Archive for the ‘Power of Pride’ Category

Power of Pride 14

May 23, 2016

Pride is a sin by which the whole law of God, in each of its ten commandments, is broken. (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.”

Think of the power of pride as being that thing which God hates and which is at the heart of which the devil, fallen angels, and fallen men rebel against God and live at enmity with Him. A proud heart lives by the reason of pride, the love of self, and the sinful drives of a proud heart. Pride is this awful thing that lifts us up in our own eyes and blinds us to the true God and self and as such we can live very religious lives while we are at enmity with the living God. If we think of the commandments as how we love God and how God works in us to share in His life by free-grace, then we can see how pride is that by which we live by self and is the life of self rather than the life of God in us. This helps us to see how a religious action or a religious duty is nothing but pride and self living at enmity with God.

The third command is for us not to take the name of the Lord our God in vain (empty, meaningless use of His name or anything to do with Him). We know from Scripture what God thinks of His name and how He treats His own name as holy and will not do anything but what glorifies His own name. The first petition of the Lord’s Prayer is for God’s name to be hallowed and/or glorified. If we love God with all of our being, then we will strive to think and use His name with reverence. However, a proud heart will revere self and not revere the name of the Lord God other than how it makes the proud self appear to self and others. The proud heart longs for others to revere him or her and is more interested in appearing righteous for the sake of appearances than to love God and His glory.

The proud heart exalts self rather than God, though the proud heart may want to appear righteous to self and/or to others and as such it may appear to want to exalt God. In desiring to exalt self and appear righteous to self and others, the proud heart is a god to itself and is assuredly and idol. When self exalts self in some way then God’s name which is upon all men is used in a profane fashion as they are His image bearers in some way. All that man does for self is an irreverent use of the image of God and is using the image of God as an act of love for self which is to be like the devil. When man acts out of pride and self man is not loving his fellow man and does not desire for them to revere the name of God, but instead when man wants men to revere himself he does not want what is best for others who are made in the image of God and as such proud man is treating the name of God with a horrible irreverence and desires others to do the same thing.

When men see themselves and their horrible and noxious pride, they should bow deeply before the living God in angst of soul and with deep conviction. When men realize and come to feel the gravity of the situation, they can see that their proud heart stands against God and how He manifests Himself in the commandments. They should be able to see with frightening clarity that God alone can glorify Himself in their salvation. The glory of the Gospel of the free-grace by Christ alone shines brightly when we see it contrasted with the pride of men. How powerful that pride is that blinds men to their need of free-grace and blinds them to how dependent they are and how self-sufficient God really is. How glorious must that free-grace be that finds nothing in men worth anything but the wrath of God and yet overcomes their pride and showers them with the riches of Christ!

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Power of Pride 13

May 20, 2016

Pride is a sin by which the whole law of God, in each of its ten commandments, is broken. (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.”

Colossians 3:5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.

Ephesians 5:5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

In the Old Testament the idea of idolatry had a lot to do with idols that people made and then set up, but also the worship of false gods. The New Testament focuses on idolatry as sinfulness of the heart. However, we still have Revelation 9:20 speaking of the worship of demons, and “the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.” The worship of idols that were made with human hands continued on until late in the New Testament. However, in the epistles idolatry took on a more prominent place in terms of the loves and desires of the heart.

Colossians 3:5 (quoted above) sets out greed as idolatry. Ephesians 5:5 (also quoted above) sets out a covetous man as an idolater. The proud heart of man is a heart that is focused on self and thinks of things in terms of self. The proud heart is governed by the exaltation of self and the cravings for things for self. A greedy person, whether it is greed for possessions or other types of things, is a person in the service of self rather than in the service of the living God. The greedy heart is one that is always looking at things for self rather than the true good of others and certainly does not look at things out of love for God and His glory. Thus we see the power of pride in the hearts of those who do not love God. This pride of man exalts man over God and as such men serve self rather than God. This pride has such power that it pushes man and drives man to be in the service of self. A greedy man is a slave to his greedy heart which is really a proud heart.

