Power of Pride 7

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.”

Jesus spoke of not doing our works of righteousness to be seen by men (Mat 6:1-8). He specifically spoke of praying, giving alms, and fasting. Clearly, though, what He gave in principle would go beyond just those three things. The Pharisees were quite proud of their righteousness and would perform their acts before men and in order to be seen by men. This is nothing but a horrible pride that depended on self to do works of righteousness. It shows that the Pharisees looked to themselves and their own self-sufficiency in order to do works of righteousness.

This shows us a crucial problem in their day and yet in our own day as well, but we need to look at our day worse. Sinners need to be declared just in the sight of God on the basis of the sufficiency of Christ alone, but they also need to know that the sufficiency for good works is also in Christ alone. The fallen human being, even if regenerate, is not sufficient to do good one good work. For a good work to be truly a good work it must come from Christ and we must look to Christ for grace to do a good work. The Pharisees not only looked to themselves as having power to be righteous in terms of a standing before God, but they looked to themselves as sufficient to do good works. The same thing is rampant in our day.

Luther, though standing on the shoulders of Augustine and Wycliffe, found the rallying cry of justification by grace alone through faith alone. It seems as if many in our day would join him in that cry, at least in words, but in their hearts they look to self for sanctification. Nothing good can come from the flesh at any point. If it is to be good, it must come from Christ. Terms like “responsibility” have come to us in our day and seem to have changed meaning since it was used in earlier days. It is true that we have an obligation to God, but it is not true that we can respond with ability (respond-sibility). Our obligation is not just to do good things, however, but we are to do them by grace and in His strength.

It is utterly vital to realize that not only is Christ our justification, but that Christ is our sanctification too. No only are we justified by grace alone, but we are sanctified by grace alone. Sanctification is not just about the rules concerning what we don’t do and the good things we are supposed to do, it is about sharing in the life of Christ and all that we do coming from Him by grace alone. We are to walk by grace, that is, we are to live by grace and not just be justified by grace. We are to live in utter dependence upon Christ and His grace.

The power of pride is that it looks to self and blinds us from our inability in spiritual things. The proud can be proud of their knowledge and knowledge of grace, but they will still be pride and as such they will live by pride and the flesh. The proud can give themselves to outwardly great works and think of themselves as doing it for God, but their hearts are not right with God. Living by faith (which is opposite of pride) means living by Christ and by His grace. All truly good works are prepared by God, the strength to do them comes from Christ the vine, and we only do them by grace. Living by faith does not reflect how much the flesh trusts in Christ, but how much the humbled soul receives grace from Christ and lives by that grace. It is free-grace that the believer lives on. Pride is the power that blinds us from understanding that, from understanding our own hearts and how they deceive us, and from actually living by grace to His glory.

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