professing ministries, without true faith that person cannot please God and He opposes that person.

If we take Isaiah 2:11-12 at face value, which we should, it seems to be shockingly clear what will happen. The proud look of man will be abased. The loftiness of man will be humbled. God will have a day of reckoning against all who are proud, lofty, and lifted up. He will abase them all. Each day a person lives in pride and an unhumbled heart the closer that person is to a day when s/he will be abased and humbled. Each day a person lives in pride, loftiness, and lifted up in his own esteem is a day closer to when s/he will be abased by God. Surely it is obvious that God hates the proud and will humble the proud and abase them at His good pleasure. If that is true, and it is also true that those with faith are pleasing to God, then the deduction cannot be avoided. The proud person does not have true faith and is not right before God.

This should open up a few questions for us and then see the obvious answer. Can a proud person be truly saved? A proud person while proud cannot be saved. Is it possible for a proud heart to work up faith? The proud person cannot work up faith as that “faith” would be the work of pride. Can a proud person humble him or herself so that God will give that person faith? No, a proud person cannot humble self as that would still be the work of pride and self working humility in the soul. The clear conclusion in the matter is that God must humble the soul at His good pleasure and God alone can work faith in the soul. God alone can drive pride out of the soul and bring the life of humility in the soul as that life of humility in the soul is the life of the humble Savior.

The soul of man must be humbled in this life and given faith or it is not possible for that person to be truly saved. The soul of man must be broken from self and humbled into the dust or that soul is not saved from self and pride which God opposes. The soul of man must give up all hope of true faith apart from a deep humility worked in his soul by God who alone can defeat pride in the soul and give the grace of faith. Instead of man seeking to humble himself by the power of pride or seeking faith by the power of pride, man should seek this humility from the hand of God who gives it by grace alone. The only real act of humbling self that man can do is to seek humility from God rather than self. This humbling of the soul and driving our pride is not the work of man, but it is the method of grace in bringing faith and salvation to the soul. One is not truly converted until one is broken from pride which is the heart of unbelief.

 

Faith and Pride 5

January 3, 2018

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

Psalm 94:4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin. 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

As long as a person is full of pride and his or her life is guided by pride and that pride is the very light (the person thinks) by which a person lives, then it is not possible for that person to live by faith in Christ. As long as a person is controlled by pride there is no faith in that person and as such that person is unconverted. This is a vital point that perhaps cannot be stated too strongly. A proud person does not have a soul that is right within him or her. A proud person, which the text sets out as being in contrast with the righteous, cannot live by faith. In Galatians 2:20 Paul said that he had died and that he lived by faith in Christ. In that we see the two different springs that flow from human hearts. We have the spring of self and pride which Paul said that he died to. Then we see the spring of Christ which flows from the regenerate heart. It is the heart that dies to self and dies to pride that can now have the spring of true life which flows from Christ to His people.

Until proud hearts are humbled, people will live by the darkness of pride. Until proud hearts are humbled, the light of people that they follow will be the light of pride and self. Until proud hearts are humbled, pride and self will prevent any true righteous living. Until proud hearts are humbled, people with hearts like that are abominations before God. Until proud hearts are humbled, people with those hearts are on the way to destruction. Until proud hearts are humbled, those with those hearts speak arrogantly and exalt themselves. Until proud hearts are humbled, those with those proud hearts (at the least) have what God hates.

Those with proud hearts are in a desperate state. The Scriptures are clear what people are who have proud hearts. The Scriptures are clear about the states of unbelief that people are in that possess proud hearts. These proud hearts control what people look at, what people love, what people say, and all that they do. It is pride that people live by rather than Christ. Once again, pride is the opposite of faith and one must have faith in order to have Christ. Pride is the opposite of the humble Savior as well. The Lord Jesus had to humble Himself to take human flesh. The proud are exalting themselves and their flesh rather than Christ. The Lord Jesus, being found in human flesh, went to the cross and died in the place of sinners. The proud exalt self and live for self at the expense of others.

