Archive for the ‘Power of Pride’ Category

Power of Pride 4

April 26, 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.”

It is perhaps a task without an end to discover the depths of pride and how it opposes any attribute of God, but perhaps the attributes of sovereignty and self-sufficiency are at the least toward the top of the list. This is not just for the unbeliever, but it is also for believers every single moment of every single day of their lives. God is sufficient in Christ for all things, yet we continually try to find ways to trust in self and rely on self. Our hearts constantly look for things that self can do instead of resting in Him alone.

While it is popular in the Reformed world to think of things as being means of grace, our hearts will quickly and easily turn to thinking that because we do certain things we will be given grace. If we think that God gives us grace because we perform certain actions, then we are not thinking of true grace at all. True grace is sovereign and is given at the mere pleasure of God who shows grace in order to manifest His glory. True grace is free-grace and so God gives grace to sinners apart from any causation within themselves. This is a necessary teaching if we are to seek and worship God in spirit and truth.

The first thing we can look at is the basic study of the Bible at home. Does it ever enter our minds that the trust study of the Bible will require grace from God or do we think our own minds and efforts are sufficient in the matter? Is God Himself sufficient to teach us? Do we really look to Him for this? We have many methods and rules for Bible study, but are they really sufficient to teach us the things of God? The Scriptures teach us that we need the illumination of the Spirit to show us the things of God, yet do we enter our study of the Bible depending on Him to teach us or do we just barge in depending on self though we may not think of it that way? God is under no obligation to sinners based on themselves and what they do to teach them and open their minds to His glories.

What is necessary for us to know is that pride will always hinder our study of Scripture since our study of Scripture is supposed to be a seeking of the face of God. Do we study the Scriptures as a way of seeking things for self or do we study the Scriptures seeking the face of God. Do preachers preach the Scriptures to show how they are so good with the Scriptures, have such knowledge, or perhaps what great evangelists they are or do they preach for the glory of God and so that men will seek the Lord Himself? This is not intended as a knock on all preachers as such, but surely we can see our own hearts displayed when we go to study the Bible in our own strength and for selfish reasons. Am I more interested in pleasing and seeking God or in gaining knowledge to impress others and self?

Our proud hearts are always seeking duties and things that are in our own strength to please God. We so want to be self-sufficient to some degree and in some way, but all of our efforts in the strength of self are nothing but pride and a desire to find a way to distinguish ourselves. Our pride will push us to do many things for the sake of self, but that is not seeking God. It is using the things of God as a way to seek self. It is indeed a vain conceit coming from a proud heart that tries to study the Scriptures without seeking the Lord for a humble heart which He alone can give so that we can seek His face rather than self in the study of the Scriptures. He gives spiritual understanding by free-grace alone and not because of any other reason. We should keep that in mind as we seek Him in all we do.

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Power of Pride 3

April 24, 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.”

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.

Power of Pride 2

April 23, 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.”

We have tried to show in the previous post that pride and faith should be seen as polar opposites. If that is true, then pride and unbelief are close allies if not the same thing and the power of pride is the power of unbelief. Unbelief, then, is not just a lack of believing something as true, but instead it is the power of a proud heart that is opposed to the living God. We can see that for those who are supposed to walk by faith that a proud heart would make that utterly impossible. The proud heart lives for self and exalts self, and that is precisely what the unbelieving heart does. Humility is the emptying of pride and so the soul exalts God in Christ.

The proud heart trusts in self and relies on self, which should show people that free-will is a false teaching since it always points man to the will of self rather than the grace of Christ. Whether it comes from the pulpit of a professing Arminian or a professing Reformed person, urging people to look to themselves and their own wills is urging them on in their pride. As Romans 4:16 sets out, it is by faith in order that it may be by grace. It is necessary to stress these things repeatedly because our hearts will constantly want to look to self. True and biblical faith requires us to die to our pride in order to have true faith. When we stand Romans 4:16 along side of James 4:6 we can see that God is opposed to the proud and if looking to ourselves for faith is pride then God is opposed to that. God gives grace to the humble, that is, God gives grace to those who have died to their pride (not perfectly) and do not look to self, but instead they look to Him for faith and not themselves.

The proud heart looks to self because it trusts in self rather than God, though indeed it may think that it is trusting in God as it looks to self. However, the proud heart is not looking to God empty of self and empty of any merit, but instead the proud heart is looking to self for faith or something it can do so that God will give it what it wants. The humbled heart looks to King Jesus for all things knowing that He gives according to His perfect wisdom and it will receive all He is pleased to give and know that it comes by grace alone. The creaturely pride is seen in that it always wants to do something that precedes grace, though it may profess something entirely different.

Quoting Dutton from above, “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.” Here we see the heart of pride in many of its aspects. We can see that pride and unbelief go hand and hand. While sinners are born with proud and selfish hearts, the growing in and continuing in pride is a growing in rebellion against God and is in fact a denial of who He is. A proud person that seeks his or her own glory is really a practical atheist that denies the very glory of God in all of His attributes. The proud person is self-reliant and self-sufficient and will not bow to the free-grace of God where His infinite, underived, incomprehensible self-sufficiency is set out for all to admire, adore, and worship.

One of the great battles between the proud person and God is over the issue of self-sufficiency, though it will be put in differing ways. The chief issue of free-will versus free-grace is really self-sufficiency. God is either self-sufficient in saving sinners or sinners must do something of themselves before He will save them. Oh the horror of pride in the nostrils of the one and only glorious God! What a stench it must be for sinful man to think that he can exercise free-will which will move God to save him! What a stench it must be in the nostrils of God for men to look to anything but free-grace to save their wretched souls !

Power of Pride 1

April 22, 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.”

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.