Isn’t it easy for our hearts to slip into that boastfulness which we always deny? Our Bible reading plans are far larger than everyone else’; we attend church every week; we abstain from those indulgences which only weak Christians give in to… We’re so full of teaching about how vain religion is that our “not religious” has, in fact, become our religion. What a sly trap our heart has set for us!

Let’s take a step back. Why has God let his predestined children be born into a fallen world, fall into sin and rebel, and be in terrible need of salvation? Because the LORD desired to display his grace, love and mercy in such a tremendous way that the angels could never know. Those who minister at His side day and night have no sin they need saving from. God wants to show that He will have compassion even on those who sin against Him.

Why do I bring this up? God’s desire to give undeserved grace leaves the beneficiary with absolutely no reason to boast. In fact, creatures having pride in their own salvation is the complete opposite of what we were made for. It is no small sin: When we should say, “Thank you God for saving me,” we shout, “Look at my righteous deeds!”

Pride has rightly been labelled the original sin, or the root of all sin. Listen: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18) What truth? For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (v. 19) Since the dawn of time, man has been aware of the Creator of the universe. Yet instead of humbling ourselves under this truth and conforming to it, we have puffed up in pride, and put ourselves above the truth. They did not see fit to acknowledge God… (v. 28)

In chapter 2, Paul has no difficulty transitioning from God-denying pride to religion-centered pride. Do you suppose, O man – you who judge those who practise such things and yet do them yourself – that you will escape the judgement of God? (ch. 2:3) All who have sinned under the law will be judged under the law. (v. 12) Paul is quick to rebuke those who think the Jewish law can make them righteous. I encourage you to take the time to read chapter 4 of Romans. Paul shows that even Abraham was justified by faith.

Okay, but why can’t we boast? I mean, we’re ahead of others who don’t know salvation, right?

Let me suggest that all our boasting was stripped away when God came to Earth in human form. When Jesus died on that Cross, those “whom he foreknew” were declared righteous. And here’s the key: What were we doing when that happened? Nothing. We did nothing to pay for our sin, as we had no consciousness. How can we boast of something that happened when we weren’t alive?

Consider four things Jesus did on the Cross before we were born:

1:God’s glory was upheld.

2:His wrath was propitiated.

3: The ransom was paid.

4: His righteousness was demonstrated.

Be humbled; you could never do those things! You stand in grace by faith alone. In 3:27, Paul contrasts a “law of works” and a “law of faith.” Now the law of works, or the Torah, consists of works of Law. A work of law is anything you try to do besides trust in God’s grace to get right with him. Examples: Attending church; having two Bible reading plans going at once; having the “Ten Commandments Checklist” in your pocket. I’m not saying that good deeds such as going to church and reading your Bible are bad – no, they are good – but any act on our part to ensure our conscience that we are saved insults Jesus’ sacrifice.

I struggle with pride as much as any of you reader’s do – perhaps more. The only remedy is to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and what He has done for us. Every time you think of it, thank God for the undeserved grace He has showered on you. Do not allow yourself to rest in anything but grace given by faith in Christ. Then, perhaps this will become your life’s motto:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all.

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