Ian Hamilton – A Curse for Us: The Death of Christ
Michael Reeves – He Is Not Here: The Resurrection of Christ
Mike Leake – The Heart of Anger (Ephesians 4:26-27)
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18) The word “pride” has been bantered around quite a bit of late, specifically in relation to the recent SCOTUS decision on gay marriage. Social media has been awash with “support pride” hashtags, profile pictures, and other promotion of this statement. This begs …View full post
He who loves God desires His presence. Lovers cannot be long asunder, they soon have their fainting fits, for lack of a sight of the object of their love. A soul deeply in love with God desires the enjoyment of Him. David was ready to faint away, when he had not a sight of God. …View full post
Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for You!” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for Me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!” John 13:37-38 These verses show us how much self-ignorance there may …View full post
Geomorphology is a subfield of geology which specializes in studying and explaining the shape of the earth’s surface — its mountain ranges, plateaus, and plains. It includes study of small-scale features such as hills, valleys, slopes, and canyons. The individual features of the landscape within the field of geomorphology are called landforms. Geomorphology is a …View full post
John 3:16 is one of the most famous sentences in the Bible: Let’s ask nine questions about that sentence to try to understand it better. 1. Why does the sentence begin with ‘For …’? “For” connects this sentence to the previous one: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the …View full post
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18)
The word “pride” has been bantered around quite a bit of late, specifically in relation to the recent SCOTUS decision on gay marriage. Social media has been awash with “support pride” hashtags, profile pictures, and other promotion of this statement. This begs the question as to what one is allowed to have pride in and whether pride can be misplaced.
Passages such as Proverbs 16:18 seem to indicate that pride and a haughty spirit come before destruction and a fall. So what is this “pride” this passage speaks about? The word translated as pride is the Hebrew noun ga’own meaning quite simply “pride or arrogance.” The term haughty is the Hebrew noun gobahh meaning again that idea of “pride or arrogance.” This particular proverb is giving a repeated note that arrogance leads to destruction and ruin. But the question perhaps remains as to what arrogance refers to and what are examples of an arrogant spirit that will lead to destruction.
Proverbs 21:24 states, “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.” What is a scoffer? A scoffer is noted in Scripture as one who is arrogant and mocks God and the righteous. His way is always associated with the wicked. A couple of insightful passages of Scripture outline the attitude of the scoffer as well as their agenda:
“Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.” (2 Pet. 3:3)
“In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” (Jude 1:18)
We can clearly see that a scoffer is one who follows ungodly passions and desires in opposition to following the path of righteousness. Paul in writing to Timothy stated:
“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim. 3:1-7)
We get an even clearer understanding of what scoffing and pride which leads to destruction is all about from that passage.
In recent days we have seen a demonstration of scoffing and pride, the unabashed pursuit of the love of self and lustful pleasure. This so-called pride is nothing more than behavior and the glorification of actions that are an abomination to God. In fact, all sin is scoffing and pride and to continue in behavior that follows that path is to walk down the way of destruction. When someone notes for example that gay marriage is something that should be supported with pride, be mindful this pride is rooted in scoffing at God and His commands. The only end for such a prideful and scoffing attitude is destruction. These are harsh words perhaps; however, Scripture is quite clear on the nature of such “pride”.
The only solution to such misplaced pride is Christ-like humility and realizing the need for salvation through the shed blood of Christ. Scripture often compares pride and humility, noting how pride leads to destruction and humility leads to life. For example:
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” (Prov. 11:2)
“Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.” (Prov. 18:12)
The wise are those who understand the need for humility before God. The wicked are full of selfish pride, thumbing their nose at God and scorning the righteous. I am also reminded of Psalm 147:6 which declares, “The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.”