Looking again at Colossians 3:5, what we see is the power of coveting. It is true that a greedy heart and a coveting heart are essentially the same thing and come from essentially the same Greek word. However, in terms of the way the word is used in English there is a bit of a different concept. We tend to think of the word “greed” in terms of a person desiring more and more money. We tend to think of the word “covetous” as a person who desires the property of others. While we are thinking of the power of pride in our hearts in terms of the 2nd command, it naturally leads us to the 10th command. Coveting has to do with the longing of the heart for things that it is not supposed to desire and for things it desires far more than it should. As such, the proud heart is always coveting after people and things it should not have.

For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the power of pride has been set forth and we can see how it violates the 2nd commandment in that the sinful and proud heart has such a power over the desires that the proud heart is given to greed and coveting. It is true that a proud person may be too proud to admit those things, but then that person is coveting the honor of others rather than the love of the true God. The proud heart is always thinking of self and how to obtain things for self rather than seeking love from God in order to love God and do all for His glory. The power of a proud heart is such that it takes the omnipotent God in the power of His glorious grace to change an idolatrous heart that it may truly love Him. Oh that we would seek the Lord to show us our hearts and reveal our sin to us that we may know the power of His grace! Oh that we would understand our hearts that we may know the grace of a new heart! Overcoming pride, greed, and covetousness does not come by our own power to overcome the power of pride, but instead it can only come by the power of God in the soul by Christ. It is His free-grace that takes our proud hearts and makes them humbled hearts. Let us not look to self to do what only omnipotent power can do by grace.

Power of Pride 12

May 14, 2016

Pride is a sin by which the whole law of God, in each of its ten commandments, is broken. (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.”

It is not often that we hear of pride as being something other than a person thinking too highly of him or herself, but what we see from the Scriptures and the comments by Dutton pride is at the very essence of sin. As the Ten Commandments reflect something of the holiness of God, so pride reflects how man is unlike God, lives to his own glory, and in all that falls short of the glory of God. A proud heart is a heart that is puffed up with self and lives for self rather than being full of the glory of God and living for Him. A proud heart exalts self rather than God, which is to show the very heart of sin. Pride puts itself in the place of God in terms of the place to look for wisdom, for justification, and for the goal of living.

The commandments are unified in the sense that they all flow from the character of God. The Ten Commandments were formally stated to the nation of Israel, but all of these commands are seen in the book of Genesis. This should teach us that the very heart and truth of the commandments are not found in the civil and ceremonial requirements given to the nation of Israel, but instead these reflect how God is toward Himself and how we are to love God. We are commanded to be holy as He is holy, so we can know that real holiness is to be like God. The commandments, minus the civil and the ceremonial laws, teach us how God is in Himself and they reflect His holiness. God does nothing that is not for His own glory, which is also to say that He loves Himself as triune in all He does. Is there a greater to love than Christ for the Father? Is there a greater for Christ to love than the Father? For them to be holy, then, they must love each other perfectly. Is the Greatest Commandment nothing more than an arbitrary command of God or is it how God exists in and of Himself as triune? The triune God who is “a God of love” is indeed a God who lives in perfect love within the Trinity.

The proud person is quite the opposite of God in that the proud person loves himself and does all for himself rather than love God in all he does. While the First Commandment teaches us to have no other gods before God, what it teaches us is that we are to have no gods in His presence (before Him = in His presence). The proud person violates that commandment because the proud person is his own god and does all for himself out of love for himself. The proud person listens to his own wisdom and follows his own heart as the very foundation for all of his or her morality. The proud person follows his own heart and as such does not follow Christ who kept all the commandments perfectly out of a perfect love. Christ could keep the commandments perfectly because He was the very tabernacle of God and He loved God perfectly and spoke and acted as He received from the Father.