Those with true faith have Christ who was perfectly humble and He works His humility in them. The proud only have faith in themselves and their own ways. The proud can be quite religious, but all religious actions that the proud do are done for themselves and are done to obtain something from God and man. The proud are like the devil and live for themselves rather than God. The proud trust in self rather than God and that is a hideous sin against God. The proud love self rather than God and that is a violation of the Greatest Commandment of God. The proud, in doing all for self rather than God, are gods to themselves. The proud will think that s/he can trust Christ enough to be saved, but their trust is really in themselves rather than Christ. The proud do all of their religious actions out of self-love and that means that all of their religious actions are really the height of hypocrisy and wickedness. Dare we tell the proud that all they have to do is believe some facts when their hearts hate God and are opposed to Him in all they do? Do we really dare to tell the proud that they don’t truly have to be deeply humbled before they can truly believe?

Faith and Pride 4

December 31, 2017

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

Psalm 94:4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin. 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

In thinking through the issues of faith and pride, it should be quite obvious that the proud heart is not right before God and as such it does not have any true faith. It should also be unsettling to us to realize that throughout history many religious people have been deceived, though they thought they had true faith. Indeed they had faith, but it was really a faith in self and a faith that came from the natural man. If indeed pride goes before destruction, then we must ask ourselves with a great deal of seriousness about whether we are proud people or not. The very nature of true faith is surrounded by and consists to some degree with humility, but that is true humility and not something generated of the flesh and is in accordance with a proud heart. It may sound quite crazy, but a proud person who is a religious person may indeed think that s/he is quite humble.

Well, says the deceived person, the Bible states quite clearly that God opposes the proud. God is for me and is with me in life and in all I do. What we must take into consideration, however, is that God gives many worldly things and many fleshly things to people who are proud and who are religious. However, worldly things and fleshly things are not signs of His blessing. God can oppose the proud and yet give them many riches and worldly things. In doing this, though, He is opposing their true spiritual good. He is blinding them with those things and all the while they are treasuring up wrath for the day of wrath. A proud and selfish heart is under a terrible judgment as it increases in its pride and selfishness as it appears to it to obtain natural things and worldly things because it is so religious. This is nothing but self-righteousness and self-righteousness is a proud heart.

When God opposes the proud, He opposes the proud heart as to its true and eternal good. He opposes the proud person by hardening them and allowing them to obtain many worldly and fleshly things, as He uses that to harden the hearts of the proud. He opposes the proud religious person by hardening their hearts and bringing them to a state of religious wealth (though not spiritual wealth) and working so that they will be more and more religious. The devil is certainly not opposed to people being very religious and obtaining many worldly benefits from their religion. After all, he is the father of the proud and hates them from his proud heart. He wants to deceive them and he wants them to think that they are converted when they are not. The more religious and proud they become the greater his deception is.

How impossible it is for a proud and selfish heart to make itself humble. How impossible it is for a proud and selfish heart to resist the power of God in judging it and turning it over to more and more pride. How impossible it is for a proud heart to have true faith because God only gives faith to the humble. Yet the proud heart goes on trusting in itself for faith and trusting in the faith of self to obtain things from God. It is hard and in fact impossible for a proud heart to see what it truly is as it sees itself through the eyes of pride and self-love. True faith beholds the glory of the true God, yet a false faith sees a false god and sees that false god through the eyes of pride and of a selfish heart. True faith sees that God loves sinners because of who He is, yet a false faith has a heart that thinks that God loves it because of what it has done or because it is lovable. A heart of pride is opposed to the true God and the true God is opposed to it. That is true even when (or perhaps more so) the person is devout and religious.

Faith and Pride 3

December 29, 2017

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

Psalm 94:4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin. 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

The attempt in this series of BLOGS is to look at the nature of faith and how impossible it is for a proud heart to have faith or live by anything but what comes from a proud heart. True faith works by true love (Gal 5:6), but pride works by self-love. True love comes from God and goes back to God, but self-love comes from a proud heart and is aimed at self. True faith comes from God and is aimed back at God, but the faith of self comes from a proud and selfish heart and is aimed back at self.

