Power of Pride 3

 

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.”

Pride is what blinds the soul to things around it and within it as well. It is pride that blinds the eyes of the soul so that it cannot see pride and see the ramifications or results of pride. It seems as if the power of pride is virtually absolute and apart from God there is no greater power. If God did not oppose pride in fallen man, then all humanity would destroy itself in a short time. If God did not oppose pride in His children, then even they would destroy themselves in terms of church and fellowship by bickering and fighting. It is a hideous thing when we think of pride and what would happen if God let it run free.

The power of pride in the believer can be seen in how the believer will live in a practical sense on his or her own sufficiency rather than the full sufficiency of grace. When we think of what the term “believer” means in our day, we tend to think of one who has a belief in God and one who is moral as a result of that belief. What we should want to do, however, is understand that salvation and all things are by faith in order that they may be by grace. While we are to love God without all of our minds, we can only love God from the love His shares with us for Himself by grace. We cannot work up love and we cannot leverage God to give us love for Himself. We are utterly dependent upon God to give grace that we may keep His commands. In fact, we cannot keep His commands even in the slightest apart from receiving this obedience and love by grace alone.

It is because (in a causal pattern) man does not truly have faith in the sufficiency of God (does not have faith) that man has faith in himself and is blind to that. God alone is sufficient to give men strength to do the slightest good. It is a horrible pride of religious men to think that they can please God in anything that they have not received from God in and through Christ. The horror of pride is that it stands against God Himself and is so blinded that it thinks that it is serving God. It is nothing but a wicked pride in men that would blind them to the all-sufficiency of God and leave them to keep the commandments and all other religious activities apart from seeking them by free-grace from the hand of God.

It is at this point that we see the great error of pressing upon men their responsibility to obey apart from pressing upon them the need of grace if they are to obey. If we press upon men their duties and responsibilities to duty X, then we have not shown men their real duty which is to receive all spiritual good from God. In pressing upon men their duties and responsibilities to various duties, we are basically practical Pelagians if we do not tell them to seek the Lord to give them the strength and love for those duties by His free-grace. It is not just our duty to obey; it is our duty to die to self and for all obedience to come from Christ. There is a lot of legalism hidden behind pressing men to duties and responsibilities. All obedience that comes from the flesh is disobedience, so we must seek free-grace for true obedience that comes as a fruit of the Spirit.

We can see how easy it is for men to spin off into new and different forms of legalism, though in fact they will be older forms but with a new dress on. The things of religion, even all the good things and necessary things, become forms of legalism and nothing but acts of the flesh when we seek to be obedient to them apart from the free-grace of God. It is so hard for men to understand that we either live by the power of pride or we live by the power of free-grace. But again, this pride blinds us in so many ways that we don’t see it. All of our religion can come from nothing but pride while we think we are living humbly before the Lord. All of our Bible study, prayer, church attendance, and sanctification can be acts of the flesh and are acts of the flesh if they do not flow from free-grace.

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