Oh how the proud heart finds being like Christ so hard and so restricting, yet the lover of God finds that s/he wants to be more and more like God. A proud heart is at enmity with God and does not want Christ to rule over it and does not want to be like the true Christ. The proud heart wants to live by its own power and independence rather than rest in Christ and receive all from His self-sufficiency. The proud heart loves self, lives for self, does all for self, and violates all that God is. The proud heart wants to be religious to the degree it wants to be religious rather than love God with all of its being. The proud heart wants to be holy as it wants to be holy rather than be holy as He is holy. The proud heart wants to be like self rather than to be like Christ. The proud heart wants to love self rather than love God. The proud heart wants to have self-esteem rather than Christ-esteem. The proud heart, then, is clearly its own god. A proud heart is taking the throne of God and sitting in the seat thinking that self is the god to follow. What an enormous power pride has when hearts are deceived and blinded to the fact that the proud heart is a god to self and as such does not bow in submission to the living and true God. A proud heart is the opposite of a humble heart that has true grace.

Power of Pride 11

May 8, 2016

This sin of pride which turned myriads of angels of light into legions of black devils, and that for this they were hurled down from heaven to the bottomless pit of hell. …Pride was the sin which cast down Adam, and in him all his posterity, even to the last, from the height of created, natural, and princely excellency, into an unsearchable depth of spiritual slavery, and the just desert of eternal misery. (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 not just a minor pride; it describes the human heart in its attitude and rebellion against God. Pride is not just a little peccadillo, it is that from which the selfish heart of human beings overflows with sin and corruption in enmity against God. Regardless of how religious a person is or how nice a person is, apart from Jesus Christ that person is religious and/or nice out of a sinful heart and in rebellion against the living God. Regardless of how much a person uses the name of Jesus Christ, apart from truly having Christ as his or her life that person is in the depths of spiritual slavery and deserves nothing but the eternal wrath of God.

While Dutton’s statements above give us the origin of pride as such, they also give us the idea of the gravity of pride as well. It is impossible for a finite human being to overstate the evil of pride. Pride is such a monstrous sin that it simply cannot be overstated as to the horrors and evils it works to produce in the human heart. How can our minds and hearts grasp the evil of a sin that would cast untold numbers of the angels of light and make them legions of demons of the dark? How can our own proud hearts grasp that the angels that fell were never given a Savior for even one of them but were instead promised nothing but the very pit of hell? It is hard to even begin to grasp the evil of a sin so monstrous that one man could have it and the whole human race for all history would be plunged into sin and justly deserve hell. Just to think upon it is to know that we barely know anything of the power of pride and the evil of pride.

Genesis 1 tells us that man was created in the image of God and that very good. The original man was born without sin and bore the image of God in a way that no man has had since. Man was seemingly the culmination of the creation of God and we could even say that underneath the glory of God as a primary motive the whole creation was created for man. God created man and all things in order to manifest His glory through man. But through pride man is now in the bondage of the devil and his evil work and deserves eternal and even increasing wrath and misery for all eternity. Our feeble and fallen minds cannot grasp the height from which we have fallen from and the depths that we have fallen to. Pride is what has done it and as such it is far more evil than we can know.

We can observe, then, the power of pride that would take such a noble creature and work it to fall to such depths. Behold the power of pride that would take a child of God and make it the child of the devil. Behold the power of pride in that all the angels and all the men that God has created are powerless to cast it out. Behold the power of pride that will blind the smartest and the wisest of men into thinking that it is a small matter and perhaps even good. Behold the power of pride that will take sinful men and make them very religious and yet blinded to their lost condition. Behold the power of pride that will take religious men and blind them even while they read their Bibles and say their prayers.

Perhaps the power of pride is seen in the only cure for it. Pride is so powerful that it took the eternal Son of God to leave the bosom of the Father (in a sense) and divest Himself of His glory (in appearance) and clothe Himself in human flesh. Even more, it took the very Son of God to die on the cross in order to overcome the power of pride. It took the humility of the very Son of God to overcome the pride of the human heart. It takes the power of the living God by His Spirit to regenerate man and give him life. Behold the power, the glory, and the wonders of His free-grace in taking proud sinners and making them humble saints. All praise and all glory is to Him who by His free-grace saves sinners.

