Thursday, May 29, 2014

Grace for the Humble

I'm not a humble person. In fact, pride is a sin that I daily have to crucify. I hate my pride and its many manifestations in my life. And I want desperately to be humble, to possess humility. Because pride is an affront to the truth of the gospel, God delights in answering prayers that ask for more humility. It is in our humbling that we see our desperate need for Christ. I think that is why Peter reminds his readers, and us, that "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).

The Bible talks a lot about pride and humility, from direct commands like 1 Peter 5 to giving us flesh and blood examples like Moses, David, Solomon, Absalom, and others. The most vivid picture of humility is found in our Christ, who Paul says "humbled himself to death" (Phil. 2:8). He embodied humility perfectly. The Bible often talks about our posture before him, which should be none other than utmost humility and fear, and we see consequences for those who do otherwise (2 Chron. 33:23). Jesus tells us that if we humble ourselves we will actually be exalted, but if we act in pride we will be brought low (Matt. 23:13, Luke 14:11). Humility is an often commanded, difficult to make happen, heart condition for the Christian.

But God does not leave us to our own prideful hearts.

Daniel often reminds us of the verse from 1 Peter, that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. In moments of deep humbling it is a mercy to reflect on the fact that God is humbling us because he loves us. To stay in our pride is to be the recipient of his opposition. To be humbled is to receive his grace. So when I am confronted with my sin against my husband or family member, make an embarrassing mistake that many people see, or dealing with a toddler tantrum in a public place, it is helpful to remember that these moments of humbling are not evidences of God's abandonment. They are in fact the exact opposite. They are reminders of his kindness towards me. God will have no spoiled children. He will have no self-sufficient children either. It is only when I'm on my face in humility that I can truly stand in his presence.

I want to be humble. It's a scary prayer to say out loud "Lord, make me humble," because we never know what it will take. I know it takes a lot to humble me, but I want to receive it as a mercy from his loving hand. He wants me humble so he can give me more grace. He wants me humble so I will worship him with an undivided heart. So I pray, Lord, make me humble.


Emily said...

Lord, make me humble - what a wonderful prayer for me to utter today. Here I am thinking, "Courtney IS humble!" but isn't your case the exact mark of true humility? Someone who produces a teachable spirit, willing to be corrected, not boasting their own ability but in the gospel. Amen!

Steve Finnell said...


There are those who profess that God saves by faith alone. They contend that anyone who believes that water baptism is essential to forgiveness of sins is being saved by works. The problem is that the faith alone crowd believe it is essential say a form of the "sinner's prayer" in order to be saved. In other words, faith + the sinner's prayer saves. Using their reasoning, saying the sinner's prayer would be a work.

Example of a sinner's prayer: Lord Jesus, I come before you and confess that I am a sinner. Jesus, I believe that you died on the cross, and that Almighty God raised you from the dead. I pray that you forgive me my sin, and be my Lord and Savior. In the name of Christ Jesus I pray this request. Amen.

The problem is under the new covenant the Bible never instructs a non-Christian to pray for forgiveness. A proof text used is 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (NKJV) John was addressing Christians. John was not telling unbelievers to say the sinner's prayer and be forgiven. John not telling unbelievers to say a sinner's prayer so that they might be saved.

Proof text number two: The tax collector (publican) prayed and was forgiven. Luke 18:9-14.....13"And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying. 'God be merciful to me a sinner!" 14 "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be abased,
and he who humbles himself will be exalted."(NKJV)

The tax collector (publican) was not a pagan. The tax collector was a member of the Jewish religion. He collected taxes for the Romans. The tax collector was already part of a synagogue. The tax collector did not become a Jew by saying a sinner's prayer.

There is no Scripture that states that saying the "sinner's prayer" grants forgiveness to non-Christians. Saying a sinner's prayer does not add anyone to the body of Christ. Saying a sinner's prayer cannot save anyone.

What do men have to do to be saved?

Believe: John 3:16
Confess: Romans 10:9-19
Repent: Acts 2:38
Be Immersed in water: Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Mark 16:16