Sunday – August 1, 2021
Word On Worship – Sunday – August 1, 2021
Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
If I were to ask all of you to write down the sin that causes you the most trouble, I would probably get many responses listing anger, lust, lying, and greed. I might get a few entries for jealousy, hatred, gossip, and laziness. Maybe I’d get one or two for gluttony. But I wonder how many would list pride as the most difficult sin that they battle every day? It ought to be at the top of our lists, because it is the root of virtually every other sin.
If you get angry, it’s because you want your way and you didn’t get your way. The root of such anger is pride! If you lust, it’s because you imagine that you are so sexy that this woman would want to give herself to satisfy your desires, because you want to use her, not love her. Pride is at the root of such lust. In Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis refers to pride as “The Great Sin”. After mentioning that pride led to the devil’s downfall, he says, “Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.” He contends that pride is a sin that we are very much aware of and dislike when we see it in others, but most of us are blind to it in ourselves.
I bring up pride because Paul does (3:27): “Where then is boasting?” But that leads to some questions: Why does he bring up boasting here? Why does he ask this string of other questions? Why didn’t he just end the discussion of justification by faith after 3:26? So, why does Paul hammer on this theme? I suggest that it was because Paul knew, both from personal experience and from the Scriptures, how deeply embedded in our fallen hearts is the pride that wants to take some of the credit for being our own savior. Even if we acknowledge that God is the primary agent in our salvation, we’re still prone to claim that we had something to do with it, so that we can boast.
We, like the Israelites forget, the blessings of God upon us are not due to our own righteousness or even God’s vast and immeasurable love for us, but due to God’s grace. The righteousness God requires is also that which He alone provides, by imputation. He does it in this way so there can be no boasting. There is no basis for pride. There should only be humble gratitude and thanksgiving to God for His unspeakable gift. I challenge you to think through the Scriptures, Old Testament and New, and to recall all of the times when God instructed His people to remember their roots, in order that they might be humbled and serve God in truth. How easy it is for us to forget that we are what we are by the grace of God, apart from anything we have done, or will do. To God be the glory!