Power of Pride 10

May 7, 2016

This sin of pride which turned myriads of angels of light into legions of black devils, and that for this they were hurled down from heaven to the bottomless pit of hell. (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.”

The power of pride is enormous and virtually all people don’t search their own hearts in order to look for pride. Even fewer, it would seem, actually seek the Lord to show them their pride. It seems impossible for the proud heart to see its own pride and yet even harder to admit that it is proud. The proud heart does not want to think of itself as proud, which is a power of deception. Perhaps it is rare to meditate upon the pride in our own hearts, but that would be a mistake on our parts. When we come down with a physical disease, we turn all of our thoughts and powers to defeating that illness because we think it may kill us. Pride is perhaps the essence of spiritual disease, however, and the death it brings is spiritual and eternal.

There are certain physical diseases that we are to take tests every year or every so often to determine if we have it. These diseases are more treatable if we catch them early on. Disease will often have no obvious symptoms and so they sneak upon us and before we know it we are in the grip of a killer disease. If we take the time to get the test, the scan, or the procedure we may catch the disease before it gets a death grip upon us. The great issue with pride (and the self) is that we are born dead in sins and trespasses and we are full of pride. We don’t need a test to see if we have pride, we are born and as such we are born with a proud heart. This pride may present itself differently in different people, but it is there and it is operating with great power and it grows.

For the believer, however, this pride can be hidden in even different ways. We can be proud of spiritual things and not even recognize it. The unbeliever can be proud of religious things, but never spiritual things. The believer should meditate on pride and ask God to run a scan (so to speak) of his or her mind and heart so that this pride will come to light. Untreated pride will bring great spiritual illness to the heart. It is a terrible heart disease that will bring corruption to the whole soul. Imagine the believer being unconcerned about pride when Scripture is so clear that the proud person’s soul is not right and that God opposes the proud. Can one who truly loves God not care if God Himself opposes that person? Can a person that loves the kingdom of God not want to get rid of all that prevents the kingdom of God reigning in him or her?

Our pride opposes God and is opposed by Him. We should spend time meditating on that and praying for God to open our eyes to see our hearts. Our pride stands opposite of true humility and we should long for and desire humility because gives grace to the humble. If we love God with a true love (most likely a small amount and as such we will fight unbelief in this matter) we should long for Him to give us grace because He gives grace to the glory of His own name. Our love for God should move us to long for Him to remove pride from our hearts that we may have the life of the humble Christ dwell in us.

The power of pride is such that we do not see pride and we don’t understand the ravaging disease it is to our souls. We are taught in both Testaments that God loves the humble and the contrite and dwells with them. We are told to humble ourselves and pray. However, if we are blinded to our pride we don’t see that what we think of as our humility is really nothing more than indwelling pride. We need the expertise of a Divine physician who will make an accurate diagnosis and who alone can remove the problem. This should cast a lot of light upon the subject of free-grace. There is in each sinner that which not only opposes God, but opposes His grace and is the opposite of His grace. However, because God is God-centered and because Christ has truly and fully purchased sinners, God is moved to save sinners because of who He is. His grace is truly free from all conditions to be met by the sinners and is given because of Christ alone.

The Power of Pride 9

May 2, 2016

This sin of pride which turned myriads of angels of light into legions of black devils, and that for this they were hurled down from heaven to the bottomless pit of hell. (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.”

It is one thing to accept the fact that there is a monstrous power of pride and it can and does make monsters of people, but it is quite another to come to the felt realization or experimental reality of what it means for me (each person) to have that pride in my own heart. It is one thing to know about it, but it is quite another thing to know it as quite real in my own heart. It is one thing to think of a movie star or famous athlete as proud, but it is another thing to recognize that pride is part of my own nature and it has power over me. While that movie star or famous athlete may in fact be arrogant, the fact that I have pride in my heart tells me that I might be worse than they are if God had put me in their place.

