Religious Pride and Deception 27

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.”

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Those with eyes to see can know how horrible it is when heretics teach people a false gospel. They will teach people that if they can be good enough they can earn all or part of heaven. It matters the degree that they tell people they need to earn all or part of heaven, because earning it to any degree is heresy. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of grace alone. There is no room for works to earn anything for salvation. We can also smell a wolf through the sheep’s clothing (heretic in the professing Church) when people tell us that we should seek God in certain ways and He will bless us with great financial riches. God may give some great financial riches, but it is not because they earned them. He also curses others with great riches as He turns their hearts over to the love of money.

The point at the moment, however, is to see that the heart of our sinful nature is pride. The day that Adam and Eve ate from the fruit they became like God in a sinful way. We are to be holy as He is holy and we are to seek to be like Christ, but it takes humility and grace to do that. Being like God in this way is the height of pride and of original sin. In wanting to seek the honor and glory of self is a sinful way to be like God. In wanting to determine what is right and wrong for me is a sinful way to be like God. In wanting to do all from my own self-sufficiency is a sinful way to be like God. In wanting to live and do all in my own strength is a sinful way to be like God. It was the lie of the devil who told the first humans that God just didn’t want them to be like God. It was a wicked and treacherous thing to do to bring pride, self, and the sufficiency of self into the human world. That is the very heart of sin.

We are told in the Scriptures that “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” We tend to forget that our thoughts are judged and the intent of the thoughts are judged. It is the inner man that is evil and wicked and not just the outward man. The outward actions come from the thoughts and desires of the heart. We are also told that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In other words, the heart of sin is for man to do things that are not for the glory of God.

God created man to live in reliant communion with Him and out of love to do all for His glory. But because of sin man lives in reliance upon self and does all for His own glory. When vile and wretched men (regardless of how educated they are and regardless of how nice they are) teach the very opposite of the Scriptures regarding the evil of pride, that is a great deception. Men will teach the people that they should seek self when the Scriptures tell us the exact opposite of that. Men will not seek to humble the people, but instead they try to build them up. Only harm will result to a soul when people try to build the person up in pride whether they think of it as that or not. Only harm will result to the soul that tries to rely on self rather than grace.

Things have changed from the early Church and now what was thought of as evil is not said to be good. What used to be thought of as good is now thought of as evil. It is true that people see that we are to be humble, so they set out to have a self-wrought humility rather than one worked in them by the living God. They set out to have humility in their own strength and so they have a humility that they can be proud of. This is really perverse. But again, it is easy to see how men have taken the very heart of man and have changed the biblical teaching on it. Man is not longer such a proud and wicked creature (they say), but instead he has poor self-esteem and has self-hatred. Those people need counseling (they say) instead of a deep humbling before God. The Scriptures, however, tell us that we must be deeply humbled (real humility). While this is not comfortable, a proud heart must become a humble heart for it to be converted. Man must be turned from being like the devil who tries to be like God in certain ways and truly become like God in holiness. Man must be turned from being like he is born in a fallen state of sin and become a new creature in Christ. After all, Christ is the humble Savior who opposes pride whatever men may call it. We cannot be born again into His image unless we are humbled and brought down from our pride. The humble Christ will live in us and He will cast out that sinful self who is so opposed to Him.

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