The natural man is full unbelief; it is not just unbelief that is located at one point. The natural man’s unbelief is a heart that is full of self and pride. All that a natural man can do comes from a heart that is full of pride and is aimed at his own benefit, whether than benefit is his own glory and honor or wealth or the esteem of others. Until that heart is changed in regeneration and that person has a believing heart, that proud and selfish heart will do all it does for self rather than for God. This is idolatry in all that the person does.

All the choices, thoughts, and words that come from a proud and selfish heart (unbelief) cannot be anything but against the living God. The proud heart is a lamp of sin which in that language it means that a lamp is what we walk by and directs us. A lamp is what gave light to people and they followed it. As such a proud heart that Scripture tells us is the lamp of the wicked is a proud heart. It is that proud heart that the wicked follow. It does not say that only the outwardly immoral follow proud hearts, but it tells us a proud heart is the lamp of the wicked and that proud heart is sin.

It would be quite a wise thing to do for each person start an examination of his or her own heart. It does not matter what we think of ourselves, what matters is what God thinks of us. This is to say that God sees us in the depths of our souls and knows us in ways we do not know ourselves. A person can be a very proud person and hate pride in others. A person can be a very proud person and think that s/he is quite humble. One reason for that is that pride and self-love blinds us to things about us and we simply cannot see the truth of our own hearts. We may think that we have faith and perhaps think that we have a lot of faith, but the truth of the matter may be that we have a lot of pride in our own supposed faith. It may be that all of our “faith” is really pride in self and our “faith” is really the work of self and all of our “faith” is really in self.

It is remarkably easy for a person to assume the best about self and assume the worst about others. This is the fruit of pride and self. It is also easy to be a positive thinking person regarding self and others, but again that is the fruit of self-confidence and pride. One can also be negative about self and that really be an effort to manipulate God, which again is nothing but pride. The work of pride is a work of self-love and as such it is not the work of God in the soul as true faith is. True faith, which comes from God, will always come from true love (God) and aim at the glory of God. True faith looks to God for faith and all things, yet false faith will look to self for the faith to look to God for whatever self thinks it wants. The proud heart is not right within that soul and is opposed by God regardless of how religious the person thinks that s/he is.

Faith and Pride 2

December 27, 2017

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

Psalm 94:4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin. 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

It is one things to tell people that they are in unbelief and that they must believe or have faith if they can do that in their own power, but it is quite another if we look at the nature of unbelief and then of belief. If the nature of unbelief is really a person full of self and pride, then it will change how we look at how a person can repent of that self and pride and believe (be a person of faith) completely and totally in Christ. This surely shows us that it takes another and greater power to work in the soul for this to happen. We can also clearly see that a person under the power of self and pride only has the ability to trust in self and pride. We can then see that the unregenerate person is a person that is under the power and love of self and pride and does not have the power to cast out pride and self. As long as a person is under the power of self and pride, that person has nothing to cast out pride and self with.

As long as people think of unbelief as simply a state of mind of which they have the ability to change their mind and make a decision to have belief or faith, then the issue of what it takes to be converted will remain lost on them. It is virtually an infinite difference between a person just making a choice to believe versus the need to have God drive out self and pride in order that a person may believe. If faith is far more than a simple belief which is the modern view and appears to be what Finney and those who follow him have practiced evangelism based on that, then things must change to be in accordance with the truth. It seems as if all of professing Christianity has bought into that version of things and as such people are being greatly deceived. The proud soul is not right before God and regardless of what that proud soul believes are practices that is all done from a proud heart and is not right before God.

Proverbs 8:3 tells us that God hates pride and arrogance. We must take note of that and not just let the words slide off of us. The true and living God hates pride and arrogance. This should chill us to the depths of our souls and let us know that a God of love does not love all and does not love all things. This teaches us something if we will take notice and pray for God to give us light. Proverbs 16:5 teaches us that all who are proud in heart are an abomination to God. How, then, is it possible for a person to simply turn him or herself from unbelief to faith and as such God responds and saves that person? The person is full of pride and self and yet from the power of that pride and self is able to turn self from unbelief to belief? The person has a form of faith that is the work of pride and self. Do we really think that God will save that person that is an abomination to Him because of their pride when He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble?