We live in a time when “pride” is thrown around as a badge of honor, especially in recent days concerning the gay agenda. As the people of God, let us demonstrate godly humility and the way of wisdom and righteousness in the face of those who scoff and deride God and His commands. Those who thumb their nose at God may feel like they have won the day and the opportunity to pursue the pleasures of the flesh. What they need to realize is that way leads to destruction, eternal destruction to be exact so now more than ever, believers need to share the life giving message of the gospel in which the Son of God humbled himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and gave his life so that we might have eternal life. That message needs to be proclaimed amidst the noise and clamor we see all around us.
He who loves God desires His presence. Lovers cannot be long asunder, they soon have their fainting fits, for lack of a sight of the object of their love. A soul deeply in love with God desires the enjoyment of Him. David was ready to faint away, when he had not a sight of God. “My soul faints for God.” Psalm 84:2
He who loves God, does not love sin. “You who love the Lord—hate evil.” Psalm 97:10. The love of God—and the love of sin, can no more mix together than iron and clay. Every sin loved, strikes at the being of God. He who loves God, has an antipathy against sin. He who would part two lovers is a hateful person. God and the believing soul are two lovers; sin parts between them, therefore the soul is implacably set against sin. By this try your love to God. How can he say he loves God, who loves sin—which is God’s enemy?
He who loves God is not much in love with anything else. His love is very cool to worldly things. The love of the world eats out the heart of piety; it chokes holy affections, as earth puts out the fire. He who loves God—uses the world but chooses God. The world engages him—but God delights and satisfies him. He says as David, “God, my exceeding joy!” Psalm 43:4. “God is the cream of my joy!”
Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for You!”
Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for Me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!” John 13:37-38
These verses show us how much self-ignorance there may be in the heart of a true believer. We see Peter declaring that he was ready to lay down his life for his Master. We see his Master telling Peter that he would deny Him three times. And we all know how the matter ended. The Master was right — and Peter was wrong.
Let it be a settled principle in our religion, that there is an amount of weakness in all our hearts of which we have no adequate conception, and that we never know how far we might fall if we were tempted. We imagine sometimes, like Peter, that there are some wicked things which we could not possibly do. We look pitifully upon others who fall, and please ourselves in the thought that we would not have done so.
We know nothing at all. The seeds of every sin are latent in our hearts, even when renewed, and they only need occasion, or carelessness and the withdrawal of God’s grace for a season — to put forth an abundant crop. Like Peter, we may think we can do wonders for Christ — and like Peter, we may learn by bitter experience that we have no power and strength at all.
Among the many general causes of decline in grace, we may assign a principal place to spiritual pride and self-admiration. If our attainments in knowledge and giftedness, and even in grace — seduce us into a good opinion of ourselves, as if we were wise and good — we are already ensnared, in danger of falling every step we take, of mistaking the right path, and proceeding from bad to worse — without a power of correcting or even of discovering our deviations! That is — unless and until the Lord mercifully interposes, by restoring us to a spirit of humility, and dependence upon Himself. For God, who gives more grace to the humble — resists the proud! He beholds them with abhorrence — in proportion to the degree in which they admire themselves! It is the invariable law of His kingdom, that everyone who exalts himself — shall be abased!
True Christians, through the remaining evil of their hearts, and the subtle temptations of their enemy, are liable, not only to the workings of that pride which is common to our fallen nature — but to a certain kind of pride, which, though the most absurd and intolerable in any person — can only be found among those who make profession of the gospel. We have nothing but what we have received, and therefore to be proud of our titles, wealth, knowledge, success, or any temporal advantages by which the providence of God has distinguished us — is downright sinful! For those who confess themselves to be ‘sinners’, and therefore deserving of nothing but misery and wrath — to be proud of those peculiar blessings which are derived from the gospel of God’s grace — is a wickedness of which even the demons are not capable of!
The true Christian cannot keep God’s law perfectly. “There is certainly no righteous man on the earth who does good and never sins.” Eccl. 7:20. There is in the best actions of a godly man — that which is damnable — if God should weigh him in the balance of justice. Alas! He cannot pray without wandering, nor believe without doubting. “For the desire to do what is good is with me, but there is no ability to do it.” Romans 7:18. Paul, though a saint of the first magnitude, was better at desiring than at performing.