The weight of sin and the power of sin are hidden to the natural man, whether the man is religious or not. Becoming very religious does not give a person spiritual eyes, only regeneration and the work of the Spirit can open our eyes to our own sin in the spiritual realm. It is possible for unregenerate people to recognize that physical adultery is sinful and that even lusting in the heart is sinful, but they are blinded to the adultery of the heart in spiritual matters toward God. Even knowing that can trigger pride in the heart if we are not careful, though the eyes to see the rising in pride is a great mercy thought it is quite painful.

Pride is always pleased by the exaltation of self, the seeking of self to be exalted, and the thoughts of self being exalted. This is true in the religious realm as well as all other realms as well. The unregenerate person can understand something of pride when he is proud of his prayers and actually seek to please men in his prayers as did the Pharisees, but the regenerate person will see pride in the heart during prayer and after prayer and loathe self for that pride. It is also true that the unregenerate can see pride in his or her prayer and feel bad because of it, but that is because it is a failure of self or self-control (they think). The regenerate will loathe self because it understands that pride is part of him and that this pride is a horrible sin against God. The regenerate soul will understand with a degree of self-loathing that it takes the blood of Christ to take away such a vile and horrible sin as pride in prayer.

The unregenerate person may think of pride as a power, but it thinks of it as something it can overcome in some way by the efforts of self. It may recognize that the proud person’s soul is not right within him or her, but this person thinks that faith is in his or her power and so seeks to use faith to overcome the pride. However, the faith of a proud person is really in the power of self which is the power of pride though hidden to the unregenerate. This person is in the bondage of the power of pride and does not realize it. This person can actually think it has overcome the power of pride and is quite proud that it has done so. Pride is so sneaky and powerful (in the effects it has) that it will hide itself even in acts of pride and deceive the proud person into thinking it is humble.

The person that has been overcome by the power of pride will think that s/he is humble and as such will receive grace from God, but in fact God still opposes that person and is turning him or her over to a hardened heart of pride. This is why we see so many religious people full of self and pride. Though they are very religious and perhaps avid students of the Bible, they are full of pride and self. The truly humbled person (emptied of self and pride to some degree, though not made perfect) sees that s/he has no power over this awful pride and will seek the Lord to deliver him or her from it. When this person comes to see that indeed s/he has no power over pride, that person understands with horror what it means to be in bondage to sin. It is only free-grace that God delivers sinners from the bondage to pride and it is only by His free-grace that He will work to deliver humbled sinners from more and more pride. The soul that He has opened the eyes to see the awful power and darkness of pride will loathe self to some degree and knows it has no hope of every defeating pride with the power of self (pride). It knows that it must have grace (free-grace) in this battle and the whole battle resides in the power of free-grace. This is a soul that will pray to that end.

The Power of Pride 8

May 1, 2016

This sin of pride which turned myriads of angels of light into legions of black devils, and that for this they were hurled down from heaven to the bottomless pit of hell. (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.”

When we think of sin, our most likely thought is that of others. Perhaps we may have read some of the older writers and as such meditate on our own sin as we seek God to break our hearts from pride and self, but it is rare for us to trace sin back to the Satan and his legions of demons. It is here that we should face the facts of what sovereign grace really is and of the terrible and wicked sin of pride. As we think of Satan and how it was that he fell, it is clear from the scant evidence from Scripture on the subject that he was a very proud being. It was in his own desire to be like God that he used to deceive the first couple and they sinned. We can see that he was proud of his own wisdom in deceiving them, and it was clear that he did not love God or the creatures of God when he deceived them into sin. This was an enormous pride in what he did.

As far as we know all the angelic beings that God were created were true angels and without sin. However, what we do know is that some followed Satan and fell into sin. But again, we can see an enormous pride in those creatures in thinking that it was their choice and perhaps ability to choose the greatest good. What pride to think that following Satan was a good idea and what pride it was to choose anyone but God. But because of that great pride countless numbers of angels became demons. As Dutton put it, there were myriads of the angels of light who became black devils. What was the difference? It was pride.

