ROMANS 3:27-28: “So, do we have anything to brag about? Bragging has been eliminated. On what basis was it eliminated? On the basis of our own efforts? No, indeed! Rather, it is eliminated on the basis of faith. We conclude that a person has God’s approval by faith, not by his own efforts.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Do I have spiritual pride? As I read God’s Word, am I reading it as a spectator, or am I looking directly at my own heart in the mirror? These are questions I need to continually ask myself as I examine my heart. It is easy to feign humility, while walking in spiritual pride. Spiritual pride is a common pitfall of the religious. It not only keeps one from receiving true grace, it also hinders others from finding it.
- “Jesus also used this illustration with some who were sure that God approved of them while they looked down on everyone else. He said, “Two men went into the temple courtyard to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people! I’m not a robber or a dishonest person. I haven’t committed adultery. I’m not even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my entire income.’ “But the tax collector was standing at a distance. He wouldn’t even look up to heaven. Instead, he became very upset, and he said, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ “I can guarantee that this tax collector went home with God’s approval, but the Pharisee didn’t. Everyone who honors himself will be humbled, but the person who humbles himself will be honored.” Luke 18:9-14 GW
Jesus defined spiritual pride in this parable. Spiritual pride is the false assurance of our own righteousness and standing with God, through an attitude of superiority over others, because of how we think and act. Spiritual pride looks at the outside of the cup, while ignoring the inside. Spiritual pride always compares our lives with someone else, in an effort to justify our actions and assure us of our own righteousness. Spiritual pride blinds us to our true condition and need for forgiveness and cleansing.
Paul, in the firs three chapters of the book of Romans, shows that spiritual pride is false pride – for all! The immoral, who celebrates his immorality; the moral, who takes comfort in his good works; and the religious, who rests in his heritage and traditions; ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. All men, the immoral, moral, and religious – are in need of mercy and grace. And all men only receive this through faith in Jesus Christ. Spiritual pride is plucked up by its roots – by grace through faith! There is no room for anyone to brag!
Humility recognizes our sinful condition and our need for a Savior. Humility realizes that it is never how much we sin, but the fact that we do sin. Any sin misses the mark of perfection that would allow us to come to God and declare that we are righteous. If this were possible, Jesus would not have come to die for our sins. Salvation is given freely so that all can receive it freely. And forgiveness and cleansing in our lives continues to come in the same way. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are daily forgiven and cleansed by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
Lord, forgive me for the times I have slipped back into spiritual pride. Help me to humble my heart this morning, and to thank You for Your gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ my Lord. Forgive me and cleanse me anew this morning so that I can walk in Your love and Your light. And help me extend the same mercy and love toward others, that You have so graciously extended to me.
In Jesus Name!