The regenerate have a desire to obey God perfectly; but they lack strength; their obedience is weak and sickly. The mark they are to shoot at, is perfection of holiness. But though they take a right aim, and do what they can—they come short of the mark!
A Christian, while serving God, is like the rower who plies the oar, and rows hard—but is hindered, for a gust of wind carries him back again! So says Paul, “For I do not do the good that I want to do, but I practice the evil that I do not want to do.” Romans 7:19. “I am driven back by temptation!”
God permits this inability in His people—to humble us. Man is a self-exalting creature; and if he has but anything of worth, he is ready to be puffed up! But when he comes to see his deficiencies and failings, and how far short he comes of that holiness and perfection which God requires—it pulls down the plumes of his pride, and lays them in the dust! He weeps over his inability! He blushes over his leprous spots! He says with Job, “I abhor myself in dust and ashes!”
The evil of affliction works for good, to the godly.
It is one heart-quieting consideration in all the afflictions which befall us—that God has a special hand in them: “The Almighty has afflicted me” (Ruth 1:21). Instruments can no more stir until God gives them a commission, than the axe can cut, by itself, without a hand. Job eyed God in his affliction: therefore, as Augustine observes, he does not say, “The Lord gave—and the devil took away,” but, “The Lord has taken away.” Whoever brings an affliction to us, it is God who sends it.
Another heart quieting consideration is—that afflictions work for good. “I have sent them into captivity for their own good.” (Jer. 24:6). Judah’s captivity in Babylon was for their good. “It is good for me that I have been afflicted” (Psalm 119:71). This text, like Moses’ tree cast into the bitter waters of affliction, may make them sweet and wholesome to drink. Afflictions to the godly are medicinal. Out of the most poisonous drugs God extracts our salvation. Afflictions are as needful as ordinances (1 Peter 1:6). No vessel can be made of gold without fire; so it is impossible that we should be made vessels of honor, unless we are melted and refined in the furnace of affliction. “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth” (Psalm 35:10). As the painter intermixes bright colors with dark shadows; so the wise God mixes mercy with judgment. Those afflictive providences which seem to be harmful, are beneficial. Let us take some instances in Scripture.
Joseph’s brethren throw him into a pit; afterwards they sell him; then he is cast into prison; yet all this did work for his good. His abasement made way for his advancement, he was made the second man in the kingdom. “You thought evil against me—but God meant it for good” (Gen. 50:20).
Jacob wrestled with the angel, and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint. This was sad; but God turned it to good, for there he saw God’s face, and there the Lord blessed him. “Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, for I have seen God face to face” (Gen. 32:30). Who would not be willing to have a bone out of joint, so that he might have a sight of God?
Among God’s characteristics, as he has revealed himself, none is more significant than his holiness (see Leviticus 11:44–45; 19:2; 20:7). “Holy” and “holiness” occur more than 900 times in Scripture and both the Old and New Testaments speak more about his holiness than any other attribute. It is because of this characteristic that God is not able to tolerate our sin. As Habakkuk 1:13 says: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.”
Christ does not just save us from our sin, though, he saves us so that we might become holy (Ephesians 1:3-4). And as Peter says, “just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Peter 1:13).
“The Bible could not be any clearer,” says Kevin DeYoung, “The reason for your entire salvation, the design behind your deliverance, the purpose for which God chose you in the first place is holiness.”
Holiness is associated with separation from the ordinary or the profane, on the one hand, and connection with God or the divine, on the other. Holiness is not only being separated from sin and worldliness but being set apart for God’s purposes.
Sanctification is the lifelong process by which we become holy. But there are five specific ways we strive to become holy.
Make Holiness Your Purpose
Of all the goals we have for our life, the most important is to pursue holiness because it is God’s goal for our life. As Oswald Chambers said,
God has only one intended destiny for mankind— holiness. His only goal is to produce saints. God is not some eternal blessing-machine for people to use, and He did not come to save us out of pity— He came to save us because He created us to be holy.