We must be careful not to go beyond Scripture, but we can see that pride was a real issue here. We can also see the sovereign hand of God in upholding those who did not fall and His not upholding those who did fall. We can see the basic principle at work that God opposes the proud. We must understand this and know that God opposes the proud even when they are the most beautiful creatures He had made, yet pride was a cause in their becoming hideous devils. There are some great lessons for human beings to learn here.

There is no reason found in man for God not to send sinful human beings to hell since He damned Satan and the demons for pride. This should sink into our souls and we should feel the weight of our pride against the living God and know that the only reason we are not in hell is because He has upheld us in life. If we have the Lord Jesus Christ as our very life, then we can understand to some degree the nature of grace. There is nothing in us that moved God to save such wretches as proud human beings, but He did so in order to shine forth His glory in grace. There is no room for pride in sinners saved by free-grace, none at all. There was nothing in us that could possibly move Him to send Christ to take away our sins, yet He did so for His own glory. There is nothing in us that could possibly move Him to share the life of Christ with us, yet He does so by His free-grace for His own glory.

We must wake up to the fact that the only reason that those angelic beings remained angels was because God upheld them for His own sake. The only thing that keeps us from falling into sin each moment is the restraining hand of God who does so for His own purposes. We should seek the Lord and pray for Him not to lead us into temptation and to keep us from evil and the evil one. It is when our pride leads us to think that we can avoid sin by our own power that God lets us fall in order to teach us that He is sovereign and He alone has power over sin. Oh how we should seek humility from His hand that we may live before Him in complete submission and live by His grace. Unless we are living by free-grace, we are living to some degree by pride. While no one is even close to perfection, it should teach us to constantly seek His face for humility that we may seek Him and receive grace. Behold the power of pride in the fall of Satan and his demons, but also in our sin.

Power of Pride 7

April 30, 2016

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.

Power of Pride 6

April 28, 2016

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.”

The power of pride may seem like an odd phrase or title, but when one begins to think though it there is something very descriptive about it. Pride in the heart will run the whole life and drive a person in all that they do. Pride in the heart is so strong that no human power can overcome it and it is also true that no angelic power (think of the devil and the demons) can withstand it as well. Pride in the heart is so strong that the only power that can overcome it is the very power of the living God. Only God, who is omnipotent, can take the heart of unbelief which is a heart full of self and pride and put life in that heart and so the soul now looks to God as all-sufficient and all-wise rather than self and the world.

The creature is born dead in sins and trespasses which has as a major part of it (to say the least) the power of pride. We are born in a state where there is no spiritual life and where we are at enmity with God. It is a proud heart that is at enmity with God and it is pride in the heart which refuses to bow in submission to His sovereignty and it is pride in the heart which will not receive all from Him who is self-sufficient. The proud heart has an exalted view of self and it has quite the deflated view of God. That pride hinders the heart from seeing the true God and it also blinds the heart from seeing the truth of self. With that much effective working in the heart, we can safely say that pride has a lot of power.

Anything that is contrary to God and has such power in the heart will certainly influence prayer. Pride in the heart stands in direct opposition to the Lord’s Prayer and cannot pray that in a true spirit of prayer. Though a person may be very religious, even being a minister or seminary professor, pride has the power (so to speak) to prevent true prayer. Will a proud heart pray with a true motive for God’s name to be hallowed? I would argue that it cannot do so. Instead of that, the true intent of a proud heart is for itself to be hallowed and glorified. However, a proud heart can say the words and perhaps can convince itself that it does desire the name of God to be hallowed, but if it does have a desire for that it is a desire for God’s name be hallowed for the purposes of self. This proud heart can also pray for God’s name to be hallowed so that others who are listening will hallow/glorify the one praying. Oh the deceptive power of pride in the human heart that will take holy things and use them for self and pride!