The proud heart opposes the true God and the true God stands in opposition to the proud heart. Until that proud heart is broken and humbled, it is in bondage to its pride and can do nothing to please God and that includes coming up with a proud belief or faith. A natural man (non-regenerate) is under the power of pride and self and no faith or belief can come from that man that is not from pride and self. True and biblical faith (the kind of faith that a converted person is given by the power and grace of God) is a faith that is rooted in the soul of a person that has been delivered from the heart of unbelief that consists in pride and self. One has to be delivered from unbelief (pride and self) before one can have true faith/belief. Pride and faith (again) are complete opposites of each other.

Faith and Pride 1

December 24, 2017

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.

Psalm 94:4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin. 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

James 4:6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.”

The clear contrast between faith and pride is taught in the Bible from beginning to end. It is not always obvious to all who read the Bible, but it is there and it is clear when it is pointed out. Though the Bible does not set out each time that a proud and lofty heart is the source of sin, yet it does teach that. The Bible does not set out on each page that the old self is a selfish heart that is lifted up with pride in all that it does, yet it does teach that. It is frightening to see that pride and self are at the heart of sin and that men can be very religious and yet still do all their religious duties out of a heart of self and pride. Pride is the direct opposite of faith. Without a new heart which is a heart of faith or a believing heart, all that a person does is sin and nothing but sin.

The proud person has a heart or soul that is not right within him or her. In contrast with that, we see that a righteous person lives by faith. In other words, pride and faith are opposites. Living by a proud heart and living by faith are opposites. A proud heart can live a stringent and devoted life of religion, but that is still to live by self and pride. The humble heart is the heart that God has molded and made for Himself. The humbled heart is the one that God dwells in. The broken heart is done with self (as a ruler, though it fights with self while on earth), while the unbroken heart is nothing but self and does all out of pride. The Pharisees were the standard example of this. They did all of their acts of righteousness for themselves. They prayed in order to be seen by men. They gave alms in order to be seen and praised. They fasted in order to be honored by men.

In the present day we see that professing Christianity is deluged with teaching that seems to be focused on building up the self rather than the denial of self. This is simply another way of saying that we are deluged with teaching that builds up the pride of man. But we see that Scripture teaches that God opposes the proud. If, as Proverbs 6:5 sets out, that all those who are proud are an abomination to the Lord, then we must draw the conclusion that professing Christianity (in a far greater degree than is comfortable) is really teaching people how to be an abomination to the Lord and how to destroy true faith in God. After all, that is what pride does.

Real and true Christianity should be focused on humbling men and showing them how to seek the Lord in order to be truly humbled. Knowledge is said to puff men up (I Corinthians 8:1) and so Christian teaching must be more than an effort to increase knowledge. In the context where it is said that knowledge puffs up we can be sure that knowledge of the Bible and of religion puff up also. The proud heart is puffed up with the knowledge it has and it is blinded by both the pride and the knowledge to its own true spiritual condition. The Bible teaches us (see above) that the lamp of the wicked consists of haughty eyes and a proud heart. What leads the wicked on, in other words, is the haughty eyes and the proud heart. The Bible does not say that this is true of all but religious folks, but it says that those things are the lamp of the wicked. When a proud heart and haughty eyes are what drives a person, we can know that a person like that is not a person that lives by faith.

Does the knowledge of pride puff you up? Does knowing about pride make you humble? Does knowing about the need to be broken of pride and self make you a broken person? No, it does not. Does knowing about the facts that pride and faith are opposites mean that you have faith? No, it most certainly does not. Knowing about things does not mean that we possess those things and it is pride to think that it does. It is God alone who can really and truly work humbled and broken hearts in us. It is God alone who can give us true faith and He only does that by grace alone. Until our proud hearts are broken and we no longer trust in our self and pride, we will only have hearts that trust in self and love self rather than trust and love Christ. Surely it is obvious how utterly proud a heart is that trusts in self rather than Christ. Faith cannot dwell in a proud heart. People must be broken from pride (in reality) or they will never be given the grace of faith.