Religious Pride and Deception 24

Jeremiah 8:8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie. 11 “They heal the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace.

Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Pride is that despicable thing which God hates, yet man is born full of it. Pride is that which man hates in others, but he loves himself and hides his own pride from himself. Pride is that which moves man to exalt himself rather than God and so is an act of idolatry. Pride is that which man is puffed up with and blinds him to his own sins and failures. Pride is that which makes man so unhappy when he does not measure up to the standards of others. Pride is that which spoils all the natural gifts that man has from God. Pride is that which man is so full of that unless he is born from again and has the life of the humble Savior living in him it makes all of his actions (especially religious ones) idolatrous and as such obnoxious to God.

The nature of sin seems to be largely ignored in our day, thus the nature of the Gospel and the absolute necessity of the new birth is largely ignored as well. We think of sinful acts in our day rather than people having a sinful nature. This is where so many go wrong and it is at the very heart and core of Christianity which is not a place to go wrong at. The nature of sin is that our nature is sinful and that we are born with natures are proud and full of self. The proud heart wants to be God and as such wants to rule itself and decide all things for self by its reason, though it does not recognize that its reason and use of that reason are fallen. This is the very heart of sin in that man wants to be God. Man wants to determine right and wrong for himself. Man wants a religion that he can live for himself and save himself. Man wants a “god” who will help him do what man wants and obtain what man wants. This is why false religion is so popular.

False religion allows (so to speak) and promotes each person as his or her own god in some way. For what it is worth, Reformed and professing Christianity is not immune from that either. Reformation theology is intellectual and rational and so those who tend that way can be intellectually stimulated and hold to creeds that quite rational and yet a person can have great pride in that. Holding to Reformed theology can be conducive to a proud heart and make a person think that s/he has distinguished self by that theology. The theology in and of itself cannot change hearts from proud hearts to hearts where the humble Savior lives, though indeed it appears that many seem to think of themselves as saved because of their theology.

False religion will preach to man that he can have control and God will help him carry out his wishes and dreams. False religion preaches to man that he can sin as he pleases as long as he does certain things, but again that leaves man in charge rather than the one and true sovereign God. False religion preaches that man’s eternal destiny is in his own hands and that he can have it at his mere choice. False religion preaches that man can obtain earthly riches from God as long as he follows certain principles. False religion preaches that man can be moral and good and God will give that person what he wants as long as he is good and moral. What is not so readily seen, however, is that all of those ways leave man in control and that is in accord with the teaching of the scribes and the Pharisees.

Pride and self are at the heart of all false theology. One can have an orthodox creed, however, and even preach an orthodox message and pride can still be the root of it. When pride is at the root of the heart, then regardless of how orthodox a person is all of that orthodoxy is being used for the use of a proud heart. It is a person using the truth about God to exalt self and puff up self in a way where that person is acting like God to self. Men must not just be saved from bad theology, but they must be saved from their proud hearts and self-centered lives or they will not be saved at all. Unless a person is saved from pride a person is not saved from the very root and heart of sin. Every single thing that a person does from that proud heart is wickedness. That includes Christian things as well.

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