We are to shut our mouths and renounce our pride and arrogance so we are able to trust in our Lord. Being sinful creatures, we have no right to boast. Because, Christ lived the perfect life, on our behalf, by obeying His own law for us that we were not able or willing to do. He was both able and willing. Thus, the Judge, who is rightly able to condemn us for our sins, is now our Savior. Since we had nothing to do with our place in eternity, we have no reason to be prideful of anything, either because of our accomplishments or for our salvation. In like manner, we had no right to boast before our salvation because of our condemnation. Because, we are saved, and all that we are, and all that we have is from Christ alone, by His grace, and by no real or true effort of our own. Christ covered and protected us from the wrath of God, which we truly deserved!
The world may see pride as a sign of respect and dignity, that our worth as human beings is supreme, and that we deserve respect and even worship for ourselves. The world may take pleasure and satisfaction with pride because it represents achievements that we think we deserve. But, the source of pride is ourselves; it elevates us as a god when there is only One True God! Pride is conceit; when we are filled with conceit, we have a vastly exaggerated opinion of ourselves. We become the main show, and filled with self-righteousness; this is the result of our imaginations about ourselves, and not from the reality of who we are, or who and what we were made to be.
· We cannot hide in our pride as we cannot hide in the church from God's wrath. We cannot boast, because of our condemnation. Once we are saved, we still cannot boast because it was not a result our effort.
· Legalism is to elevate our traditions and ideas onto the same level as God's Law. Thus, it blinds us to the fact we have been freed by Grace. Legalism also serves as a power and control over others! Legalism opposes real faith!
· Beware not to have a trace of self-satisfaction left in you! We have to realize that just having knowledge puffs us up; but, the demonstration of love and care-put into action because of the knowledge we have in Christ-builds us and others up!
· God increases our faith when we develop more dependence in Him and less dependence upon ourselves.
· We must ask ourselves if our deepest desires and pleasures in life are dedicated to please Christ. Can we take a hard look at our life and see how others see us, how God sees us? Are our actions in life the result of our will, our desires, our inspirations, and our motivations; or, are they the result of living our lives to please God? Is there a distinguishable reality of the Lordship of Christ, versus the menagerie of living the lie of our desires? We must be set apart to be promoters of our Lord's Kingdom and Grace, to live that life of distinction, a life that honors Christ and motivates and encourages others.
1. Why should we shut our mouths and renounce our pride and arrogance?
2. What gets in the way of our trusting in our Lord in this passage? How does pride affect your faith?
3. Does it surprise you that you are still under sin's nature? Why do most Christians assume we are washed clean from sin? If we were washed clean, why would we still sin? Is this just semantics, being washed versus being declared? (Being washed would mean being cleaned from; therefore no sin nature will remain. Being declared means God sees and judges us from the perspective that we are clean, because of Christ's work.)
4. We cannot hide in our pride any more than we can hide in the church from God's wrath. Where have you hidden yourself?
5. Why should we not be boasting?
6. What difference does justification have on you in your faith and walk with Christ (2 Cor. 5:21)?
7. How is our independence a slap in His face?
8. Why can Christ not do anything significant in us until pride is removed (John 3:5; 30)?
9. How does Legalism distort the church and its reputation in the community?
10. What can you do today, this week, to demonstrate a life that has been cleansed by the atoning death of your Savior, who bore your punishment and lived out the law on your behalf?
Beware not to have a trace of self-satisfaction left in you!
(For more information on pride and hypocrisy, see the series of articles on "Legalism" on the Church Leadership page under the Problem Solving channel)