Power of Pride 1

The sin of pride is the child of unbelief. Pride springs from a disbelief of God to be what He is, in His immense and essential glory, in His infinite, underived, all-comprehending, incomprehensible self-sufficiency; and from a vain conceit of the creature’s being that which indeed it is not—that the creature is something independent of God. Whereas, without His all-supporting and all-supplying hand, it would soon sink into its first nothing, and be, as in and of itself it is, a mere vacuity, less than nothing, and vanity. (Anne Dutton, Letters on Spiritual Subjects)

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

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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

We think of the opposite of belief as unbelief or the opposite of faith as lack of faith. This should be seen in a different light, however, though this is not the complete answer to the question. The opposite of faith or the contrary thing to faith is pride. When we think of unbelief or non-faith as having pride as what opposes those things, this takes on a different light. We begin to see the lack of faith or unbelief as a terrible sin in the hearts of those who don’t have faith. It is not just that these people don’t have something, but they also have something that opposes true faith and they are opposed to true faith. The power of pride in a heart given over to pride is simply enormous and is a controlling factor in the life of unbelief.

Habakkuk 2:4 (just above) shows this with great clarity. The proud person’s soul is not right, yet the contrast to that is that the righteous person lives by faith. The proud person lives by pride and not by faith in God, but true righteousness is not living by the strength of pride even if it is in moral behavior, but it is to live upon Christ and by Christ. All spiritual blessings are only in Christ and surely we can agree that faith is a spiritual blessing. A proud person is not just opposed by God because the person has some little something that God does not like, but the proud person is at war with God, is at enmity with God, and refuses to bow in submission to God. One important aspect of faith is a humble submission to Christ, yet a proud heart will never do that as it is submitted in love for self.

The power of pride in this context is that it exalts itself and trusts in itself rather than God. All of the morality of this proud heart comes from the pride of self. All of the religion of this proud heart is from the pride of self. All that this proud heart does is for self and the love of self rather than in the name of God and love for God. The proud heart is in competition with God for power, love, and honor. While the proud heart may not consciously know that or have that in mind all the time, it is something deep in the heart that the soul strives for. It is a deep desire for self that drives it rather than the love of God and His glory.

We can see, then, the absolute necessity for a proud heart to be humbled. The Arminian notion of faith is then seen as absurd. The proud soul has no greater power than the pride it lives by, so of course pride does not have the power to cast itself out of the proud heart. The notion that a human being has a free-will that can come up with faith is then seen to be completely absurd as the human being can never have enough power to overcome its own pride and faith in self. The soul that is in the bondage of sin is in the bondage of pride and self and has no power to overcome that. The soul that is dead in sin is dead in its own pride and cannot overcome its own pride in order not to have pride. The soul that is dead in its pride has nothing else to live by and for other than self and pride, so it has nothing greater to cast that pride out with.

The power of pride has a hold on the human soul and will not let go until a greater power casts it out and loosens its stranglehold on the neck of the soul. That proud heart may see a bit of its own pride and yet it has nothing but pride with which to try to free itself from that pride, but in reality the proud heart does not want to be free of its pride but wants to be free of the appearances of pride and perhaps some of the consequences of pride. The only power in the universe that can set a soul free from the power of pride is the power of the living God and He will only do it by free-grace. The only hope sinners have is King Jesus to come and snatch them from the bondage of their pride and do that by His free-grace. Oh how sinners need to look to free-grace for all things rather than look to their own so-called faith which is really nothing but a look to their own pride. The real and true Christ is what sinners need to give them faith as opposed to sinners trying to come up with their own faith (pride of self) to have Christ.

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