Can a proud heart pray for His kingdom to come? Again, it can say the words but the proud heart wants its own kingdom to reign and rule over self, others, and God as well. The proud heart is at enmity with the true God and does not want God to reign and rule, so it cannot pray that with a true heart and as such can only say the words. A very religious person, once again, can be blinded by pride and so say the words and desire to some degree and in some way for God’s kingdom to come (be advanced), but that proud heart cannot bow in complete submission to God unless God’s kingdom has truly come in that heart and that proud heart has been broken and humbled. While Scripture speaks of the reign of grace, the proud heart opposes grace and is opposed by the God of grace. The proud heart does not just oppose grace, but it hates grace. The proud heart may accept a little help from grace, but it will never (in reality) bow in submission to a Gospel that is totally of grace. Free-grace is a hateful teaching to the proud heart, though it must be admitted that this proud heart wants acceptance from others and so it will give some lip-service to the doctrine in certain circles. A proud heart will oppose free-grace at every turn and place it sees it, so of course it will oppose prayer which depends on free-grace to be true prayer.

Power of Pride 5

April 27, 2016

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.”

In thinking through the pride we all have in our hearts, it is always easier to see pride in others as opposed to ourselves. However hard it may be, we should seek the Lord to show us our pride. Pride in the heart takes light shining upon it to see it and it will also take the work of Christ in the heart to accept it and plead with Him to grant us repentance from it. Apart from the work of God in our hearts we will not see pride, will not recognize the pride of the heart, and perhaps will even see it as virtuous rather than a hideous thing to be repented of.

It appears that the Christianity of today as been drinking deeply at the well of humanism. As such, it is being blinded to the truth of pride. We seek outward success in the churches rather than God Himself. We seek to obtain things from God that are ordered by our wisdom rather than seek God for wisdom. We come up with our plans for how the church is to grow and ask God to bless those, but we fail to seek God for growth as He sees fit. We seek all sorts of worldly standards and worldly things and think that we are serving God. Jesus the Christ sought the glory of God and lived a life of poverty, suffering, and then an agonizing death on the cross. Do we really want to be like Christ or has our pride blinded us to what that really means?

We are told in II Chronicles 7:14 that we are to humble ourselves, and pray, and seek the face of God. We may say words that we think of as prayer, but do we really know what it means to be humbled before God? Do we really know what it means to seek the face (presence) of God in prayer? A proud heart has no idea of what true humility is, yet we are told that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6 above). These basic truths should fall upon our hearts like a ton of bricks falling from a truck. If we think we have been praying and yet we have not been humbled, we are wrong and we do not know what it means to pray. Pride in the heart has an enormous power of blinding us in spiritual things. It will lead us to think that we have prayed when in fact we have not prayed at all. It will lead us to think we have sought the face of God when in fact we have sought no one but ourselves. Pride is a deadly poison in the soul that blinds us, numbs us, and gives us deafness toward God.

Pride kills true prayer and yet it can lead people to a lot of false prayer in the name of religion. This is utterly vital to grasp in terms of walking with God and truly seeking God. A proud person (a Pharisee, for example) can be in a posture of prayer and utter theologically correct words of prayer, but the heart of a proud person cannot pray. The heart must be humbled before it can truly pray, though indeed one must seek a humbled heart before God from the hand of God. Pride and free-grace are opposites, so we can know that since prayer can only happen by free-grace that the heart must be humbled. Either we are free to pray by the power of self or we must have free-grace to pray. Either Christ was right when He said apart from Him we can do nothing (nothing spiritual since all must come from Him) or we can pray as we please.

The point is that the awful power of pride must be taken into consideration and it must be humbled or we cannot truly pray. God alone is sufficient to work in us true prayer which means that we are not sufficient in the slightest to truly pray apart from His sufficient grace found only in Christ. This is incredibly humbling to the proud heart, but this is precisely what we must realize and then seek from His hand. It is nothing but pride in our hearts that make us think that we can pray apart from the grace of God in us since He alone is self-sufficient. The inability of man extends to all spiritual acts and God alone is sufficient to work spiritual things in and through us. He must humble us from our great pride in order for us to pray by grace since our flesh can never do this.