Faith and Pride 1

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

Psalm 94:4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; All who do wickedness vaunt themselves.

Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. 16:5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Proverbs 21:4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin. 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

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

The clear contrast between faith and pride is taught in the Bible from beginning to end. It is not always obvious to all who read the Bible, but it is there and it is clear when it is pointed out. Though the Bible does not set out each time that a proud and lofty heart is the source of sin, yet it does teach that. The Bible does not set out on each page that the old self is a selfish heart that is lifted up with pride in all that it does, yet it does teach that. It is frightening to see that pride and self are at the heart of sin and that men can be very religious and yet still do all their religious duties out of a heart of self and pride. Pride is the direct opposite of faith. Without a new heart which is a heart of faith or a believing heart, all that a person does is sin and nothing but sin.

The proud person has a heart or soul that is not right within him or her. In contrast with that, we see that a righteous person lives by faith. In other words, pride and faith are opposites. Living by a proud heart and living by faith are opposites. A proud heart can live a stringent and devoted life of religion, but that is still to live by self and pride. The humble heart is the heart that God has molded and made for Himself. The humbled heart is the one that God dwells in. The broken heart is done with self (as a ruler, though it fights with self while on earth), while the unbroken heart is nothing but self and does all out of pride. The Pharisees were the standard example of this. They did all of their acts of righteousness for themselves. They prayed in order to be seen by men. They gave alms in order to be seen and praised. They fasted in order to be honored by men.

In the present day we see that professing Christianity is deluged with teaching that seems to be focused on building up the self rather than the denial of self. This is simply another way of saying that we are deluged with teaching that builds up the pride of man. But we see that Scripture teaches that God opposes the proud. If, as Proverbs 6:5 sets out, that all those who are proud are an abomination to the Lord, then we must draw the conclusion that professing Christianity (in a far greater degree than is comfortable) is really teaching people how to be an abomination to the Lord and how to destroy true faith in God. After all, that is what pride does.

Real and true Christianity should be focused on humbling men and showing them how to seek the Lord in order to be truly humbled. Knowledge is said to puff men up (I Corinthians 8:1) and so Christian teaching must be more than an effort to increase knowledge. In the context where it is said that knowledge puffs up we can be sure that knowledge of the Bible and of religion puff up also. The proud heart is puffed up with the knowledge it has and it is blinded by both the pride and the knowledge to its own true spiritual condition. The Bible teaches us (see above) that the lamp of the wicked consists of haughty eyes and a proud heart. What leads the wicked on, in other words, is the haughty eyes and the proud heart. The Bible does not say that this is true of all but religious folks, but it says that those things are the lamp of the wicked. When a proud heart and haughty eyes are what drives a person, we can know that a person like that is not a person that lives by faith.

Does the knowledge of pride puff you up? Does knowing about pride make you humble? Does knowing about the need to be broken of pride and self make you a broken person? No, it does not. Does knowing about the facts that pride and faith are opposites mean that you have faith? No, it most certainly does not. Knowing about things does not mean that we possess those things and it is pride to think that it does. It is God alone who can really and truly work humbled and broken hearts in us. It is God alone who can give us true faith and He only does that by grace alone. Until our proud hearts are broken and we no longer trust in our self and pride, we will only have hearts that trust in self and love self rather than trust and love Christ. Surely it is obvious how utterly proud a heart is that trusts in self rather than Christ. Faith cannot dwell in a proud heart. People must be broken from pride (in reality) or they will never be given the grace of faith.

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