Pride, Part 70

What Luther fought against during the time of the Reformation was man-centeredness and pride. While many in our day think that Luther was wrong saying he split the Church, the real problem is that those who say that do not understand the underlying reasons for the Reformation. There are many who want to see all the factions of all who claim to Christian get together and have unity. One massive problem, however, is that it is nothing but the pride of man that wants unity rather than the truth of Christ. There are so many versions of so many things in our day it is hard for people to know what to do. There are multiple voices crying out on each corner and each with a man-centered message. Some say that they are Christ-centered or God-centered, but Roman Catholicism would have said the same thing in Luther’s time. The pride of man is so blinding it will blind man to his own man-centeredness while he is preaching a god of his own making. To be centered upon a god of our own making who had its beginning in our pride is nothing more than man-centeredness regardless of the name it is given.

“In Luther, the theocentricity of primitive Christianity returns; and it is the determining factor of his whole outlook. His opposition to Catholicism is due ultimately to nothing else but this. In the Catholic conception of Christianity, it is in the last analysis man who occupies the centre of the religious stage; in Luther’s reforming conception it is God. Luther seeks to eradicate every vestige of the egocentric or anthropocentric tendency from the religious relationship. There is no place for the slightest degree of human self-assertion in the presence of God. Here, man must be content to receive undeserved the gifts God wills to bestow on him.” (Let God Be God! An Interpretation of the Theology of Martin Luther)

It may be thought that too much attention has been given to Martin Luther. But what I would like to point out is that this is also the theme that is all over the Bible. The battle has always been against man-centeredness and pride since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden. Eve believed the promise of the Serpent (Gen 3:5) that she could be as God and man has believed that promise ever since. When she believed the lie that she would be as God she actually became like the Serpent who wanted to be God. While it may be hidden from our eyes, this is the problem with Christianity in our day. Each wants to worship as self wants to worship and to be pleased as self wants to be pleased. We want preaching to please “me” rather than preaching that will please God and bring our souls to God. Too many preachers are concerned with nickels and noses rather than to know God and to proclaim the truth about Him. Throughout the Bible and history this has been the plight of true religion. People want to speak for God when they have not been sent and they want to speak what they think is right rather than the Word of God.

The prophets had to stand virtually alone many times in Scripture. They proclaimed the Word of God and virtually all the people would laugh at them and at times kill them. Jesus stood against the religious world to proclaim the Word of God. Paul stood alone at times and even took on Peter for the sake of the Gospel. In history God would raise up men who had to stand virtually alone against the whole world. Athanasius stood alone for the deity of Christ against the whole world. Luther stood alone against the Church and the State as he stood for the Gospel. Throughout Israel’s history their sacrificial system and worship fell from what God commanded it to be in order to be like men wanted it to be. This is nothing but the pride of man and the love of self. It is the same today.

Jeremiah 37:2 – “But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the land listened to the words of the LORD which He spoke through Jeremiah the prophet. 2:8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; The rulers also transgressed against Me, And the prophets prophesied by Baal And walked after things that did not profit. 5:31 The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?”

The nation of Israel was brought out of Egypt and given the land they were to live in. Yet they did not follow the Lord despite chastisement after chastisement. They were a stiff-necked people who were full of pride and self. They wanted to be rich and to follow after the lusts of their own minds and hearts. They chose to follow those while trying to keep the externals of their religion. They hated it when people spoke the truth to them of a God who would not put up with their sin. The heart of man is the same as of all men throughout history. They will be religious or irreligious but the real issue is that they are oriented to pride and self. The proud heart will oppose the truth and yet do that in the name of truth. We must learn to hate our own pride or it will destroy us and the churches. The professing Church of our day has been brought very low by the pride of men in their man-centeredness. Will there be found any who will weep?

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One Response to “Pride, Part 70”

  1. michael Says:

    In light of this article the message in this one verse is stark!

    Joh 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

    It is not until God awakens the soul to realize by spritual understanding that the free Gift of Eternal Life is God Given will the soul begin to yeild and become God centered.

    Until then, it’s only the soul centered project of the soul knowing God instead of God revealing what He knows about the soul!

    Death to self is the only option to know the Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He sent.

    I like reminding people who are being awakened to the truth of their sinful nature that if they do not die and go to Heaven before they die, they do not go to Heaven!

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