If we truly love God we will commit to making holiness the primary purpose of our life.
Q. 46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requires us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God, and to worship and glorify him accordingly.
1. Does that which forbids us to have any other gods, require us to have the true God? Yes: Put away the strange gods, and serve the Lord only, 1 Sam. 7:3, 4. Is it our duty to acknowledge God? Yes: The Lord he is God, the Lord he is God, 1 Kings 18:39. And must we acknowledge him to be the only true God? Yes: Thou art the God, even thou alone, 2 Kings 19:15.
2. Is it our duty to acquaint ourselves with him? Yes: Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace, Job 22:21. Must we grow in that acquaintance? Yes: increasing in the knowledge of God, Col. 1:10. And may we attain to it? Yes: then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord, Hos. 6:3.
3. Must we accept of God for our God? Yes: Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, Deut. 26:17, 18. And must we join ourselves to him? Yes: Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant, Jer. 50:5. And consent to be his? Yes: O Lord, truly I am thy servant, I am thy servant, Ps. 116:16. Must we take God the Father to be our chief good and highest end? Yes: O God, thou art my God, Ps. 63:1. And God the Son to be our Prince and Saviour? Yes: My Lord and my God, John 20:28. And God the Holy Ghost to be our sanctifier, teacher, guide, and comforter? Yes: for they that are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God, Rom. 8:14. Must we renounce all others? Yes: For by thee only will we make mention of thy name, Isa. 26:13. Must we do this deliberately? Yes: Choose ye this day whom ye will serve, Josh. 24:15. Must we do it solemnly? Yes: One shall say, I am the Lord’s and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, Isa.44:5. Must we do it resolutely? Yes: Nay, but we will serve the Lord, Josh. 24:21. May we be at liberty to change our Master? No: but with purpose of heart must cleave to the Lord, Acts 11:23.
4. When we have avouched the Lord for our God, must we apply ourselves to him? Yes: If the Lord be God, then follow him, 1 Kings 18:21. Must we glorify him accordingly? Yes: Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name, Ps. 39:2. Must we worship him? Yes: Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve, Matt. 4:10. Must we worship him with inward worship? Yes: we must serve him with our spirits, Rom. 1:9. Is that the worship he requires? Yes: for such the Father seeks to worship him, John 4:28.
Let me take it for granted that we do not question the reality of growth in grace, and its vast importance. So far so good. But you now want to know how anyone may find out whether he is growing in grace or not? I answer that question, in the first place, by observing that we are very poor judges of our own condition — and that bystanders often know us better than we know ourselves. But I answer further that there are undoubtedly certain great marks and signs of growth in grace — and that wherever you see these marks — you see a growing soul. I will now proceed to place some of these marks before you in order.
1. One mark of growth in grace, is increased HUMILITY. The man whose soul is growing, feels his own sinfulness and unworthiness more every year.
He is ready to say with Job, “I am vile!”
And with Abraham, “I am dust and ashes!”
And with Jacob, “I am not worthy of the least of all Your mercies!”
And with David, “I am a worm!”
And with Isaiah, “I am a man of unclean lips!”
And with Peter, “I am a sinful man, O Lord!”
(Job 40:4; Genesis 18:27; 32:10; Psalm 22:6; Isaiah 6:5; Luke 5:8). The nearer he draws to God, and the more he sees of God’s holiness and perfections — the more thoroughly is he sensible of his own countless sins and imperfections. The further he journeys in the way to Heaven — the more he understands what Paul meant when he says,
“I am not already perfect!”
“I am not fit to be called an apostle!”
“I am less than the least of all saints!”
“I am the chief of sinners!”
(Philippians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8; 1 Timothy 1:15).
The riper he is for glory, the more, like the ripe corn — he hangs down his head. The brighter and clearer is his gospel light — the more he sees of the shortcomings and infirmities of his own heart. When first converted, he would tell you he saw but little of them — compared to what he sees now. Would anyone know whether he is growing in grace? Be sure that you look within for increased humility.