Religious Pride and Deception 29

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.

While it appears to the modern mind that man’s great problem with Christianity is intellectual, the real problem is (spiritual) which is seen in pride and who will reign over “me”. This is why the natural man has such a battle with the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. The issue is not that man has intellectual problems as such, but that he has a heart problem and his mind wants to reject the truth of the living God who reigns over all things and himself. While it is hard for the natural heart of man to bow to the sweet (though not sweet to him) sovereignty of God, it is also a battle for believers as they grow in knowledge, understanding, and love for God. However, for many men in the history of the Christian Church this (sovereignty of God) has been a necessary teaching.

The Sovereignty of God is the stumbling block on which thousands fall and perish; and if we go contending with God about His sovereignty it will be our eternal ruin. It is absolutely necessary that we should submit to God as an absolute sovereign, and the sovereign of our souls; as one who may have mercy on whom He will have mercy and harden whom He will” (Jonathan Edwards).

If one takes the time and makes the effort to meditate on the subject, one will see with great clarity that man has always been at war with God over who will choose for man. Man wants to choose what he believes rather than being told by God what is true. Man wants to choose how to behave rather than being told by God what is right. Man wants the right to choose for himself what he wants and when he wants it rather than having God decide those things. The Arminian wants to choose for himself whether he will be saved and when he will be saved rather than leaving those things up to God. When one thinks about it, this is just another way that religious man exalts himself against the Lord of the universe.

How arrogant man is to think that he can and will control his life when in fact he lives in a world that is not his and in fact he is either owned or controlled by the devil or God. There is no middle ground and as such man is not the one calling the shots and pulling the strings. Man is either a slave of the devil and sin or he is a slave of Christ and of righteousness. It is sheer arrogance for men to think that they are in control of their own destiny when they are specks of dust in the universe and God is absolutely sovereign over all in the universe.

The Gospel of grace alone and the sovereignty of grace are twin truths that few seem to think can go together in our day, but these twin truths are inseparable. There is no grace apart from sovereign grace. The reason that is true is because any grace shown to man will either be sovereign or God will be moved to show it based on something man does. But when God is moved to give or do on behalf of man by something man does, it is no longer grace alone. It is insufferable pride in man to think that he can do something to move God to do something for him. That would give man (in theory) the ability to control God to some degree. Instead of man being the captain of his own soul, man must bow to the Lord as sovereign of the universe and sovereign over the soul of man. God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy rather than man doing something so God will have mercy on him. God must conquer the soul of man by His power and grace rather than man doing something to get God to give grace to him. What a horrid pride man has to think that by an act of his will he can get God to save him. What a horrid pride it is for man to think that he is in reality sovereign over his own soul and God is not. It is truly man thinking that he is like God, which again goes right back to the curse in the Garden.

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